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This is the Independent Research Page.

The Description and the deadlines for the Independent Research Activity


Objectives of the “Independent Research Activity”

1. opportunity to engage in self-directed learning in the context of an independent research exploration

1.1. this work is more conceptual than the course project and it is intended to complement the experience of the course project

1.2. it can be related to the course project, but it does not have to be!

2. please form three teams (each approximately with the same number of participants) focused respectively on: design, learning, collaboration. These are broad topics and you should define a focus for your investigation by finding and defining more specific topics in your area of investigation. Possible themes for more specific research topics are:

2.1. social creativity

2.2. meta-design

2.3. end-user development

2.4. distributed intelligence

2.5. ……………………………….

3. some suggestions:

3.1. for your information gathering process use materials from the course, books, articles, opinion pieces, the WWW,

3.2. interview people (e.g., faculty members, PhD students, friends, colleagues at work, ..) about their insights and perspectives

4. interaction between teams: the different teams should interact with each other and see how their findings and work processes can profit from each other

Research Groups:

In order to initialize the organization of 3 groups for the independent research projects, each of the 3 topics are listed below. Please add your name to the area that you are interested in working in. Please make sure that the groups are evenly distributed.


  • Nick Joseph - Interested in the design process at the software level. What makes a good software design and how do you keep it maintainable and "updatable"? Interested to learn more about UML diagrams, the "OO approach", use cases, design patterns etc. I'm also very interested in quantum computing and seeing as how it is becoming a possibility that this technology may become available at sometime in my life I'd like to know how software design will change with the addition of the quantum bit.
  • Nathan Balasubramanian - I am interested in exploring Design-Based Research (DBR) as a vehicle for designing interactive learning environments that motivate and challenge students to engage in purposeful explorations of scientific concepts and engineering principles. Reading the current state of DBR in the Jan-Feb 2005 special issue of Educational Technology, 45(1) left me more disappointed than elated. At any rate, Prof. Fischer’s ‘beyond the gift-wrapping approach” article, Prof. Ursyn’s guest lecture, and Buxton’s “less is more” article have shed some light on depolarizing the barriers between the sciences and the arts through creative design ideas. I would like to pursue these ideas along with those in NRC’s Beyond Productivity (2003) to document, design, and develop intelligent online computer games using the Benchmarks for Science Literacy (1993).
  • Isaac Sanders - I am interested in web design (aesthetics, usability, interaction). For instance, I think that wikis present an interesting design problem. I would definitely be willing to explore other areas of design as well.
  • Jodi Kiefer - I am interested in researching what design features and methodologies are motivational and effective in inspiring children to learn via the web and multimedia.


  • Katie Byrnes- I am interested in teacher learning and how learning environments are structured and organized.
  • Ryan Coyer - I am particularly interested in how learning is structured and facilitated in ABA Law Schools
  • Aaron Schram - I will be working with Ryan Coyer on this assignment and have the same interest
  • Divya Ashok - I am interested in all aspects of how children learn and the best ways to improve learning capability of childern.
  • Henry Doan - I am interested in how learning can be enhanced using modern technology.
  • Javier Velez - Through learning, i think, is one of the best ways of developing and improving technology. It also, is a way humans can expand their knowledge and gain more knowledge.
  • Ali Hassani - I am interested in how learning could be made easier and accessible to everyone. How is the technological advancement going to affect learning and finally, i want to learn about the experiences and the thoughts of many people in these fields.
  • Chris Magill - I am interested in education practices and pedagogy as well as many other aspects of learning especially in children.


  • Adam Torgerson - Primarily interested in collaborative design (especially as related to software), and collaborative software development (especially when the developers are not in the same geographic area). What kind of research and tools exist to support these ideas?
  • Scotty Allen - I'm interested in how software and technology can better facilitate government, specifically, getting inviduals more active and giving them more voice in their government. I want to know more about how people can use available and new technology to collaborate with other people who have similar intersts to create effective change. I'm also very interested in the emerging field of "social software", what the social ramifications are, and in which directions it will continue to grow.
  • Phong Le -Interested how collaboration supports learning, development of critical thinking skills, and integration of information from different sources; specifically software systems that support these activities in new ways.
  • David West -I would like to discuss and learn about scheduling and distributed cognitions. Also I would possibly like to integrate advances in ubiquitous computing and discuss their impact on group planning.

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