CEP 894:
Action Research (2005-2006)  

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CEP 894 is a two semester masters level course designed to support students as they implement their action research projects during the year. During the summer students draft an action research proposal. In the fall semester students finalize their data collection and analysis plans, as well as design all data collection instruments. As part of their research students also create a plan for research on human subjects- addressing ethical issues and the protection of human subjects. During the year students will implement their action research project, analyze the results, and prepare a report of their findings. This course brings together all three cohorts of the Masters in Educational Technology program.


CEP 816:
Technology, Teaching. & Learning Across the Curriculum (2004)  

Streamed Interview with Dr. Zhao

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CEP 816 is a masters level course designed to support teachers as they integrate technology across the curriculum. The course was also designed to expose teachers to current theories about the role of technology in education and how we as teachers can come to understand the affordances and constraints of a particular use of technology for teaching and learning.
CEP 800, 801, & 822: Summer Session of Core Courses for the Masters Program (2002, 2004, 2005) Students meet every weekday (all day) for one month for an integrated summer session. During the summer students explore new technologies and analyze the affordances they hold for teaching and learning (As well as any constraints). The course content and discussions support students in making connections with theories of learning and development and current research in educational technology.

Pedagogical Software Agents

Dirkin, K., Mishra, P., & Altermatt, E. (2005) All or Nothing: Levels of Sociability of a Pedagogical Software Agent and its Impact on Student Perceptions and Learning. Journal of Educational Multimedia & Hypermedia 14(2).


This article reports the results of an experimental study on multimedia learning environments, which investigated the impact of increasing the social behaviors of a pedagogical agent on students’ perceptions of social presence, their perceptions of the learning experience, and learning. Paradoxically, in this experiment students detected higher degrees of social presence in both the text only and the fully animated social agent conditions than students in the voice only and the static image of the agent with voice conditions. Furthermore, students had more positive perceptions of the learning experience in the text only condition. The results support the careful design of social behaviors for animated pedagogical agents if they are to be of educational value, otherwise, the use of agent technology can actually detract from the learning experience.

Spencer Fellowship Presentation


My study focused on a single online master’s level course that required students to engage in discussions with the same small group on a regular basis. This study was designed to understand what discourse routines were used in the small groups, how the routines were created and supported, and whether they supported substantive conversations that went in-depth on an idea or topic. Preliminary analysis of the online discourse revealed that students were having difficulty generating and sustaining substantive conversations that built on previous postings. This lack of back and forth discourse made it difficult to identify consistent discourse routines. Furthermore, in my interviews with students most of them expressed a general dissatisfaction with the discussions. This paper focuses on the factors that students perceived contributed to their dissatisfaction with the discussions and what they felt facilitated or inhibited conversation.

  This is a graduate student group I founded at MSU to support the scholarship of phd students.