Chat-bots, Artificial Intelligence, and Analytics in Education

New research projects are looking to examine how to leverage data analytics, chat-bot technology, and artificial intelligence to create interactive course content and activities. Further explorations in this area will examine how to utilize dynamic customizable interactive courses to scaffolding learners into mapping their own learning pathway in ways that will connect their current personal sociocultural contexts with their goals for learning, employment, and societal impact.

Customizable Modality Pathway Learning Design: Exploring Personalized Learning Choices Through a Lens of Self-Regulated Learning

This study was conducted to complete my dissertation. From the abstract: “Open online courses provide a unique opportunity to examine learner preferences in an environment that removes several pressures associated with traditional learning. This mixed methods study sought to examine the pathways that learners will create for themselves when given the choice between an instructor-directed modality and learner-directed modality. Study participants were first examined based on their levels of self-regulated learning. Follow-up qualitative interviews were conducted to examine the choices that participants made, the impact of the course design on those choices, and what role self-regulation played in the process. The resulting analysis revealed that participants desired an overall learning experience that was tailored to personal learning preferences, but that technical and design limitations can create barriers in the learning experience. The results from this research can help shape future instructional design efforts that wish to increase learner agency and choice in the educational process.”

Further research and grant opportunities are being explored to continue this topic.

Virtual Reality and Wearables in Online Learning: Finding the Human at the Center of the Technology

Several studies are currently in the planning stages to investigate the overlap between Virtual Reality, wearable devices, and humanizing online instruction. Various grants and journal articles are being explored along this line of research.

Participants’ Experiences Regarding Engagement and Self-Directed Learning in Open Online Courses

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) give researchers a unique window into examining engagement in online courses. Without the typical motivation of grades or the possible threat of failure, learners are left to self-direct their engagement with course content and activities. By investigating the reasons why learners either complete or drop-out of MOOCs, this mixed-methods study sought to gain insight into participants’ experiences of self-directed learning in MOOCs. The research from this study has been presented at several conferences, and a journal article is currently in development.

Understanding Instructional Designs and Teaching Strategies of Massive Open Online Courses

This study examined instructional designs and teaching strategies of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), with a focus on the activities and expectations for students to complete the courses. It is hoped that such an examination will help in the development of a course taxonomy which will help learners set better expectations before they take college-level courses. This effort will also provide guidance for instructional design and technology choices beyond MOOC settings in a global learning environment, since emerging designs such as MOOCs are often designed for learners who would otherwise not having an opportunity to learn. Therefore, this taxonomy could be helpful to learners from different cultures, due to differences in language backgrounds and cultural experiences of learning. This study was conducted with Dr. Lin of the University of North Texas and presented at the American Educational Research Association conference in 2015.

The Effects of Cyberbullying on College Students

Traditional bullying is a violent behavior that has occurred in the school setting for years. However, as social networking increases through Facebook and online platforms, cyberbullying has become a significant issue among students. While this phenomena is studied in public schools, very few scientific studies are available addressing the perceptions of college students in regards to cyberbullying. I assisted with a study, led by Dr. Katie Crosslin of Texas Woman’s University, to better understand TWU students’ perception ofcyberbullying, as well as identifying their experiences as victims and/or bullies. This study was published in the July 2014 issue of the Texas Public Health Journal.

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