New School of Education postdoctoral fellow focuses on interdisciplinary educational research

Marcia Moraes portraitThe School of Education at Colorado State University is pleased to welcome postdoctoral fellow Marcia Moraes. Moraes works with the Center for the Analytics of Learning and Teaching, researching learning analytics, and technology-enhanced teaching and learning.

Interdisciplinary from the beginning

Moraes earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul before working at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, to enhance and develop the instructor process using technology as a means to enhance courses and ensure student success. Both universities are located in Brazil.

“Since my undergrad, I have been developing tools to assist the learning process,” Moraes said. “My area is computer science applied to education. I’m a very interdisciplinary person so I work in a mix of science, education, and computational thinking. I like all these fields very much, so I try to bring them together when I work.”

After arriving in Colorado three years ago, Moraes began working with C-ALT Director James Folkestad to continue her interdisciplinary research on computer science education and computer interaction. Focusing on learning analytics, Moraes and Folkestad collect data from learnings, usage, and behavior to determine how visual representations of student engagement can be used to encourage best behaviors in learners.

Computer science and the science of learning

Using the data, Moraes and Folkestad are developing a tool that generates these representations called U-Behavior. The U-Behavior research was nominated as one of the best papers in the practitioner track at the International Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference 2019, and an extension of the work has been published in the Journal of Contemporary Educational Technology.

Moraes hopes to use her postdoctoral fellowship to continue her research and eventually become a faculty member.

“This research has a lot of potential to help all students and instructors,” she said. “We are trying to use some background from cognitive science plus computer science to grab data and provide better information for students and instructors to succeed in their courses. And after my fellowship, I hope to get a faculty position.”

C-ALT research focuses on faculty-driven projects that use academic analytics, learning analytics, and educational data mining to explore learning and teaching questions in an ethical and diverse way.

The Center for the Analytics of Learning and Teaching is housed in the School of Education, part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.