LASER Institute Hosts Workshops in Laser Analytics, STEM Education for Current and Future LASER Scholars

The Learning Analytics in STEM Education Research (LASER) Institute, founded by the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, hosted its first summer workshop for the initial cohort of LASER Institute scholars beginning June 14 and will be hosting a free workshop Aug. 11 for those interested in learning more about the program and its resources. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the LASER Institute is a professional development program for early and mid-career researchers, developed and implemented in collaboration with education faculty from NC State University, the University of Florida and The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The goal of the institute is to help researchers understand and improve STEM learning through the use of new sources of data and application of analytical approaches such as machine learning, text mining and social network analysis.

The LASER Institute’s intensive 10-day summer workshop hosted 42 scholars, most are listed below, and consisted of hands-on learning labs, research planning sessions and presentations by guest speakers. Collectively, daily activities were designed to support the following three capacity-building goals for LASER scholars: deepening disciplinary knowledge of learning analytics; developing technical skills in tools used for collaboration, research and analysis; and building professional networks with experts in the fields of learning analytics and STEM education. Throughout the coming academic year, LASER scholars will work toward implementing their professional learning and research plans developed during the workshop. 

“I was sincerely impressed by the efforts of our LASER scholars during the summer workshop and was amazed by their capacity for professional growth,” said Shaun Kellogg, Ph.D., principal investigator for the LASER Institute and senior director of evaluation and research at the Friday Institute. “We had an overwhelming number of applications to the program, and selecting scholars was a difficult decision. But this group of dedicated professionals has proven to be the right choice for our first cohort, and our team is looking forward to supporting them on their learning analytics journey in the coming year.

For those interested in learning more about the institute as well as open-access resources for learning analytics (LA) and STEM education, the LASER team will conduct a free workshop Wednesday, Aug. 11, from 1–4 p.m. EST for the PEERS Data Hub, a joint effort of the American Educational Research Association and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. This workshop is open to anyone interested and will introduce participants to LA, an emerging research and teaching field. The instructors will provide a brief overview of LA methodologies, literature, applications and ethical issues as they relate to STEM education, with an emphasis on digital learning environments and broadening participation in STEM programs. Participants will be introduced to open-access curriculum materials developed as part of the LASER Institute to gain hands-on experience with computational analysis techniques (e.g., network analysis, text mining, machine learning) using R and RStudio. Learn more here.

2021 Cohort of LASER Scholars

  • Mete Akcaoglu, Associate Professor, Georgia Southern University
  • Zina Alaswad, Assistant Professor of Interior Design, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Texas State University 
  • Tawannah G. Allen, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, Stout School of Education, High Point University
  • Rebecca Y. Bayeck, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
  • Laurie O. Campbell, Associate Professor, University of Central Florida
  • Jacqueline G. Cavazos, Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California Irvine
  • Shonn Sheng-Lun Cheng, Assistant Professor, Sam Houston State University
  • MeganClaire Cogliano, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Yvonne Earnshaw, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Instructional Design and Development, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Carlton J. Fong, Assistant Professor, Texas State University
  • Hoda Harti, Instructor, Educational Technology, Northern Arizona University
  • Yu-Ping Hsu, Assistant Professor, Western Illinois University
  • Diane Igoche, Associate Professor, Robert Morris University
  • Carrie Jones, Science Teacher, Wake County Schools
  • Yeo-eun Kim, Postdoctoral Fellow, Washington University in St. Louis
  • TK Kuykendall, Adjunct/Coordinator of Data, Cleveland State University/Lakewood City Schools
  • Yanju Li, Data Administrator Lead, Georgia State University
  • Lin Lin, Professor, University of North Texas
  • Peggy Lisenbee, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, College of Professional Education, Texas Woman’s University
  • Nikki G. Lobczowski, Postdoctoral Associate, University of Pittsburgh
  • Chrishele Marshall, Program Associate I, Implementation and Training (Assessment), Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Tara Mason, Assistant Professor of Inclusive Education, Western Colorado University
  • Becky Matz, Research Scientist, Center for Academic Innovation, University of Michigan
  • T.J. McKenna, Lecturer, Boston University
  • Vida Mingo, Senior Lecturer, Columbia College (SC)
  • Angela Murillo, Assistant Professor, School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Jeffrey T. Olimpo, Assistant Professor in Biological Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso
  • Patricia Ortega-Chasi, Associate Professor, Universidad del Azuay
  • Mihwa Park, Assistant Professor, Texas Tech University
  • Kim Pinckney-Lewis, HR Strategist, National Security Agency
  • Tiffany Roman, Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology, School of Instructional Technology and Innovation, Kennesaw State University
  • Teomara (Teya) Rutherford, Assistant Professor, Learning Sciences, University of Delaware
  • Jaime Sabel, Assistant Professor, University of Memphis
  • Samar Swaid, Professor of Computer Science, Philander Smith College
  • Justice T. Walker, Assistant Professor of STEM Education, The University of Texas at El Paso