Doctoral Alumni

I am proud to have mentored these students to completion in their doctoral studies at the University of Florida. Please note that I have only included those graduates that I directly mentored or co-mentored through the dissertation process. I have served on several more committees that are not listed here.

Matthew Wilson (2018)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: The relationship between teacher education courses and the technology integration attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge of preservice teachers: A systematic review and meta-analysis series

Dissertation Abstract: The integration of technology into PK12 classrooms is difficult for even experienced teachers. Research has shown there are multiple barriers to the integration of technology by teachers, including the attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge (i.e., second-order barriers; Ertmer, 1999) of those teachers. Researchers have been working for years to better understand how to prepare preservice teachers to teach at the highest level using technology to aid in the process of teaching and learning. This study sought to better understand how stand-alone technology integration courses influenced these second-order barriers.

This study utilized a systematic review and meta-analyses to investigate what, if any, effect teacher education courses for technology integration (TECTI) had on the attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge related to technology integration of preservice teachers. A systematic review of the literature was conducted from six databases focused on technology integration and/or teacher education. From an initial pool of 2,936 research studies, 55 studies were identified addressing one or more of these variables. Main effect meta-analyses were conducted using a random- effects model. A series of sub-group analyses were conducted to further investigate the influence of course features (e.g., work sample analyses, practice lesson planning, etc.), study quality, measure validity, and measure reliability had on the estimation of the mean effect size.

The results of the study showed that TECTI had statistically significant results on the technology integration attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge of preservice teachers. In the sub-group analyses, none of the eight course features were determined to have a significant effect. Out of the three main variables, study quality was determined to have improved effect size estimation in attitude alone. Finally, neither measure validity or reliability had a statistically significant impact on effect size estimation. Further discussion, implications, and recommendations are explored.

Nor Hafizah Adnan (2017)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: Cataloging open online learning design patterns for computer science courses

Dissertation Abstract: This study was conducted for the purpose of developing a catalog of open online learning design patterns for computer science courses, a template for documenting and reusing successful design solutions. The study also sought to explore different approaches that contribute to the rich description of the catalog of design patterns. This work started with the mining of design patterns from Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Design patterns are effective solutions to recurring problems that are useful for guiding design decisions. Reusability is the key element of design patterns, where the solutions can be used in many different contexts. Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction served as a theoretical framework in this study. First principles prescribe a task-centered approach that integrates the solving of problems encountered in real-world situations with a direct instruction of problem components. The fifteen design patterns presented in this study can be used in conjunction with other few principles for teaching materials and learning activities, such as the collaboration, interaction, motivation, and navigation in designing a quality open online learning for computer science courses. Besides, this study also proposed a template to the instructional design community on how to effectively document and communicate design patterns in open education context. Designers can use this template to express their design expertise to other instructional design professionals and also make use of design patterns in practice.

Joanne R. Barrett (2017)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: Considering the global impact of technology to alter the perceptions of middle school students about the field of computer science: Reconsidering stereotypes

Dissertation Abstract: Today we are faced with a shortage of qualified candidates for the growing computer science occupations that are among the fastest growing fields in our nation. A current shortage of students in the educational pipeline coupled with a lack of diversity in the field is impacting our technological growth and expansion. It has been suggested that it is in our best interests as a nation to attract more women and minorities to the field so that we can insure the global awareness and advantages that diversity supports. Therefore it is important that we look for ways to increase and maintain diversity into the pipeline. Historically barriers to entry for gender equality have included the beliefs that computing is for boys and the stereotypes about nerds created a hostile environment for girls. Similarly a lack of understanding of the field and what it has to offer limits student selections. Career theory indicates that students begin to form their career aspirations as early as middle school. For this reason, a middle school science class (N = 71) was selected for an intervention utilizing the global impacts unit, one of the big ideas from the Computer Science Principles (CSP) course released by the College Board. The goal of the course is to attract underrepresented students to the field of computing. Modifications were made to focus on the global impacts unit of computing coupled with mentor interview opportunities. The perceptions of eighth grade students were evaluated with surveys and student created artifacts. As a result of the intervention students showed their perceptions had changed about the global nature of the field and their understanding of what computer scientists do in their jobs. While only three percent of the students were aware of the gender disparities that existed in the field prior to the intervention, by the end of the intervention over half of the students acknowledged the problem in either the survey or artifacts. There was a statistically significant shift in the students indicating that they would consider taking a computer science course in the future. Implications and recommendations are provided.

Youngju Kang (2017)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: A comparative study of game-based online learning in music appreciation: An analysis of student motivation and achievement

Dissertation Abstract: As online learning becomes a prevalent modern education trend, educational institutions continue to develop new innovative online courses for higher education. Whereas substantial research has been conducted on diverse online learning environments, there is insufficient empirical research regarding the game-based online learning in music. Researchers have begun to explore digital games as an online learning tool to improve student motivation and achievement. Extensive research indicates music learning is becoming an important context for higher education as it encourages the students to be intellectually engaged and well-balanced.

The primary purpose of this study was to investigate student motivation and achievement in music appreciation learning by comparing two different online learning environments: the game-based or web-based online music learning. It considered how to design an effective game-based multimedia learning environment in the field of music, where more advanced instructional design techniques would be required. Undergraduate students (N=132) participated in an hour research experiment established within the pretest-posttest control-group design. Two groups of 66 students were randomly assigned to a control (web-based online instruction) or treatment group (game-based online instruction). A pretest and posttest were administered to assess the student achievement, and IMMS motivation survey by John Keller (2010) was used to measure student motivation towards the online learning materials.

MANOVA and ANCOVA indicated that both the game-based and web-based online music instruction improved student achievement. However, the student achievement in the web-based online instruction significantly outperformed those of the game-based online instruction. There was no significant difference in student motivation between the two groups even though the game-based online group was slightly more motivated than the web-based online learning group. The key implications suggested that excessive multimedia learning materials need to be eliminated from the rich online learning environment. Also, confidence was an important motivation factor for student achievement in online music appreciation learning.

Simone Nance (2016)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: Using computer programming to enhance problem-solving skills of fifth grade students

Dissertation Abstract: This dissertation investigated the effects of learning foundational computer programming skills on the problem-solving skills of fifth grade students. It was guided by two research questions: (1) How do fifth-grade students approaches to problem solving change after programming instruction? (2) How do fifth-grade students use problem solving while completing a programming task? This study employed a descriptive, mixed methods approach to examine the data of twenty participants using a six-week, 30-minutes-per-day intervention design. The intervention took place in three phases: (1) Unplugged lessons, (2) Hour of Code, and (3) Scratch. Participants were given a problem-solving pretest and think-aloud interview before and after the intervention, and completed a Scratch programming artifact. Prior studies have shown that problem-solving skills can be improved (Gagne, 1980; Lester, 1994; Schoenfeld, 1992). In addition, Indiana state standards now include problem-solving skills and computer science skills. Approximately 25% of K-12 schools in the United States offer computer programming classes (Office of the Press Secretary, 2016) and private enterprises are continually working on ways to improve that number. A positive relationship between these two areas could benefit students and teachers simultaneously by creating engaging and academically valuable activities. Data collected was analyzed using SPSS and qualitative methods for overall changes, and for changes to any of Polyas (1945) stages of problem solving: Understand, Plan, Do, and Look Back. Although the problem-solving assessment showed an increase from the pretest to the posttest, the programming instruction did not result in a significant increase in overall scores (M = .85, SD = 3.133, t(19) = 1.213, p = .12). All four stages of problem solving increased individually, with Looking Back increasing the most, but the results did not show significant results across multiple data sources for any of the four stages. However, the results did show noticeable results for individual students, especially in the areas of monitoring their work and organization. Qualitatively, the study has several areas of student improvement worth further inquiry. The results were limited by the duration of the study and by generalizability. Recommendations for other educators and researchers are discussed, as well as a plan outlining the adaptations necessary for conducting this study again the next school year based on lessons learned.

Douglas M. Brown (2016)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: Training online faculty: Best practices versus reality - A mixed method case study

Dissertation AbstractThe purpose of this study was to evaluate a faculty training program that prepares instructors to teach online for a post-secondary school. The program at a notfor- profit, regionally accredited, public state college was examined using a multi-method case study process. Research tools consisted of: a content analysis of training materials; a case study protocol; and interviews with online learning administrators, online program instructional designers/developers, and online faculty. Three of the faculty were experienced online instructors, and one was a practiced educator who was new to online teaching. The case study protocol included an overview of the case study, data collection procedures to be used, data collection questions for the researcher, and guidelines for the final report document.

This institution has a training program for online faculty which exemplifies best practices in distance education and promotes improvement of the skills and philosophy that instructors need to be successful in the online teaching environment. The College’s training program for online faculty is well organized and fits within the College’s cultural framework. This training program was only implemented within the past couple of years prior to this study. Before that, training for faculty to teach online offered by the institution was minimal, and faculty had to find their own path to competency in the online environment. The training program now consists of separate courses on Learning Management System familiarity and management, basics of instructional design, and techniques and practices for the online instructor. Limitations on the training program effectiveness include voluntary attendance and the College’s current process of selecting faculty to teach online.

Implications of these findings, recommendations for future research, and models for best practices in training online instructors are discussed.

Holli Seabury (2015)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: Brush Text:  A multimedia text messaging intervention to improve the oral health of rural Head Start children

Dissertation AbstractDental decay is the most common disease of childhood, disproportionately affecting low socioeconomic (SES) children, especially rural children. New technologies offer opportunities to use multimedia text messaging (text messages with short video) to deliver oral health messages to families. This mHealth study examined the feasibility and effectiveness of a five week multimedia text messaging intervention, delivering messages to both parents and children, with the goal of increasing twice daily tooth brushing in preschool-aged children and self-efficacy in parents.

In this mixed methods study, based on Social Cognitive Theory, parents were recruited from rural Head Start centers. Of 142 parents enrolled, 65 randomized into the intervention (n=42) and control groups (n=23), completed the trial. Intervention group parents received two weekly multimedia text messages; the first text message and video focused on parent education, the second was addressed to their child and featured a child-friendly text and video on oral health.

Post-intervention, the intervention group parents reported significant differences in children’s toothbrushing, parental levels of toothbrushing, and two of the seven measures of self-efficacy. Parent reactions to the intervention were positive; 84% of parents felt the text messages encouraged their child to brush, and 85% would recommend the intervention to a friend.

This study is the first multimedia text message intervention focused on oral health and the first to send messages directly to preschool-aged children through their parents’ mobile phones. This study showed mobile phones are well-integrated into rural Head Start parents’ lives; most parents had access to smartphones and data plans which allowed them to receive multimedia messages. It was not a financial burden to the majority of parents to receive multimedia messages and very few had technical difficulties opening the multimedia messages. The results of this study indicate a largescale mobile phone-based intervention is feasible among rural, low SES parents.

Florence Wolfe Sharp (2015)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: Educating the masses:  An examination of a Massive Open Online Course development lifecycle

Dissertation Abstract: A growing phenomenon in higher education is the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). MOOCs have garnered increasing attention over the past several years, spurring curiosity, controversy, and debate. While some aspects of MOOCs, such as participant experience and improvement of the online learning environment, have been covered extensively, other areas such as administrative decision-making, design and pedagogy, and alternative uses are less frequently discussed. This single case study sought to address gaps in the existing body of research, particularly the administrative decisions involved in offering a MOOC, the instructional design process, and the instructor experience. The project covers a 32-month period and explores one university's decision to offer a MOOC, its choices related to course content, design decisions in selecting and developing activities, and the instructor's activity and role in facilitating the MOOC. Important data derive from project documentation and records, interviews, direct observation, and course artifacts. The findings create a unique view into why and how the university created and offered a MOOC. The original motivation for creating a MOOC centered on attracting new enrollments into the university's degree plans, but new interests and initiatives emerged as the university became more ingrained in the open learning movement. The opportunity to learn more about design, pedagogy, and instructional technology became apparent. By designing and Abstract: developing the MOOC, the university learned more about its existing design approaches and incorporated these lessons into its processes. Little was gleaned from the facilitation perspective because of low participation, but the experience informed decision-making about scheduling faculty and managing the instructional process. This study makes important contributions to MOOC literature in the areas of administrative decision-making, instructional design, and pedagogy. It also offers insight into the growing interest in open learning within for-profit higher education and alternative uses for MOOCs and other forms of open, online learning. The future success of open learning initiatives at the university remains to be seen, but the situation provides fertile ground for further study and offers a research perspective for other institutions that are questioning the value of offering open online courses, massive or otherwise.

Hope Y. Kelly (2015)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: Open Educational Resource use in K-12: Prevalent practices of teachers engaged in educational technology communities

Dissertation Abstract: While a majority of schoolteachers in the United States have adequate access to the Internet to search out, select and use Open Educational Resources (OER); actual reuse is limited and little is known broadly as to how these resources are typically used. Two research questions guided the study, “What practices are typically engaged in when using OER?” and, “Do differences exist between groups of teachers when using OER?” This study describes the development of a survey instrument that determines general use practices among K-12 teachers and differences among them. Results from the field test are presented and discussed, followed by recommendations for policy, teacher education and professional development.

The design of the instrument involved a series of drafts that began with a literature review and then required the input of the proposed audience, educational technology experts, and an adherence to a systematic survey design methodology. The input, collected through interviews and expert review, contributed to the validity of the instrument. The resulting instrument was field tested with a sample of educators affiliated with educational technology professional organizations. The results provided data for analysis of the reliability of the instrument as well as answers to the research questions. Ten uses were identified as being prevalent OER uses through frequency data. They included interactions where teachers used OER for inspiration, planning, providing a richer selection of materials, and to support online learning. Evidence of the most widely used open educational practices of technology proficient teachers informed recommendations for appropriate instructional strategies for professional development and teacher education geared towards the adoption of OER in planning, classroom use, and personal educational needs of current and future teachers.

Amanda J. Kleinheksel (2015)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: Measuring the adoption and integration of virtual patient simulations in nursing education: An exploratory factor analysis

Dissertation Abstract: This study sought to develop a valid and reliable instrument to identify the characteristics of computer-based, interactive, and asynchronous virtual patient simulations that nurse educators identify as important for adoption, the subsequent curricular integration strategies faculty employed, and any relationships between the influential features for adoption and the ways in which the adopted virtual patients are integrated. The data collected with the Virtual Patient Adoption and Integration in Nursing (VPAIN) survey instrument were used to conduct exploratory factor analysis, MANOVA, ANOVA, and correlation analysis.

Through exploratory factor analysis, 55.6% of the variance in the VPAIN adoption subscale data was accounted for by the nine adoption factors identified: Trustworthiness, Worldbuilding, Pedagogy, Differentiation, Encouragement, Clarity, Evaluation, Administrative Pressure, and Visibility. The factor analysis also identified five factors within the integration subscale, which accounted for 53.3% of the variance: Hour Replacement, Intensive Integration, Leveling, Preparation, and Benchmarking.

MANOVA and follow-up ANOVA were conducted to identify significant effects between the adoption and integration factors and the number of years teaching, faculty status, institution type, course delivery method, semester length, virtual patient funding, number of semesters of use, and the nursing program for which the program was adopted. A correlation analysis was conducted to identify relationships between the adoption and integration factors.

Johanna K. Kenney (2014)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: The future of simulations in allied healthcare education and training:  A Modified Delphi Study identifying their instructional and technical feasibility

Dissertation Abstract: Healthcare educators have an important responsibility in educating and training students so they have the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully and competently work in today's healthcare fields. The demand for allied healthcare professionals continues to grow, and many programs are struggling to accommodate the increase in applicants and the decrease in state and federal funding. In today's challenging environment it is crucial to find a way to effectively teach in a cost effective manner without risking patient safety. To do this, institutions must strategically plan for the future of healthcare education and training by analyzing the literature, gathering strong empirical data, and surveying expert opinions.Many experts who advocate for the use of simulation maintain that simulated training can successfully be used as a complement to didactic and clinical training by giving students the opportunity to demonstrate specific skills and confirm a high level of understanding before they begin working with patients. However, the use of simulations does have its critics and limitations. The effectiveness of simulation in allied healthcare education is often diminished due to a lack of knowledge about how to use the equipment, how to set up the scenarios, and how evaluate the simulation.This study used the modified Delphi method to explore the feasibility of successfully addressing the critical issues facing the future use of simulator technology and simulation methodology in allied healthcare education. There were a total of 85 items separately rated for their technical and instructional feasibility. The finding revealed that there are still many unknowns when it comes to the use of simulation in allied healthcare education. No item was ranked at either end of the feasibility scale, 1: not at all feasible or 5: extremely feasible, meaning that while they are possible to pursue, none is completely ready to pursue at this current time. The outcome of this research point to a strong need for more research concerning the need for each of these items as well as continued research which answers how and when simulation as a teaching method is as good as or better than other models.

Tasha J. Wells (2014)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: A mixed methods investigation of developmental math students’ perspectives on successes and challenges in math and with MyMathLab

Dissertation Abstract: Math anxiety has been shown to affect students of all ages, regardless of gender, race or income level. While the origins are unique for each student, the detrimental effects are measurable and have been a concern for many researchers in the past forty years. Research on the origin, manifestation and alleviation of math anxiety is ongoing. Systematic desensitization has been used to effectively treat many anxieties in the past, including math anxiety. Some computer-assisted instruction includes features of systematic desensitization in the immediate feedback delivered by the software. This study investigated the effects of that immediate feedback and the resources available within MyMathLab while exploring factors that students associated with their successes and challenges in math. A mixed methods approach was used to explore the student perspective on math and with MyMathLab. A quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design was conducted to collect quantitative data with the intent to evaluate the effects of MyMathLab on math anxiety, self-efficacy, and performance of developmental math students. Due to the limited sample size, only descriptive statistics were calculated. Following the study, semi-structured interviews were performed to explore student history and experience with MyMathLab. Three themes emerged from qualitative analysis of the interviews. Students associated their successes in math and with MyMathLab with the following factors: positive feedback, organizational skills and resource availability.

Nathaniel D. Poling (2013)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: Collaboration, teamwork, and team cohesion in a StarCraft 2 digital game-based course

Dissertation Abstract: Innovative pedagogy is required if today’s learners are to gain the crucial competencies necessary to succeed in tomorrow’s increasingly interconnected and technological world. This mixed methods research examines the design, implementation, and study of an academic online digital game-based course developed around the popular commercial real-time strategy (RTS) game StarCraft 2. This undergraduate Honors course was offered over a two-year period at a major research university in the Southeastern United States and used a constructivist and experiential learning perspective to teach 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. More specifically, this research looks at how learners’ attitudes, perceptions, and experiences of collaboration, teamwork, and team cohesion were influenced by participation in the course.

A modified quantitative instrument found the StarCraft 2 course did influence learners’ attitudes and perceptions regarding some of the facets of team cohesion. Qualitative interviews further helped explain the collaborative processes and leadership dynamics which were present in both the academic and digital game-play contexts of the course. This research also discusses the StarCraft 2 course design, the quantitative and qualitative instrumentation used, the sociocultural and equity concerns which arose during the course’s design and implementation, the implications for different professional fields, and the recommendations researchers and educators interested in digital game-based learning (DGBL) pedagogical approaches should consider. As technology constantly evolves, pedagogies which harness its power such as online education and DGBL have great promise. This research aims to help guide researchers and educators in advancing the online education and DGBL fields so as to achieve that potential.

Lenora J. Justice (2012)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: Identifying the barriers to using games and simulations in education: Creating a valid and reliable survey instrument

Dissertation Abstract: The purpose of this study was to create a valid and reliable instrument to measure teacher perceived barriers to the adoption of games and simulations in instruction. Previous research, interviews with educators, a focus group, an expert review, and a think aloud protocol were used to design a survey instrument. After finalization, the survey was made available to a group of educators for trial on the Internet. The data from the trial survey was then analyzed. A portion of the survey required respondents to rate to what degree 32 potential barriers were perceived as an impediment to the adoption of games and simulations into their curriculum. The highest rated barriers included: cost of equipment, lack of time to plan and implement, inability to try before purchase, lack of balance between entertainment and education, lack of available lesson plans/examples, lack of alignment to state standards/standardized testing, inability to customize a game/simulation, and inability to track student progress within the game/simulation. An exploratory factor analysis identified seven factors that accounted for 67% of the variability in the respondents' rankings. These seven factors were: Issues with Negative Potential Student Outcomes, Technology Issues, Issues Specific to Games and Simulations, Teacher Issues, Issues with Games and Simulations in Education, Incorporation Difficulties, and Student Ability. Interestingly, by using a MANOVA and follow-up ANOVA, several factors were found to have significant interactions with other questions on the survey. For instance, male educators ranked items in the Issues with Negative Potential Student Outcomes category as more of a barrier than female educators. Another gender difference was the ranking of items in the Technology Issues and the Teacher Issues categories; female educators ranked these items as more of a barrier than their male counterparts. Another significant interaction occurred between the Technology Issues category and Respondent Game Play Frequency. Those respondents that did not play games very frequently ranked individual technology barriers higher than those respondents who were more experienced with game playing. Implications of these, and other results, as well as recommendations for further research and for game and simulation implementation for educators and administrators, are discussed.

Ginno Kelley (2012)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: Factors that have an effect on students' scores on the Florida algebra 1 end-of-course assessment in algebra 1 classrooms using interactive whiteboard tools

Dissertation Abstract: This study examined the factors that have an effect on student scores on the Florida End-of-Course (EOC) Assessment in four secondary Algebra 1 classrooms using interactive whiteboard tools (IWTs). Four teachers and 335 students were observed in one public suburban school in central Florida during the second half of the spring term. Hierarchical linear modeling was used since the data existed at multiple levels. Student-level data, which included gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (SES), were collected via the district and state's data warehouse. Teacher-level data were collected via observations using an observation rubric to determine teachers’ levels of interactivity using IWTs, and teacher questionnaires were used to collect teachers' characteristics, which included levels of education, years of teaching experience, and length of time using IWTs. Results indicated that IWTs have a positive effect on student achievement as teachers progress in their levels of interactivity using IWTs.

Lisa M. Holmes (2012)

Dissertation Information

Dissertation Title: The effects of project-based learning on 21st-century skills and no child left behind accountability standards

Dissertation Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine ways Digital Biographies, a Project Based Learning Unit, developed 21st-century skills while simultaneously supporting NCLB accountability standards. The main goal of this study was to inform professional practice by exploring ways to address two separate, seemingly opposing, demands of education in the 21st century: developing important skills students need to be successful in the workforce and addressing the heightened accountability standards of No Child Left Behind. Additional goals include: adding to the research literature examining Project Based Learning's effectiveness and to shed light on ways other teachers can enhance learning opportunities for special populations. The goal of action research is to develop a certain type of knowledge that focuses on professional practice. To achieve the primary goal of this study, a mixed-methods action research model was used to gather and analyze data from a total of 26 subjects as they participated in a PBL unit. The study group was comprised of 13 students categorized in two or more special populations. The comparison group was comprised of students not identified as belonging to any of the special populations groups. Standardized assessments, a teacher reflective journal, and rubric scores were analyzed to determine the ways PBL can support both the development of 21st-century skills and NCLB accountability standards. A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to determine the interaction effect of the standardized assessments. The teacher reflective journal was transcribed and coded to reveal overarching themes. Rubric scores from the teacher researcher and from a validation group were also analyzed. As evidenced by varied data, Digital Biographies proved to support NCLB accountability standards by increasing student achievement in reading and the FCAT success probability rate. It showed promise in developing technology and 21st-century skills such as learning and innovation skills and information and technology skills. Additionally, it demonstrated a positive result in terms of closing the technology achievement gap between underserved students and their peers, especially in the area of constructing and demonstrating knowledge. Recommendations for classroom implementation and future research are discussed.