Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dr. Clarke-Midura gets CWG Grant

Dr. Clarke-Midura (left) w/ her advisee, Katarina Pantic

Dr. Jody Clarke-Midura, an assistant professor with the Instructional Technologies and Learning Sciences (ITLS) department, was awarded a grant from the Center for Women and Gender (CWG) at USU in April 2017. The $12,959 grant was awarded for a qualitative study involving women in Computer Science (CS) majors in Northern Utah. The study will be funded from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. This project was designed together with PhD student Katarina Pantic, as she is conducting research for her dissertation.
“I am excited to work with Katarina on this research and to explore why women persist in CS majors,” said Dr. Clarke-Midura. “This project will investigate different trajectories women take through their CS majors and contribute to the knowledge base on factors that influence women’s retention and persistence in CS undergraduate programs. I am grateful to the Center for Women and Gender for funding this research and providing a doctoral student with a research opportunity.”
Dr. Clarke-Midura’s other funded research (NSF Award #1614849) focuses on recruitment and broadening participation in CS—in particular, the role of mentoring and gender in summer computer programming camps.
“I have worked alongside Jody for a year now and she has provided me with a true graduate student apprenticeship, part of which was collaborating on this grant proposal,” said Pantic. “It makes me really excited to be given an opportunity to give voice to women succeeding in CS majors, as I continue my own academic development while working with someone as dedicated and passionate about empowering girls as Jody.”
text originally posted on USU CEHS website at

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Congratulations to Ji Eun Lee winner of the 2017 AERA best student paper award for SIG ATL/LS

Congratulations to Ji Eun Lee for winning the 2017 best student paper award for the combined Advanced Technologies for Learning/Learning Sciences special interest groups at AERA.  Ji Eun will present her research soon in San Antonio Texas. 

Examining Students’ Self-Regulated Learning Strategies Using Learning Management System Data: An Evidence-Centered Design Approach

Abstract: We describe the application of the Evidence-Centered Design (ECD) framework to measure the self-regulated learning (SRL) strategies of students’ enrolled in an online mathematics course by using their trace logs captured by a Learning Management System (LMS). We found that the ECD framework was helpful in building evidentiary arguments for measuring SRL, particularly in connecting theoretical constructs and student activities in the LMS. We used the framework to explore differences between successful and unsuccessful students’ use of SRL strategies over the course of the semester. A logistic regression model only resulted in one significant variable, the total number of logins. However, time series plots revealed considerable temporal differences in how students used SRL strategies, with successful students showing more consistent application.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

ITSA at SaltCon 2017

Started this year, ITSA has been hosting a weekly Game Jam in our Design Lab that gathers folks to play all types of games and discuss their design and educational value. In order to bring home some new games to showcase, we represented ITLS at this year's board game convention, SaltCon, in Layton, Utah on March 3rd and 4th.

This was a very exciting experience for both of us! A highlight was meeting new people - some work in the gaming industry, some promote and teach games as a hobby, and some, like us, just love to play games. We played and saw a variety of games including an trick-taking card games, eurogames, cooperative games, bidding games, etc. Some of these were exceptionally visually stunning and creatively designed.

One of our favorite parts of the weekend was serendipitously meeting the designer and creator of Trekking the National Parks, Charlie Bink. He offered to teach us a game we had on table, then the conversation segued into an amazing learning experience for us where he shared invaluable information about the design process, prototyping, and keeping the business running. We even got to test a prototype of one of his new games (we can't give anything away, though!).

We recommend giving SaltCon a go, whether you're an avid gamer or you're looking to try something new. This year we brought back quite a few new games to add to our game inventory, so join us on a Wednesday from 12-1 to test them out.
A few new games we acquired at SaltCon 2017

Stephanie Benson & Katarina Pantic

Monday, January 30, 2017

Departmental Awards

Congratulations to our 2016-2017 ITLS department award recipients:
  • Faculty Researcher of the Year: David Feldon
  • Faculty Mentor of the Year: Jody Clarke Midura
  • Master’s Student Researcher of the Year: Stephanie Benson
  • Doctoral Student Researcher of the Year: NamJu Kim
  • Undergraduate Researcher of the Year: Jacob Piland
  • Undergraduate Teaching fellow of the Year: Lindsee Park
  • Alumni Achievement Award: Mikaylie Kartchner (2010 ITLS MS graduate)
Thanks to the awards committee, to all of those who voted, and congratulations again to all of our winners and departmental nominees.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

CEHS NEWS - Children Learn to Connect through Translating Robots

Can a robot help children from different cultures learn together?
Dr. Yanghee Kim, an associate professor of instructional technology and learning sciences at Utah State University, is attempting to find out. With the help of a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Kim and her team of researchers will study how groups of young children interact with an educational robot.
The study builds on a previous research project conducted by Dr. Kim in which a robot, run via smartphone app, encouraged children to learn English through a series of games and activities.
The original robot was designed to work with children one-on-one, but during that research project Dr. Kim noticed that children were inviting others to participate with them.
“We didn’t have to teach them to take turns,” Dr. Kim said. “They invited their friends and then they naturally took turns, while other children were pointing and helping.”
This upcoming research project is designed to teach other academic skills beyond the English language. In addition, it can work as a “cultural broker,” Dr. Kim said. “Facing and managing diversity is a worldwide educational problem. Can we use this robot to mediate collaboration between people from different backgrounds?”
Because of the robot’s translation abilities, children who speak different languages can use the robot together. Children who aren’t proficient in English struggle in modern American classrooms, and research has shown that early difficulties often persist throughout a child’s educational career.
“If you don’t have a good command of English skills, there is no way to avoid falling behind in this academic journey,” Dr. Kim said. “Teaching academic skills is important, but the more important thing in early school years is building their potential, building their confidence, and building their positive identity.”
The hope is that allowing children of various backgrounds to work together will ultimately build bridges between cultures. “It’s not just a learning tool; it creates a social plaza,” Dr. Kim said. “The goal of this project is that two students can build positive identities and a respectful relationship.”
That can have an impact far outside the four walls of a classroom.
“We gather with birds of the same feather. Not because we are racist, but because it’s comfortable. We are not trained to work with people who have different perspectives and different cultural references,” Dr. Kim said. “We are different, but we can still work together.”

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dr. Belland is giving an Invited Talk at PNU, South Korea

Dr. Brian Belland is giving an invited talk titled “Making Problem-Centered Approaches Work: The Role of Scaffolding in Educating Future Learning Designers” at Pusan National University (South Korea) on Friday, December 9.
Abstract:  Scaffolding is support that helps students engage in activities (e.g., problem solving) that are beyond their unassisted capabilities. As such, it is an essential tool to facilitate the use of problem-centered instructional models, which have become very prominent in the USA and other parts of the world due to the need to help students develop problem solving skills in concert with content knowledge. Dr. Brian Belland presents lessons learned and directions for future research that stem from a project on meta-analysis of computer-based scaffolding in STEM education. Within the project, Belland and colleagues conducted traditional (between group), Bayesian network (within-group), and Bayesian (between group) meta-analyses of scaffolding in STEM education at the K-12, college, graduate, and adult levels. Within these syntheses, particularly strong effects were found among college and graduate level populations. Belland will provide examples of scaffolding strategies that were particularly efficacious in different contexts.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

ITSA Brown Bag Series with Faculty Candidate : Michael Lachney

Computational Communities: An Ethnocomputing Framework for Building School - Community Connections

The presentation argues that ethnocomputing - the study of culture and computing wherever they interact - offers a way to open up new possibilities for deep socio-technical connections between schools and local communities. Through two case studies, the presenter will show how ethnocomputing opens up the affordances of socio-technical communities in ways that include but not limited to students' cultural heritage.

Date: December 1, 2016 At: Education Building Room 282.

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