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Grants & Research

The Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) actively engages in discovery and applied research on issues related to diverse learners, including those with learning disabilities (such as dyslexia), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The unique populations of students at Landmark College inform and guide our research interests. 

  • Through federal and foundation grants, LCIRT works to discover and disseminate knowledge and evidence-based practices on learning diversity. 
  • We conduct additional research projects in partnership with Landmark College faculty, staff, and students as well as with outside partners.
  • We offer several student research opportunities, including partnerships with graduate students who are conducting LD research, as well as apprenticeships and assistantships for Landmark College undergraduates.

The results of our research are presented through numerous publications and presentations. LCIRT also hosts bi-annual meetings of our Research Advisory Panel, a think tank of nationally recognized educators, researchers, neuroscientists, and entrepreneurs in the field of learning differences.

Federal and Foundation Grants

Revealing the Invisible: Data-Intensive Research to Optimize STEM Learning (2014-17)

Landmark College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Technical Education Research Centers (TERC) were awarded a $1.16 million National Science Foundation (NSF-DIR) grant titled “Revealing the Invisible: Data-Intensive Research Using Cognitive, Psychological, and Physiological Measures to Optimize STEM Learning.” 

This research project will study ways to measure how and when students learn basic physics concepts while playing an educational digital game called “Impulse” (pictured at right). The research will include students with and without ADHD and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

Title: "Revealing the Invisible: Data-Intensive Research Using Cognitive, Psychological, and Physiological Measures to Optimize STEM Learning.” National Science Foundation logo (image of earth with letters NSF)
Funder: National Science Foundation
Award Number:1417456
Total Award Amount: $1.16 million
Landmark College Award Amount: $270,363
Funding Period:  2014 - 2017
PIs: Dr. Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki (Award# 1417456), Dr. Micah Altman of MIT (Award# 1418122), Dr. Jodi Asbell-Clarke of TERC (Award# 1417967))
Co-PI: Dr. Elizabeth Rowe of TERC
Research Associate: Dr. Zachary Alstad

Project Summary

Dr. Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki, a research and education specialist with the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT), will lead this two-and-a-half-year research initiative as the principal investigator from Landmark College, together with Dr. Micah Altman of MIT and Dr. Jodi Asbell-Clarke of TERC.This research project will study ways to measure how and when students learn basic physics concepts while playing an educational digital game called Impulse. The research will include students with and without ADHD and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Patterns of play and eye-tracking data will be used to assess what students know and when they know it, and to allow the game to adapt in real time to improve student learning. 

“This project is important because it can help us understand how best to teach those students who struggle the most in mainstream learning environments,” said Dahlstrom-Hakki. “If we can develop more effective ways of helping them learn, then we will improve outcomes for all struggling students.” 

Dr. Dahlstrom-Hakki is an expert in eye tracking analysis methodologies and together with Dr. Zachary Alstad will work with participants at Landmark College. Dr. Micah Altman of MIT is an accomplished computer scientist and expert of big data analysis which will be necessary for exploring the vast amount of data this study will produce. Furthermore, Dr. Jodi Asbell-Clarke and Dr. Elizabeth Rowe of TERC have extensive experience in development of educational games and analysis of complex player behavior. The combination of these strengths allows this team to address the unique challenges presented by this problem space.

You can find out more about the educational game Impulse on the game maker's website.

Findings

Year 1: Findings for the first year have indicated several insights into the complexity of performing research of this nature. This research team continues to collaborate to create new tools for understanding how people learn while using educational software. In the future, there is the possibility of including even more advanced measures, including analysis of electrodermal response, EEG information, temperature and heart rate activity as students use these tools.


Project Team


Dr. Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki of Landmark College 

Headshot of Dr. Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki

Dr. Micah Altman of MIT

Image of Dr. Micah Altman holding microphone

Dr. Jodi Asbell-Clarke of TERC

Headshot of Dr. Jodi Asbell-Clarke

Dr. Elizabeth Rowe of TERC

Headshot of Dr. Elizabeth Rowe

Dr. Zachary Alstad 

Headshot of Dr. Zachary Alstad

 

 


National Science Foundation logo (image of earth with letters NSF)

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1417456

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.

 

 


Synchronous Versus Asynchronous On-Line Discussions for Students with Disabilities (2014-17)

Landmark College students and professor at table working on laptopsLCIRT has received a $486,970 National Science Foundation (NSF-REAL) award for a proposal entitled "Social Presence During Instructor Mediated Synchronous Versus Asynchronous On-Line Discussions: A Study of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities Learning Statistics."

This study will consider how well students with learning disabilities, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) learn concepts in an online statistics course when the instructor participates in real-time (synchronous) online discussions with the students as opposed to asynchronous discussions. 

Title: "Synchronous Versus Asynchronous On-Line Discussions for Students with Disabilities”National Science Foundation logo (image of earth with letters NSF)
Funder: National Science Foundation
Award Number: 1420198
Award Amount: $486,970
Funding Period:  2014 - 2017 
PI:  Dr. Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki
Co-PI:  Dr. Manju Banerjee
Faculty Associate: Kevin Keith, M.A.  
Research Associate: Dr. Zachary Alstad

Project Description 

Since online learning is a vast and growing enterprise around the world, this research has the potential to help colleges and universities design online courses that work better for students who learn differently. Currently, many online classes use an asynchronous format, wherein students will individually comment on material and participate in a relatively unconnected way. It is not yet clear as to who this works for and why. This need for further research is part of the rationale for this study. 

Dr. Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki, a Senior Academic Researcher at Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT), and Dr. Manju Banerjee, Vice President for Educational Research and Innovation and Director of LCIRT, lead this three-year research initiative. Kevin Keith, Landmark College mathematics and computer science professor, and the rest of the College’s math department provide instructional support. Research Associate Zachary Alstad adds data collection and analysis support to this study.

Findings

Year 1: Initial findings indicated the effectiveness of synchronous online interactions when compared to similar, asynchronous educational environments for students who learn differently. It is also clear that there are still more trials necessary before conclusions can be made. Interestingly, students in the study seem to prefer synchronous compared to asynchronous discussions. 

Project Team

Dr. Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki, Project Director/Principal Investigator 

Headshot of Dr. Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki

Dr. Dahlstrom-Hakki is the Principal Investigator of this project and is involved in each step of this project. He is responsible for project management, is involved in content and materials development, collecting and analyzing data, as well as the dissemination of findings. 


Dr. Manju Banerjee, Co-Project Director/Principal Investigator 

Headshot of Dr. Manju Banerjee

​Dr. Banerjee is the Co-Principal Investigator of this project and is involved in all aspect of the project. She supports the PI in managing this project, is involved in content and materials development, analyzing data, as well as the dissemination of findings.


Dr. Zachary Alstad, Research Associate

Headshot of Dr. Zachary Alstad

Dr. Alstad’s responsibilities for the grant included extraction of data from online course management software and video capture software. He has also assisted with the qualitative components of the data analysis including focus groups and video coding models. Dr. Alstad will continue to support all aspect of the project including instrument preparation, data collection, data analysis, and dissemination.

Kevin Keith, M.A., Faculty Associate

Headshot of Kevin Keith

Mr. Keith is a professor of mathematics at Landmark College and teaches all sections of statistics involved in this project. He has developed the classroom content and supported the team in selecting appropriate instruments. Mr. Keith is also assisting with the interpretation of research findings and will support dissemination activities.

Other Researchers Supporting This Project

External Evaluator

Dr. Eleazar Vasquez, Associate Professor, College of Human Education and Performance, University of Florida.

Advisory Board Members

Dr. James Basham: Associate Professor, Department of Special Education & Center for Research on Learning, University of Kansas.

Dr. Jinfa Cai: Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences and School of Education, University of Delaware.

Dr. Noel Gregg: Distinguished Research Professor, Associate Dean of Research, College of Education, University of Georgia.

Dr. Cliff Konold: Director, Scientific Reasoning Research Institute, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Megan Mocko: Master Lecturer, Statistics Department, University of Florida.

Dr. Michael Shaughnessy: Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Statistics, Portland State University.

 


National Science Foundation logo (image of earth with letters NSF)This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1420198

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.

 


Interdisciplinary Coaching as a Nexus for Transforming How Institutions Support Undergraduates in STEM (iCAN)

Landmark College and the University of Central Florida (UCF) were recently awarded a $249,784  National Science Foundation (NSF-IUSE:EHR) grant entitled "Interdisciplinary Coaching as a Nexus for Transforming How Institutions Support Undergraduates in STEM (iCAN)." 

Landmark College has developed a highly successful portfolio of supports for their students. This project will determine and identify the supports that are the most efficacious. These supports will then be digitized and piloted with students with disabilities in STEM majors at UCF. The overarching goal is to enhance persistence and performances for all students in STEM majors. The two year grant is part of NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) solicitation. 

Title:"Interdisciplinary Coaching As a Nexus for Transforming how Institutions Support Undergraduates in STEM (iCAN)"National Science Foundation logo (image of earth with letters NSF)
Funder: National Science Foundation
Award Number: 1505202
Award Amount: $249,784
Funding Period:  2015 - 2017 
PI:  Dr. Matthew Marino
Co-PIs: Dr. Brian Moore, Dr. Eleazar Vasquez, Dr. Manu Banerjee    

Project Description 

A significant need exists to increase the number of STEM majors from underrepresented populations who are entering the STEM workforce. Nationally, fewer than 40% of undergraduates who intend to major in a STEM field complete a STEM degree. Traditional institutional reform efforts focus on system-level changes in instructor behaviors and supports. Unfortunately, current institutional reform efforts have not had an immediate wide-scale impact on the attrition rate of STEM majors. This project will examine how practicing in-service teachers can use mobile technologies to coach undergraduates in STEM majors who have executive functioning difficulties (e.g., higher order cognitive abilities such as planning, problem resolution, and mental flexibility) so that they can successfully complete introductory STEM coursework.

The "Interdisciplinary Coaching As a Nexus for Transforming how Institutions Support Undergraduates in STEM (iCAN)" is an exploratory project that will occur over two years. iCAN is a hybrid model of supports that relies on team coaching and mobile technologies (e.g., tablets & smartphones) to help undergraduates achieve executive function abilities that are critical to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) success. The project team will systematically investigate how a successful model for enhancing undergraduate STEM learning and persistence at Landmark, a small rural college in Vermont, can be migrated to the University of Central Florida, which is the second largest university in the United States. The project benefits both the graduate student teachers and undergraduate STEM majors. It also provides practicing teachers with insights regarding how to better prepare students to be successful in STEM majors at the undergraduate level. If this program proves as effective as expected, it will enhance STEM learning, persistence, and entry into the STEM workforce for all undergraduate students, particularly those with executive function deficits

Findings

Finding from the project will be available for dissemination as soon as they are available. 

Project Team

Dr. Matthew Marino

Headshot of Dr. Matthew Marino

Dr. Manju Banerjee

Headshot of Dr. Manju Banerjee

Dr. Brian Moore

Headshot of Dr. Brian Moore

Dr. Eleazar Vasquez

Headshot of Dr. Eleazar Vasquez

 


National Science Foundation logo (image of earth with letters NSF)This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1505202

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.

 


NSF-REU: Research Experience for Undergraduates (2014-17)

Dr. Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki leads a workshop

On September 8th, 2015 Landmark College received a $6,500 National Science Foundation (NSF-REU) supplemental grant to the ongoing project entitled "Social Presence During Instructor Mediated Synchronous Versus Asynchronous On-Line Course Discussions: A Study of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities Learning Statistics.”

This funding will allow LCIRT to hire two Landmark College students as Research Assistants to support the work of the project and to provide the students with valuable research experiences in STEM.

Title:"REU Supplement: Social Presence During Instructor Mediated Synchronous Versus Asynchronous On-Line Course Discussions: A Study of Undergraduate National Science Foundation logo (image of earth with letters NSF)Students with Disabilities Learning Statistics"
Funder: National Science Foundation
Award Number: 1550422
Award Amount: $6,500
Funding Period:  2014 - 2017
PI:  Dr. Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki
​Co-PI: Dr. Manju Banerjee 

Project Description

This funding offers a unique opportunity to provide relevant research experiences to Landmark College students. The supplemental funding strengthens the underlying research project while providing quality mentorship and guidance to Landmark College students who are interested in STEM careers. The proposal supports the College’s strategic plan to expand STEM research and scientific learning opportunities for Landmark College students, and paves the way for more student engagement in research for students at Landmark College in STEM. 


National Science Foundation logo (image of earth with letters NSF)

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1550422

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.

In addition to federally funded awards, LCIRT works with charitable foundations to provide access to unique learning opportunities for students as well as to explore novel methods for improving learning in students with LD, ADHD, and ASD. 

The Morgan Le Fay Center

A $1 million gift from noted economist Paul McCulley established the Morgan Le Fay Center for Advances in Economics, Business, and Entrepreneurship Education at Landmark College in 2014. The Center supports the development and refinement of a progressive pedagogy for Landmark College students in the fields of economics, business, and entrepreneurship, as well as research, training, and related innovations for educators in the field of learning difficulties (LD).

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