Teaching and Advising

Teaching Statement

My research is on the evidence-based implementation of data-driven tools and pedagogies. I take learner-centered, data-driven approaches to the design of each learning experience, from a short workshop to an expansive curriculum map. The learning science literature is deep and educational technology changes rapidly, so navigating this rapidly shifting landscape can be a challenge. I use data and literature to inform my designs and to create roadmaps, tools, and resources for other educators. My overarching goal is to enable learners to appropriately apply what they have learned in the broader scope of their lives. In the process, I foster curiosity and critical awareness of the contexts of learning and co-create a narrative throughout each instructional encounter with learners. I love bringing my research into the classroom and bringing learners into my research.

Recent Courses

Digital Ethnography (49-717)

Digital Ethnography is an applied social science seminar surveying the methods and theory associated with ethnographic field methods in the context of digital technologies. Ethnography encompasses a wide variety of methodological approaches to understanding the varied ways that people live, interact, and experience the world. Today, these methods are employed by sociologists, public health specialists, designers, and others who seek to explore the ways that context and culture shape and reproduce practices, identities, and communities. We will examine digital ethnographic methods, and the ethical challenges of studying human interactions with, within, and through digital tools and spaces. This course will explore ethnographic field methods in digital contexts, the digital in everyday life, identity and embodiment in digital worlds, online communities, digital artifacts, virtual worlds and games.

Evidence-Based Educational Design (05-738 / 85-738)

The aim of this course is to teach students how to develop educational goals based on a detailed task analysis of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for mastery of a particular aspect of a domain. Goals for early childhood, elementary, middle school, high school, postsecondary, and adult education will be discussed and related to relevant state, national, and international standards. A comprehensive understanding of student achievement will be developed. The importance of matching the instructional program and its assessment to goals will be discussed and demonstrated. Assessment that focuses on covering the full range of specified goals will be studied along with diverse approaches for valid assessment. Other topics include making instructional material choices, funding, classroom management, ethics, schools, and social systems. Assignments will emphasize linking goals – instruction – assessment. A term project will consist of an in-depth study of one central unit in a discipline or grade level.

Technology and Society (49-745)

Technology and Society is an exploration of the interdependence of technological innovation and cultural values and structures. We will critically evaluate the social and behavioral factors that promote disruptive innovation, including social organization, cultural receptivity, relationships of power, economies, and evolutionary legacy. A behavioral approach provides an integrated understanding of the relationship between work, context, and the emergence and diffusion of innovative technologies. Students will become familiar with key concepts and case studies in STS scholarship; learn how STS concepts are developed through and used in research and development; analyze how power, identity, and politics shapes the development of new scientific facts and technical artifacts; constructively engage with critiques of scientific progress and the authority of technical experts; gain experience using STS research techniques, such as interviews, ethnography, speculative methods, and literature research; and gain experience writing short papers that incorporate STS concepts, cases, and real-world evidence.

IDeATe Portal: Learning About Learning (99-361)

IDeATe Portal courses introduce students to key aspects of critical, creative, and technical practice and prepare them to engage in productive interdisciplinary Collaborative Studio coursework in IDeATe minor areas. Learning About Learning is a hands-on experiential class where students will gain knowledge, expertise, and empathy towards how humans learn, how we learn from objects, how we learn from our spaces, and how our objects and spaces learn from us. Students will learn to identify and apply scientifically-based principles for educational design, develop empathy for education professionals, and reflect on their goals and values as educators. The course will be based in a praxis of theory and practice involving cognitive design, new media readings, problem speculation, concept models, and working prototypes or immersive media.

Unreality: Immersive and Spatial Media (99-129 / 66-129)

Virtual news stories and game worlds are accessible by putting on cardboard goggles, theme parks are engineered to provide convincing multisensory experiences, and workforces are reliant on augmented views of factory floors. Immersive and spatial media constitute a suite of emerging technologies that offer the opportunity to expand arts, entertainment, science, design, commercial enterprises and countless other domains in ways that were previously limited to science fiction. The potential for augmented reality to disrupt our current technological ecosystem is tremendous. Many of these technologies are now 50 years old and just starting to enter the commercial realm. As immersive experiences and augmented realities become more integrated into our work and leisure, do we need to worry about the ways that unreality affect our experiences of reality, or our interactions with each other? How do we know that we can trust our senses to tell us what is real? How do we begin to grapple with the ethical, cultural, social, technological, and regulatory implications of this shift? Grand Challenge Interdisciplinary First-Year Seminars in Dietrich College are team-taught courses that explore a pervasive societal problem with first year students. 

Introduction to Archaeological Methods (79-284)

This course will familiarize students with archaeology as a field, including the techniques and methods archaeologists use to test hypotheses using archaeological data. People leave their mark on the natural world, and create artificial environments, in ways deeply tied to culture, practice, and experience. Over the past 150 years, archaeologists have developed a suite of research methods for studying the past. How can we apply these methods to better understand people by exploring the traces left by their activities? How we can evaluate competing interpretations of the past? This seminar course will critically review the research history of, research methods in, and current problems and issues in archaeology.

Archaeology of Technology (79-295)

Archaeology of Technology is a new course that surveys the archaeology of invention and the “immaterial”. We live in an increasingly immaterial world, in which many of the artifacts we value are digital, and our relationships are built beyond the confines of face-to-face interactions. This course will explore the relationship between people and the artifacts they create by addressing one big question of equal concern to innovators, archaeologists, and historians alike: Why and how do some inventions spread like wildfire and dramatically transform society?

Other Courses Taught

Educational Goals, Instruction, and Assessment
University Teaching Practicum
Design and Process: Instruction and Practice
Anthropology Fundamentals
Archaeology of Death
Paleokitchen: Food and Cooking in the Ancient World
The Mummy’s Curse: Uses and Abuses of Archaeology
Mesoamerica Before Cortés
Origins of Cities
Humans as Primates

Mentorship and Advising

Culture Lab Projects

Recent projects include AI-Augmented Learning in Community College Cybersecurity Courses, Digitalization of Higher Education, VR-Enabled Pedagogy in a First-Year Seminar, Adoption of Adaptive Learning Technologies, Pittsburgh Regional Innovation Addressing Opportunity Gaps in Education: A Scalable Data-Driven Infrastructure for Personalized Learning, VR-Enabled Pedagogy in a First-Year Seminar, and Educational Technology in Higher Education: Opportunities and Transformation.


2023 Laura Delince Ceballos, Qiaoqiao Ma, Manvi Teki, Yue Wang; 2022 Prithika Acharya, Tyree Cowell, Xinlu Gou, Irene Kang, Xiaohan Liu, Juhye Pak, Zhijin Wu; 2021 Qianou Ma 2020 and Prior Lea Cody, Vivian Qiu, Vera Schulz, Elaine Zhu