Mitchell Shortt and Zilu Jiang won 2022 Awards

Congratulations to doctoral students in our lab who recently won significant awards. Mitchell Shortt received the Chair’s Award for Commitment to Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice. Zilu Jiang received the Graduate Teaching Award. These awards fully demonstrate the excellence of these students.

Mitchell Shortt – Chair’s Award for Commitment to Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice

Mitchell Shortt is an excellent young man who is pursuing his Ph.D. with high engagement in learning and research activities and planning to become a college or university professor who can make contributions to the fields of international education, equity, and inclusion. He is an international traveler who lived in nine different countries outside of the United States, including Japan, South Korea, China, Romania, Canada, United Kingdom, and others. Through his international experience, Mitch has witnessed racial discrimination that exists around the world.

I am mixed race and identify as Black. My family lives in a decently sized town in South Carolina called Ladson and are politically split as of the 2016 election. Split would be an appropriate single-word expression of my personal history. My youth was split between Black culture and the dominant culture, my friend groups were split growing up, my father split before I was born, and I split South Carolina after graduating college to live in Japan. After Japan, I went on to live in eight more countries, not counting the USA. While abroad, I have been discriminated against many times and endured each instance. I have been spat on in South Korea (twice), called the N-word in Romania, profiled/searched by Japanese police, and insulted in French by Quebec Canadians. Perhaps the UK was the most accepting, and I found camaraderie with British people of color. The triggering event that led me to pursue this research topic, however, was when another mixed person of color (Latinx and White) at OSU directly and seriously declared that I was not Black enough to identify as a Black male. At the time, I was speechless, but eventually concluded that active racism is still a tremendous threat even within communities of color. My myriad experiences domestically and abroad helped shape my values and are what brought me to my current research interest surrounding online racial discrimination.

Mitch’s dissertation research examines the academic impact of racial discrimination for adolescents in online environments. Examining the nature and the impact of racially discriminatory behaviors brings us the needed understanding of these behaviors and helps to design intervention strategies to prevent racial discrimination and protect our students from such adverse behaviors, especially in online spaces. Mitch is willing to taking the challenge of designing a complex mixed method study in an authentic school setting. He is committed to address such critical and timely issues related to equity, inclusion, and social justice.

Besides his dissertation study, Mitchell Shortt has established a program of research through his involvement in a variety of projects at the Research Laboratory for Digital Learning (, where he has been an active and contributing member for several years. Mitchell has been able to disseminate his scholarly work through peer reviewed publications. He has recently published four journal articles (two as the first and solo author, and two as a supporting author) that focus on language learning technology and international issues. He has been active in presenting at national and international conferences including AERA, AECT, and BERA. In addition, Mitchell is committed to collaborating across departments/programs as evidenced by cooperating as part of Graduate Student Interdisciplinary Research Initiative (GSIRI) with other scholars, such as from Teaching and Learning: Foreign, Second, and Multilingual Education, on a project examining how teachers utilize student feedback. This clearly demonstrates that Mitchell Shortt is an active scholar who is establishing his reputation in the field of Educational Technology.

Zilu Jiang – Graduate Teaching Award

Zilu Jiang is a top-line educator. She has extensive experience in teaching at K-12, undergraduate and graduate levels through her work at The Open University of China, Central China Normal University, Michigan State University, University of Virginia, and here at OSU. She has taught classes both in-person and online.

Zilu has devoted herself wholly to the improvement of the quality of instructional practice in digital technologies. Being an experienced instructor, she has demonstrated her extensive knowledge in integrating interdisciplinary learning theories to guide the design of courses, which includes the theories of distance learning, educational psychology, educational technologies, and language learning.

I am grateful for this recognition. This award motivates me to continue creating opportunities where all students can thrive in the classroom and exploring innovative pedagogies that improve the effectiveness of instructional practice. I believe that education is not just about informing students about the subject content, but also creating meaningful learning experience that helps students to develop skills so that they can take it into the world outside of the class. I want to make sure every student feel seen in the class and I will try my best to support them pursuit their goals. I dedicated the award to my mentors who have inspired me and to my students who have made me grow as an educator.

Known for being approachable, responsive, and encouraging, Zilu has shown great care for every student and kept seeking the potentials to create a meaningful and engaging virtual environment. It would be a true pleasure to observe how Zilu engaged diverse students in active learning.

Zilu is a role model in promoting technology integration practice in classroom. She has a passion in continually exploring the potentials of technology affordance in educational practice. Her knowledge of instructional technology tools is unparalleled. She seems to be a walking encyclopedia of knowledge when it comes to what technology can best facilitate the delivery of instruction. She leveraged the power of technology to create a transformational learning experience for students and explore innovative ways of teaching, such as VR-based discussion and immersive virtual environment-based collaboration. In her class, you will find diverse technology tools that have been implemented to support meaningful interaction, such as using Padlet, Flipgrid, and Kialo in promoting asynchronous discussion or adopting Perusall and Playposit to improve students’ understanding of materials.

Not only has she excelled in improving the learning and teaching process in the courses she taught, she also actively engaged in sharing technology integration with practitioners in different education contexts. Her expertise and commitment to improve the technology integration practice brought her good reputation in the field. She was invited as guest speakers to provide technology integration workshops in the online language teaching forum in Michigan State University and technology-facilitated language learning forum that was hosted in Taiwan Normal University. Her effort in promoting technology integration has undoubtedly contributed to the development of current instructional practice in digital environments.