The basis of my work is to make the often invisible traces created by interactions students have with learning technologies available to instructors, technology solutions, and students themselves. This often requires the creation of new novel educational technologies which are designed from the beginning with detailed tracking of user activities. Coupled with machine learning and data mining techniques (e.g. classification, regression, and clustering methods), clickstream data from these technologies is used to build predictive models of student success and to better understand how technology affords benefits in teaching and learning. I’m interested in broadly scaled teaching and learning through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), how predictive models can be used to understand student success, and the analysis of educational discourse and student writing.
I am a data scientist, with extensive and various experience drawing inference from large data sets. In education research, I work to understand and improve postsecondary student outcomes using the rich, extensive, and complex digital data produced in the course of educating students in the 21st century. In 2011, we launched the E2Coach computer tailored support system, and in 2014, we began the REBUILD project, a college-wide effort to increase the use of evidence-based methods in introductory STEM courses. In 2015, we launched the Digital Innovation Greenhouse, an education technology accelerator within the UM Office of Digital Education and Innovation. In astrophysics, my main research tools have been the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Dark Energy Survey, and the simulations which support them both. We use these tools to probe the growth and nature of cosmic structure as well as the expansion history of the Universe, especially through studies of galaxy clusters. I have also studied astrophysical transients as part of the Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment.