Center Objectives

Center Objectives

Instructional design models, innovative teaching methods, and technology-integrated materials and tools can greatly improve teaching and learning in both face-to-face and online settings. In the recent years with the advancement of technology, educators and policy makers have to go through the daunting task of selecting and trying emerging tools and methods to optimize teaching and learning process. This is an ineffective, costly approach. It is therefore, the position of this research center to empower faculty and students to conduct research, examine effectiveness of emerging tools and approaches, and identify effective approaches and tools to further improve teaching and learning.

 In addition, the center focuses on investigating application of instructional tools and strategies to address emerging issues in educational systems. The current emerging issues are included but not limited to improving reading and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and mitigating inequality education for disadvantages learners in K-12, improving online dissertation mentoring and teaching and learning, and identifying global trend and issues in educational technology and designing cross cultural learning modules for adult learners in higher education and corporate training.    


Steven Watkins's picture Steven Watkins | October 7, 2014 10:29 am MST

One of the things that many academics fail to recognize is the multi-faceted environment in which they work and function as human beings. Too often academics and other educational professionals see themselves operating in an insular environment, adopting educational content and instructional conveyance opportunities only to realize that the political environment has obstructed the path. One of the goals that I have as a fellow in this center is to help academics and other future educational professionals realize the political aspect of the environment in which they operate in their capacity. If one can learn to recognize the environment one is in, then that person can hope to achieve some kind of competence in their professional situation.

Mary "Mimi" Stout's picture Mary "Mimi" Stout | December 15, 2014 3:43 pm MST

Busy adults have lots of demands for their time. Convenience of access and learning environment are important aspects to accomplishing a degree. So many mobile devices are available today that the learning environment may not be effective. Learning theories and brain-based concepts require research with each technology model to provide effective learning. From answers at one's finger tips, to developing an intergrated strategy, to evaluation of programs, requires the right effort and concentration. Learning models for adult learners can be expensive or cost-effective. Research allows leaders to pick the right models to meet the learning needs of students.    

Steven Watkins's picture Steven Watkins | March 18, 2016 9:06 am MST

March 15, 2016 Blog Post


     As a research fellow in the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research, my focus has been the impact of cultural forces on learning and technology. Specifically, I have focused on how political influence, as a cultural force, impacts the learning process and its use of technological conveyance in a public educational environment. After a year of research and studying a way to disseminate this information, I have chosen the Culture, Learning and Technology division of the American Education, Communication, and Technology as the primary way to accomplish this task. For example, I have a proposed chapter under consideration for a book to be published by Springer on issues affecting culture, learning, and technology and I sent in a proposal for consideration for the Summer Symposium on a similar issue.


     I feel that such a study is significant because it seems that most scholars analyzing the impact of technology on learning or the e-learning environment do not realize that cultural forces have a significant impact on this process. What I am hoping to do is build on the study I have done so far to analyze how such forces influence the educational process on a nationwide or regional wide basis. I have been encouraged in this endeavor by the editors of the AECT-Springer Major Online Reference Manual; I hope to have something to present to them by the end of the year.


     What I found out in my study is that often cultural forces such as politics have a strong effect on the learning content and technological conveyance in the public educational process. In the school district that I studied, the political influence influenced the decision to terminate a computer-based learning system for helping students learn how to take tests. What I learned from this study was that one must study the cultural context in which learning and how it is conveyed by technology must be studied. Scholars, educational personnel and administrators and others involved in this process must realize that such activities do not function in a vacuum.


     Right now, scholars I have talked to are interested in the scholarly endeavor I am focusing on; I hope by the end of the year that such scholarly endeavors will contribute to the understanding of the nexus between culture, learning, and technology and be a contribution to bettering the learning process in public education. I feel that if scholarship does not focus on contributing to the betterment of society, community, etc., then it loses its value and support among the general public.


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