I'm a repeat Teaching Assistant in a fairly large (100-200 students/semester) core, required CS course at a large, private US research university. I'm very interested in researching what factors influence success in the course, possibly with an eye toward SIGCSE.
I'm concerned about how to ethically conduct research on students.
Yes, I know a little about IRB, and I assume at some point I'd need to get IRB approval. However I'm so unsure about this, I'm not even sure what to ask the IRB yet. I'm hoping y'all can provide me some guidance and advice as I begin to plan for next year.
I assume I have to ask for explicit, opt-in consent? Obviously, participation or non-participation couldn't affect their grade. However, if only a very biased subset bother to opt in, the research might not be worth conducting. Can I compel students to choose to opt in, or opt out?
Additionally, the course is very similar year to year, so the extent that it would be very useful to be able to include previous semesters. I imagine this is even trickier.
I have the full encouragement and cooperation of the faculty member, but working with human subjects, much less students, if totally outside their expertise.
This is similar to this question, but slightly different and, I think, more difficult.