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Research Projects

See below for a list of recent LCIRT research projects.

  • The proposed aims to examine the phenomenon of mind wandering—going off-task to internally think about something else—during educational activities in a sample of neurodivergent (defined here as individuals diagnosed with ADHD, learning disability, or autism spectrum disorder) college students. Mind wandering is typically considered a negative trait that interrupts learning and education. However, for neurodivergent students, mind wandering may in fact have positive outcomes, such as providing opportunities for divergent thinking or creative problem solving. This study plans to examine mind wandering in an ecologically valid (classroom) setting with neurodivergent students as they read an assigned course reading. While they are reading the text, students will receive thought probes to assess if the student is off-task, along with other qualities of their thoughts (e.g., meta-awareness of their own thinking, and sticky thoughts). As they read, we will monitor their interaction with webcam based gaze tracking (with no identifying information collected), and interaction logging, to understand the signatures of mind wandering. Following the study, students will complete a short post assessment. We will examine the relationship between the content of students’ thoughts and their learning to help design ways to keep students focused and aware of their own thinking. 

    Landmark College Researchers: Dr. Rick Bryck

  • Limited research exists about disabled college students with adoption and/or foster care backgrounds. What is known is that disabled students, adopted students, and students who have been in the foster care system each have lower college graduation rates than their peers (Anderman et al., 2021; Dworsky & Perez, 2010; Newman et al., 2011).  Moreover, students who share more than one of these identities can have even lower graduation rates (Dworsky & Perez, 2010). This research seeks to understand the college transition experiences and the development of a sense of college belonging among one group of college students with disabilities—neurodivergent students—and their experiences being adopted and/or in foster care. Thematic analysis is used to identify themes associated with their experiences and strategies that they believe would support their transition to college and development of a sense of belonging. 

    Landmark College Researchers: Dr. Adam Lalor, Kelly O'Ryan, Marc Thurman, and Zoe Feil 

  • 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

     

  • 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

  • The purpose of this study is to investigate the range of mindsets that first-year undergraduate students with learning disabilities, ADHD, and/or autism have towards math and science. Data on students’ mindsets towards math and science, beliefs on science intelligence and on the personal attributes that contribute to successful in science courses, their personal understandings of their identity as students with disability will be collected. Mindset data will be collected through existing batteries and the remainder of data will be collected using open-ended prompts. The participants will be recruited from four different universities/colleges and must intend to major in a field of science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). Through inductive thematic coding, content analysis, and ANOVA, we will analyze data to identify potential relationships between participants’ mindsets towards math/science and their personal understandings of their identity as students with learning disabilities/differences.

    Landmark College Researchers: Dr. Rick Bryck and Dr. Adam Lalor in collaboration with Dr. Stephen Podowitz-Thomas, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Jefferson University

  • This project is part of a large National Science Foundation (NSF) INCLUDES grant, a network of 27 postsecondary schools that form The Alliance of Students with Disabilities for Inclusion, Networking, and Transition Opportunities in STEM (TAPDINTO-STEM).

    The mission of this program is to enhance existing academic and social practices that address bias and discrimination in STEM disciplines, in order to widen pathways for persons with disabilities. The program will include: student mentoring, internships and research experiences in STEM, along with opportunities for students to participate in conferences and graduate fairs. It will also include professional development for STEM faculty, as well as capacity building for partner institution.

    TAPDINTO-STEM aims to contribute to the knowledge base on broadening participation in STEM. Participating students and faculty will participate in research, as to be co-determined by partners in the program. Participating students will have increased opportunities for research and work internships. Students with will also be encouraged to present at research conferences.

    Landmark College Researchers: Dr. Rick Bryck and Dr. Brian Young

  • 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

  • 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, Kelly O’Ryan, Fabio Arnaldo Ayala, and Marc Thurman

  • 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

  • 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 Kelly O’Ryan

  • 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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