Lytics Seminar – Week 1 – Class Notes

Great initial class going over what the Lytics Lab does: looks at data provided by online education and contributes to the emerging field of Learning Sciences. Sounds like it will be a perfect match for the the Engineering Education course which looks at the ‘front-end’ of education while this class looks at the ‘back-end’.

Terrible picture – got into class early – class is packed actually!


Brazilian Education – Week 1 – Class Notes


Had a great talk about Bolsa Familia: here’s the call for the seminar:

Nadejda Marques, PhD

“Bolsa-Familía, healthy familia? Bridging the gap in health outcomes by linking school-based health care to conditional cash-transfer programs in Brazil”

With approximately 50 million beneficiaries, Brazilian Bolsa Familia has been considered one of the main programs to combat poverty in the world. The program seeks to reduce income inequality and expand access to education by providing a minimum level of income (cash transfers) to the poor, those with monthly per capita income of up to R$140 (US$35) with children of 0 to 17 years. Studies have demonstrated that the program has had a significant role in reducing extreme poverty in Brazil and reducing income inequality. The program has also succeeded in increasing school enrollment and attendance rates. However, it is not clear that the program has had significant impact in improving children’s health. What lessons does the Bolsa Família offer and how can it evolve to respond to challenges and health demands of the poor? 

Nadejda Marques is a research coordinator with the School Health Evaluation Research Project and a specialized researcher for General Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. She holds a PhD in human rights and development and has worked on issues of human rights and the right to health for over a decade. In 2011, she coauthored the book “The Cost of Inaction” on the impact of HIV/AIDS in children with the François-Bagnoud Xavier Center for Health and Human Rights based in Harvard School of Public Health.

Engineering Education – Week 1 – Reading Summary


  1. Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. John Wiley & Sons.
  2. Nathan, M. J., & Wagner Alibali, M. (2010). Learning sciences. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1(3), 329-345.


I was very pleased to learn more about what Learning Sciences are. It is a profoundly interdisciplinary field and vast in reach that seem to strive for a culmination of several theories, research methods, design approaches, and implementation strategies. The readings provided me with a cognitively cohesive way of looking at all that I am learning over these past two quarters at LDT. The field proposes to look at both the macro and the micro, providing a common thread and a more holistic approach to education.

Furthermore, the shift in focus of the definition of learning from something a teacher does to a student towards something that the learner does themselves, provides a new lens to both research questions, design approaches, and instructional strategies. If the field could come up with a truly generalizable framework that would help teachers share knowledge, it could benefit the society as a whole. If we are able to understand how to better share knowledge, everyone can potentially become a teacher or a knowledge disseminator. The technology is available, but are the methods aligned with our society’s new way of communicating and interacting with each other?

Finally, the biggest takeaway from the readings was that our current theories of learning or cognition are still not easily transferable to a teacher’s everyday practice. Inline with bridging the gap between research and practice, providing tools for teachers to better carry out their mission is extremely important. My personal interests lie in this arena of using research findings to better aid instructors when creating online courses. I always feel that instead of blank templates available on LMSs, the tool itself could interact with the instructor directly in order to provide scaffolds, techniques, and suggestions for creating better learning experiences.

Engineering Education – Week 1 – Reading Notes

Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. John Wiley & Sons.

  • Opening Quote:
    • Learning depends solely on the student. Teacher only influences what the student does to learn.
    • “Learning results from what the student does and thinks and only from what the student does and thinks. The teacher can advance learning only by influencing what the student does to learn.” (Ambrose et al, 2010, p.1)
  • Research and practice
    • “Instructors need a bridge between research and practice, between teaching and learning.” (Ambrose et al, 2010, p.4)
  • Common thread for student learning
    • Why certain teaching approaches are or are not supporting students’ learning?
    • Generate or refine teaching approaches and strategies that more effectively foster student learning in specific contexts.
    • Transfer and apply these principles to new courses.
  • What is learning?
    • A process that leads to change
      • Learning is a process, not a product. But can only be measured from products or performances
      • Involves long-term change of knowledge, beliefs, behaviors, or attitudes
      • Not done to students, rather something they do themselves
  • Principles of Learning
    • Students’ prior knowledge can help or hinder learning
    • How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know.
    • Students’ motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do to learn.
    • To develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned.
    • Goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances the quality of students’ learning.
    • Students’ current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impact learning.
    • To become self-directed learners, students must learn to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning.
  • Generic principles
    • Domain-independent
    • Experience-independent
    • Cross-culturally relevant

Mental Notes:

  • Generalizable framework for learning is very useful especially now that anyone can become a teacher, share knowledge, or explain situations more clearly. Communication is education.

Nathan, M. J., & Wagner Alibali, M. (2010). Learning sciences. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1(3), 329-345.

  • Learning Sciences’ main themes
    • Bridging the Divide between Research and Practice
    • Limitations of Theories of Learning to Prescribe and Assess Instruction
    • Analyzing and Assessing Interventions Using Experimental and Design-Based Approaches
    • Addressing Learning and Behavior of the Individual in Interaction
  • Methods
    • From macro to micro
    • Scale-up than scale down
    • Systemic approach to complement elemental approach
  • Multidisciplinary
    • Cognitive
    • Developmental psychology
    • Educational psychology
    • Education
    • Computer science
    • Neuroscience
    • Anthropology
    • Social linguistics
    • Sociology
  • Eduneering
    • design, implement, evaluate, and redesign innovative learning approaches and tools
  • LS – Learning Sciences
    • Modern and Postmodern views of human behavior
      • Postmodernists base on ‘Critical Theory’ where they critique and change society, rather than explain it
        • Looks at assumptions and implications on a larger context
    • Constructivism and socio-cultural theory
    • Cognitive science rejected behaviorist’s reduction of mental events to observed phenomena
      • “In LS, postmodern influences are apparent in basic theoretical constructs: knowledge is sometimes viewed from the epistemology of social and radical constructivism and its situated and distributed nature is emphasized; learning is framed as changes in discourse and participation within communities, and as problem-based and project-based; and transfer is recast as preparation for future learning and in agent-centered terms that address the perceptual and conceptual generalizations constructed by the learner rather than from the viewpoint of the domain expert.” (Nathan & Wagner, 2010, p.2)
  • Bridging the Divide between Research and Practice
    • From artificial to authentic settings
    • “Incompatibilities between research and practice can be framed as a mismatch between levels of granularity of the phenomena of interest.” (Nathan & Wagner, 2010, p.3)
    • Teachers, the main beneficiaries of cognitive theories, need to learn how to apply these concepts.
  • Limitations of Theories of Learning to Prescribe and Assess Instruction
    • Elemental studies provide great frameworks but are limiting when applied to authentic settings
      • “The general point is that, on its own, an elemental approach to the study of learning faces enormous challenges of scaling up when the scientific work is called upon for application to authentic settings.” (Nathan & Wagner, 2010, p.4)
    • Has to scale up and down – from students to national policy levels
    • All have to be involved and collaborate
  • Analyzing and Assessing Interventions Using Experimental and Design-Based Approaches (eduneering)
    • Experimental designs: control groups and random assignments
      • Internal validity and causal inference
      • Low ecological validity – unnatural adaptation of tasks
      • Looking at a limited set of variables – could be missing something important
    • Design oriented philosophy (engineering design)
      • “Expanded tool kit of data collection and analysis methods” (Nathan & Wagner, 2010, p.5)
      • “Design-based research provides for flexibility of interventions and faster means of innovation—similar to what Koedinger [p. 8] refers to as ‘the hare of intuitive design’—which can be complementary to the incremental approach of experimental research—Koedinger’s ‘tortoise of cumulative science’.“ (Nathan & Wagner, 2010, p.5)
  • Addressing Learning and Behavior of the Individual in Interaction (in interaction)
    • Context and setting
    • Affordances of objects in the world
    • Embodied knowledge grounded in experiences in the physical world
    • Knowledge distributed among members of a group and tools
    • Social interactions, including shared objects and representations
    • Positioning within the participation structure
    • Shared intentionality and intersubjectivity
    • Cultural, ethnic, and class influences
  • Time scales of human behavior
    • 10 ms: biological (primarily neural)
    • 100 ms to 10s: cognitive band: perceptual and motor processes: word and object recognition to brief communicative exchanges.
    • Minutes to hours: planful, interpersonal and task oriented
    • Hours to days: social and developmental operations, classroom or on-the-job training
    • Months and beyond: organizational, developmental, generational, and cultural terms
  • Trans-scale research

Mental Notes:

  • Learning Science is profoundly interdisciplinary and vast in reach. Culmination of theories, research methods, design approaches, and implementation strategies.

Spring Quarter started!

After a well deserved break, here we are again ready for the third quarter. The course line up is a lot lighter, but the pressure to advance the Master’s project and think about the future is exponentially bigger now. All going according to plan 🙂

This quarter I will be taking the following courses + an internship!

EDUC 391 – Engineering Education and Online Learning
“A project based introduction to web-based learning design. In this course we will explore the evidence and theory behind principles of learning design and game design thinking. In addition to gaining a broad understanding of the emerging field of the science and engineering of learning, students will experiment with a variety of educational technologies, pedagogical techniques, game design principles, and assessment methods. Over the course of the quarter, interdisciplinary teams will create a prototype or a functioning piece of educational technology.”

EDUC 404: Topics in Brazilian Education: Public Policy and Innovation for the 21st Century
“The objective of this seminar is to provide students from different backgrounds an opportunity to learn about current issues and debates on Brazilian education. The seminar will cover topics on the history of Brazilian education; an overview of current school reforms at the federal level; educational assessments; education and economic growth; educational equity; teacher labor market; technology and education; early childhood; and higher education to Brazil.”

EDUC 407: Lytics Seminar
“This course is a survey of research methods with applications in online learning. The methods covered are very interdisciplinary, including an introduction to machine learning, text/discourse analysis, causal modeling, and psychometrics. Broader question in research methodology are also covered, including how to formulate a good research question, when to use qualitative or quantitative methods, and the relative merits of theory-driven confirmatory vs. exploratory research. The goal of this course is to support researchers in the online learning space and other fields in their research endeavors.”

EDUC 229C: Learning Design and Technology Seminar
“Four-quarter required seminar for the LDT master’s program. Discussions and activities related to designing for learning with technology. Support for internships and Master’s project. Theoretical and practical perspectives, hands-on development, and collaborative efforts. (LDT)”

EDUC 215: LDT Internship Workshop
“The required internship is a cornerstone of the LDT program. This course will provide students an opportunity to link their academic learning to real world experience through in-class discussions, presentations, and reflective writing. It will allow the program director to monitor the quality of the experience and provide timely advice and support as needed for an optimal learning experience. The course will meet several times each quarter, adjacent to LDT seminar (Fridays, 12-1). An internship agreement will be required at the beginning of the course signed by the faculty advisor), as well as a reflection paper at the end of the course. Students will take the course for 1 unit, unless they request additional units for unpaid internship hours.”

The internship is right here at Stanford, at The Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL) working with the Director of Instructional Design to update the course on how to create online courses for Stanford professors. Very exciting! Already started on Monday and will be doing only 8 hours a week – which is what my Visa allows.

Teacher PD – Final Paper

That’s it! Last deliverable of the quarter completed!

This was a big one: 67% of the grade.

Here’s the prompt and below my response:

Final Paper

For this paper you will study in-depth a professional development program (or set of programs with similar foci) of your choosing and write a paper describing and analyzing that program(s). Be sure to select a program for which research has been conducted and reports of that research are available. Your paper should address the following topics:

  • Nature of the professional development program
  • Underlying assumptions about teaching and teacher learning
  • Summary of research conducted on the professional development program (research questions, methods, findings, conclusions)
  • Your analysis of strengths and limitations of the professional development program
  • Your analysis of strengths and limitations of the research on the PD program
  • Suggestions for future program development and research

We anticipate that the papers will need to be 15-20 pages in length to adequately address the list above. They should be written in either APA or Chicago style. APA style, described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, is the format used in the large majority of educational publications, including most of the readings for this course. Chicago style, described in the Chicago Manual of Style, is used in chapters from yearbooks of the National Society for the Study of Education.

Possible professional development programs to study:

(This list is a collection of suggestions, not an exhaustive or complete list. We encourage you to identify a PD program in your area of interest.)

  • Video Cases for Mathematics Professional Development; Learning and Teaching Geometry (Seago and colleagues)
  • Cognitively-Guided Instruction (original: Carpenter, Fennema, Franke & colleagues; more recent incarnations: Franke & Kazemi, Phillips & colleagues)
  • Video clubs (Sherin, van Es, and colleagues)
  • National Writing Project
  • Hollyhock Fellowship (CSET)
  • Partnerships for Reform in Secondary Science and Mathematics (PRiSSM; Nelson, Slavit & colleagues)
  • Project PRIME (Carlson & Gess-Newsome)
  • The Danielson Group: Promoting Teacher Effectiveness and Professional Learning
  • Online Teacher Professional Development (there are several programs; you might want to review a subset of them.)


LDT Seminar – Winter Quarter Reflection


  1. Evaluate your own contributions to seminar based on the rubric below.
  2. Explore your own learning inside and outside of class in a brief reflection paper (1-2 pages).


Below Expectations Meets Expectations Exceeds Expectations
Attendance* Misses two or more seminars. Comes late or leaves early. Does not inform instructor of absence in advance. Attends all of seminar, or misses one, with very good excuse (e-mailed to instructor ahead of time). Always on time. Organizes extra learning opportunities for other learners.
Assignments** Assignments are late, incomplete, or poorly executed. Assignments are turned in on time. All outside work is turned in on time (or ahead of time). Assignments address the assignment components, but appear rushed or have errors. In-class and out-of-class assignments are completed thoughtfully and thoroughly. In out-of-class work, attention is paid to content, spelling, grammar, and flow.
Participation Rarely speaks, or rarely listens. Carries on side conversations or other off- topic activities (for example on the computer). Mostly listens, but speaks sometimes. Or mostly speaks, but listens sometimes. Speaks and listens actively in class. Builds on the ideas of others. Challenges own thinking and that of others. Seeks to make connections between concepts in class and to outside experiences.


Teacher PD – Final Presentation

After a very long weekend of deep research and exploration into Online Teacher Professional Development, I finalized the presentation and delivered to the class. It was well received with a high point commentary from Janet (professor) that “it is a very challenging topic  that was well explored and presented.”

Here it is: