Since joining the Learning, Design, and Technology doctoral program in Fall 2014, my focus has been on establishing a solid foundation of learning and research theories central to the field to better assist my future research in physical learning space design. In support of this effort, I have completed several introductory courses, participated in research and service opportunities, and conducted hands-on activities associated with my full-time job.
I have completed a number of required courses as part of the first year doctoral student cohort. These classes provided me with a solid foundation in learning and research theories, and they introduced me to active research taking place in the department and in the LDT field around the world.
- EDIT 8190 – LDT Design Studio – This two-semester class series provided an introduction to design-based research, including hands-on practice designing a research artifact, research proposal draft, and an opportunity to collect and evaluate sample data. For this class, I focused on designing an artifact that could provide end users with a realistic expectation for seating capacity and furniture options based on the room’s square footage.
- WFED 8990 – Doctoral Seminar – This two-semester class series introduced first year doctoral students to faculty and upper level doctoral students, providing an overview of their career paths, area of research interests, and current research studies. This class served as a networking opportunity, allowing me to ask questions of experienced researchers and develop ideas for my own research.
- EDIT 9600 – Educational Research in Instructional Technology – This class provided me with an opportunity to collaborate with researchers on active projects. As a part of this class, I participated in two research studies: the FACS Diversity Project with Dr. Janette Hill and the Social Presence in MOOCs: An Iterative Study with Dr. Lloyd Rieber and Dr. Gregory Clinton. My participation in these projects will be further explained in the “Research and Service” section below.
- EDIT 9990 – Foundations of LDT – This class introduced me to a number of key learning and research theories central to the Learning, Design, and Technology field. For this class, I identified the learning and research theories that most closely align with my research interests, reviewed seminal readings related to those relevant theories, and used them to support my final writing project for the course.
- EDIT 6660E – Multicultural Perspectives on Technology – This class served as an elective, and it helped me to consider alternative viewpoints as I develop my research protocol and interventions.
- QUAL 8400 – Qualitative Research Traditions – This class served as an introduction to qualitative research methods and helped me to develop ideas for my qualitative research down the road.
In my second year, I continued to complete required courses toward graduation. Courses in this year focused on cognate studies, statistical methods, electives, and my required literature review course.
- ARTS 7080 – Independent Study: Environment and Behavior – This was an independent study course offered through the School of Art Interior Design program. This cognate class focused on readings about the interactions and relationships between people and their physical environments as well as social, behavioral, and cultural aspects of design. This course was also taught in conjunction with a second independent study course focusing on design history in Europe and America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
- ARTS 7080 – Independent Study: Design History II – This was an independent study course offered through the School of Art Interior Design program. Taught in conjunction with the Environment and Behavior course (listed above), I was required to attend an undergraduate face-to-face lecture focusing on decorative arts of Europe and America beginning with the Arts and Crafts Movement of the nineteenth century and continuing through the twentieth century.
- ERSH 8310 – Applied Analysis of Variance Methods in Education – This class served as my required quantitative methods course and covered ANOVA.
- EDIT 9630 – Critique of Research Literature in IT – This is a required LDT class in which I will have completed chapter 2 (literature review) for my dissertation.
- EDIT 7520E – Distance Learning and Telecommunications – This is an LDT elective course in which I reviewed concepts and best practices for developing and teaching online courses.
- ARID 7080 – Independent Study: Concepts in Design – This was an independent study course offered through the School of Art Interior Design program. This cognate course built upon the first two independent study classes, providing an opportunity to continue reading, developing an annotated bibliography for my literature review, and seeking input from scholars and researchers in the interior design field.
- Upcoming courses – This summer, I expect to complete EDIT 9990 with Dr. Janette Hill focusing on social issues in the LDT field as well as a QUAL elective.
Research and Service
As a first year doctoral student, I have participated in two research and service opportunities. These experiences have provided me with a first-hand look at two very different research models, and they have helped to further shape my research interests.
- FACS Diversity Plan – Dr. Janette Hill invited me to participate in this research and service opportunity along with five graduate students in the LDT program. The purpose of the study was to draft a report for the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, providing recommendations for updating the College’s Diversity Plan based on feedback supplied during faculty, staff, and student focus groups. The study provided me with first-hand experience in a qualitative study including collecting, analyzing, and reporting interview data. This experience had a strong impact on me personally and professionally, and the model used for data collection will likely serve as a touch stone for my own research projects moving forward.
- Social Presence in MOOCs: An Iterative Study – Dr. Lloyd Rieber and Dr. Gregory Clinton invited me to participate in this research opportunity along with two graduate students in the LDT program. The purpose of this study was to analyze learner perceptions of social presence and learner interaction behaviors in discussion activities during a four-week MOOC covering basic quantitative research methods and compare the findings to a previous year’s study. While my role was fairly limited as a consultant, this project provided an introduction to the challenges associated with analyzing discussion board data (particularly in a MOOC setting). It also introduced me to data analysis using SAS and SPSS, tools that I will likely explore further as I move forward with the research methods classes.
- Revision Assistant Pilot Study participant – I served as a participant in Kali Neumann’s pilot study during our EDIT 9630 course. The class used Google Docs to share document drafts for peer review. I used the Revision Assistant tool to mark up two of my classmates’ draft documents, and they used the tool to mark up my drafts. I also used the tool to export comments made by my peer reviewers and document changes in response to their feedback. At the midpoint in the semester, I completed a survey providing feedback on the tool’s current functionality and made suggestions for ongoing improvements. The feedback will be used by developers to further modify the tool before Kali conducts her doctoral research study.
As a part of my full-time job, I oversee classroom renovation projects. For fiscal year 2015 (FY15), my team in Franklin College Office of Information Technology and I are facilitating 23 classroom upgrade projects. These primarily focus on audio-visual equipment upgrades, but there are some cases where physical room updates occur (paint, carpet, whiteboards, furniture, etc.).
One of the projects I am most proud of is a renovation where we converted four under-utilized instructional computer labs into three classrooms and one dual-use instructional lab. The three classrooms now provide opportunities for two large general use classrooms with flexible furniture and one large enrollment lecture and/or film class. The dual-use instructional computer lab allows computers to be used when needed and put away when not. It was also designed to better support collaborative activities and “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) needs. I have included further details and pictures of this project in my Samples of Work page.
This work strongly influences my research interests. I enjoy the classroom design process, and I see opportunities to improve this process for my clients and for other subject matter experts. This first-hand experience serves as a touch stone for my research.
My team and I continue to oversee classroom renovation projects for Franklin College. In FY16, Franklin OIT will facilitate 28 classroom renovation projects. These primarily focus on audio-visual equipment upgrades, but there are some cases where physical room updates occur (paint, carpet, whiteboards, furniture, etc.).
I also served on the Science Learning Center working group and SLC technology subcommittee. These committees were charged with the planning and coordination activities, purchasing, and staffing related to the opening of the new Science Learning Center facility in Fall 2016. The building will house two SCALE-UP classrooms, two lecture halls, and 33 instructional labs supporting undergraduate science classes in Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the Odum School of Ecology.