Research Projects


Coming soon!

Technology and pedagogy in virtual spaces

Lessons for Higher Education from the Transition to Online Instruction During COVID-19

  • UNT Lead: Dr. Lin Lin
  • Project Leads: Dr. Neil Guppy and Dr. Silvia Bartolic (UBC); Dr. Tania Heap (UNT)
  • Current Project: A collaborative multinational project between UNT (DSI and Learning Technologies), the University of British Columbia, and other universities in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. By comparing across institutions and countries, we hope to glean lessons of the SWOT variety – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – as well as understanding individual and community resilience developed from rapidly transitioning to online courses.
  • Timeline: April 2020 - ongoing

VR/AR in biology learning

  • UNT Lead: Dr. Rudi Thompson
  • Project Manager: Dr. Tania Heap (interim); Sr. Digital Strategist
  • Current Experiment: Taking a key static assignment in BIOL 1112 that is tied to the course’s most high-impact learning outcome and replacing it with a dynamic mixed-reality assignment. A/B Test for learning performance gains.
  • Goal: Determine whether mixed reality can effect student learning of a difficult concept in contrast to a static modality.
  • Timeline: June 2019 - ongoing

Technology and gaming apps in critical thinking

  • UNT Lead: Dr. J. Michael Spector
  • NetDragon Lead: Vicho Yang
  • Current Project: A collaborative project between UNT’s College of Information and NetDragon involving a series of gamified critical thinking applications for school children to help them develop habits of mind and reasoning skills relevant to principled and sustained inquiry and critical thinking.
  • Timeline: March 2018 - ongoing

AI-driven online discussions

  • UNT Leads: Dr. Jackie DeMeritt, Dr. Rudi Thompson, Dr. Lin Lin
  • NetDragon Lead: TBD
  • Project Manager: Dr. Tania Heap
  • Current Experiment: Compare traditional online discussion activities delivered in the Canvas LMS (control group) with AI-driven online discussions using Packback (treatment group). Studies are conducted on three online courses: an undergraduate high-enrollment political science course (instructor: Dr. DeMeritt), an undergraduate high-enrollment biology course (instructor: Dr. Thompson), and a graduate instructional technology course (instructor: Dr. Lin).
  • Goal: Determine whether AI led discussions effect student’s overall participation in online discussions (both quantity and quality), as well as determine if there is a correlation between AI led discussions and student performance in the course.
  • Preliminary Findings: Students cite significantly more sources when posting in Packback compared to students in Canvas discussions forums. Check out the article How AI is Shaping Online Discussion Quality for more information about this project.
  • Timeline: May 2019 - January 2020

Technology and pedagogy in physical spaces

Flexible classrooms in UX learning

  • UNT Lead: Dr. Troy Abel
  • NetDragon Lead: TBD
  • Project Manager: Dr. Tania Heap
  • Current Experiment: Redevelop ADES 1543 Foundations of User Experience to leverage flexible physical spaces. The course will be taught in Spring 2020.
  • Goal: Investigate the impact of different pieces of flexible furniture on ADES 1543 students’ performance in different types of activities and assessments.
  • Timeline: June 2019 - August 2021

Accessibility and Inclusion

Coming soon!

Multimedia Learning

  • UNT Leads: Dr. Tania Heap; Dr. Adam Fein
  • Illinois Lead: Dr. Maryalice Wu
  • Current Experiment: Controlled study comparing an instructor-produced lecture video vs. a professionally produced lecture video in an online module and their impact on student performance in assessment.
  • Goal: Investigated impact of different video production styles on student engagement and performance on learning outcomes.
  • Preliminary Findings: Professionally produced videos appear to yield higher assessment scores among students who claim a higher confidence in explaining the lecture content to someone else after they watched the video. Check out the article Quality of Video Production and its Influence on Learning Outcomes for more information about this project.
  • Timeline: September 2017 – January 2019