Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research: Highlights and Accomplishments, Sept 2016-2017

Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research: Highlights and Accomplishments, Sept 2016-2017

The Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research or CEITR has a dynamic and nationally recognized faculty, whose areas of scholarship include a variety of topics related to promoting quality of teaching and learning process by using technology-based tools, learning theories, or instructional strategies in K-12, higher education, and corporate settings within online or face-to-face formats. CEITR is one of the largest and fastest growing research centers at the University of Phoenix. The growth is due to faculty, alumni, and student involvement in the center, where several research initiatives support, educate, and increase research productivity for faculty, alumni, and graduate students.

The goal in developing the research initiatives is to support a research community that enjoys greater engagement in the scholarly community, assists faculty, alumni, and students in learning more about the publication process, and provides connections and support for alumni.

In this article, we will highlight some recent publications and provide some information about our educational outreach programs. CEITR is still growing and has several special interest groups starting up. We plan to celebrate our member’s accomplishments on a quarterly basis; so keep an eye out for future announcements.

Featured Publications

Research Fellow, Dr. David Proudfoot and Research Center Chair, Dr. Mansureh Kebritchi’s research on a new state of the art mobile STEM lab, which uses scenario-based eLearning to generate student interest in STEM was published in the International Journal of Cognitive Research in Science, Engineering and Education (IJCRSEE). This research explores the influence of a scenario-based eLearning mobile lab on STEM education through the eyes of elementary school educators. The innovative mobile STEM lab used in this study is the first of its kind in the nation for a K-12 school district, which enables this research to be of particular interest to educational leaders who are looking for alternative programmatic approaches that make students more interested in science and improve their grades. The Mobile STEM Lab aims to connect students to the future by creating engaging and exciting STEM experiences for students by immersing them in authentic scenarios that requires the application of STEM content to solve problems.

Additionally, IJCRSEE published Dr. Proudfoot’s article “The Effect of a Reading Comprehension Software Program on Student Achievement in Mathematics” As a result of this publication, Dr. Proudfoot was invited to serve as an International Editorial Board member for the this journal. When asked how research has changed his life, Dr. Proudfoot had this to say, “While serving as an administrator, my focus was on leadership and practice; providing instructional leadership that resulted in improved student achievement. Taking part in research has helped me to integrate scholarship in to my personal and professional lives. Now, I view myself as a scholar-practitioner who conducts research as a foundation for creative action. The interchange between the academic and practical worlds have enabled me to emerge as a more effective leader.”

Selected publications

Book Chapters

  • Dr. Elizabeth Johnston, Dr. Gerald Olivias, Dr. Patricia Steele, Dr. Cassandra Smith, and Dr.Liston Bailey developed a book chapter: Using pedagogical foundations to integrate Student centered Virtual Learning environments in Higher Education in Student-Centered Virtual Learning Environments in Higher Education EDs: Boboc, M., & Koc, S., IGI: Global (pubs).
  • Dr. Libi Shen:
  • Washington, G. D., & Shen, L. (2017). Emotional intelligence and job stress. In B. Christiansen & H.C. Chandan (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Human Factors in Contemporary Workforce Development (pp. 226-248). Hershey, PA: IGI Global Publishing. ISBN13: 9781522525684
  • Book Chapter 2
  • Shen, L., & Austin, L. (2017). Communication and job satisfaction. In B. Christiansen & H.C. Chandan (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Human Factors in Contemporary Workforce Development (pp. 201-225). Hershey, PA: IGI Global Publishing. ISBN13: 9781522525684B.
  • Book Chapter 3
  • Shen, L., Chen, I.L., & Su, A. (2017). Cybersecurity and data breaches at schools. In M. Moore (Ed.), Cybersecurity Breaches and Issues Surrounding Online Threat Protection (pp.144-173). Hershey, PA: IGI Global Publishing. doi: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1941-6

Educational Outreach to Faculty, Alumni, and Student Development as Researchers

CEITR has two major educational outreaches. First are the Research Labs and Communities, where faculty members work in collaborative teams to develop publishable research articles Each Lab supports a cluster of related research inquiries. The second initiative is the Dissertation to Publication (DTP) workshops where alumni and their chairs may work together to develop a publishable article. We will describe the outreach programs in the next two sections.

CEITR Dissertation to Publication (DTP); Alumni support for Publications

The mission of the DTP workshop is to teach the art of developing a publishable manuscript based on a research. The tangible outcome of the workshop is to generate a publishable manuscript and submit to a peer-reviewed journal.  To fulfill the mission and achieve the outcome, Dr. Kebritchi and a team of reviewers provide structured support and guidelines via monthly Skype meetings. Doctoral alumni, students, committee chairs, and committee members work together as co-authors to prepare the journal manuscripts with the center’s support. CEITR center reviewers read, comment, and support the process with individual DTP authors. Committee of Reviewers: Elizabeth Johnston, Ed.D; David Proudfoot, Ed.D.: Susan Ferebee, Ph.D.; Debbie Ritter Williams, Ph.D.; Rita Hartman, Ed.D., Sandra Nunn, D.M. Louise Underdahl.

Spring, 2017 DTP participants developed 47 publishable manuscripts that were submitted for journal reviews.  After a successful spring, 120 participants registered for the fall, 2017 DTP workshop to work on 105 dissertations. A total of 155 participants registered for the fall DTP workshop.  Due to the limited space, 35 participants have been enrolled in the waiting list for the next workshop in spring of 2018.

Research Laboratories and Communities:

These online research groups provide support and structure to conduct research projects. The goal is to complete, present, and publish the results of the studies within 12 months. The research projects will be supported by SAS grants. Six Research Labs: Diversity, Artificial Intelligence, Social Media, Critical Thinking, and STEM are in existence. A total of 88 faculty members, students, and alumni have participated in the Labs.

Research Laboratories and Communities

Laboratory Established Date Teams and Members Leaders Articles Submitted Research Focus
Diversity 2016

8 Teams

28 Members

Dr. Mansureh Kebritchi

Dr. Elizabeth Johnston

7 Explore Diverse Faculty and Learners Issues Related to Teaching and Learning.
STEM 2015

4 Teams

13 Members

Dr. David Proudfoot 6 Issues, Challenges, and Teaching Strategies Related to STEM to Better Prepare Students for the Future STEM Related Careers.
Critical Thinking 2016

5 Teams

17 Members

Dr. Debbie Ritter Williams NA Meditation, Critical Thinking, and Critical Inquiry.
Social Media 2015

6 Teams

16 Members

Dr. Marianne Justus NA Exploring Social Media Type, Context, and Factors Influencing Perceived Cultural Competencies.
Artificial Intelligence 2017

6 Teams

15 Members

Dr. Dale Crowe NA Robotic, Agumented, and Virtual Realities and Intellignences.

Conference Presentations

Congratulations to the many affiliates who engaged in presentation this past year. There were several clusters of members who presented at various conferences in order to represent the Research Center and SAS in a big way! These include: 

  • Proposals for Association for Educational, Communications & Technology (AECT): 13 presentation proposals have been accepted for presentation at AECT, Nov 2017, Florida.
  • The Qualitative Report (TQR): 5 projects from CETR were presented in Jan 2017 at TQR

Many other presentations and publications have been completed in the recent months. Below is a listing of these presentations, contact information, and abstract.

Title of Presentation: “What Access and Excel skills do business college students need”

Name: Phillip Coleman


The Principles of Information Systems course taught at a medium-sized Midwest University consists of Information Systems conceptual material plus Microsoft Excel and Access skills that the Information Systems faculty feel are most important to business students from all business disciplines. These skills range from using basic mathematic functions and formulas to complex “what-if” statements for Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and from simple tables of database construction to queries, forms, and reports for Microsoft Access. However, aside from a few comments from faculty teaching in accounting, economics, management, finance, or marketing, it is not known specifically what specific skills that faculty from other majors consider important for successful completion of their programs. A survey consisting of 18 spreadsheet and database cases was sent to 86 business faculty requesting that they score each case as to its importance in their specific major by selecting the appropriate block on a Likert scale ranging from “not very important” to “very important” for each of all 18 cases. The cases range from using basic spreadsheet and database skills to ones using complex formulas and functions. The Information Systems faculty will then take the top six scored cases from Excel and the top four scored cases from Access and teach this in all Principles of Information Systems courses. Aggregate grades will then be taken in subsequent semesters to validate the change in the way the cases are selected for teaching.

Title of Presentation: Exploring pedagogical foundations of existing virtual reality (VR) educational applications: A content analysis study

Name: Dr. Elizabeth Johnston

Dr. Jerry Olivas



New virtual reality (VR) applications for education appear frequently in the market but rarely contain recommendations on explicit pedagogies. Effective implementation begins with understanding the pedagogical foundations of VR applications. The most frequently found pedagogies in educational VR applications are student-centered pedagogies that engage and support independent student learning. Educational leaders need to understand the pedagogical aspects of VR applications to develop a rich practice model that distinguishes and supports different strategies and optimizes student centered learning.

Title of Presentation: “Strategies for enhancing digital reading comprehension”

Name: Dr. Myrene Magabo


Locating, sifting through, and comprehending digital material to be used in papers can be difficult for students, especially in the fast-paced online classroom. This paper will share strategies instructors can use to teach and help learners acquire digital literacy in a time-constrained course or curriculum block. The strategies will be beneficial for learners, who may have had little access to, or experience with digital media use, and have difficulty reading and comprehending digital materials. This work focuses on digital media access and use, selection of appropriate academic digital sources, and techniques to help learners (especially high risk learners) improve their utilization and comprehension of digital reading materials. The study will draw most of its data from literature review and perspectives drawn from experience. The insights on digital literacy needs form part of the basis for developing strategies to enhance learners' digital literacy. The strategies to be presented could benefit institutional efforts to increase learning outcomes and maintain higher retention rates. Digital literacy must not be limited to students’ ability to access, locate, search and select digital materials, but most importantly, they must have greater ability to read and comprehend digital resources. To this end, continuing efforts must be exerted to further enhance learners' digital literacy to ensure student success in their educational and career pursuits.

Title of Presentation: “Model independent approaches for the description of quantum systems”

Name: Dr. Lia Leon Margolin


The main problem that arises when investigating dynamics of quantum systems is the problem of kinematic rotations under particle permutations. When number of particles increases, kinematic rotations include not only particle permutations but also transitions between dierent possible congurations, and mathematical calculations using complex general formula become impossible. Proposed model-independent approach for the description of N particle quantum systems in multidimensional momentum space solves this problem by using the Parentage Scheme of Summarization to the N-body symmetrized basis construction, necessary for the description of the structural characteristics and decay reactions of quantum systems with arbitrary amount of particles. Generalized mathematical formalism to the construction of N-particle fully symmetrized hyperspherical functions on the basis of the N-particle hyperspherical functions symmetrized with respect to N-1 particles is applied to the solution of few-body problem in hypernuclear physics. Wave functions are expanded in a complete set of symmetrized N-1 particle hyperspherical functions. Good convergence for the ground state energy in the number of included harmonics is obtained.

Title of Presentation: “University Students' Exercise Behavior Reflects Stages of Change According to the Transtheoretical Model”

Name: Dr. Paula Miller


This study examined the differences between the exercise of graduate and undergraduate students of a university in California. To do so, researchers created group A of graduate students, group B of graduate students, group A of undergraduate students, and group B of undergraduate students. Students in group A focused on an exercise goal and students participants in group B planned to exercise without a goal. Researchers used the five stages of the transtheoretical model and compared the two groups of students for the pretest and posttest exercise behavior. A pretest and a posttest were applied using the Godin-Shephard (2011) Leisure-Time Physical Activity Questionnaire. We analyzed the data using the t test, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and correlation. The findings of the analysis indicated that the intervention of a walking program inspired graduate and undergraduate students to self-monitor their progress. At the pretest, there was no distribution of performance toward increasing exercise across the five stages of change for students. At the posttest, analysis showed differences between groups for mild and moderate exercise, while strenuous physical activity was not supported. In addition, the analysis revealed that graduate and undergraduate students could increase physical activity when they focused on their goals. The findings of this study could provide an opportunity to educate students about the effects of their lifestyle choices. The strategies to support physical activity, reduce sedentary behavior, and track progress suggest that policy changes for prevention could be implemented to do so.

Title of Presentation: “Examining critical thinking strategies, components, and challenges in higher education: A systematic literature review”

Name: Dr. Sandra Nunn


Critical thinking is considered as one of the most essential skills in 21 century that is not adequately developed among graduates. There are variety of approaches suggested in literature for promoting critical thinking. However, there is a dearth of studies that synthesize the previous studies and provide integrative reports on strategies for strengthening critical thinking. This presentation includes results of a literature review related to issues and strategies for using critical thinking in higher education.

Title of Presentation: “Foundational theories of social media tools and cultural competency: A systematic literature review”

Name: Dr. Sandra Nunn


The use of social media tools provides users with enhanced skills to create and share information to influence society and the global community. However, a key issue concerns whether the increased use of social media reflects improved communication using cultural competency. Though theoretical foundations exist in the literature for social media and cultural competency, few studies synthesize these constructs and provide strategies. This presentation presents results of a literature review study to address these issues.

Title of Presentation: "Artificial Intelligence and Knowledge Management"

Name: Armando Paladino


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the branch of computer science that tries to emulate human intelligence in a computer. A variety of research has been performed in the field that aims to make computers perform like the human brain. Knowledge Management is concerned with the exploitation and development of the knowledge assets of an organization with views to further the organization’s objectives. The extraction of knowledge management using AI is becoming a major topic for research; however, the information is spread everywhere with no clear links to help researchers to put the dots together. This content analysis explored application, current, and future trends in using AI for knowledge management. The review revealed different tendencies and methodologies to make it more clearly for researchers to associate knowledge management extraction and AI. The review found a tendency to use Computer Agents and Artificial Neural Networks, although Expert Systems are also used.

Title of Presentation: "Scenario-based eLearning and STEM education: A qualitative study exploring the perspectives of educators"

Name: Dr. David Proudfoot

            Dr. Mansureh Kebritchi



There are a variety of extra curricular activities and programs that aim to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, but there are limited examples of extending the STEM curriculum by employing scenario-based eLearning opportunities in a mobile lab learning environment. Following students participation in a first of its kind STEM Mobile Lab program that uses a scenario-based eLearning approach for instruction, twelve educators from four Title I elementary schools were asked about their perceptions of the influence of the Mobile Lab program on the STEM education of their students. The semi-structured interview protocol contained questions intended to explore participants’ perceptions regarding the influence of a scenario-based eLearning Mobile STEM Lab program on the STEM interest and achievement of students. The study found that a scenario-based eLearning Mobile STEM Lab can influence STEM interest and achievement of elementary students. This promising finding leads to a recommendation for educators to use this approach and similar programs to make students more interested in science and improve their grades. Efforts by educators to design and implement scenario-based eLearning opportunities lead to increased learner engagement.

Title of Presentation: “Getting sweet on G-Suite”

Name: Dr. Lori Schieffer


This innovative practice paper and presentation examines the integration of G Suite for Education® tools to support the teaching and learning process. Within the field of education, technological integration is imperative to adequately prepare students for essential career readiness skills. This is imperative to the University of Phoenix’s (UOPX) strategic plan to include career-related curriculum. First, an introduction to G Suite for Education® tools offers participants an overview of Google Drive Applications and integrates examples of possible college level integration. Examples include incorporating unified lessons into the COE courses, which reinforce course objectives for both K-12 teacher candidates and K-12 administrator candidates. Practical uses, actionable data, and methods for using the G Suite tools to support facilitation techniques and enhancement of curriculum objectives is the backbone of the presentation. The paper, presentation, and discussion centers around the Application and Teaching Processes of Boyer’s Model of Scholarship. The presentation focuses on the academic and career benefits of applying G Suite tools for facilitators, students, and teacher and administrator candidates. Next, participants explore the potential use of integrating G Suite with Blackboard® to enhance the facilitation skills, career and readiness skills, and learning of UOPX students. Active participation throughout the presentation provides an opportunity to share successes, struggles, and examples. Task cards will foster movement, conversation, and engagement, enhancing the interactive nature, while connecting to the research and data in a meaningful manner for participants.

Title of Presentation: “Collaboration, scholarship, and technology- A mighty trio”

Name: Dr. Lori Schieffer


This innovative practitioner workshop examines how Google and Twitter foster collaboration and scholarship opportunities among online adjuncts. Accreditation standards and the need to engage in scholarship requires faculty to consider innovative ways to collaborate. In addition, Schieffer (2014) found that online faculty desire a means to engage in inquiry and scholarship. Online adjuncts may find Google and Twitter to be the key ingredients and means to participate in scholarship with peers.

Summary and Conclusion 


As a preview of coming events, we want to announce several Special Interest Groups or SIGs opening. The new SIGs will provide an online home base for researchers with a particular research focus and agenda.  All faculty, students, alumni, and interested scholars are invited to participate.  The New SIGs include : 

Special Interest Groups 

  • Research Methodology Group

    • Cross disciplinary initiative to form committee of experts in qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods and designs to better support research and dissertation method issues 

  • SAS Alumni SIG 

    • Cross disciplinary initiative to expand alumni support in three major areas:

    • Career development, Networking, Entrepreneurship 

    • Leaders: Dr. Sandy Nunn, Dr. Medgar Robert, Dr. Giselle Castillo  (All UOPX Alumni)  

  • Professional Responsibility in Education   

    • The center for professional responsibility, its affiliates and fellows, joined CEITR in Sept 1 and operate as a SIG under CEITR, 

    • Leader: Dr. Jim Lane will be the SIG leader as a senior CEITR research fellow. 

  • Teaching and Learning with the Arts SIG

    • The arts as a fundamental way of knowing and understanding experience in new and traditional learning environments.

    • Leader: Dr. Elizabeth is the SIG leader as a senior CEITR research fellow. 

Over the past year, hundreds of affiliates have made a deep and positive impact in a range of educational settings. CEITR is excited to highlight some of these accomplishments in the areas of faculty, alumni, and student development as researchers publication, and presentations.  And, while we are proud of these achievements, we are just warming up!  Much more is coming as we continue to grow.  Watch this space for quarterly celebrations of our center affiliates and their accomplishments. 


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