IDST 194: Modes of Inquiry

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“Modes of Inquiry” is a one credit pass-fail course open to all students (no prerequisites). Students learn to “host” faculty speakers who will discuss their original work, how they became interested in the field, the methods they use, the satisfaction they derive (and the difficulties they have faced), and how undergraduates can get involved. Students interview faculty prior to the class, and post a background summary on the course website. Students who are engaged in research discuss the value of those experiences and offer advice about getting started and finding a mentor. This course meets one of the requirements of the Carolina Research Scholars Program (CRSP). Faculty are invited to participate by the OUR, and if you are willing to contribute to the class, we would love to hear from you (our@unc.edu).

Is IDST 194 different from IDST 195?

No, they are the same course. Starting in Fall 2013, IDST 195 has been renumbered to IDST 194. They are the same course and will fulfill the first requirement for the Carolina Research Scholar Program (CRSP).

How is IDST 194 different from other seminar courses?

Most seminar courses are focused around particular topics involving one or a small number of disciplines. IDST 194 is designed to engage you in many modes of inquiry. Renowned faculty will describe how they began to pursue their life’s work, how they frame questions, seek answers, communicate their findings, and the rewards and difficulties they have experienced. You will have the opportunity to question them, and reflect more about the ways of knowing that seem most important to you. This course also fulfills one of the requirements of the Carolina Research Scholar Program (CRSP).

What will we be doing?

In this course, teams of students will interview faculty participants and post a short bio on the course Web site. Each week, the student hosts will introduce the faculty speaker, lead the seminar discussion, pose additional questions to the speaker and student participants as needed, and start the reflection forums. You will also be learning about how undergraduates can get involved in research, scholarship and creative endeavors.

Will this be a difficult class?

The challenge of this class will be the many disciplines represented. The faculty speakers will use many different styles of engaging your participation, and you may feel that you have a better background for some of the sessions than for others. But this diversity is also the reason that this class may be of particular interest to you. Students who have participated in a similar seminar at the U. of Washington-Seattle have discovered interests in topics that they knew little about before, so this class is particularly appropriate if you want to learn more about a variety of fields. You will also learn how to contribute to a discussion and have the opportunity to get to know faculty from across the campus.

How will I be graded?

Your grade will be based on attendance, seminar participation, your team’s faculty interview and the reflections you post on the course Sakai site. This course is available for pass/fail credit only.

What are students saying about IDST 194?

…My eyes have been opened to the possibilities in research. If there are things out there that we do not know, there are ways to find out. This is true regardless of the topic or geographic area. The most important thing to expanding our knowledge is passion and intellectual curiosity played out in research.

…I think the coolest part of the class was hearing how everyone got interested in what they do. Some of the professors knew exactly what they wanted while others took a very roundabout way. Hard work seems to be what they all had in common.

…Honestly, if I had had this course at the beginning of my undergraduate career, there is a very strong possibility that I would have changed my major to something that I would have enjoyed more so I would have done research in my department. Great class!