Research Staff

Kui Xie – Cyphert Distinguished Professor & Lab Director | . . . .
Dr. Kui Xie is Cyphert Distinguished Professor and program chair of Learning Technologies in Department of Educational Studies at The Ohio State University (OSU). He is the founding director of The Research Laboratory for Digital Learning. He earned his Ph.D. in Instructional Psychology and Technology from University of Oklahoma. He is a member of the editorial board for Internet and Higher Education, Contemporary Educational Psychology, and Journal of Educational Psychology. Nationally he served chair for American Educational Research Association(AERA) SIG Design and Technology and SIG Instructional Technology, and section chair for AERA Division C Section 3.A. Learning Environments and Section 3.B. Technology-Supported Environments. In 2015, Xie was named the Ted and Lois Cyphert Distinguished Professor. In 2017, Xie received the EHE Distinguished Research Award from The Ohio State University. He also received a Chang Jiang Scholar Award from the Chinese Ministry of Education. His research interests include: computer-supported collaborative learning, motivation and human cognition, learning analytics and social network analysis, artificial intelligence in education, instructional design and development, problem solving and scaffolding, and technology integration in teaching and educational research.

Vanessa Vongkulluksn – Postdoctoral Researcher & School-based Research Lead | .
Vanessa Vongkulluksn holds a Ph.D. degree in Urban Education Policy from the University of Southern California, with a concentration in Educational Psychology and Quantitative Methods. She has focused her research on examining factors that impact learning and motivation in technology-integrated contexts. Her additional research interests include the development of digital literacy skills and their influence on children’s academic motivation and achievement in technology-rich learning environments. She has over five years of experience in school-based research and statistical analyses of data related to learning, cognition, and motivation.

Faculty Affiliates

David Stein

David Stein – Associate Professor | .
Dr. David Stein is an associate professor of adult and distance education at The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology. He directs the minor in Virtual Teaching and develops online courses with a focus on the virtual classroom and adult learning. His main area of interest investigates how distance learning technologies can enhance and improve the design and delivery of online learning experiences. Dr. Stein has been recognized and regarded throughout the higher education community as a lead developer of institutional online and distance learning, including the 2014 finalist award from the National University Technology Network, the 2013 Imogene Oakes Award for Outstanding Research in Adult Education from The American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, the 2012 Best Research Paper Award from the National University Technology Network, and the 2012 Shauna Schullo Award for Best Distance Teaching Practices at the Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning.

Graduate Research Associates

Lin Lu – Ph.D. Candidate | . .
Lin Lu earned her bachelor’s degree in Educational Technology from Beijing Normal University, China. Her academic interests include student motivation and engagement in online learning, online collaborative learning, analytics-supported virtual learning environment building, and technical supports and improvement for qualitative studies.

Sheng-Bo Chen – Ph.D. Candidate | .
Sheng-Bo’s research interests are students’ Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) in online learning, Learning Analytics (LA), Learning Management System (LMS) development, and Data/Information Visualization (InfoVis). He has taught User Interface (UI) Design, Front-end and Back-end Web Development (Full-Stack Web Development), Database, and Object-Oriented System Analysis and Design in Taiwanese universities, computer training schools, and online for 10+ years. He received his M.S. degree in Multimedia Design from National Taichung University of Science and Technology (Taiwan) and B.A. degree in Applied Japanese from Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology.

Nathan Hawk – Ph.D. Candidate | .
Nathan Hawk earned his Bachelors Degree in mathematics from Carthage College (Kenosha, WI) and Master of Arts in Educational Technology Leadership from The George Washington University. He currently works as a high school instructor in a non-traditional high school setting, primarily serving at-risk students. The school focuses on different distance education instructional models. His research interests include the role of technology and technology integration into K-12 education and online learning, STEM, technology professional development, the role of technology for at-risk students and the role of instructional technology in charter schools.

Mike Nelson – Ph.D. Candidate | .
Mike is a Tillman Scholar and an Education and Human Ecology Dissertation Fellow. After earning his B.A. in Education at the University of Michigan and completing a tour in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps, he taught high school English language arts and debate for five years while earning his M.Ed. in Instruction and Curriculum at Grand Valley State University. For his capstone project, he created an online digital citizenship curriculum that was used by the two Catholic high schools in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His current research interests include technology in teacher education, teacher beliefs, and project-based learning.

Joni Tornwall – Ph.D. Candidate | .
Joni Tornwall, MEd, RN, is Manager of Instructional Services in the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University. She earned a Bachelor of Nursing degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. She began her career as an operating room nurse and gradually moved into higher education as a teacher in the health sciences and instructional designer. After earning a master’s degree in Higher Education from Ohio University, she took the role of eLearning Coordinator and Education Lead in the Digital Union at The Ohio State University. She now works in the College of Nursing, assisting nursing faculty with integration of technology into educational experiences in the role of Co-Director of the Academy for Teaching Innovation, Excellence, and Scholarship. Joni has more than 10 years of experience developing and teaching online and face-to-face courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the health professions and education. Joni is a certified Quality Matters trainer and peer reviewer for quality in online courses. She is pursuing a PhD in Learning Technologies at Ohio State and expects to graduate in December 2019. The focus of her dissertation work is peer review and supportive feedback in nursing.

Margaret Bowman – Doctoral Student | .
Margaret Bowman earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Ashland University (Ashland, OH) with a teaching license in Middle Grades Education, and her Master of Education from Tiffin University (Tiffin, OH). She was a middle school Math and Language Arts teacher for 6 years, before joining the Academic Design Department at McGraw-Hill Education in Columbus, Ohio. She currently works as an in the Middle School Mathematics Department, writing and designing digital curriculum. Her research interests include the role of technology and technology integration into K-12 education, professional development needs for technology integration, and gender biases in learning technology.

Zilu Jiang – Doctoral Student | .
Zilu Jiang received her Master’s degree in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Language from Lanzhou University, China. She worked as an online Chinese teacher and course designer in Chinese Teaching Center at the Open University of China 2012-2017 and also served as an online Chinese instructor for American high school students at Confucius Institute at Michigan State University in 2013-2016. She has designed and developed online courses for multiple levels and also involved in the online curriculum design and online flipped classroom research. She was selected as an online Chinese teacher at the STARTALK program at the University of Virginia in 2016. She also provides workshops and teacher training on distance teaching and technologies integration in classrooms. Her current academic interests include instructional design and development, technology integration in teaching and learning. technology-enhanced language learning, and learner’s motivation and engagement in the digital environment.

Mitchell Shortt – Doctoral Student | .
Mitchell Shortt received his bachelor’s degree from The College of Charleston in South Carolina. He subsequently earned an International Management and Marketing from the University of Sheffield and an Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Saint Michael’s College. His research interests include student motivation in digital environments, teaching strategies, game-based learning, and computer-assisted language learning.

Babatunde Akinkuolie – Doctoral Student | .
Babatunde Akinkuolie earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology from the University of Belize in Belize City, Belize. He subsequently received his Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan and an M.B.A from Southern New Hampshire University, New Hampshire. His research interests include Computer-Aided Instruction, Distance Learning, Student-centered learning in digital environments and Technology Integration in Teaching and Learning.

Caglar Sulun

Caglar Sulun – Doctoral Student | .
Caglar Sulun holds an M.A. in Educational Technologies from the Department of Educational Studies at The Ohio State University. He previously earned his bachelor degree in Computer Education and Instructional Technology (CEIT) from Necmettin Erbakan University, Turkey. His research interests include: game-based learning, technology integration in teaching and educational research, integration of traditional and modern education, multimedia design, instructional design and development.

Past Members

Sheng-Lun (Shonn) Cheng | .
Shonn Cheng is an OSU alumna, who completed his doctoral work in 2019. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Jinju Duan | .
Jinju Duan is a visiting scholar for the academic year 2018-2019. She is an associate professor in Faculty of Computer and Information Science at Southwest University.

Xiaoying Li | .
Xiaoying Li was a visiting scholar the academic year 2018-2019. She is currently a doctoral student at East China Normal University.

Xing Li |
Xing Li was a visiting scholar for the academic year 2018-2019. She is currently a doctoral student at Central China Normal University.

Gennaro Di Tosto

Gennaro Di Tosto | . .
Dr. Gennaro Di Tosto was a postdoctoral researcher in the lab from 2016 to 2018. He currently works in the Medical Center at The Ohio State University.

Min Kyu Kim

Min Kyu Kim | . .
Dr. Min Kyu Kim was a postdoctoral researcher in the lab from 2015 to 2016. He currently works as an assistant professor in the Learning Technology Division at Georgia State University.

Young Suk Cho

Young Suk Cho | .
Young Suk Cho was a data scientist in the lab from 2015 to 2017. He is currently working as a senior engineer at Samsung Inc.

Zhiru Sun

Zhiru Sun | .
Dr. Zhiru Sun is an OSU alumna, who completed her doctoral work in 2015. She is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at University of Southern Denmark.

Serkan Izmirli

Serkan Izmirli | .
Dr. Serkan Izmirli was a visiting scholar for the academic year 2015-2016. He is an associate professor at Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University in Turkey.

Ozden Sahin Izmirli

Ozden Sahin Izmirli | .
Dr. Ozden Sahin Izmirli was a visiting scholar for the academic year 2015-2016. She is an associate professor at Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University in Turkey.

Bo Liu

Bo Liu | .
Dr. Bo Liu was a visiting scholar for the academic year 2014-2015. He is an associate professor at South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China.

Guijuan Gao

Guijuan Gao | .
Dr. Guijuan Gao was a visiting scholar for the academic year 2014-2015. She is an associate professor at Tongji University, Shanghai, China.