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Habitable Worlds | Environmental Diplomacy | Digital Ed For the Rest
Habitable Worlds

Co-developed between 2010 and 2015 with Dr. Ariel Anbar, Habitable Worlds is a 4-credit online astrobiology lab course. The course was developed to address the challenge of teaching high-quality science online. In 2010, most online lab courses were constricted by learning management systems, which forced all content into restrictive templates (typically videos paired with traditional quizzes and exams). Through our collaboration with Smart Sparrow, we were able to develop a truly adaptive and unique experience using their intelligent tutoring system. The resulting course has garnered extremely positive reviews and is now deployed in a dozen other universities.

I am currently researching behavioral data recorded by the system to understand how struggling students interact with and respond to our content. Since most of the students who struggle with the course are members of underrepresented groups, insights gained through this research will help in constructing more inclusive adaptive science courses.

Funding Awards:
NSF - Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science Award #1225741 (2013-2015)
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - Next Generation Courseware Challenge (2015-2017)


Demo Lessons:
Mindscapes | Brightness of Stars | Stratigraphy
Full Course Demo (registration required)
Papers:
Astrobiology 2018
Journal of Learning Analytics 2019
Press:
ASU Now (4.5.18)
Scientific American (1.21.15)
e-Literate (3.3.13)

 
Environmental Diplomacy

In development since fall of 2016 in collaboration with Dr. Tara Lennon, Environmental Diplomacy is based on Dr. Lennon's Do You Want to Build a Nation? diplomacy course offered by the Political Sciences department at Arizona State University. The existing course teaches political philosophy through nation building and diplomacy role-playing by students. In transitioning the course to a digital model, we built a digital gameboard organized around physical resources (food, energy, and materials). We linked nation-building decisions and diplomacy to this underlying resource model to teach students the trade-offs between ideological purity and environmental constraints.

Currently, we are developing a comprehensive research and development program for this project. This includes an improved environmental world simulator and associated research platform that will allow us to investigate how information uncertainty impacts decision-making, diplomatic agreements, and inter/intra-group connections. Additionally, we are integrating international classrooms into the program both formally and informally.

Demo Lesson:
Energy Policy Scenario (2017)

 
Digital Ed for the Rest

Educational technology (edtech) is a rapidly growing industry, but has yet to significantly impact the quality and accessibility of science education globally because it is expensive, geared for the 1% computing environment, has rapid turnover, and is often uninspired in format and delivery. Science educators in the Global South face significant barriers to accessing, understanding, and adapting teaching content from the Global North. Students may have shortcomings in digital literacy and lack access to high-end equipment or reliable internet. The mad dash towards the tech of tomorrow has left the majority of world behind including the Global South and many overlooked communities in the Global North.

I am developing a new adaptive learning platform called Agavi, which is designed to be fully accessible and usable by everyone. It is designed to make building and using adaptive science activities on the smartphone easy. Additionally, the structure of the platform encourages the building of active learning content and development of hybrid digital-analog activities that use physical location and low-cost instrumentation to make the smartphone an agent in the real world rather than merely a portal into a digital one.

Demo Lesson:
Mobile-Adapted Virtual Field Trip (developed by collaborator Geoffrey Bruce for this project)