University of Phoenix researchers in education presented their findings during the recent Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) International Convention held in Chicago and virtually November 2- 6, 2021. In response to the massive changes impacting education in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to an increased emphasis on remote learning and virtual classrooms, the conference theme was Homecoming (Homestaying): A Return to Learning through Innovation.

Conference speakers like the presenters from University of Phoenix demonstrated new technology and applications for remote teaching, presented related research and led workshops to share best practices.

University of Phoenix Researchers on the Cutting Edge of Education and Technology

The 14 researchers from University of Phoenix who presented at AECT represented the College of Doctoral Studies’ Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR). This team has played a vital role in developing technology advances for accommodating remote learning during the pandemic.

The researchers presented on three topics undertaken in the CEITR labs: Strategies for Enhancing Students’ Online Work Skills Post-Pandemic; COVID-19 Impacts on College Nursing Students and Nursing Faculty; and RTD-Immersive Virtual Reality in STEM Education. The studies speak directly to efforts at the CEITR lab to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the ability of teachers to instruct and students to learn and collaborate in a virtual classroom. Topics also covered how curriculum and teaching methods can be improved to make virtual learning environments more effective.

Mansureh Kebritchi, Ph.D., University Research Chair of the CEITR noted that higher education has undergone a transformation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, research was needed to make sense of the changes and how best to accommodate online learners, an approach that University of Phoenix, as an online institution, was uniquely positioned to do. “As scholar practitioners, we feel the responsibility of conducting applied research with immediate implications to resolve the disruption,” Kebritchi said. “Our focus is on investigating innovative strategies to improve our educational systems and better serve learners, instructors and society.”

How the CEITR Is Helping to Guide Best Online Education Practices

The CEITR at University of Phoenix is creating an advanced community of learning by leading with research. The center has two core missions. The first is to advance the professional development of its members through enhanced research skills and support for their research, practice and teaching. The second is to advance contributions to the field of education by focusing on three major research tracks: the quality of teaching and learning, the challenges surrounding online education and global trends in online education.

CEITR not only forms and supports a network of researchers but also nurtures them into scholar practitioners through a system focused on a spiral cycle of practice, teach, research and reflect. In each cycle, students begin by applying their knowledge in the workplace. Next, they rely on their knowledge and experience to provide instruction. After teaching, they conduct research related to problems encountered in their practice. Finally, they reflect on what they have learned from their research. This cycle continues its spiral throughout a scholar practitioner’s educational journey and may, in fact, continue to repeat throughout their careers.

CEITR Addresses the COVID-19 Crisis

In response to the  COVID-19 crisis, CEITR researchers undertook studies to help determine how the pandemic had impacted schools, educators, students and parents at K-12 schools and beyond. In doing so, they looked at a number of timely topics such as the benefits and drawbacks of synchronous, or real time, face-to-face teaching as well as asynchronous teaching that relies on students to self-direct while following a prescribed course schedule. Researchers at the CEITR also studied best practices for transitioning quickly into online teaching from classroom-based education, explored strategies for homeschooling and studied the impact of social distancing on conducting research. 

It was fitting that the AECT 2021 International Convention was held in a hybrid format for the first time in the organization’s history as they explored topics related to teaching and remote learning technology in response to the pandemic. 

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. The University offers a range of online degree options including associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs as well as professional certifications all designed to align with the career goals of adult learners.

The College of Doctoral Studies at University of Phoenix offers degree programs in a number of high-growth career areas including healthcare, business and education. Students and researchers work with organizations to conduct studies that can be applied in the workplace in real time. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning and Career Services for Life® help University of Phoenix students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit