People

Dr. Bret Staudt Willet

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I am an Assistant Professor of Instructional Systems & Learning Technologies at Florida State University.

My research investigates self-directed learning, especially by teachers. I’m most interested in what happens when our students, learners, and trainees finish the instruction and training we design for them. What do they do after they walk out the door or log off? How do they continue to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need? Where do they look for resources? Who do they talk to?

I have several ongoing projects on self-directed learning. First, I examine networked learning in online communities, such as those hosted by Twitter and Reddit. Second, I study how new teachers expand their professional support systems during their induction transition. Third, I seek to understand educators' experiences as data scientists. Fourth, I interrogate educators' informal learning as a form of invisible labor.

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Dr. Secil Caskurlu

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I am an Assistant Professor of Instructional Systems & Learning Technologies at Florida State University.

My main research interest focuses on the social, cognitive, and instructinal factors that impact student outcomes and how to integrate them into the design, development and evaluation phases as they relate to learning environments, experiences, technologies and the like. My second research interest focuses on the application of learning principles derived from learning sciences to online teaching and learning, and their impacts on student outcomes. Specifically, I investigate the relationships between inputs (e.g., evidence-based instructional strategies) and outputs (e.g., student satisfaction and actual learning). Finally, I am interested in integrating computational thinking into K-12 education. More specifically, I am interested in teacher competencies required for meaningful integration of computational thinking into K-12 to foster student outcomes while they are engaged in computational thinking-related tasks.

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Melissa Jones

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I am a doctoral candidate in the ISLT program at Florida State University.

I have worked in higher education since 2007 and have held a variety of both faculty and staff positions. Each of these roles has contributed to my understanding of universities as dynamic systems and has greatly influenced my research agenda.

From a systems perspective, I am interested in the implementation of initiatives that focus on engaging and supporting historically marginalized populations in higher education. More specifically, as conversations regarding belonging and equity continue to evolve, how are these initiatives impacting the work of faculty? And for those faculty working to create more inclusive learning environments, what types of professional development activities are they participating in? Lastly, recognizing that professional development may include both formal and informal learning, how are designers and facilitators of DEI-focused programming navigating the increasingly complex influence of institutional, social, and political systems?

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Dan He

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I am a doctoral candidate in the ISLT program at FSU. I joined the program in 2019 after I earned my master’s degree in Foreign and Second Language Education at FSU in 2018.

My current research interests include international students’ use of social media for learning and cross-cultural adaptation, inclusive online course designs, and educators’ professional learning networks and professional development. The projects I have collaborated on with professors and fellow students include graduate students’ experiences of othering, networked knowledge activities, educators’ professional learning networks, invisible labor, and graduate teaching assistants. I teach an undergraduate course on educational technology and TA for several graduate-level courses in instructional design. My academic endeavors are devoted to creating learning environments that foster diversity, inclusion, and equity.


Hui Shi

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I am a second year Ph.D. student in the ISLT program at Florida State University. I earned my M.S. in Education Information Technology at East China Normal University in Shanghai, China.

My first research interest focuses on exploring student self-regulated learning, participation, and interactive behaviors in online learning contexts using data mining techniques. Specifically, I am interested in investigating what behavioral factors can determine successful academic performance and how students behave differently between successful and unsuccessful groups. My second research interest focuses on building student performance prediction models to improve automatic evaluation and the quality of teaching support in large-scale online courses.

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Jiabei Xu

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I am a Ph.D. student in the Instructional Systems & Learning Technologies (ISLT) program at Florida State University College of Education.

My research interest integrated instructional design, game-based learning, and learning analytics in training and professional development for graduate teaching assistants (GTA) in higher education. My current focus is designing and applying game-based adaptive training environments for GTA teaching preparation and professional development. I am conducting individual research and working collaboratively with my peers on this topic. I have been working as the TA for online courses in our department for the past semesters; meanwhile, I have been working with my advisor Dr. Fengfeng Ke on several NSF-funded projects in game-based mathematical education in K-12 settings. My current research agenda for my dissertation consists of 1. The study of game-based adaptive training design for GTA (ongoing), 2. Learning analytics in GTA informal learning in the online community of practice (Co.P.), 3. The application of learning analytics results in the iteration of adaptive training design for GTAs.

Before joining the ISLT Ph.D. program in 2021, I gained two Master’s degrees in Second Language Education (2015) and Instructional Systems & Learning Technologies (2020) from FSU.