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Habitable Worlds | Environmental Diplomacy | Digital Dawn
Habitable Worlds

Developed between 2010 and 2015 in collaboration with my mentor 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. The course is undergoing upgrades and redesign in HTML5 at Arizona State University.

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.

Demo Lessons:
Mindscapes | Brightness of Stars | Stratigraphy
Full Course Demo (registration required)
Astrobiology 2018
Journal of Learning Analytics, in 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.

Our primary testing scenario, deployed in since Fall 2017 in both hybrid and online settings, focuses on energy policy (during the national building stage) and global climate change (during the diplomacy stage).

Demo Lesson:
Energy Policy Scenario

Digital Dawn

Most online education projects pay no heed to computing power or bandwidth because these resources are not lacking in our typical work and education environments. But a majority of humanity does not have access to high bandwidth or cutting-edge devices, which locks people out of many of the learning resources we are developing. In addition, through research of Habitable Worlds I have discovered that underrepresented groups struggle with our innovative experiences. We are currently risking developing content that is accessible only to people who already have an abundance of opportunities.

I am developing science education projects for the low-bandwidth, low-computing-power environment. The first project I am working on is focused on teaching climate change through cultural immersion at various locations around the globe. Most science teaching focuses on relaying scientific models and information absent any cultural framework, as if culture and personal experiences play no role in scientific thinking. I suspect that we can make climate science more accessible to diverse groups by starting with local stories, culture, and observations, and pulling science stories out of those familiar environments. I am currently working on building collaborations and prototypes with various groups at Arizona State University, University of the Virgin Islands, and various native colleges to develop this idea.

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