An Exploration of Faculty Members’ Student-centeredness in the Field of Instructional Design & Technology

Dear instructional design & technology colleagues, friends, and students,

I’m Michael Grant, a faculty member at the University of South Carolina, and I am conducting a research study titled, “An Exploration of Faculty Members¹ Student-centeredness in the Field of Instructional Design & Technology.”  This study is for **both faculty members and graduate students** in instructional design and technology (e.g., educational technology; technology integration; learning, design & technology; learning sciences; etc.).

The purpose of this study is to describe the extent to which higher education faculty members in instructional design and technology employ student-centered teaching methods and how they define student-centered teaching.

This study will take approximately 20 minutes of your time. You will be asked to complete an online survey about the pedagogical practices you or your professors implement.

If you are interested in participating, please continue to this site to read more details, give your consent to participate, and begin the survey.

If you have any specific questions about this study, please contact me at michaelmgrant [at] sc [dot] edu.

Thank you and I hope to work with you on this potentially beneficial study.

Take care,

:::: Michael M. Grant, Ph.D. ::::
Assistant Professor
Program Coordinator, Educational Technology
University of South Carolina

This study has been approved for exemption by the University of South Carolina Institutional Review Board (USC IRB). If you have questions, contact Arlene McWhorter at or (803) 777-7095.

TechTrends cover imageI’m excited to share about a new manuscript that was just accepted for publication.  “Teaching and learning with mobile computing devices: Case study in K-12 classrooms” was accepted by TechTrends today.  But what is special about this publication is that it was a collaboration among a doctoral course where we planned, conducted, analyzed, and wrote up the research.  In addition it was presented at AECT as a featured research presentation.  So, for many of my co-authors on this manuscript, this is their first academic publication.  Congratulations to the co-authors: Suha Tamim, Dorian Brown, Joe Sweeney, Fatima Ferguson, and Lakavious Jones!  I’ve share the abstract below:

While ownership of mobile computing devices, such as cellphones, smartphones, and tablet computers, has been rapid, the adoption of these devices in K-12 classrooms has been measured. Some schools and individual teachers have integrated mobile devices to support teaching and learning. The purpose of this qualitative research was to describe the early uses of mobile computing devices in these K-12 classrooms. With data from nine purposively selected teachers, participant descriptions were developed and five themes emerged that included (a) ownership and control impacted use of mobile computing devices; (b) administrators champion teachers’ uses of mobile computing devices especially for student accountability; (c) teachers use devices to enhance their curricula and as motivation for their students; (d) teachers receive and seek out relevant professional development; and (e) technical issues were common, but support was available. Implications of these themes are also considered.

If you would like to have a copy of the manuscript prior to publication, just let me know by email, and I will send one to you.

AECT Research and Theory Division logo

I wanted to let everyone know (and please share this, too) that I will be hosting a short webinar for folks who are interested in finding out more about submitting a proposal to the Research & Theory Division of AECT.  This webinar is co-sponsored with the AECT Graduate Student Assembly!  The Research & Theory Division curates and promotes the most rigorous research throughout AECT, and we provide an outlet to discuss theory and research methodologies.

This short 30-minute presentation will focus on the four (4) proposal categories Research & Theory are considering as part of our call for proposals, and I will highlight some of the best advice for submitting a proposal.  I will also briefly discuss the new direction for featured research within AECT.  Opportunities to ask questions will certainly be included, and I will hang around for all of the questions.  Here are the details below.

Presenter:  Dr. Michael Grant, RTD Past President and Associate Professor in the Instructional Design & Technology program at the University of Memphis

Date/Time: January 30, 2014 at 1:30 P.M. (EDT)

Topic:  RTD Information Session—Submitting an AECT Conference Proposal to Research & Theory


RTD Webinar Image

The Research & Theory Division of AECT is hosting our next professional development seminar.  Here are the details, and I hope you’ll plan to attend.

Scheduled on Feb 6, 2014 at 1:30pm (EST)

Invited speaker: Dr. Ryan Baker (

Topic:  Learning Analytics – Potential and Principles

Increasingly,  students’  educational  experiences  occur  in  the  context  of educational technology, creating opportunities to log student behavior in a fashion that is both longitudinal and very fine-grained. These data are now available to the broad education research community through large public data repositories such as the Pittsburgh  Science of Learning Center (cf. Koedinger  et  al,  2008). In this talk, I will discuss how the emerging Learning Analytics and Educational Data Mining communities are combining these data sources with data mining methods in order to scalably use this data to make basic discoveries about learners and learning. In this talk, I will both discuss learning analytics methods in general, and some of their key applications in studying and supporting learners.

Shareshare 1percent

I received an email yesterday that I didn’t ever expect:  I was notified by that my content on Slideshare is among the top 1% of most viewed on SlideShare in 2013. Wow! I continue to be surprised by how many folks have viewed and appreciate my slide decks and handouts that I have put up on Slideshare.

Supporting My Course

I started using Slideshare about 5 years ago when I decided to make one of my courses, IDT 7095/8095, open source as an open educational resource.  When I decided to go in that direction I tried to make sure that all of the slides and resources I used in the course were open, available, and as Creative Commons as I could make them.  As a result of this, one of my presentations on comparing instructional design models that I use in IDT 7095/8095 continues to be very well received.  It astounds me that this presentation has over 47,000 views and almost 2,000 downloads.  I decided to do the open course because I wanted this capstone course to have more of a community feel to it.  I wanted students to get the sense that our field and our course was part of a profession that they had access to.  While the course has gone through multiple iterations over the years, the OER component has remained a constant.

More Accessible

In addition to supporting my course, I’ve found that has been a good place to house slide decks to make them more accessible to others.  This is particularly true of teacher professional development and higher education lectures that I’ve participated in.  I am able to share the link (after I’ve shortened it with directly in my presentation, so that participants can immediately access the slides if they want.  In only a couple of instances have I found that has been blocked by a school, district, or university.  In one of the cases, the university was able to have it unblocked.


I’ve also found that is an easy way to embed my presentations (when I want them freely available) into my blog or courses that are housed inside our university’s course management system.

Slideshare embed optionsI like that there are options for display sizes, so that the embedded slideshow player doesn’t take up too much room; options for display without related content when I don’t want students to go down another “rabbit hole”; and options for the convenience of a shortcode (code snippet) specific for WordPress blogs, which is what I use on

PDF Uploads

I did find that I needed to make a change in my workflow a few years ago.  Originally, I uploaded my slide decks as the original Powerpoint files, but I don’t do that anymore.  Instead, I now upload a PDF.  I made this change for a few reasons.

First, a few years ago, I discovered from the “Related Content” channel in that one of my presentations had been used unexpectedly and in ways that I considered unethical.  While I do release my presentations in general as Creative Commons licensing, this presentation had been inserted wholesale into another presentation, the attribution to me had been stripped, and the original graphic design I had created had been used throughout the entire presentation.  While I was miffed, I decided I could figure out how to handle this.  I decided to go with PDFs to take care of the problem, and now, I use myself as an example to others on plagiarism, copyright, and Creative Commons.

Second, I also found that when I uploaded Powerpoint files directly into my fonts did not always stay true.  This was also the case when I began using Adobe Connect a few years ago as well.  So, because I consider the graphic design of my presentations important, PDFs allowed me to control the font issue easily.

Finally and also as a result of using and Adobe Connect, I found the Web 2.0, or presentations 2.0, style of slides made my Powerpoint files very large.  This caused problems inside Adobe Connect, including upload problems, upload stalls, and errors.  So, PDF-ing the files also made it easier to reduce the file size prior to upload into and Connect.

How ’bout you?

Are you using or another web service to host your slide decks, etc.  How’s that working for you? Or if you’ve used one of my presentations from Slideshare, I’d love to hear what you’ve done and how you’re using it. So, let me know in the comments.  I’d like to hear what your experiences have been.

an evening playing 'smartphone' pub quiz with the exeter twitterati!

I’m proud to announce that I will have a new book chapter coming out soon.  The most exciting part of this chapter was getting to work with my colleague Yu-Chang Hsu at Boise State University.  Yu-Chang and I were part of a panel discussion at AECT a couple of years ago, and our research interests overlapped.  We collaborated on this book chapter over the fall semester, and it took some real interesting turns as we tried to parse out and define personal learning environments, personal learning networks, and professional learning networks.  Here’s the title and abstract info.

Making Personal and Professional Learning Mobile: Blending Mobile Devices, Social Media, Social Networks, and Mobile Apps To Support PLEs, PLNs, & ProLNs


Mobile technologies have become an integrated, or inseparable, part of individuals’ daily lives for work, play, and learning. While social networking has been important and in practice in our society even before human civilization and certainly prior to the advent of computers, nowadays, the opportunities and venues of building a network are unprecedented. Currently, the opportunities and tools to build a network to support personal and professional learning are enabled by mobile technologies (e.g., mobile apps, devices, and services), web-based applications (e.g., Diigo and RSS readers), and social-networking applications and services (e.g., Facebook, Google+, and Twitter). The purpose of this chapter is to describe and propose how individuals use personal learning environments (PLEs), personal learning networks (PLNs), and professional learning networks (ProLNs) with mobile technologies and social networking tools to meet their daily learning needs. In our chapter, we consider categories of learning relevant to personal learning and professional learning, then we define and examine PLEs, PLNs, and ProLNs, suggesting how mobile devices and social software can be used within these. The specific strategies learners use within PLEs, PLNs, and ProLNs are then presented followed by cases that depict and exemplify these strategies within the categories of learning. Finally, implications for using mobile devices to support personal and professional learning are discussed.

Our chapter is part of a book titled, Mobile Devices: Technologies, Role in Social Media and Uses in Education and Students’ Perspectives. If you would like to have a preprint copy of the chapter, just let me know.  It’s still in production right now.

Image Creative Commons License Phil Campbell via Compfight


As editor of The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, I wanted to give a quick update as to where folks are finding value.  In July 2013, IJPBL had 6349 full-text downloads.  The most popular papers were:

IJPBL is an open access journal focusing on inquiry methods, including problem-based learning, project-based learning, case-based learning, anchored instruction, and inquiry.  Our journal continues to be rigorous with an acceptance rate between 6 t0 16%.

As a reminder, this past spring we began a new section in IJPBL to highlight the implementations of inquiry by individuals, teachers and faculty members, schools, departments, and districts.  These “Voices from the Field” articles focus on implementation, are highly contextualized, and include reflections and lessons learned.  You can see the call for manuscripts at


internet and higher education journal cover

internet and higher education journal coverI just wanted to let you know that a former student of mine, Dr. Joanne Gikas, and I have a new article in press right now.  This is part of her dissertation research that focused on how teaching and learning occurred with mobile devices in higher education classrooms.  “Mobile Computing Devices in Higher Education: Student Perspectives on Learning with Cellphones, Smartphones & Social Media” is concerned with the student learning portion of the research, and the data were collected through focus groups with students at three different universities across the country.

We’re really pleased that this research is being published so quickly through The Internet and Higher Education journal.  It was submitted just a couple of months ago and is now in press and available through the journal’s Science Direct “in press” articles section.  That’s pretty amazing!  Here’s the abstract below and let me know if you are unable to access the article through your databases:

The purpose of this research was to explore teaching and learning when mobile computing devices, such as cellphones and smartphones, were implemented in higher education. This paper presents a portion of the findings on students’ perceptions of learning with mobile computing devices and the roles social media played. This qualitative research study focused on students from three universities across the US. The students’ teachers had been integrating mobile computing devices, such as cellphones and smartphones, into their courses for at least two semesters. Data were collected through student focus group interviews. Two specific themes emerged from the interview data: (a) advantages of mobile computing devices for student learning and (b) frustrations from learning with mobile computing devices. Mobile computing devices and the use of social media created opportunities for interaction, provided opportunities for collaboration, as well as allowed students to engage in content creation and communication using social media and Web 2.0 tools with the assistance of constant connectivity.

And if you have comments about the article or the questions about the data, please leave a comment. We’d love to hear what you have to say.

I’m excited to be visiting Georgia Regents University in Augusta, GA, over the next couple of days. I will be presenting some of my (and my students’) research on how teachers have initially been using mobile devices in their classrooms. This research was part of a course I taught with our doctoral students as an introduction to research. Collaboratively, we designed, conducted, analyzed, and reported the qualitative research.

I will also be presenting a workshop-py seminar on how to use QR codes with teaching and learning. You can view (and download) the slide deck at


Our University of Memphis Instructional Design & Technology program has been attending the Mississippi Educational Computing Association conference this week in Jackson, MS, as a vendor to promote our program.  Plus, we are presenting a couple of sessions, too.

Freeways to mobile teaching & learning
In this hands-on session, we’ll take a look at Freeways for teaching and learning that are appropriate for a variety of mobile computing devices and platforms.
Check out the slidedeck in Slideshare

[slideshare id=10523927&doc=mstc-2011-mobile-workshop-for-ss-111208214231-phpapp02]


60+ Apps in 60 minutes or less
As current and former classroom teachers, we love to integrate technology into our classrooms. in this fast-paced session, we’ll share 60+ apps (!) that we have found to be helpful for teaching and learning.
Check out the slidedeck in Slideshare

[slideshare id=10508178&doc=60appsin60minutes-111208000146-phpapp02]