Journal of Educational Thought – Celebrating 50 Years

April 18, 2017

When I first started in my role as an Assistant PrJET 50(1)ofessor in the Werklund School of Education, one of my former professors, Dr. Ian Winchester, approached me about being a book review editor for the Journal of Educational Thought. I accepted immediately. I set to work acquiring titles and recruiting people to write book reviews for the journal.

It has been a fabulous experience so far, as I’ve had the opportunity to meet other scholars, re-connect with former students, and mentor a couple of current students, too.

Today, the editorial assistant, the fabulous Aber Abulhassn, stopped by my office with a copy of the latest issue of the journal. This issue is special for a few reasons. Firstly, I’m named as the Book Review Editor (a position previously vacant). I am thrilled about that. Secondly, I actually have a book review published in this issue, wish is lovely in a “meta” kind of way. Finally — and this is what’s most inspiring — this is volume 50, issue 1 of the journal. That’s right, this journal has been around for half a century.

Dr. Winchester’s opening editorial is “Fifty Years of the Journal of Educational Thought“. In it, he traces the history of the journal, with its origins starting at the University of Calgary. He discusses how the landscape for journals has changed and the how “this is not any easy time for journals” (p. 3), but closing on a high note by inviting readers to “raise a glass to the first fifty years” (p. 3).

I feel honoured to be part of a publication with half a century of tradition and quality. I recognize that I share a special path of those who have come before me, contributing to a long-standing publication in the field of academia.

Related article:

Werklund School’s Journal of Educational Thought turns 50 –


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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

7 Ways to Celebrate the End of the Semester

April 12, 2017

hands hope sunCongratulations! You have made it to the end of another semester in one piece. You deserve to catch your breath and celebrate. Here are some ways to do just that:

1. Thank your loved ones. They have put up with your grumpiness, your tantrums and your anxiety all term. They’ve done chores for you that you should have been doing yourself, but turned a blind eye to because of school work. They’ve listened to you, given you advice or bitten their tongue to refrain from giving you too much advice. Seriously, they deserve some appreciation. Show your love with some flowers, a nice dinner out or some other special thank you for the loved ones who have been there for you all term.

2. Thank your classmates. Was there a classmate who really supported you this term? Was there a fellow student who listened when you needed a shoulder to cry on? Or someone who gave you awesome feedback on your work? Learning is not a solitary endeavour. Send your classmate a note of appreciation and tell them how much he or she means to you.

3. Book some self-care. Whether it is a massage, a chiropractic treatment, or a spa day, plan on rejuvenating your health and well-being. Book your wellness appointment today.

4. Go outside! You’ve likely been glued to your computer screen for weeks now, as you wrap up your final papers and projects. Go for a walk. Do some work in the garden. Just go outside and listen to the birds chirp. It’s time to expand your world beyond your own little work space again.

5. Re-connect with friends. Have you been ignoring your friends all term because of school work? Have you declined invitations or backed out of social engagements at the last minute because you’ve had too much work to do or just felt too stressed out? Your friends are waiting for you! Send your favourite pals a text or an e-mail today to make plans to get together.

6. Take a bath. There’s nothing like a hot, soothing bath to wash away the stress of a semester. Use bubbles, candles, music or whatever will help you relax. Take some to soak in the success of having completed another term.

7. Prepare a healthy meal. Have you been eating food out of boxes and cans these past few weeks, as you madly finish up projects? If so, your body is probably crying for some fresh vegetables and fruit. Why not take the time to prepare your favourite meal? Even better, make supper for your family or friends to thank them for supporting you.

These are just a few suggestions to celebrate the end of your semester. You probably have some ideas of your own. The important point here is to actually take the time to pause and celebrate your achievement. By completing another semester, you have reached another milestone towards your goals. Taking time to celebrate along the way is important and helps you to remember why you are doing all this.

Related post: 5 Ways to Show Teachers Appreciation


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This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Writing resources for educational researchers

April 10, 2017

I have taught a Master’s level course for educational researchers called Writing Educational Research more than a dozen times now. Every semester, I find great new resources to share with students. Sometimes students share resources they have found during their learning journey, too. In this blog post, I collect, curate and share information about the required readings, along with some excellent supplementary resources to help you learn to improve your academic writing.

I offer a big shoutout of appreciation and acknowledgement to the students who have added resources to this list over the years.

Required Readings

  1. Belcher, W. L. (2009). Writing your journal article in 12 weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. SAGE Publications, Inc.
  2. American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Online resources (Available at no cost. Also, see the course outline for resources specific to the University of Calgary)

  1. Basics of APA Style (Tutorial):
  2. Workbook to accompany Belcher’s text:

General writing resources

  1. King, S. (2000). On writing: A memoir of the craft. New York: Scribner.

Recommended readings on writing for publication in research and professional journals

  1. Bednar, J. A. (n.d.). Tips for Academic Writing and Other Formal Writing.   Retrieved from

  2.  Fisher, J. P., Jansen, J. A., Johnson, P. C., & Mikos, A. G. (n.d.). Guidelines for writing a research paper for publication. Retrieved from

  3. Hartley. (2008). Academic writing and publishing: A practical handbook. Retrieved from

  4. Hess, D. R. (2004). How to write an effective discussion. Respiratory Care, 49(10), 1238-1241. Retrieved from

  5. Liumbruno, G. M., Velati, C., Pasqualetti, P., & Franchini, M. (2013). How to write a scientific manuscript for publication. Blood Transfusion, 11(2), 217-226. doi:10.2450/2012.0247-12

  6. Lowe, C., & Zemliansky, P. (Eds.). Writing spaces: Readings on writing (Vol. 1). West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press. Retrieved from

  7. Pautasso, M. (2013). Ten simple rules for writing a literature review.   Retrieved from

  8. Rocco, T. S., & Hatcher, T. (2011). The handbook of scholarly writing and publishing. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  9. John Wiley & Sons Inc. (2014). Writing for publication. Retrieved from

Recommended readings on how to give (and receive) peer review and peer feedback (and deal with rejection)

  1. Durso, T. (1997). Editors’ advice to rejected authors: Just try, try again. The Scientist. Retrieved from–Advice-To-Rejected-Authors–Just-Try–Try-Again/
  2. Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-112. Retrieved from doi:10.3102/003465430298487
  3. Seals, D. R., & Tanaka, H. (2000). Manuscript peer review: a helpful checklist for students and novice referees. Advances in physiology education, 23(1), 52-58.
  4. Shashok, K. (2008). Content and communication: How can peer review provide helpful feedback about the writing? BMC Medical Research Methodology, 8(1), 3. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-8-3.

Recommended supplementary readings on how to get published

  1. Belcher, W. L. (2009). Reflections on ten years of teaching writing for publication to graduate students and junior faculty. Journal of scholarly publishing, 40(2), 184-200. doi:10.3138/jsp.40.2.184
  2. Lovejoy, T. I., Revenson, T. A., & France, C. R. (2011). Reviewing Manuscripts for Peer-Review Journals: A Primer for Novice and Seasoned Reviewers. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 42(1), 1-13. doi:10.1007/s12160-011-9269-x

  3. McGrail, M. R., Rickard, C., & Jones, R. (2006). Publish or perish: a systematic review of interventions to increase academic publication rates. Higher Education Research and Development.
  4. Parsons, J. (2016). How to write an article for The Canadian Journal for Teacher Research (CJTR) from your graduate work? The Canadian Journal for Teacher Research. Retrieved from
  5. Pearce II, J. A. (2012). Revising manuscripts for premier entrepreneurship journals. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36(2), 193-203. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6520.2012.00502.x

  6. Zwaaf, E. (2013). 8 Reasons I accepted your article. Elsevier. Retrieved from

A note to other professors and educators: I am happy for you to share this list with your own students. Instead of copying and pasting this blog post into your own course outline (because that would be plagiarism), please put a link to this blog post in your syllabus.

Related posts:

How to provide peer review feedback

How writers can learn to accept criticism

What’s the difference between a citation and a reference?

Why APA formatting matters

12 Phrases to Avoid in Your Academic Research Papers

How many sources do you need in a literature review?

What’s the difference between a manuscript and an article?

Why “as cited in” should be avoided in academic writing

10 Great writing resources for grad students –

How to create a research paper outline: 5 great resources

Template for a 10-page graduate research paper in social sciences


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This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Reflections on co-facilitating workshops with research assistants

April 4, 2017

For the past several months I have been leading a research project called “Investigating academic integrity in the Werklund School of Education: Process, policy and perceptions”. The main topic we have been addressing is plagiarism. This has resulted in invitations to give workshops in the School of Education, across campus and online. I co-facilitated three of these workshops with research assistants (RAs) Here is what I have learned:

RAs benefit from knowing the workshop details during the planning process. I outlined who the audience for each workshop was, where it would be held and how much time we would have. This helped them have a broad overview of all the workshops, not just the one they were working with me on.

RAs bring energy and insights into the planning process. We had two planning sessions, during which the RAs helped me to find resources, activities and build slide decks. As a result, the activities were more dynamic and engaging than if I had done all the planning alone.

Assigning RAs activities to lead creates a more meaningful experience for them. When I co-facilitate with colleagues, we decide who will lead which activities. I figured since the RAs working on this project are all aspiring or practising teachers, learning to co-facilitate a workshop by leading activities would be more meaningful than simply circulating handouts or taking notes. During every workshop, each RA had the opportunity to facilitate at least one activity. The result was a more dynamic workshop for the participants and a more meaningful opportunity for RAs.

When you treat RAs like professionals, they act like professionals. From the planning stages of the workshop, through to the follow up, I made a conscious effort to treat the RAs as fellow professionals, not “just students”. In return, their deportment, dress and presentation of themselves during the workshops was nothing less than exemplary. In one case, a person introducing us wasn’t sure if my co-presenter was a student or another faculty member! (I beamed with pride when that happened.)

It is OK to relinquish some control. This seems obvious, but at first I have to admit that I was a little unsure about handing over the reins to students. My fears were completely misplaced. The RAs facilitated just as well as I did (if not better!)

RAs need help documenting their workshop facilitation experience. After every workshop, I sent the RAs a citation to add to their slowly-developing c.v.’s They needed guidance learning how to document their experience and understand it as part of their developing professional experience.

Overall, I found that working with RAs required more time and energy than if I had done all the work myself, but it was time well spent. The end product was a better workshop that was more fun to plan and deliver and more dynamic for the participants themselves. I feel pretty lucky to work with such a stellar group of emerging professionals.

Here are some other posts related to this research project:


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This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Understanding the difference between Open Access (OA) and Open Educational Resource (OER)

April 3, 2017

As I was conducting some research for a project I am working on, I became puzzled by the differences between Open Access (OA) materials and Open Educational Resources (OER). I did some digging and here is what I discovered:

Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA) are closely related. The basic difference between them is the purpose for which they were created.

The Creative Commons Wiki offers a variety of definitions of OER from credible sources such as the OECD, UNESCO, and the OER commons, among others (

One of the more popular definitions says OER “are teaching and learning resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use…” (The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation website). The purpose of OERs is mainly for teaching and learning. They can include pedagogical materials, activities, lesson plans, and so on. The OER Commons ( offers a multitude of resources for educators through a freely available open digital library.

Suber (2012) offers this definition of OA: “Open access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions” (p. 4). OA can often refer to research materials or other literature.

The lines between what counts as OER or OA can be blurred. Some textbooks are considered OA, even though their primary purpose is for teaching and learning. It seems that some OER can be considered OA, but not all OA fall under the umbrella of OER. Open Access (OA) seems to be a broader, more inclusive term, but OER has gained popularity in recent years, due in a large part to the support of President Obama for Open Education initiatives and resources.

The key is not to get hung up on whether material is better categorized as OER or OA, but to focus on the important underlying intention of the work as being openly and freely available. For both OER and OA, the key common denominator is “open”.

Sarah Elaine Eaton, University of Calgary


Creative Commons Wiki, k. (n.d.). What is OER.   Retrieved from

Obama White House Archives. (n.d.). ConnectED Initiative.   Retrieved from

Obama White House Archives. (2014). The open government partnership.   Retrieved from

Red Deer College Library. (n.d.). Open Educational Resources (OER). Retrieved from

Suber, P. (2012). Open Access. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Retrieved from

Suber, P. (n.d.). Open Access Overview. Retrieved from

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. (n.d.). Open Educational Resources. Retrieved from


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This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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