A Postdoctoral Training Program Researching Students’ Writing and Assessment in Digital Workspaces

This project brought five postdoctoral fellows to work with a team of senior researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Educational Psychology, Curriculum and Instruction, and Computer Science. The College of Education at the University of Illinois has established itself as an international leader in education, with strategic initiatives such as the Center for Education in Small Urban Communities, the STEM Collaborative, and the Ubiquitous Learning Institute—a center for research and inquiry into the changing conditions and possibilities of learning, pedagogical redesign and innovation. The Department of Computer Science has been a pivotal site in the invention of the digital world—from the world’s first computers, to PLATO (the first computerized learning system). These faculty, programs and resources provide the backdrop to this Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

The postdoctoral fellows program offered a variety of projects which involve an array of research designs and methods, from large scale analysis of state-wide test data, to research for the National Writing Project to improve the teaching of writing literacy, to the development of new educational tools that provide ongoing formative and summative assessment. The fellows in this program designed their research programs in consultation a faculty mentor. These plans included: individual goals and a timeline; regular fellow/mentor meeting times; at least one research focus; one project for deep involvement and at least one other project for partial involvement; supplemental readings and courses to audit; specific goals related to research activities, such as the development of grant proposals, and the writing, presentation and submission of papers for peer review and publication; plans for a job search following the postdoctoral program; and the development of a curricula vitae which reflects the fellow’s growth and achievements in the program.

Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr. Elizabeth Bagley, Dr. Shannon Carlin-Menter, Dr. Alecia Magnifico, and Dr. Justin Olmanson, Dr Anna Smith.

This research has been supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305B110008 to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.