Research & Scholarship

CNDLS has supported faculty and graduate students with tools, resources, and opportunities for new learning environments since 2000.

CNDLS is home to the scholarship of teaching and learning at Georgetown University, and we are engaged in advanced research on the pedagogical conditions and environments that best help students learn.

Resources for Publishing

Scholarly Publishing at Georgetown is a comprehensive online guide to academic publishing. Supported by Georgetown University Library and the Scholarly Communication Committee, this guide connects users with resources and recommendations for every step of the publication process, from seeking research grants to promoting your work.

Research Projects

ITEL Impact on Teaching & Learning

How do ITEL projects contribute to furthering our knowledge about teaching and learning with technology? How do these projects impact student learning and/or engagement?


GeorgetownX research projects aim to help us better understand how people learn within the open online learning space so that we can make better decisions regarding learning design strategies.

Upcoming Presentation and Paper Submission Opportunities

The 2017 International Technology, Education, and Development Conference

The eleventh annual International Technology, Education, and Development Conference will be held in Valencia, Spain, on March 6–8, 2017. More than 700 delegates from 80 countries attend INTED, which has become a reference event for lecturers, researchers, technologists, and professionals from the education sector.

Visit the conference page for more information (the application deadline was December 1, 2016).

Publications and Presentations

CNDLS Thought Papers

CNDLS Thought Papers, written by CNDLS staff members and affiliates, are short opinion pieces that address forward-looking technologies and trends that are (or will be) impacting the classroom. They reflect the opinions of their authors and are meant to serve as the beginning of a conversation on the pedagogical value of the tools and approaches they address.

Recent Presentations

In December 2016, CNDLS Postdoctoral Researcher David Ebenbach (Center for Jewish Civilization) organized, moderated, and participated in a roundtable discussion on "Self-Authorship in the Writing Classroom: Helping Our Students Find Themselves" published on Sundress Publications. Joined by CNDLS colleague Joselyn Schultz Lewis, Associate Director for Inclusive Teaching and Learning Initiatives, as well as Kathy Flann and West Moss, the roundtable discussed how writing can help students develop self-awareness and thrive after graduation.

CNDLS Executive Director Eddie Maloney, Director of Learning Design and Research Yianna Vovides, Associate Director for Application Development and Systems Integration Marie Selvanadin, Anna Kruse, and Jaime Gonzalez-Capitel, in collaboration with Frank Ambrosio (Philosophy), have been actively pursuing a line of research related to the MyDante platform and the MOOCs that have been hosted on the MyDante platform. In October 2016, they presented on their use of peer-assessed journal entries from the Inferno MOOC to investigate how deeply students engaged with the practice of contemplative reading as part of the Learning with MOOCs III conference in Philadelphia. View the conference poster here.

CNDLS Associate Director for Assessment Mindy McWilliams co-presented a paper on “Reflecting on Reflective Writing Analytics: Assessment Challenges and Iterative Evaluation of a Prototype Tool” at the Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference in Edinburgh, UK, in April 2016. With co-presenters Simon Buckingham Shum, Ágnes Sándor, Rosalie Goldsmith, Xiaolong Wang, and Randall Bass, McWilliams shared her experiences using an innovative analytics tool to assess students’ reflective writing.

Eddie Maloney and CNDLS Director of Faculty Initiatives Maggie Debelius presented on "New Designs in Teaching and Technology-Enhanced Learning" at the annual Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) conference in February 2016. The presentation explored the range of challenges facing Centers for Teaching Excellence and Technology Innovation, using Georgetown as an example, and included a design studio session that asked attendees to explore their institution's biggest teaching and learning challenges and consider how the ACCU community might act as a consortium to help address those issues.

In partnership with Georgetown's Cawley Career Center, Maggie Debelius gave a presentation to graduate students in October 2015 based on the revised edition of her co-authored book, So What Are You Going, to Do with That? Finding Careers Outside Academia. As part of their talk, Debelius and co-author Susan Basalla discussed the hundreds of interviews they conducted with graduate alumni across disciplines to identify post-academic career options for M.A.s and Ph.D.s.

Barrinton Baynes, Multimedia Specialist at Georgetown University's Gelardin New Media Center, presented as part of the "MOOCs and Libraries: A Brewing Collaboration" webinar hosted by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) in August 2015. His talk focused on Georgetown's experience with creating MOOCs, starting with the inception of ITEL and moving on to current projects available on edX. He discussed ways that ITEL project teams, in collaboration with lead faculty members of their respective MOOCs, devised ways of transferring in-class learning experience (requiring tuition and grades) to a cost-free online platform where self-motivation may be the learners’ only incentive for participating. View the presentation slides here, beginning with #23.

Several CNDLS staff members, including Dan Davis, John Hanacek, Susan Pennestri, and Yianna Vovides, worked with Adam Myers and Susan Mulroney (Pharmacology) to write a research paper on their ITEL project "Using Online Materials to Enhance Physiology Teaching," presented in July 2015 at the 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies in Barcelona, Spain. The paper, titled “Capturing, Tracing, and Visualizing the Spread of Technology-Enhanced Instructional Strategies,” was published in the EDULEARN15 Proceedings.

CNDLS Assistant Director for Learning Design and Technologies Susan Pennestri and Instructional Designer Eleri Syverson presented Stacey Kaltman's (Psychiatry) year-long ITEL project “Using Interactive Simulations to Enhance Teaching in Physician-Patient Communication” at the second annual Georgetown University Center for Innovation and Leadership in Education (CENTILE) Colloquium for GUMC Educators in the Health Professions in June 2015. The presentation featured the project team’s efforts to improve existing training methods by developing three online clinical interview simulations to give students practice with patient-centered interviewing skills.

Yianna Vovides, Mindy McWilliams, Rob Pongsajapan, and graduate associates Thomas Youmans, Paige Arthur, and Daniel Davis contributed to a case study of learners' cognitive presence in the GeorgetownX MOOC "Globalization's Winners and Losers: Challenges for Developed and Developing Countries." The team presented their paper, "Examining learners' cognitive presence through linguistic analysis in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)," at the 2015 Learning Analytics & Knowledge conference in March 2015.

Bassem Haddad (GUMC) presented at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics in October 2014. His presentation, "Changing the Landscape of Genomics Education Through a Massive Open Online Course," discussed the development experience of the MOOC and shared data from the cross-disciplinary GeorgetownX MOOC "Genomic Medicine Gets Personal," aimed at training both medical professionals and the general public to interpret genomic information. Members of CNDLS were a part of the team that developed the paper, including Susan Pennestri, Dedra Demaree, and Janet Russel.

Dedra Demaree, Kyle Kuhn and Susan Pennestri presented at The Teaching Professor Technology Conference in October 2014. The presentation, "Creating Online Learning Modules: Attending to Student Affect and Cognition," illustrated key design principles for creating self-directed learning modules using Adobe Captivate 7 and Articulate Storyline. The presentation also addressed ways to create a more connected experience for students and instructors.

Dedra Demaree, Kyle Kuhn, Susan Pennestri, Lucas Regner, Janet Russell, and Yianna Vovides presented at The Teaching Professor Technology Conference in October 2014. Their presentation, "Intimate Online Classrooms: Translating Face-to-Face Experiences to Online Environments," addressed how to successfully translate the face-to-face learning experience to an online environment by engagement with different technologies and pedagogical approaches for re-creating specific experiences in the classroom and online.

In April 2014, Associate Director for Instructional Resources Peter Janssens, Assistant Director of Research and Development Bill Garr, and Nelia Gustafson presented at the Conference on Language, Learning and Culture. Their presentation, "Toward a Partial Hybrid Curriculum for Spanish Lower Level Courses," shared the theoretical underpinnings of a new psycholinguistic model of the L2 learning process. Their presentation demonstrated how technology can be employed via psycholinguistic-based problem-solving tasks to promote deeper learning while maximizing communication in the formal classroom setting.

At the 2014 New Media Consortium Summer Conference, Barrinton Baynes, Alfred Schoeninger, and Ryan Walter shared best practices in MOOC creation from the perspective of an academic digital creator in their presentation, "MOOCs and Me: Georgetown's Experience with edX."

Barrinton Baynes, Susan Martin, Susan Pennestri, Janet Russell, and Yianna Vovides presented "Our Migration Experience to an Online Environment: Challenges, Processes, Outcomes" at the 2015 Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium where they shared their experience re-designing an intensive 4-day face-to-face course into an 8-week online environment for adult learners.

Elad Meshulam, CNDLS graduate associate, presented at the 2014 New Media Consortium Summer Conference and received an award for his video, "What Have We Learned about MOOCs." The video shares CNDLS' best practices in MOOC production and can be viewed at

In February 2012, Marie Selvanadin, Justin Secor, Matthias Oppermann, and Anna Kruse presented Pegasus, CNDLS' ePortfolio tool in development, at ELI's Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. The session, "Social Media ePortfolios", looked at how individual reflection and social reflection could join together in an ePortfolio space.

In January 2012, Susan Pennestri and Janet Russell presented with Susan Clabaugh from the University of Maryland on "Campus-wide Lecture Capture Deployment and Effectiveness"; at the EDUCAUSE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference. 

In December 2009, Eddie Maloney, Theresa Schlafly, and Frank Ambrosio (Philosophy) traveled to Florence, Italy, to present at an international conference sponsored by the Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, Minstero per i Beni e le Attivita Culturali, and the Library of Congress. The paper that they co-wrote with Bill Garr, entitled "My Dante and Ellipsis: Defining the user's role in a virtual reading community," was published in the conference proceedings.

Collaborative Work

Mindy McWilliams, Marie Selvanadin, Bill Garr, Rob Pongsajapan, and Kristin Bolling of IBM worked alongside Betsy Sigman (MSB) to co-author "Visualization of Twitter Data in the Classroom." Published in October 2016 in the Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, this article is based on Sigman's ITEL work focused on integrating real-time big data analysis into the undergraduate business classroom. Sigman will present on this work at the Decision Sciences Institute in November and all six authors are finalists for the 2016 DSI Instructional Innovation Award.

Yianna Vovides, along with Instructional Designer Sarah Inman of Stevens Institute of Technology, co-authored the article “Elusive Learning—Using Learning Analytics to Support Reflective Sensemaking of Ill-Structured Ethical Problems: A Learner-Managed Dashboard Solution." Published in June 2016 in Future Internet, the article proposes an analytics model to understand and better support methods of teaching deep-level processing for "messy" real-world problems.

Mihaela David recently authored a chapter in Governing the North American Arctic: Sovereignty, Security, and Institutions, a book which explores the history and challenges of federal oversight in Alaska, the Canadian Far North, and Greenland. In her chapter “Strong Foothold or On Thin Ice? US Strategies for Development, Environmental Stewardship, and Security in the Arctic,” David considers the May 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region, a White House document outlining strategic priorities in response to diminishing sea ice.

Susan Pennestri recently co-authored a chapter in A Psycholinguistics Approach to Technology and Language Learning titled “Clicking in the second language (L2) classroom: The effectiveness of type and timing of clicker-based feedback in Spanish L2 development,” in which she investigates the pedagogical utility of learner response systems, or ‘clickers’, as a novel means of providing feedback to learners in second language (L2) classroom settings. This chapter explores the effectiveness of clicker-based feedback on learning the preterite/imperfect aspectual distinction in Spanish by beginning L2 learners. Learners’ immediate development in interpretation, production, and generalization abilities is statistically analyzed, and theoretical and pedagogical implications for psycholinguistic L2 research and instruction are considered.

Yianna Vovides, along with Instructional Designer Sarah Inman of Stevens Institute of Technology, co-authored the chapter “Enabling Meaningful Certificates from Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): A Data-Driven Curriculum E-Map Design Model." It was published in December 2015 in the book Open Learning and Formal Credentialing in Higher Education.

Mindy McWilliams, along with Joan Riley (Human Science), published their article "Engaged learning through curriculum infusion (2007)" in Peer review: Emerging trends and key debates in undergraduate education.

Mindy McWilliams and Joan Riley (Human Science) led a session entitled "Using evidence to promote engaged learning and student well-being" at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Colleges and Universities in Atlanta, GA.

Mindy McWilliams, along with Jenna Felz (Fordham University) and Ana Marie Siscar (Fairfield University), edited and published "Assessment toolkit for universities' humanitarian engagement (2012)". This Toolkit was the result of a three-year Teagle Foundation grant to Fairfield, Fordham, and Georgetown Universities to develop assessment tools and practices for the Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network.

CNDLS' Senior Statistician Rusan Chen, along with Eleanor R. Mackey (Children's National Health Systems), Kari Struemph (Virginia Commonwealth University), Priscilla W. Powell (Virginia Commonwealth University), Randi Streisand (Children's National Health Systems), and Clarissa S. Holmes (Virginia Commonwealth University), published their article "Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Disease Care Status in Youth With Type 1 Diabetes (2014)" in the American Psychological Association's Health Psychology. This study assessed relations among maternal depressive symptoms, poorer youth diabetes adherence, and glycemic control.

Rusan Chen, along with Steven H. Lamm (Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University School of Medicine), JiLi (Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine), Shayhan A. Robbins (Consultants in Epidemiology and Occupational Health), and Manning Feinleib (Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University–Bloomberg School of Public Health), published their article "Are Residents of Mountain-Top Mining Counties More Likely to Have Infants with Birth Defects? The West Virginia Experience (2015)" in Birth Defects Research Part A: Clinical and Molecular Teratology. This article analyzed rates of infants with birth defects born to residents of counties with mountain-top mining, with those born to residents of non-mining counties in West Virginia.

In the fall of 2014, CNDLS launched the first online courses in the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies program, offered through the School of Continuing Studies. The courses—Introduction to Ethics, Introduction to the Social Sciences, Greeks and Romans, and Biblical Literature and the Ancient World—are unique, in that this is the first iteration of an online course offered through Canvas, a Learning Management System (LMS). The CNDLS instructional design team worked closely with the faculty members to decide what types of interactions would be the most effective for student learning. The instructional design methodology used to form the courses promotes a student-centric and outcomes-driven learning experience.

Dedra Demaree, Anna Kruse, Susan Pennestri, Janet Russell, Theresa Schlafly and Yianna Vovides published their article, "From Planning to Launching MOOCS: Guidelines and Tips from GeorgetownX," in the book E-Learning, E-Education, and Online Training edited by Giovanni Vincenti, Alberto Bucciero, and Carlos Vaz de Carvalho and published by eLEOT.

Maggie Debelius and Susan Basalla published a thoroughly revised third edition of So What Are You Going to Do with That?: Finding Careers Outside Academia (University of Chicago, 2015). It includes interviews with hundreds of PhDs and graduate students about their career paths. The revised edition features new advice for students in the sciences, more guidance for international students, and information about using social media to explore and launch careers. A copy of the article can be found at

Maggie Debelius published "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Assessment" in Re/Claiming Accountability, edited by Michelle Eble, Wendy Sharer, Tracy Morse and Will Banks, forthcoming from Utah State University Press in 2015. This article describes findings from The Georgetown Student Writing Study, a campus-wide writing assessment project completed in 2013.

"Faculty Collaboration to Effectively Engage Diversity: A Collaborative Course Redesign Model," an article co-written by Maureen Walsh, Joselyn Schultz Lewis, and John Rakestraw, was published in the Winter 2013 edition of Peer Review, an AAC&C publication. The article details the work of Georgetown's Doyle Faculty Fellows program and highlights the benefits of bringing faculty together from diverse disciplines as they each redesign courses to better engage themes of diversity and difference.

The Engelhard Project team contributed to the new book Transforming Undergraduate Education: Theory That Compels and Practices That Succeed, edited by Don Harward and published in 2012 by Rowman & Littlefield. Randy Bass co-wrote a chapter with Ken Bain of Montclair State University entitled “Threshold Concepts of Teaching and Learning that Transform Faculty Practice (and the Limits of Individual Change),” while Mindy McWilliams and Joan Riley co-wrote a chapter on “Curriculum Infusion: Educating the Whole Student and Creating Campus Change—Georgetown University."

MyDante: An Online Environment for Contemplative and Collaborative Reading,” an article co-written by Frank Ambrosio (Philosophy), William Garr, Eddie Maloney, and Theresa Schlafly, was recently published in the new Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. The article explores the tensions between individual and collaborative aspects of reading in the context of MyDante, a digital environment for the study of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

"Disrupting Ourselves: The Problem of Learning in Higher Education,” an article by Randy Bass, was recently published in the EDUCAUSE Review. Randy presented on the same topic at the EDUCAUSE 2012 Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference (January 2012).

"Using Wordles to Teach Foreign Language Writing," by Melissa Baralt (formerly of Georgetown's Department of Spanish and Portuguese), Susan Pennestri, and Marie Selvanadin, was published in the June 2011 issue of the journal Language Learning and Technology.

Daryl Nardick and Leanne McWatters (former Graduate Associate, CNDLS) collaborated with David M. Levy (University of Washington) and Jeanine Turner (CCT) in May 2011 to write a piece for a special issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education on the digital campus. Their piece, entitled "No Cellphone? No Internet? So Much Less Stress," shares some questions raised by their research on undergraduates and technology.

"Using Clickers for Clinical Reasoning and Problem Solving," by Janet Russell, Mindy McWilliams, Laura Chasen (former Graduate Associate, CNDLS), and Jean Farley (NHS), was published in Nurse Educator's January/February 2011 issue. The article explores how the use of clickers with case-based questions in a nursing course "resulted in increased student engagement, attention, and participation."

In "The Learning Shift," the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of Georgetown Magazine highlighted the roles played by CNDLS and the Georgetown Learning Initiatives in the shift from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning.

Georgetown professors Edilma Yearwood and Joan Riley (School of Nursing and Health Studies) published an article entitled "Curriculum infusion to promote nursing student well-being" in the Journal of Advanced Nursing's June 2010 issue. The authors conducted a study of Georgetown nursing students enrolled in Engelhard courses. Among other findings, the authors report that "curriculum infusion exploring common college health issues fosters relationships between nursing students and educators and promotes student well-being."

In December 2009, Eddie Maloney, Theresa Schlafly, and Frank Ambrosio (Philosophy) traveled to Florence, Italy to present at an international conference sponsored by the Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, Minstero per i Beni e le Attivita Culturali, and the Library of Congress. The paper that they co-wrote with Bill Garr, entitled "My Dante and Ellipsis: Defining the user's role in a virtual reading community," was published in the conference proceedings.

In March 2009, Randy Bass and Bret Eynon (LaGuardia Community College) were featured as guest bloggers for the Chronicle of Higher Education's Wired Campus blog. Bass and Eynon ask why, “when it comes to innovations in teaching and learning, higher education seems like the last to know and the slowest to respond,” and offer ideas for how the higher education community might develop a culture of research and development for teaching and learning.

In January 2009, Randy Bass and Bret Eynon (LaGuardia Community College) co-edited a special issue of Academic Commons, entitled New Media Technologies and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, which brought together case studies from the Visible Knowledge Project with vision pieces by scholars including Cathy Davidson and Michael Wesch. The editorial group from CNDLS included Eddie Maloney, Susannah McGowan, John Rakestraw, and Theresa Schlafly.