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Research Projects

UniVRSal Access: Broadening Participation in Informal STEM Learning through Virtual Reality (2020 – present)

Screenshot image from the UniVRSal research projectLCIRT is collaborating with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based nonprofit TERC, which received a $750,000 National Science Foundation grant to improve STEM-based learning for students with autism. The project uses virtual reality (VR) technology to increase access and broaden participation by students with autism in learning in STEM fields. LC’s involvement will largely take place in the first year of the project. Dr. Manju Banerjee is working with LC students and TERC partners to help develop the prototype of a VR STEM-learning experience called Mission to Europa Prime. Students will co-design puzzles and user interfaces that support learners with sensory, attention and social issues that will eventually be expanded into a full, immersive STEM-based mystery game. The participatory design process will ensure the VR experience is designed to reduce barriers that currently exclude learners with autism and related conditions from many informal learning opportunities. Each student is receiving $500 per semester for their participation in the design of the game.

Landmark College Researcher: Dr. Manju Banerjee

CueThinkEF+: Scaffolding Executive Function Via Metacognition and Problem-Solving

This project is a collaboration with an educational technology company, CueThink, to implement their web-based instructional software with a large sample of schools and to test its effectiveness at improving mathematics outcomes. The software uses Universal Design components to scaffold executive function (EF), metacognition, and student discourse to aide problem solving in mathematics. The design of the platform and math problems are proactively planned to pay attention to equity. The research will center on changes over time in EF skill (inhibition, WM, flexibility), metacognitive awareness, and mathematical proficiency as a function of use/efficiency of CueThinkEF+. Dr. Bryck will serve as a Co-PI on the project and lead the development and implementation of data collection, measurement, and analysis. Read more here. 

Landmark College Researcher: Dr. Rick Bryck

Behavioral Studies of Individual Differences in Visual Cognition (2020 – present)

The Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) has partnered with the Dartmouth Autism Research Initiative (DARI) run by Dr. Caroline Robertson to gather behavioral testing data from autistic participants while they perform a battery of visual tests using virtual reality goggles. The aim of this project is to collect empirical measures to gain a deeper understanding of how Autistic people process and remember visual information. A Landmark College student is serving as an undergraduate research assistant for this project.

Landmark College Researchers: Dr. Rick Bryck and Dr. Adam Lalor

Visual Bayesian Reasoning (2020 – present)

The Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) is collaborating with the UMASS-Amherst Psychology and Education departments to examine the use of visuals to teach Bayesian statistics to neurodiverse learners. Landmark College students are being recruited to participant in a research study. Participants view a presentation from a UMASS researcher where statistical probability problems are demonstrated. During some of the problems, a novel, visual method for solving the probability questions is shown. Participants are asked to both solve problems and explain their reasoning during their problem-solving process. The novel visual solution is hypothesized to be a more universal way of accessing complex statistical reasoning.

Landmark College Researchers: Dr. Rick Bryck and Dr. Adam Lalor

Updating the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Professional Standards and Code of Ethics (2020 – Present)

The Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) is collaborating with researchers from the University of Connecticut, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, and the AHEAD national office to conduct studies to update the AHEAD Professional Standards and Code of Ethics. AHEAD is the primary professional association for postsecondary disability services professionals and has an international membership. To update the AHEAD Professional Standards, the Delphi method is being used to bring a group of experts in the field to consensus on standards important to disability services work. To update the AHEAD Code of Ethics, a focus group is being used to collect perspectives on ethical statements critical to the work of disability services professionals.

Landmark College Researcher: Dr. Adam Lalor

Critical Perspectives on Disability Documentation in Higher Education: Current Trends and Observations

The role of disability documentation in establishing eligibility for disability status, special education services, and accommodations has waxed and waned in the last two decades. At one time, referral for evaluation and the resulting disability documentation were essential prerequisites in establishing special education services and accommodations. Appropriate documentation describing the disability resulted in legal protections (National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities, 2007). Without this documentation, individuals were ineligible for a host of work-related and educational accommodations and support services. But now legal, research-based, and educational perspectives are informing a new approach to the use and importance of disability documentation. This article presents critical and differing perspectives which build on observed trends and practices in disability documentation requirements and accommodation decision-making.

Landmark College Researchers: Dr. Manju Banerjee and Dr. Adam Lalor

A Survey of Postsecondary Disability Service Website Information

Websites of disability services offices in postsecondary institutions serve as an outward facing platform for disability related policies and protocols. Thus, these sites are an important source of information for current students, as well as prospective students and their parents. This is especially true in regard to requirements related to disability documentation, which can serve as the foundation for accommodation decisions. The present study examined disability documentation information on the websites of 299 postsecondary institutions, split evenly across doctoral, master’s, baccalaureate and associate institutions. While 89% of the schools mentioned disability documentation, there was variation in regard to the specific guidelines used, documentation recency expectations, and how students are expected to request and access services. Implications are addressed for both disability services personnel and students seeking services.

Landmark College Researchers: Dr. Manju Banerjee and Dr. Adam Lalor

Reach One Teach One Evaluation (2020 – Present)

The Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) is collaborating with members of Landmark College’s Student Affairs division to conduct a qualitative evaluation of the Reach One Teach One (ROTO) program at the College. The Reach One Teach One (ROTO) is a college mentorship program seeking to support, guide, and empower current and incoming African American students as they transition not only to college, but also to a predominantly white institution. This project is intended to explore the experiences of African American students enrolled in this pilot program to better understand how the program is unfolding from the perspective of ROTO participants. This study will specifically explore the participant’s experience with the program, experiences accessing established academic and social-emotional supports, and their overall sense of belonging via a focus group.

Landmark College Researchers: Dr. Adam Lalor, Dean Kelly O’Ryan, Fabio Arnaldo Ayala, and Marc Thurman

A National Investigation of Disability Services Response to COVID-19 (2019 – 2020)

The Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) conducted a study of 212 colleges and universities from around the nation to better understand the experiences of disability services offices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating institutions represented varying institution types (i.e., doctoral universities, master’s colleges, baccalaureate colleges, and associate’s colleges), control (i.e., public vs private), sizes, and disability services foci (i.e., compliance, service, comprehensive) from different geographic regions. Data was collected on a number of topics ranging from accommodation provision to resource allocation and staffing to lessons learned. The results of this study depict a disability services field that is nimble and able to respond to the changing needs and realities of our students and our world. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that disability services offices will continue to provide services and access to students with disabilities regardless of how higher education is delivered.

Landmark College Researchers: Dr. Adam Lalor and Dr. Manju Banerjee

Evaluation of the Green Dot Active Bystander Training (2019 – Present)

Greendot Logo

The Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) is collaborating with members of Landmark College’s Student Affairs division to evaluate the efficacy of the Green Dot active bystander training for neurodiverse college students. The Green Dot model “relies on the premise that if everyone does their small part and commits to individual responsibility, the combined effect is a safe campus culture that is intolerant of violence.” This research project uses a pre/post survey to assess impacts on bystander efficacy and intentions to intervene, as well as on rape myth acceptance.

Landmark College Researchers: Dr. Adam Lalor and Dean Kelly O’Ryan

Effects of Nature Exposure on Mood and Cognition in Students (2020 – Present)

Man walking and balancing on top of sandstone hillStudents who learn differently (LD) typically report heightened anxiety levels and reduced subjective well-being, compared to their neuroatypical peers. Additionally, documented executive function challenges abound among these students. Emerging evidence indicates relatively brief exposures to nature can have beneficial effects on both mood and cognition (particularly executive function), as measured by self-report, behavioral, and physiological measures. This project proposes measuring Landmark College students’ perceived well-being, mood, and executive function ability before and after walks in urban versus natural settings. Little is known about the potential benefits of nature exposure to students with learning challenges, despite the potential positive benefits it may confer on students. Read more on our blog page

Landmark College Researcher: Dr. Rick Bryck

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