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University of Washington
Consent Form

Cluster: Digital Composition Pedagogy-Pilot Study

(Consent form for Non-Focal Student Participants)


Principal Investigator: Mr. Dylan Medina, Doctoral Candidate, Department of English
Cell Phone (206) 973-9364, Email: medinad@uw.edu

Principal Investigator: Mr. Tait Bergstrom, Doctoral Candidate, Department of English
Cell Phone (206) 849-9056, Email: taitb3@uw.edu

Faculty advisor: Dr. Anis Bawarshi, Professor of English, Department of English
Phone (206) 543-2190, Email: bawarshi@uw.edu

Researcher's Statement

I am asking you to be in a research study. The purpose of this consent form is to give you the information you will need to help you decide whether to be in the study or not. Please read the form carefully. You may ask questions about the purpose of the research, what we would ask you to do, the possible risks and benefits, your rights as a volunteer, and anything else about the research or this form that is not clear. When we have answered all your questions, you can decide if you want to be in the study or not. This process is called “informed consent.” We will give you a copy of this form for your records.

Purpose of the Study

With your consent, we will collect anonymized copies of your entry and exit surveys using Google Forms. Additionally, anonymized copies of your writing done in Cluster will be collected. All collected material will be identified by your unique Cluster Login Token. There will be no connection created between your identity and the access token unless you consent to participate as a Focal Student Participant.

Risks, Stress, or Discomfort

The greatest risk involved in this study is the invasion of privacy and the breach of confidentiality (i.e. The risk of your identity being known to people other than the researcher and research team).

Benefits of the Study

This study has the potential to provide significant benefits. All students will have the opportunity to use Cluster, which has the potential to boost student metacognition and reflection. It will also provide students with a tremendous resource in the way of metacognitive comments that will serve them for the reflection component of their portfolio.

Non-focal participants will benefit from answering two surveys over the course of the class. These surveys will prompt students to reflect on their writing, this class, and its relationship with other classes in the university. This kind of reflection has been shown to be beneficial when students attempt to apply knowledge and skills learned in this class to future contexts. Focal participants will benefit from answering the surveys, and also from interviews. These interviews will be semi-structured and will give students an extended opportunity to reflect on their writing in the class and their use of Cluster. These interviews will potentially improve their uptake of course information and practices making them more successful in class. Instructors will benefit from interviews that ask them to reflect on their teaching practices. Like writing, teaching is a skill that benefits from conscious reflection.

This study also has long term potential benefits. First, it will provide the Cluster development team with vital information to develop application prototypes. Cluster has the potential to significantly advance the effectiveness of writing instruction by helping teachers target specific support to each individual student and by helping students practice their writing skills more effectively with a gradually decreasing amount of support as their skills improve. Further, this research will extend Writing Study’s understanding of the place of digital writing instruction tools in the larger mission of teaching writing.

Confidentiality of Research Information

All data collected from you will be anonymized, and no link connecting your survey responses and writing to your identity will be retained. However, if we learn that you intend to harm yourself or others, we must report that to the authorities as required by mandatory reporting law.

If you consent, we will collect survey data and your writing and comments in Cluster. This consent form will be retained separately from that data.

Participation in this study is totally voluntary, and if you decide to participate, you can withdraw anytime. To withdraw, contact the PI with your access token and all data collected associated with that access token will be destroyed. This study is not related to performance or assessment in any UW course, and the decision to not participate or to withdraw from the study will not affect your grade in the class or in any future class, nor will it be communicated beyond the PIs and the research team.

Researcher's Signature: Date:

Researcher's Signature: Date:

Subject's Statement

This study has been explained to me. I volunteer to take part in this research. I have had a chance to ask questions. If I have questions later about the research, I can ask one of the researchers listed above. If I feel like I have been harmed by participating in this study, I can contact any of the investigators listed above at any time. If I have questions about my rights as a research subject, I can call the Human Subjects Division at (206) 543-0098. I will receive a copy of this consent form.

I give permission for the researchers to collect anonymized copies of my responses to survey questions.

I give permission for the researchers to collect anonymized copies of my writing and comments in Cluster.

How did you find Cluster?

*First Name: Date:

Middle Name:

*Last Name:

By entering my initials below, I am confirming my consent to participate in this study as a Non-focal participant.