Research

My ongoing research interests are in three areas.

First, I am a committed and passionate teacher of Introductory Sociology courses. I have a number of Introductory textbooks, readers, and online supplements used across the country and I do whatever I can to help my students connect with sociology – in the class and beyond.

Second, I am keenly interested in exploring the use of anonymous student feedback in class and what, if any, influence it has on the teaching and learning environment. My work on the FAST (free assessment summary tool) software began in 1998, when I met Zvjezdan Patz (he just goes by “Z” (pronounced, “Zee”), a gifted programmer, who helped me develop an online tool for teachers who wanted to anonymously assess how his/her students were finding the course. The popularity of the software (which is free) exceeded all our expectations. As the years went by, Z and I began documenting the limitations of the software and started looking for sponsors to help us update the software. In 2007 and again in 2012 we signed co-ownership agreements between ourselves, Mount Royal University, Carleton University and eCampus Alberta to update and improve the software. Z and I continue to maintain the site and look forward to helping all teachers benefit from his/her/their students’ anonymous feedback. Note: the software is free, resides on Canadian servers, includes support for “informed consent” and you can download your own data, whenever you want. You are welcome to use if for class assignments, research, assessing if your bake sale for the hockey team was a success, whatever you want.

Third, I am increasingly inspired by the potential of Community-Engaged Learning to connect students to sociology. My 4th year seminars (Soci 439A and 439B) require students to leave the comfort of their classroom and apply their sociology by working directly with various non-profit agencies. A recent article I co-authored on what students’ say about CEL is available here.

A copy of my c.v. is available here.