Rapid Community Reports: Instructions for Authors

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To prepare a submission, use one of the Google Doc templates provided below. When you click on a template type, Google Docs will create a copy (with your permission) for you to use for your submission. Share your Google Doc with rcr-circls@digitalpromise.org when you are ready to submit.

See below for more information on the organization and follow the RCR Formatting Guidelines (PDF). If you have questions or would like to share a few sentences about your intended contribution with us to get feedback, please contact us.


Primers

Four key aspects that often make an engaging, useful Primer are:

  1. Motivation or Purpose: Why should a reader care about this particular topic? — e.g., what broad issue or problem is being addressed?
  2. Key definitions, processes, concepts, etc.: What are the high-level ideas that a reader should know in order to be adequately informed on the topic?
  3. Contrast: What earlier or competing approaches exist and how does this approach vary from them? What are unique or surprising implications?
  4. Value: What insights, findings, or applications support the topic as real, relevant, and broadly valuable?

Organization

Each Primer includes a common set of headers/sections with key questions to explore. Use the standardized headers provided in the template to organize your work. The word count for this report is 1100-1400 words. Please aim to be clear and concise in your discussion.

Use the Primer template (Google Doc) to build your RCR. Share your Google Doc with rcr-circls@digitalpromise.org when you are ready to submit.

  • Overview (300-400 words): A high-level introduction to the topic, which can include:
    • What has motivated researchers’ work on this topic?
    • Definitions for key terms or a well-chosen illustrative example
    • Components of the topic and how they fit together (possibly with a diagram)
    • How the topic can be used (be precise here; e.g., to improve a design, to plan instruction, to better use assessment to inform practice)
    • Accessible Exemplars within the topic (i.e. so a new reader can get grounded)
  • Key Lessons (400-500 words): What do we know as a result of the research on this topic? What are lessons learned for designing curriculum and instruction or for designing future research? What new questions have emerged and remain unanswered?
  • Issues (400-500 words): Raises potential questions or tensions that push boundaries of current knowledge and understanding (i.e., good topics for future research proposals).
  • References/Resources At the end of your RCR, we invite you to include references and resources. Please limit your “References” to include 5-7 main readings that will be most useful to your reader. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a brief list of key readings in the field on this topic. The “Resources” should list 3-5 additional materials (website, blog post, news article) that provide further information to the reader on your topic. Please follow APA format.

Review Criteria

Reviewers will evaluate the quality of the Primer based on three criteria:

  1. Informativeness. To what extent does the Primer achieve the standard of informing an intelligent, non-expert reader to the topic? Such learning ought to be equivalent to the knowledge one would gain by personally visiting an expert in the field for an hour. Does the Primer adequately inform the reader of important, different, and even divergent views on the topic? Is it grounded in relevant literature?
  2. Usefulness. Does the Primer orient the reader to a framework, approach, or concept they could use, and give high-level guidance on how to use it well? Do the issues make a reader aware of key unresolved tensions or questions? Do the readings and resources give a breadth of opportunities to learn more?
  3. Clarity, Brevity, Audience. Is the Primer clear, brief, and accessible to intended audiences, which must include at least one audience (e.g., teachers) other than researchers?

 


Workshop Outcomes

Four key aspects that often make an engaging, useful Workshop Outcomes RCR are:

  1. Motivation or Purpose: Why does the workshop matter? Why was it convened and what questions did it intend to address?
  2. Starting Points & Process: What are the high-level basics that a reader should know about the topic and the organizers themselves? What is the backdrop/ history of the scholarly group? What was the process of forming the group and inviting members to the meeting? What did attendees have in common and what different yet related areas were organizers trying to “cover?” Are there pointers to Primers?
  3. Workshop Structure: Summarize the proceedings in terms of what was said; the report should state the various participants’ insights and discussion of issues without becoming a lengthy transcription of the event itself
  4. Insights and Ideas: What were the key issues identified? What ideas emerged that point to a new direction or challenge?
  5. Directions and Recommendations: To close, what direction(s) for future research and practice did the workshop open up? What are the workshop’s recommendations to the field? What is the better future that is achievable if the recommendations are taken up?

Organization

Each Workshop outcomes RCR includes a common set of headers/sections. Use the standardized headers provided in the template to organize your work. The word count for this report is 1500-2000 words. Please aim to be clear and concise in your discussion. We encourage you to reference and link to an existing longer report.

Use the Workshop Outcomes template (Google Doc) to build your RCR. Share your Google Doc with rcr-circls@digitalpromise.org when you are ready to submit.

  • Introduction (250-300 words): Address the motivation or purpose of the workshop. Why does the workshop matter? Why was it convened and what questions did it intend to address?
  • Workshop attendees (250-350 words): Discuss the starting points and process of the workshop. What are the high-level basics that a reader should know about the topic and the organizers themselves? What is the backdrop/ history of the scholarly group? What was the process of forming the group and inviting members to the meeting? What did attendees have in common and what different yet related areas were organizers trying to “cover?” Are there pointers to Primers?
  • Workshop structure (250-350 words): Summarize the proceedings in terms of what was said; the report should state the various participants’ insights and discussion of issues without becoming a lengthy transcription of the event itself.
  • Key issues (500-600 words): Identify and discuss the main issues that emerged during the workshop. What were the key issues identified? What ideas emerged that point to a new direction or challenge?
  • Recommendations for future work (250-350 words): To close, what direction(s) for future research and practice did the workshop open up? What are the workshop’s recommendations to the field? What is the better future that is achievable if the recommendations are taken up?
  • References/Resources At the end of your RCR, we invite you to include references and resources. Please limit your “References” to include 5-7 main readings that will be most useful to your reader. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a brief list of key readings in the field on this topic. The “Resources” should list 3-5 additional materials (website, blog post, news article) that provide further information to the reader on your topic. Please follow APA format.

Review Criteria

Reviewers will evaluate the quality of the Workshop Report based on three criteria:

  1. Informativeness. To what extent does the report inform a reader about the purpose, attendees, and process of the meeting? Does the report articulate and provide reasons for its recommendations?
  2. Usefulness. Does the report provide recommendations that can guide future R&D (recommendations could be about any aspect of R&D)? Is there a clear contrast to what is happening widely already?
  3. Clarity, Brevity, Audience. Is the report clear, brief, and accessible to intended audiences, which must include at least one audience other than researchers?

 


Design Reflections

Authors of a Design Reflection should focus on one or just a few novel design elements (through visual, textual, and other elements) and spend less time on the supporting, commonplace elements; while these elements are important to the functioning of the design, they do not represent the potential advance in the state of the art. The reflection should be on the part of the design that is likely to contribute to the growth of the field.

Organization

Each Design Reflection includes a common set of headers/sections. Use the standardized headers provided in the template to organize your work. The word count for this report is 1700-2500 words. Please aim to be clear and concise in your discussion.

Use the Design Reflection template (Google Doc) to build your RCR. Share your Google Doc with rcr-circls@digitalpromise.org when you are ready to submit.

  • Design Context (225- 350 words) Describe both the specific problem or need for the new or innovative design and more generally how it evokes issues or challenges that others care about. Elaborate criteria or considerations for a successful solution. Discuss relevant prior designs or design principles, both in terms of the progress made and unmet needs.
  • Emerging Design Solution (425-625 words) This section should address the novel design elements proposed to address the problem(s), and the designer’s rationale for those elements. If important to the reader’s understanding of the design, briefly share any design philosophy or approach. Use suitable media elements to communicate the design clearly. Do not describe every component or facet of your design; focus on one or a few elements (or tentative design principles) that are most important to address the design problem; consider what about the design is novel and would contribute the most to the field.
  • Review Process (200-300 words). The basis for the design reflection can include both expert reviews of design and consideration of available early-stage research data. For example, a Design Reflection submission might follow from a design review meeting occurring at a project milestone — for example, with an external advisory board. Alternatively, a design review meeting might occur at a conference (for example, during an interactive demo/symposium session). A Design Reflection could be the result of a Video Showcase video that recruited extensive commentary, or the result of a co-design process where researchers have partnered with teachers, and a substantive design review occurred. Describe the process for the reflection and when and where it occurred.
    1. Describe the reflection team in ways that help the reader appreciate the breadth of their perspectives, interests, and expertise. (Guidance for who could be on the team appears below. If you want to list names, do so in an acknowledgment or appendix.)
    2. Describe how the team reviewed the design — for example, trying it themselves and/or looking at available data (of a type appropriate to early-stage design research).
  • Constructive Critique and Reflections (625-825 words) The focus of this section should be a reflection and constructive criticism from a diverse team about both promising and unresolved aspects of the design. As a critical genre, Design Reflections are like art, film, literature, or architectural criticism in spirit; they aim to both inform readers about an important design and also cultivate connoisseurship. They aim to help the audience appreciate why they should learn about a particular design, but also how to think about directions for improvement or investigation. Share approximately three to six lessons learned in one to two paragraphs for each lesson. These lessons should have a spirit of reflective, constructive criticism, which might include disagreements or weaknesses to be addressed in further design experiments or elaborations. Discuss positive aspects of design; positive aspects of the research; components in need of improvement; and potential next steps. The lessons learned should discuss what is promising (or not), what needs refinement, what else is needed, what was surprising, or applicable to the field, etc. Lessons learned could also fruitfully discuss what you learned about the design problem — unexpected dimensions of the design problem that arose, for example. (A design reflection is not the place for a rigorous evaluation of whether the design produced desirable impacts.)
  • Implications and Next Steps (225-400 words): In summary, how is this design research advancing our understanding of the design problem and potential solutions? What are the implications for the community or field tackling related design problems? What will happen next in advancing your design and testing it empirically?
  • References/Resources At the end of your RCR, we invite you to include references and resources. Please limit your “References” to include 5-7 main readings that will be most useful to your reader. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a brief list of key readings in the field on this topic. The “Resources” should list 3-5 additional materials (website, blog post, news article) that provide further information to the reader on your topic. Please follow APA format.

Review Criteria

Reviewers will evaluate the quality of the Design Reflection based on four criteria:

  1. Clarity. Was a combination of textual, visual, and other elements used to make the design accessible and clear?
  2. Novelty & Innovation. To what extent is the emphasis throughout on a novel design to address an important learning issue? To what extent is there a clear rationale for the novel design that is grounded in relevant theories of learning, both as presented by the designers and as seen by the reflectors? A comprehensive literature review is not required and we ask for limited references, so reviewers be judicious in offering more references. Instead, focus on how the literature sets the context and motivation for the novel and innovative feature(s).
  3. Diversity of Perspectives. Do the reflections highlight multiple external voices with appropriately diverse perspectives? Are needs specific to a stakeholder or user community represented? To what extent are equity issues represented?
  4. Constructive Criticism. Do the reflections add value to a reader’s appreciation of the design? For example, do they help a reader see the potential value in the design from a point of view beyond the initial design brief? Do the reflections make connections to related designs or learning theories and highlight the potential contributions of the design? Were opportunities to improve the design or to test particular design conjectures offered? Does the closing section clarify what the designers learned through the design review and what will happen next as a result?