In the area of Educational Technology, shared data, interdisciplinary collaboration, and implementation of learning analytics, are helping us to create learning environments of the future. We are focused on bringing opportunity to people around the world and creating jobs for the next generation. By integrating emerging and innovative technologies with learning sciences, we are enhancing the educational experiences and outcomes for students everywhere. Together, we are going beyond the limits of technology to reach boundless potential.
For the past several months a team, overseen by Tom Dana, senior associate dean of academic affairs, comprised of website developers, communications staff and graduate student researchers has been working on a statewide repository — a robust back-end web application and an external facing communications website — of distance learning-related research. The initiative is a direct response to the Florida Board of Governor’s 2025 system strategic plan that highlights our State University System as a world leader in the generation of new knowledge about innovative and emerging learning technologies and to provide our university researchers, with the most comprehensive database of current publications.
“This tool has been created for collecting, organizing, curating and communicating the important research in distance learning happening throughout the State University System of Florida,” said Dana. “It is our hope that this tool helps to build on a shared knowledge of the field of online learning and allows for collaboration and amplification of the great work of Florida researchers.”
The project is also aimed at connecting external colleagues, academic and
non-academic, with the high-caliber research being conducted across the state. By engaging these audiences we hope to increase the potential for commercialization and licensing, at UF and across the state, for educational technology applications that can have a positive impact beyond the research setting.
Once complete, the repository will update automatically with the most current research, but also provide value through email newsletters and webinars designed to inform and engage audiences from across the state.
“It is our hope that this tool helps to build on a shared knowledge of the field of online learning and allows for collaboration and amplification of the great work of Florida researchers.”
Tom Dana, Ph.D.
Senior Associate Dean
The educational technology department is already a prominent fixture at the college. Its programs and faculty are recognized in a variety of ways — from department and program rankings to national faculty and student awards — and the enrollment in its array of programming continues to grow, despite rigorous selectivity and constantly evolving coursework.
Now, in preparation for the great endeavor of creating the future, college leadership have been recruiting for key faculty positions to lead the charge. Educational technology faculty expanded by three in 2018 with the addition of Maya Israel, Dongho Kim and Bojan Lazarevic and, this year, Matthew Schmidt and Wanli Xing were added to the rosters as part of the forthcoming Institute for Advanced Learning Technologies (IALT).
“Recruiting preeminent and diverse talent to the college is one of the greatest services we can provide to the university and the community,” said Ellen Young, HR generalist. “Attaining UF’s goal to being ranked among the top-five public universities in the country is in the forefront, and I am elated to witness the role the college will have in this large endeavor.”
These five additions are part of the massive growth the college has experienced over the last three years, adding 45 faculty members since 2017. This recruitment strategy has two ends: 1) to support the university’s efforts to improve the faculty-to- student ratio (a measure in university rankings by U.S. News and World Report) and 2) to help usher in a new era at the College of Education.
Dean Glenn Good has been known to talk about transforming education. It’s a central theme to the college’s mission and a positioning statement about what drives faculty, students and staff in the area of educational technology.
“We’re focused on re-envisioning how learning is occurring in the online and hybrid space now,” Good said recently in the UF Office of Research’s Explore magazine, “so we can figure out what learning is going to look like 15 years from now.”
It’s with that mindset that faculty and leadership are working to establish the Institute for Advanced Learning Technology (IALT). In addition to the creation of cutting-edge labs, the institute will formalize the college’s leadership role in developing and disseminating advanced learning technologies that improve learning outcomes, on an international scale. Additional benefits include increased federal grant, tech transfer and licensing, publications and awards, and increased master’s and doctoral student enrollment and student success.
Research, development and distribution of innovative learning technologies, including software, algorithms and applications, will position UF as a leader in the educational technology field. These technologies promise to provide precision, optimized learning experiences enabling successful content mastery for all learners ranging from early childhood through adulthood.
When some people close their eyes and think about the future, they see flying cars and life on the moon. Those are certainly possibilities, but to get there we have to address the education of tomorrow, first.
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