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About

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that USU and all in-state USU Institutions reside on the original territory of the eight federally recognized Tribes of Utah. Tribes that have been living, working, and residing on this land from time immemorial. These Tribes are the: Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Indians, Navajo Nation, Northern Ute Tribe, Northwestern Band of Shoshone, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, San Juan Southern Paiute, Skull Valley Band of Goshute, and White Mesa Band of the Ute Mountain Ute. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal from this land, and we honor and respect the Indigenous peoples still connected to the land on which we gather. 

-USU Inclusion Center

Diversity and Inclusion Statement

We Value:

    • Inclusion of all races, ethnicities, cultures, genders, sexualities, religions, abilities, ages, and socioeconomic statuses to create a community where everyone feels safe.
    • Developing and maintaining a shared understanding of and responsibility for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.
    • Designing inclusive, equitable, and accessible learning environments where a multiplicity of perspectives, opinions, and beliefs enriches our professional, educational, and personal experiences.
    • Respectful, intentional, and purposeful engagement with diverse students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members.
    • The continuous improvement of our efforts to recruit and retain students, staff, and faculty from historically minoritized communities and identities.

We recognize that we all have work to do to enact these values. We share a commitment to equitable treatment to all members of our community including faculty, staff, and students. Therefore, we are committed to working toward them by educating ourselves and, in response, taking appropriate action to improve our community. This especially includes teaching, mentorship, advising, and our relationships with one another. We recognize that words and actions matter just as much as the absence of words and actions matter.

What is ITLS?

Bridging the Gap between Research and Practice

Our faculty work at the intersection of two fields: Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences. We create a stronger student experience by keeping our research immersed in the world of design and our design embedded in research.

As an ITLS student, you’ll dive into the science of how people learn. Then you’ll explore how to use cutting-edge technology to design awesome learning experiences. Our faculty will guide you as you transition into the next stage of your career.

“Society is permeated with technology,” said Mimi Recker, ITLS faculty. “There’s so much interest in this field because people use it to live, collaborate, and learn.”

History

Researching Instructional Media for over 50 Years

Old Main, a building at Utah State University, in the winter

Our program started in 1966 as the Department of Instructional Media and Library Science. We focused on preparing students for careers at school libraries and media centers. In the 1970s, we broadened our focus to include careers in business, industry, academia, and government.

Today, we work at the cutting edge of instructional technology. Our students become leaders. According to the 2019 U.S. News and World Report, our online graduate program is ranked 3rd in the nation.

Research Interests

Our faculty receive the most research funding in our college! We offer four years of guaranteed funding to highly qualified PhD students. Check out the faculty pages to learn more about our faculty’s interests.

  • Instructional design theory and application
  • Innovative science teaching methods
  • Distance and adult education
  • Digital libraries
  • Instructional games and simulations
  • Virtual tutors
  • Educational psychology
  • Technology in STEM education
  • Social-cultural learning
  • Human-computer interactions
  • K-12 computer science education and culturally responsive computing

Projects

Our faculty run a wide variety of research projects and labs. Topics include education, computer science, human-computer interaction (HCI), information sciences, engineering, media studies, cognitive science, and psychology.

Connection of Earth and Sky with Augmented Reality (CEASAR)

In this project, small groups are tasked with designing solutions to engineering problems in future workplace scenarios. The project aims to develop a robust collaborative learning scenario and apply analytics to understand and measure the success of collaborative learning interactions within the CEASAR environment.

Funded through the National Science Foundation.

Contributors: Robb Lindgren robblind@illinois.edu (Principal Investigator), Nathan Kimball (Co-Principal Investigator), Emma Mercier (Co-Principal Investigator), Jina Kang (Co-Principal Investigator)

Contact: Jina Kang
jina.kang@usu.edu
National Science Foundation Grant Information

The Early Career Research Project

The goal of this project is to examine student development outcomes and equity among doctoral students in the biological sciences. The project will follow 268 biology students through the final stages of graduate school and into their careers, considering how features of graduate education affect career trajectories. Feldon, D. F. (P.I.), Roksa, J., & Griffin, K. (2018-2022). Trajectories into Early Career Research (Division of Graduate Education; DGE 1760894), $2,459,199.

Contact: David Feldon
david.feldon@usu.edu
The Early Career Research Project

Educational Data Mining Approaches for Digital Libraries

Investigate how to use digital library and online learning resources to apply web usage data mining strategies and Educational Data Mining (EDM), combined with other strategies, to better understand science teacher behaviors, motivations, and learning experiences.

Funded by the National Science Foundation.

Contributors: Mimi Recker, Beijie Xu, Bart Palmer, Sherry His, Rob Rothfarb

Contact: Mimi Recker
mimi.recker@usu.edu
Educational Data Mining

Learn, Explore, Design Lab (L.E.D.)

The LED Lab employs equity-focused, justice-centered, and community-based methodologies to investigate how people learn and grow through making, designing, experiencing, and producing. We support a variety of projects including multi-year externally funded grant projects and student-led projects across out-of-school, K-12, and community contexts. Review our active projects here.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, American Educational Research Association, USU's Center for Intersectional Gender Studies and Research, USU's Office of Research, and USU's Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.

Contributors: The LED Lab is directed by Dr. Breanne Litts and made up of an interdisciplinary team of faculty, graduates, and undergraduates. Check out our current members here. We are always welcoming new team members!

Contact: Breanne Litts
breanne.litts@usu.edu
Learn Explore Design

Playful Exploration Lab (PEL)

Focus on projects that explore women's persistence in Computer Science majors, and investigate different models that enhance girls’ interest in and capabilities to pursue CS programs and occupations.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Center for Women and Gender at USU, and Utah State University.

Contributors: Jody Clarke-Midura, Katarina Pantic, Frederick J. Poole, Megan Hamilton, Vincent Sun

Contact: Jody Clarke-Midura
jody.clarke@usu.edu
Playful Exploration Lab

Stitching the Loop

An Electronic Textiles Unit in Exploring Computer Science. This new curriculum unit is full of resources for teachers to help students explore electronic textiles. They can make articles of cloth­ing, accessories, or home furnishings with embedded electronic and computational elements.

Funded through the National Science Foundation.

Contributors: Yasmin Kafai, Joanna Goode, and Jane Margolis

Contact: Deborah Fields
deborah.fields@usu.edu
E-textiles Curricular Unit & Guides

CHAOS Learning Lab

The CHAOS learning lab is co-directed by Dr. Kristin Searle and Dr. Colby Tofel-Grehl (School of Teacher Education and Leadership). The lab focuses on integrated STEM and computer science learning for K-12 students and teachers, culturally responsive computing, and making activities for minoritized youth and communities.
Grant information

Contact: Kristin Searle
kristin.searle@usu.edu

Supporting STEM

This project focuses on the use of scaffolding in STEM learning in formal and informal setting. Andrew Walker, who is interested in Problem-Based Pedagogy and meta-analysis, partnered with Brian Beland, who is interested in scaffold education. The researchers used meta-analysis to determine the impact of scaffolding on cognitive outcomes.

Funded by the National Science Foundation

Contributors: Andrew Walker, Brian Belland

Contact: Andrew Walker
andy.walker@usu.edu

Table Top 2 Screens

This project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is studying approaches to help elementary students learn computational thinking skills by first playing a tabletop board game and then building game levels in Scratch, a block-based programming language.

Contributors: Mimi Recker, Victor Lee, Jody Clarke-Midura, Frederick Poole, Melissa Rasmussen, Courtney Stephens, Umar Shehzad and Jake Lauritsen

Contact: Mimi Recker, Jody Clarke Midura
mimi.recker@usu.edu
jody.clarke@usu.edu
Table Top 2 Screens

The Theory Building Project

The goal of this project is to compare how kids design and construct theories of scientific phenomena, including computational models, by having kids engage with scientific practices and produce written theories. This project will be implemented as a two-week unit for middle school students.

Contact: Hillary Swanson
hillary.swanson@northwestern.edu