Hi! This page is designed for new students or prospective students to our department. This page is meant to be a brief summary of projects I am currently working on that students may be interested in. If you have any questions or want to discuss possible collaborations, I’m happy to meet with you.
I currently do work in three areas: (1) collaborative innovation, (2) online collaborative learning, and (3) technology integration for effective learning (including the IPT Ed Tec badges). You can learn more about my past work in these areas on this website. Below are some current and future projects I would like to work on and would be willing to hire students to assist me with.
Collaborative Creativity Projects
- I have over 100 hours of recorded video data of a cohort of students in the BYU Center for Animation collaborating on their senior film project. I would like to analyze and publish findings from this data related to the nature of the students’ interactions, the unique environment and setup of the Center for Animation, the roles and relationships among the students, and how well this environment embodied principles of Communities of Innovation. Research questions include how we can better define and develop the COI based on what we learn from the Center for Animation, as well as understanding their instructional practices that might transfer well to other settings.
- I have data from a decade of research in 10 major journals in our field, and would like to see whether the most significant articles are co-authored, whether the articles by the top scholars are co-authored, and whether co-authorship has grown over time, answering the question whether we are collaborating more in research activities than we used to (as I suspect is true) and what this may say about collaborative innovation among researchers. For example, does collaboration lead to more citations?
- Similarly with this same data, I would like to identify key articles in our field over the last decade and then interview these authors about the genesis of the ideas for the articles. How did they generate these ideas? Where did the flash of insight come from? Did it come through collaboration? Through exposure to ideas outside of their field? Are these scholars “focused” in their research or more diverse? Also I would like to look at the top 10 scholars in the last decade and do the same thing, asking about their most significant idea in their careers, and how they developed this idea. I think this can teach us a lot about the creative process, as well as an interesting history about key ideas within our field.
- Recently with a student we have developed a validated instrument for measuring Dynamic Expertise, one of the characteristics of members in Communities of Innovation. I would like to try and do the same thing to further develop our understanding of, and ability to measure, other key characteristics of COI members.
- I would like to research how various successful design environments promote collaborative creativity in their studios. I have talked with several different studios about allowing me to visit and observe their studios and collect data on how they function.
- Similar to the study above, I would like to use social network analysis to map out the interdisciplinary research at a university like BYU, to answer questions about how much academics are working inter disciplinarily, and whether interdisciplinary research can lead to more productive or creative research.
- A big project I’m working on now is related to the Innovation Studio in the library (see http://innovation.byu.edu). There are many research questions to look at there about the quality of the learning in that space, and how it might be promoting creative thinking in students.
Online Learning Research Projects
- As many companies have realized the financial benefits of telecommuting, they have also struggled with the drag this creates on their creativity (see Yahoo’s recent decision to outlaw telecommuting). How can we transition what we know about group creativity in face-to-face settings to create and support online collaborative creativity? Can we use some of the better tools out there to promote the kinds of improvisational chatter that could lead to group creativity among people working at a distance?
- I have been collaborating with Jered Borup of George Mason University on research about how to use video feedback within distance learning courses to promote more social presence and effective formative feedback. We have some ideas for the next stage of this research, which would look at feedback on more open-ended projects, and there is good potential here for someone to lead out on this work.
- We know from neuroscience and social psychology that many interesting human behaviors spread through face-to-face social networks, including physical/emotional health, longevity, habits, dispositions, and so on. I wonder if it works the same with positive learning behaviors that we want students to have? Behaviors like staying engaged, self-regulation, absorbing feedback and improving, problem-solving, retention from studying sessions, etc. Do these work the same way? In other words, do these positive learning behaviors spread like social contagion through F2F networks, and is there a difference in how they do or don’t spread in online classroom communities? This may be an interesting part of the puzzle about what is gained/lost with online learning.
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of work related to Mozilla Open Badges, specifically related to the IPT Ed Tec badges. I would like to research things like:
- How effective are badges as an assessment system?
- Can using open badges improve student motivation and autonomy/agency in learning?
- Can open badges improve signaling to future employers about candidates’ skills and abilities?
- What are the keys to doing badging well?
- In addition to research, we have need for web development and graphic artist help with our badging work.
I coordinate the IPT286 class, so if you are interested in a paid teaching opportunity teaching this course, please come talk to me. This can be useful in gaining experience with K-12 teachers (the students in our class) or in online teaching (since the class is blended/online). If you are interested in online learning, it could be that you could simultaneously assist me in teaching the course and in researching various aspects of the online learning experience.