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Faculty Collaborates on New NSF Grants in Education

Antonio Gutierrez, a new assistant professor in the College of Education, Department of Curriculum, Foundations and Reading, is part of two newly funded grants from the National Science Foundation totaling $950,000. Both grants concern issues surrounding different aspects of teaching and learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The first grant seeks to increase the number of students with disabilities participating in high school computer science courses. According to Gutierrez, about 13 percent of K-12 students are identified as having disabilities but the majority of these students are intellectually able to learn computational thinking and programming. “The problem is that this group is terribly underrepresented in these types of courses and only about 1 percent of computer science doctorates are awarded to students who have disabilities,” Gutierrez said.  The goal of the project, called Access CS10K, is to increase the successful participation of students with disabilities in Exploring Computer Science (ESC) and Computer Science Principles (CSP) courses through educator professional development and the development of curricula and tools for students with disabilities in those courses.

The second NSF grant uses learning management systems (LMS) software and research on learning to identify and improve STEM undergraduates’ learning behaviors, motivations and outcomes. “This grant is particularly interesting because it looks at ways to improve understanding of the cognitive, metacognitive and motivational factors that influence undergraduate STEM learning outcomes using unobtrusive, technology-driven methods,” Gutierrez said. In addition, he said the study will test whether direct strategy instruction and motivational interventions embedded in a LMS can improve student learning, produce behavior-based early warning system that predicts student outcomes and will test for differential effects for women and members of underrepresented minority groups.

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COE Assistant Professor Antonio Gutierrez, Curriculum, Foundations and Reading.

Gutierrez helped write the winning grant proposals and will serve as a consultant on both projects. He came to Georgia Southern University from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was a grant writer and coordinator of the Center for Mathematics, Science and Engineering Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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