OLC Research Summit - Part 2: Meet the DETA Research Toolkit 2.0

Concurrent Session 7
Streamed Session OLC Session

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Brief Abstract

This session will spotlight The National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) Research Toolkit, a resource to support research conducted at the course, program, institutional, or cross-institutional levels. 

Sponsored By


Tanya Joosten, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist, the Director of Digital Learning Research and Development, and advisor to the Provost for innovation projects at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Joosten leads the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA). She is nationally recognized in her work in blended and online learning as an Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Fellow and works to guide strategic digital learning efforts on campus, across the UW System, and nationally as an advisor to the Provost, a member of the University of Wisconsin System Learning Technology Executive Council, and a member of several national boards and committees. Currently, Dr. Joosten leads a national research initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education working to provide access to research models and methods, facilitating innovate processes of data collection, and encouraging the replication of research across institutions through the DETA Research Toolkit to identify key instructional and institutional factors that influence student success with particular attention to underrepresented students. Dr. Joosten has a background in the social sciences hailing from the field of communication. Her notable keynotes include eLearning Asia, ITC eLearning Conference, and SACS COC President’s event, and her ideas have been highlighted on plenary panels at the UW-Madison Annual Distance Teaching and Learning conference and the OLC International Conference for Online Learning. You can find her ideas and work cited in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Forbes, U.S. News World and Report, and more. Recent interviews with Dr. Joosten are available on ResearchInAction and TOPcast available on iTunes. Her book on social media is available from Wiley Publishing, she has authored numerous articles, chapters, and encyclopedia entries on human and social interactions and digital learning, and she often writes invited blog posts and magazine articles for organizations, such as EDUCAUSE, WCET, Inside Higher Ed, and Pearson. Dr. Joosten previously worked as the Director of the Learning Technology Center leading faculty development and engagement initiatives, pedagogical and technological innovation projects, core learning technology oversight, and blended and online program development.

Extended Abstract

Since 2014, the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) has cultivated a thriving community dedicated to promoting student access and success through research-driven practice.  A key initiative of DETA has been the creation of their DETA Research Toolkit, a resource intended to guide research conducted across institutions to identify key factors that influence student outcomes, including underrepresented students.  These student populations of interest include ethnic and racial minorities, low income students identified as Pell grant eligible, first generation students, and students with impairments or disabilities.  

In this session, participants will explore the toolkit to learn how they can gather and contribute data to better understand the key factors in DETA courses and programs (which includes any courses or programs using technology, such as tech-enhanced, blended, and fully online) that are influencing student success.  The toolkit spans all disciplines and many research methodologies from quantitative to qualitative.  It includes guides for experimental, survey, and qualitative studies.  Qualitative studies addressed include free response, interviews, focus groups, narratives, and more.  Additionally, design based research, such as user design research, and visualization studies are introduced.  Tools and resources are shared, including a student survey instrumentation packet, codebooks, data sharing agreements, review board materials, and more.  Moreover, the new toolkit has research designs and models to help support research in response to COVID-19 as well as emerging technology interventions such as adaptive learning, open education resources, and more. 

This hands-on session is perfect for researchers or practitioners of all roles and experience levels looking to learn more about ways to gather and share data across traditional institutional boundaries in support of success for all learners. 

This session is one of three parts of the OLC Research Summit, which will begin with an overview and audience-engaged discussion of the current landscape of online education research. In the second session, participants will explore resources, methods of approach, interactive toolkits, and opportunities to share their evidence within and across institutions in support of scaling best practices. Finally, participants will reflect on research in an experiential context by answering the following question - how we might as a community surface and collect themes that emerge from our collaborations? Focusing on OLC Accelerate as our research setting and context, how might we as a community produce a tangible artifact representing the scholarship, thought leadership, and opportunities arising from our work? Ultimately, these three, interconnected sessions at the OLC Accelerate 2020 Research Summit will provide us with new avenues of supporting student success through empirical research that is generative, connected, and impactful.

The Research Summit is included in your OLC Accelerate Virtual Conference 2020 registration fee. There is no additional registration fee to participate in the event. Learn more about this session and all of the sessions at the Research Summit webpage.