Current Research

The University at Buffalo Open Education Research Lab is currently conducting the following studies.

Building Ecosystems of Belonging for Neurodiverse Computer Science Students

We are studying the effects of teacher training and digital badges on neurodiverse students’ sense of belonging in Computer Science programs. All updates for this project will be shared on our project page.

Neurodiverse students include those students with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other naturally occurring variations in neurological development. These students often struggle to succeed in higher education, regardless of level of interest in computer science or natural abilities that would be valuable to employers. Most instructors are not trained to work with neurodiverse students, but are instrumental in forming students’ beliefs that they belong in and can succeed in a program.

This study will involve the participatory design of micro-credentials, meaning that students and instructors will be involved in designing professional development to support instructors working with neurodiverse classes. In turn, students will be able to see whether instructors have training to support their needs. By measuring students’ sense of belonging before and after the study, we will be able to measure whether teacher training and students’ awareness of this training impacts their ability to thrive in computer science programs.

This study will take place in the University at Buffalo’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. This project is made possible by funding from the National Science Foundation’s program for Broadening Participation in Computing. More information about the award can be found on the NSF Award page.

SUNY Open Educational Resources: Improving Faculty Discovery and Adoption

We are studying faculty discovery and adoption of Open Education Resources (OERs).

Faculty are given access to discovery tools through SUNY Affordable Learning Solutions and consulting services through SUNY Libraries and Lumen Learning; modularized and improved interoperability and multimedia in the collection of existing Open SUNY textbooks; and embedded assessments in OER courses.

Faculty are then surveyed and interviewed about their process of OER adoption, OER alignment with course learning outcomes, and increased student completion and success in OER courses.

The study is taking place across multiple campuses including the University at Buffalo; Colleges at Geneseo, Brockport, Buffalo, Herkimer, and Clinton; College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Fulton-Montgomery Community College; and Tompkins Cortland Community College. Funding this work is the SUNY Provost’s Innovative Instruction Technology Grant program.