CIRCL Newsletter – Issue 9, January 2015


This newsletter features multiple meanings of one of the most important words in Cyberlearning: Open. First, Cyberlearning 2015, our signature gathering of leaders in the field to work together towards the future, is open to all through online participation. Please join us and invite your graduate students, colleagues, and friends to take part in this important event. In a like vein, did you miss our excellent webinars on Writing a Winning Cyberlearning Proposal, Communicating with Policy Makers, and the NSF Cyberlearning Solicitation? Well, they are all still open for online viewing. In our project spotlight, we feature Nichole Pinkard, Denise Nacu, and Caitlin Martin, who ask: how can we open the black box of being an effective educator in a blended learning context? Then, our featured perspective introduces Mark Warschauer, who is the editor of AERA Open — a new open access journal backed by AERA and awaiting your cyberlearning contributions. And last but not least, the deadline for DIP proposals will be open one extra day due to the Martin Luther King holiday — you have until January 20 to submit. What other meanings of “open” should cyberlearning feature? Send thoughts to

Cyberlearning 2015: Program Update & Online Participation/Webcast

Cyberlearning 2015: Connect, Collaborate, and Create the Future is less than 2 weeks away! At this January 27-28 event at the Westin Arlington Gateway in Arlington, Virginia, attendees will work collaboratively towards potential impacts on policy, practice, future research solicitations, and products. A detailed program [PDF] is now available. Cyberlearning 2015 features 4 keynote talks, 20 pecha kucha (rapid fire) presentations, panels and working sessions, demos and posters, and an optional visit to state legislators. In addition, we have a Facebook Event page where you can communicate with other participants and start planning.

Keynotes, panels, and pecha kuchas will be webcast live during the event. Please invite your colleagues and students to register for virtual participation to watch and join the online conversation. For updated information, follow us on Twitter @CirclCenter and see the Cyberlearning 2015 page.

Project Spotlight: Designing and Supporting Blended Learning Environments

An interview with Nichole Pinkard, Denise Nacu, and Caitlin K. Martin about their NSF-funded project to understand and design for contexts that use a blended approach to organize learning.

What is the big idea of your project work?
The world is excited about blended learning as a solution for the educational system, but we haven’t really opened the black box of what it means to be an effective instructor in a blended learning context. How do we make sense of the learning that’s taking place in an online context and have it connect fluidly to in-school, face-to-face learning opportunities? Our big idea is that the same way that teachers have command over the different type of spaces in the classroom and know how to use them effectively, we want to understand how to help teachers have command over the different type of spaces that are part of online learning environments. How can teachers be more strategic about it? What are the challenges and barriers? How can we design social practices, tools, and widgets to help them? For example, the bulletin board in your classroom has only a certain amount of space, and you know you there are only certain types of things that you can put up there. How can we create things useful intuitive features like that in the online space so teachers know how to use them? How can we make the online space more familiar so they can more easily map it to their practices, and help them be strategic about when to organize learning activities online vs. face to face? Read more on Designing and Supporting Blended Learning Environments.

Featured Perspective: Meet Mark Warschauer

Mark Warschauer is a Professor of Education and Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, and Associate Dean of UC Irvine’s School of Education. He is founding editor of Language Learning & Technology journal and was recently appointed inaugural editor of AERA Open.

You are one of the inaugural editors for the new AERA Open journal. Tell us more about this initiative.

I have had a long time interest in open-access publishing and in bridging the digital divide. When I first was involved in my Ph.D. in the mid-1990s some online journals were first starting up. I think people saw online journals as very new and innovative, but not necessarily as high quality. I saw it a little bit differently, which was that there are a lot of very positive features of online journals – we can review things faster, we can get them published faster, we can make them freely accessible to people around the world, and we can include links and other information to make the research much more transparent. And we can still do a very high quality job. I founded a journal called Language Learning & Technology, which quickly rose to being a very rigorous, high impact, peer reviewed journal that also had some other features of online publishing. Over the years, I have also been involved in other editorships.

As my research was shifting to broader educational topics, AERA started a new journal called AERA Open and put out a call for editors. I applied and was selected as Editor in Chief. Unfortunately, a lot of the AERA journals can only publish twenty or so papers each year, and they have to be very selective. They try to choose papers that only show significantly positive findings and that cover very narrow areas of terrain. With AERA Open, we hope to have high standards, and be able to publish as many articles that meet those standards, with a particular emphasis on interdisciplinarity – getting neuroscientists talking to cognitive scientists, talking to computer scientists, talking to economists and anthropologists, educational researchers – all the communities that are involved, for example, in cyberlearning. We are already getting lots of submissions, and we want to get more quality submissions and especially from the cyberlearning community. We are also welcoming the types of papers that are often not welcomed in other venues. For example, papers that have precisely defined null findings are important to publish because things that do not work but are measured well are as important and useful as things that do work. We are interested in replication studies, in meta-analyses, all the things that rigorously shed light on learning processes and outcomes, even if they do not fit into other traditional journals. Read more of Mark Warschauer’s perspective.

Opportunities & Upcoming Deadlines: STEM+C, JLA, AERA, ICER

NSF has released a new solicitation for STEM + Computing Partnerships (STEM+C) with a full proposal deadline of April 14, 2015. STEM+C invites creative and innovative proposals that address emerging challenges in the learning and teaching of STEM and computing.

The Journal of Learning Analytics is inviting submissions for a Special Issue on Multimodal Learning Analytics, due March 1, 2015.

AERA Division C is accepting applications for the following awards: Sylvia Scribner Award (due Jan 20), Jan Hawkins Early Career Award for Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies (due Jan 20), AERA Division C Early Career Award (due Jan 20), Graduate Student Research Excellence Award (due Jan 19).

The ACM International Computing Education Research (ICER) conference is in Omaha, Nebraska on August 9-13, 2015. Abstracts for papers are due April 13, and full papers are due April 20. Given the number of projects involving the teaching and learning of computational thinking, it would be great to see more submissions to ICER from the cyberlearning community.

Cyberlearning Across NSF

A sample of projects with a cyberlearning theme funded by programs across NSF.

Job Announcements

The University of South Florida College of Education invites applications for an Assistant Professor position in Cybersecurity Education to lead and coordinate cybersecurity research, education and outreach across the state and beyond.

Resource & Tech Corner

The Go Cognitive site offers free access to materials for students, educators, and researchers in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience.

New NAPLeS high quality video recordings feature William Sandoval talking about Situating epistemological development, Mimi Recker talking about Teacher learning and technology, and Tim Koschman talking about Conversation and interaction analysis/ ethnomethodological approaches. The entire collection of the uploaded 15-minutes HD talks and interviews are available on the NAPLeS site.

Share Your News

Have some news (project highlights, job opportunities, RFPs, calls, etc.) that you want to share? Contact CIRCL.

CIRCL is supported by NSF grants IIS-1233722 and IIS-1441631. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.