Matt Thomas, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, receives $150,000 NSF grant


Contributed by David A Brown

Professor Matt Thomas received this NSF grant in collaboration with researchers at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and at the The Ohio State University to empower faculty to run online learning experiences.

From the abstract: 

"With support from the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR), this project aims to serve the national interest by creating and improving open educational content in mathematics that resides on an open data-driven educational technology platform. The project will empower faculty to design and implement online learning experiments to test the effectiveness of new content and innovative teaching strategies. The data on how students use and learn from these materials will help instructors make effective use of the material in the classroom and enable authors to develop engaging educational experiences to maximize learning. Using this platform, instructors will be able to readily modify their materials in line with rapidly changing STEM fields and to adapt those materials to students' needs.

The project will develop the Distributed Open Education Network (Doenet), which is, at its core, a mechanism for measuring and sharing student interactions with web pages and storing anonymized data in an open distributed data warehouse. The Doenet platform will include tools for (a) authoring interactive educational content, (b) conducting educational research using the content, and (c) discovering the most effective content based on the research results. Doenet will reduce barriers to the development and access of online content and learning experiments. Faculty and researchers from a variety of institutions will employ Doenet to develop open interactive educational content and conduct small scale learning experiments, including experiments to investigate the influence of different ways of guiding students through the interactive content. The NSF IUSE: EHR Program supports research and development projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM education for all students. This project falls in the program's Engaged Student Learning track, which enables the creation, exploration, and implementation of promising practices and tools."