Educational Technology 0858-618, Spring 2012

Keywords: research methods, good questions, design research, ethnography, statistics, quantitative research, epistemology, technology research, mixed methods, action research

Description: In this course, students investigate methods for determining if a given technology contributes to a stronger educational experience. Reviewing the body of research on educational technology, students will probe the merits of different methodologies. Students learn how to develop good research questions and choose methodologies to conduct their own investigations.


Spring 2013 Seminar Topic: Girls & Programming

This research seminar exposes students to the general methods of social science research used in education settings as well as to the specific research paradigms common to technology research. They need these skills to be effective consumers of research; to make informed technology choices and to stay abreast of current trends. Further, they will be able to develop methodologically sound frameworks to test and evaluate the effectiveness of their own technology initiatives in the field.

This course has two main goals:

  1. to develop students’ abilities to read and write about scholarly research in the area of educational technology, and
  2. to foster their ability to conduct formal academic research and less formal evaluations of educational technology.

Students will be able to:

  • read common statistical terms and measures (e.g. ANOVA)
  • comprehend the major trends and questions in educational research, with a focus on technology
  • use data mining and business intelligent techniques to spot trends in data and implement continuous improvement
  • read and evaluate qualitative educational research
    • ethnographic approaches
    • interviews
    • action research and design research
    • conversation and discourse analysis
    • mixed methods
  • implement online surveys
  • use digital tools for analyzing data (spreadsheets, SPSS, SQL databases)
  • use digital tools for visualizing and reporting numerical information
  • design measures to evaluate the success of technology initiatives

Online Resources

Required texts


Bibliography & readings

Baker, R. S.J.D. 2009. The state of educational data mining in 2009: A review and future visions. Journal of Educational Data Mining, 1 (1)3–17.

Bernhardt, Victoria. 2004. Data Analysis for Continuous School Improvement. Eye on Education. ISBN 1930556748.

Bernhardt, Victoria. 2008. Data, Data, Everywhere. Eye on Education. ISBN 1596671025.

Boote, D. N. 2005. Scholars before researchers: On the centrality of the dissertation literature review in research preparation. Educational Researcher, 34 (6)3.

Collins, Allan. 2009. Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America. New York NY: Teachers College Press. ISBN 0807750026.

Collins, A., Joseph, D. and Bielaczyc, K. 2004. Design research: Theoretical and methodological issues. Journal of the learning Sciences, 13 (1)15–42.

Elliott, J. 1991. Action research for educational change.Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 0335096905.

Few, Stephen. 2009. Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis.Analytics Press. ISBN 0970601980.

Haertel, Geneva D. 2003. Evaluating Educational Technology: Effective Research Designs for Improving Learning. Teachers College Press. ISBN 0807743305.

Haslanger, S., Tuana, N., & O’Connor, P. (2012). Topics in Feminism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012.).

Kelly, A. 2004. Design research in education: Yes, but is it methodological? Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13 (1)115–128.

Ladson-Billings, G (ed.). 2006. Education research in the public interest: Social justice, action, and policy. New York NY: Teachers College Press. ISBN 0807747041.

McMillan, James H. 2007. Educational Research: Fundamentals for the Consumer (5thEdition). Boston MA: Allyn & Bacon. ISBN 0205508308

NSF. (n.d.). Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in S&E. US National Science Foundation (NSF).

Reeves, T. C. 2005. Design research: A socially responsible approach to instructional technology research in higher education. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 16 (2)96–115.

Tufte, E. 2006. Beautiful Evidence.Graphics Press. ISBN 0961392177.

Tufte, E. 1997. Visual & Statistical Thinking: Displays of Evidence for Decision Making.Graphics Press. ISBN 0961392134.

Willis, Jerry. 2008. Qualitative research methods in education and educational technology.Information Age Publishing. ISBN 9781930608542.

Class Sessions

Ways of knowing

Types of research

Readings due:

Haslanger, S., Tuana, N., & O’Connor, P. (2012). Topics in Feminism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012.).

NSF. (n.d.). Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in S&E. US National Science Foundation (NSF).

Haraway, D. (1988). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575–599. doi:10.2307/3178066

Assignments Due:

Quantitative Research

Readings due:

Boote, D. N. 2005. Scholars before researchers: On the centrality of the dissertation literature review in research preparation. Educational Researcher, 34 (6)3.

Participants and subjects

Survey-based research

Experimental design

Qualitative Research

Action Research & Design Research

Case Studies & Ethnogrpahy

Research ethics

Research Design Workshop 1

Research Design Workshop 2

Data and continuous improvement

Final presentations

Students will present their research designs and receive feedback from the instructor and their peers.

Assignments and Grades

Assignment 1 — Review of literature (40%)

This semester, we will collaboratively author a “review of literature” related to gender studies of teaching computer science and related engineerign topics.

Through this assignment, students will be evaluated on their ability to understand, analyze, and synthesize research from a range of sources using a variety of research methodologies.

Collaboratively we will create an outline and scope for the review. Individual studentst will be responsible for sub-topics within the report. The group will share responsibility for editing and revising the document.

The final report will be completed by session 6.

Assignment 2 — Research design & Pilot (60%)

For the final assignment, each student will develop a novel research study to explore an area of educational technology. Students will be encouraged to develop research that they can implement in their current work positions or in their upcoming fieldwork. The research design will be evaluated on:

  • the importance of the research question
  • the clarity of the proposed study
  • the appropriateness of the methodology chosen
  • the feasibility of the study

Due dates:

  • hypothesis & research question(s): session 7
  • research proposal/protocol: session 10
  • results: final session

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