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As part of your participation in the FPLC program, you will choose a "focus course" for spring semester for which you will design a teaching and learning project.  Follow the steps below to begin your project.

1) The Problem or Question

What is the problem (or opportunity) you wish to address with your project?  Describe what you see in students' behavior that you wish to change.  For example, aspects of content (e.g. test scores), process (e.g. (ability to work in groups), or climate (e.g. morale).  Be as specific as possible in describing what you have seen.  This will determine what you look for to see if you have met your project objectives.

2) Learning Objectives

List the learning objectives that student will be able to achieve better after you implement your project.  Put them in active statements such as: "After completing this course, students will be able to..."  For assistance writing learning objectives, use the verbs guide and instructions for writing goals and objectives. You can also complete an online teaching goals inventory to decide where to focus your students' learning.  See these examples of course goals and learning objectives for more ideas.

3) Context

What have others done at Suffolk to address the problem that you see in your classroom?  Early in the year, you may not have much of an answer here, but you can search the literature to see what may have been done at other institutions.

4) Proposed Solution

How will you plan to solve the problem or answer the question?  Describe what you will do to change/improve the behavior you described in Item 1.  Are you doing anything differently than what others have attempted?  Why or why not?  Why do you propose that your approach will succeed better than prior attempts or will work better with your students or course?

5) Assessment

How will you determine the success and effectiveness of your solution and the impact of your project?  Do you plan to determine pre- and post results?  How will you know that the behavior of your students has changed/improved?  Note: You may not be able to obtain your results by the end of your FPLC year, but you should have a plan in place to evaluate your project and report on the results.

6) Timeline

How will your project progress?  Indicate the dates of project initiation and completion for each step of your design, implementation, and assessment.

7) IRB Proposal

Because you will be working with human subjects (i.e. your students) during this project, you'll need to apply for IRB approval to collect data on your classroom project. Please note that you must be CITI-trained to conduct an IRB project.  Here's a great document to help you get started: What You Need to Do to Submit an IRB Protocol for the First Time.

All IRB-related materials can be found on the ORSP Research Compliance website:

-          The Investigator’s Toolbox includes information on how to submit to IRB net and all the forms you need

-          The E-College includes information about CITI training

CITI Training: this is the training you need to complete before you submit your IRB proposal; you’ll need to include the CITI report of completion when you submit to IRB.  See Instructions for CITI courses if you need help.

IRBnet: this is where you will submit your IRB materials.  You can create a new user account using these New User instructions.

Many SoTL projects are exempt.  See the Human Subjects Research Application for Exemption, which you will need to submit as part of your IRB application.  For your convenience, you can also check out this Guide to Writing a Research Protocol.

When you are ready to submit your IRB materials, follow the instructions in this New Application Submission.

Email Katie Linder ( or IRB Coordinator Deb Elek (


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