How did you become interested in Learning Technologies?
During my study at the New Mexico State University, I had the opportunity to enroll in a course related to education technology. That course was fascinating in letting me see the vast opportunities that technology could bring to classrooms to enhance student learning.
What problems do you want to solve?
The main problem I want to solve is to increase student motivation in online learning environments. How can we design our online courses in a way that is motivating and engaging for students so they may develop the ability to regulate their own learning and reduce procrastination tendency?
How is Ohio State preparing you to accomplish your goals?
The Ohio State University has great faculty members and great resources for helping students attain their goals. Our department is very dedicated to helping students to obtain scholarship to support their learning and very generous in supporting and encouraging students to attend academic conferences. In addition, there are a lot of different courses offered to meet students’ academic interests to prepare them to become good researchers before graduating.
What makes the Learning Technologies program stand out in your mind?
Our program is interdisciplinary in nature. Students have the chance to broaden their horizons by taking courses not only in our own programs but also in other related educational programs such as educational psychology, educational philosophy, educational administration, higher education, as well as quantitative and qualitative research methods. This interdisciplinary arrangement allows students to interact with peers from other programs and bring new perspectives into their own field.
Also, faculty members in our programs are very helpful in terms of giving students guidance about the career path they choose. The research interests of our faculty members also cover a wide range of topics. Students do not need to worry about the situation that they cannot find a “right” professor to offer them relevant advice and suggestions.
How have your professors and advisors impressed you?
I am lucky to work with my advisor and mentor, Dr. Kui Xie. He has received a number of grants from the Ohio Department of Education and our university. I have been working closely with him on these projects in terms of evaluating state-funded technology initiatives and conducting research on the impacts of these projects on schools, teachers and students. This type of “cognitive apprenticeship” allows me to connect what I learn in classrooms with what is happening in the field. Through the experience, I start to see the relevance of my study and appreciate the value of the doctoral courses I have taken.
Dr. Xie is also helpful in preparing you for the career path you want to enter in the future. As my goal is to become a professor at a research university, Dr. Xie will make sure that I have sufficient experience not only in research but also in teaching and national service.
How can students get the most out of their experience in the Learning Technologies program?
For research experience, students can contact professors in our program and express interest in joining their research projects. All of our faculty members have ongoing research projects. Participating in their own advisors’ research projects would be a good starting point.
Also, our program also encourages students to present their research at national conferences. Students should strive to submit proposals to these academic gatherings where they can obtain feedback on their own research, absorb new information and establish social connections with people in their own field. For social experience, we have Educational Technology Graduate Student Council in our program. Social events are held on a regular basis. It is a good time for our students to know each other and build up connections during these events.
What do you do when you aren’t studying?
I am a big football fan. During my leisure time, I watch college and professional football games on Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes, I play video games as well.
What advice would you give a prospective student thinking about the Learning Technologies program?
You should at least have a general picture about what you want to get out of the degree before you apply to the program. If your goal is clear, then you will know what things you need to accomplish during your time studying here.
Also, it is a huge commitment to pursue a PhD degree. There are a lot of times you will feel stressed and even overwhelmed. It is important for you to find ways to regulate your motivation so that you can persist and sustain your efforts. Last, try to balance your academic and social life. A PhD should not be your whole life. Having good food, exercising regularly and hanging out with friends are also important in your success in our program.