Base Group #2

Check-in Answers

Date / Question


What are you looking forward to next semester?


What obstacle have you overcome that you are especially proud of?


Does pressure make diamonds?


What is something that you’re good at but don’t value? What is something that you aren’t good at but wish you were?


What motivational strategies do you use when you don't want to do something that needs to be done?


What is the best thing that happened to you last weekend?


What was your 'path not taken'?


What is the most exciting thing you did during college?


What is something you are proud of?


Favorite relative?


What is the best thing that happened to you last semester?


Rejuvenation place?


Intellectual hero?


Favorite movie?


Favorite book?


Favorite teacher?


I can't wait to feel like I have a better handle on data analysis... Almost every day this summer I've come up against some methods and analysis section in the literature that leaves me just lost. I can Google and scour old notes, but that's a far cry from actually understanding and feeling confident.

My parents divorced my freshman year of college. It was really contentious and ugly, but also was tipping point for me to finally see my dad's negative actions over the span of my lifetime. This kickstarted my journey from victim to survivor. I'm proud at this point because my relationships with my wife, kids, siblings, and mom are healthy and life-giving, so different than what I saw in my dad.


I am good at sports/athletics but don't value that part of my life anymore.

I'm not good at singing but wish I were.

Small rewards for milestones, often in the form of food, bathroom break, water, or walk once I check something off my list.

Really good reconnections with the family. Arrived home about 3pm Saturday, and everyone came out of the house together to see me. Emma (3.5 year old) sprinted down the sidewalk to me. Erik (6 month old) gave me a huge grin (which is a significant advance in expression from two weeks ago). Betsy and I had a friend come over to our house Sunday night after the kids were asleep so we could go out on a date to talk without interruptions. All in tall, a great weekend.

Math PhD

Polar bear plunge during the first snow day at Bucknell in decades. (Ran outside wearing nothing but gym shorts, slid headfirst down a steep hill through 3 feet of snow.) It was so much fun we ran out a second time 5 minutes later.

My son was born.

My son was born.

My brother.

I hired 5 staff for my team

Tamriel (the world of Elder Scrolls Online)

James Paul Gee - videogames and learning, originator of "affinity spaces"

Children of Men

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

Mr. Cromer, 10th grade English. He taught me how to write. We went line by line through Elements of Style by Strunk and White. He constantly recited "Brevity is the soul of wit" from Shakespeare. He inspired me and encouraged me to write more than anyone.


I am looking forward to becoming acclimated to the ebb and flow of "regular" semesters. I am excited but definitely nervous to dive into the fall semester and experience how I handle the class load and assistanceship responsibilities. I anticipate another semester of hard work as I continue to develop my skills as a researcher.

I was wait listed and ultimately rejected from the University of Michigan out of high school. I spent 2 years at community college trying to rebrand my academic reputation and was able to get in as a junior

when it's like 2000 degrees, yes

I firmly believed I would be a chef when before I was in high school. As a result, I picked up some pretty decent cooking skills. Even so, I still make lots of ramen and frozen pizza for dinner

To steal from Bret, I love recording music, but I feel very insecure about my singing ability.

Something I consider when facing a task that does not particularly excite me is that it is probably part of a larger process that is meaningful to me, if it's something that needs to get done. Sure I see it as a step towards goal attainment, but I also think about it as contributing to a process that is developing a skill or aspect of myself that is important to me. *Article critiques*

I escaped to the family beach house on lake Huron. Luckily, they've been very supportive of my workload and compromised time with them. Hard to say how prepared I am today or this week at this point

High school Aric truly believed he could make it as a musician

Ran with club cross country team

Being a michigander

In the last 6 months-Finishing another marathon


Moved in with girlfriend

Running and music

Kevin Miller- undergraduate research mentor

Celeste and Jesse Forever. I'm a fan of Samburg and Rashida Jones

Mr. Popper's Penguins:
This was the first "novel" I remember reading independently as an elementary school student. I found so much humility in Mr. Popper towards Captain Cook and Greta. It was a positive gateway into reading for pleasure

Mr. Burba: An AP Psych teacher who catalyzed my trajectory towards a career in psychology. Everything "clicked" in his class


I'm looking forward to getting a better handle on statistical measures and connecting designs with research questions. This was the part of article critiques that challenged me the most.

Physical obstacle: I never enjoyed running and was not good at it. Over time and though support of friends I have become someone who enjoys running.

Pressure exerted on carbon forms diamonds. I suppose there's a connection here to the way personal challenges and trials can form valuable character traits in people. The main difference is the fact that carbon doesn't have a choice in how it responds to the pressure. People, on the other hand, are largely responsible for the ways they respond to challenges; some responses may be better agents of positive formation than others.

Good at: I'm good at acquiring new languages. I suppose I don't value it currently since I'm not directly using this skill, and I don't readily see the benefits.

Wish good at: I wish I were a better cook. I'd like to be, I can see the value in it, and I appreciate the creative process. I'm just not there yet.

I typically set some intermediate goals and establish rewards for accomplishing them. For example, if I need to clean out the swimming pool, I'll say "Once I get all the leaves out, I'll have a beer." Usually the meeting of these goals encourages me to finish the task. Starting is the hardest part.

Reuniting with my wife, Candi! Also, so good to be home with my kids.

International relations...

I studied in Costa Rica for a semester and lived with a host family.

Finished 20 years in education.

Favorite relative is my Dad. Super helpful, supportive, affectionate.

Acceptance to MSU EPET

Running outdoors. Best thoughts and conversations happen.

Jean Piaget

Documentary: Seymour, An Introduction
Kids: Inside Out

The Man Who Was Thursday
G.K. Chesterton

Mystery, farce, suspense, supernatural

My dad taught history of mathematics during my MA program. His storytelling about the human element behind mathematical discovery changed the way I think about history and mathematics.

Weekly Preparation


Class Avg: 3.7


Personal Avg: 4


Personal Avg: 3.9


Personal Avg: 3.9

3 Things I Learned



















1) It's hard to work on PhD stuff while traveling for work.

2) The course is over. That happened quickly.

3) It's easy to forget to check out.

1) Paul has reprimanded people through email; I never would have guessed that!

2) I fixed some long-term thorny issues on my website through a deep dive into CSS.

3) I learned about correlational data analysis for AC5.

1) How to edit the cropping effects of many slides at once in iMovie

2) Neuroscience and development connections

3) Peer reviews take a lot longer than I expected. I generally think I'm great at giving feedback, but this was a long and arduous process. More fun the ACs since these are my classmates, but still quite a bit of work. I just hop my comments are useful!

1) Discourse analysis looks pretty cool

2) I figured out how to measure social capital

3) No one seems to read these comments.

1) I really like audio editing and web design, but self-regulation is still key.

2) Motivation is not the one key to finishing a PhD, but an important factor among many other important factors (social capital, academic skills, luck, etc.)

3) I think I finally understand endogenous and exogenous! That was a magical moment when those clicked!

1) I need to work faster. I spent many more hours on the assignments this week than my classmates.

2) I'm fairly decent at writing Research Reports. Or I at least feel good about writing these.

3) TPACK is great, not for the TK, PK, and CK, but for the relationships between all of these.

1) Writing the research reviews and article critiques takes me a ton of time; I'm quite worried about having 3 such pieces due this week.
2) When I home, I like to sleep (like 5-6 hours), play videogames (1 hour), play with my kids (3 hours), work (8 hours), commute (1 hour), exercise (1 hour). That leave 4 hours per day for PhD work...
3) When I do research, I am fascinated by new things and run down snowball leads and get lost in the threads.

1) Counterfactual = Null hypothesis = No effect; assume the null then look for evidence for or against
2) Types of control (sampling, design, and statistical)
3) Practicum details

1) The Roseth Method for "reading good and doing other stuff good too" (Zoolander, 2001).

2) Focus on mastery not performance (good enough; minimally sufficient).

3) Really, really focus on the evaluative part of my presenting.

1) Something about randomness, not sure what though.

2) Theories overlapping like streetlamps. I love this illuminating/shadowing metaphor (and reminder that no theory covers everything).

3) Lots of hard work ahead (stark picture from 2014 cohort).

1) Importance of asking “Why?” to taxonomy.

2) Embodiment as presence in a place, even Google Docs or a Tweet.

3) Use qualitative methods to figure out what questions to ask, quantitative methods to test and measure.

1) Classical test theory: X = T + E

2) Types of validity (measurement validity vs. internal and external validity)

3) Reordering my logic model; moving digital affinity spaces to be the moderating variable.

1) Additive, moderating, and mediating variables in a logic model

2) Best educational measurement of doctoral work is my engagement level, an idea that hooks me

3) Interdependence theory

1) Theories test hypotheses and models describe.

2) Logic models depict explanations.

3) Theory-based research vs. design-based research (testing proposition vs. testing functionality)

1) Structuring a consensus process (controversy exercise)
2) Building an argument on evidence instead of ideas
3) Structuring area of interest statement: funnel from broad appeal to deep content knowledge

1) Details that feel inconsequential or invisible to me could very well be the primary thing that an outside observer will notice.

2) PhD about coursework, milestones, and research apprenticeship. Less than half of the degree is coursework.

3) Know more methods. We are not looking for answers but for how to navigate when things are not well-defined.


1) Knowing when to stop creating codes for qualitative research can be tricky

2) We've been firehosed with information, and it's ok if we don't retain all the water right now

3) Trust the process

1) Writing is never finished but you can finish a paper when it's good enough

2) Portfolio improvements such as less clunky navigation and formatting consistency

3) We fill in gaps of knowledge in writing, sometimes unconsciously

1) Many perspectives of development overlap and sometimes fill holes of other theories

2) Digital storytelling can produce a very engaging experience. This also comes with much more time and effort producing and editing

3) Often, there are more ethical issues to consider than initially come to mind

1) Components of videogames hold great implications towards classroom design

2) Research proposals and research in general requires patience, is best done in collaboration, and requires much academic and emotional support

3) Methodology is integral yet not all determining when validating research

1) Gearing educational research towards a more "practical" framework is more complex than categorizing validity into a hierarchy
2) Self-regulation and motivation are active agents in helping me through this Ph.D. program
3) The difference between natural experiments and observational studies

1) TPACK framework: the necessity to examine technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge in the context of their relationships with each other

2) Learning goals and how extrinsic rewards can be used to facilitate it

3) Current unstable and opaque technology may not always be that way


1) Unconventional qualitative research methods

2) Endogeneity/exogeneity

3) practicum

1) Learning process model applications and implications

2) article critique modifications

3) refining research report

1) making sense of sampling

2) comparing contrasting SCT and behaviorism

3) cohort panel

1) Article critique clarity and conciseness

2) behaviorism should not be so quickly dismissed

3) Less is more on slides

1) Validity and Reliability error

2) Research report presentation advice

3) Refining interest statement and logic model

1) Logic model moderators and mediators

2) program milestone specifics

3) importance of presenting concise research reports

1) difference between theory and conceptual framework

2) evidence is crucial when writing an effective article critique

3) Logic models inform and can be informed by research interests

1) It is important to stay aware of how we're approaching arguments-idea or evidence based?

2) Asking "what is" as opposed to "what should be" is crucial in scholarly writing

3) Why is this important? So what? These are questions that need to be addressed in order to explore a research interest and formulate consequent questions

1) Educational research is made complex and dictates multiple methodologies because of the inherent interactions, varying contexts, and changing paradigms it experiences.
2) Both teaching and instruction can benefit from both a quantitative lens and perspectives of varying contexts
3) Critiques of academic literature are not only important for the advancement of knowledge but also one's deep understanding of a subject


1) Coding categories can be challenging. I'm learning how to make sure my measures and data collection match research questions.

2) Feedback is valuable - how to weigh reviewers' suggestions and consider how to improve my proposal.

3) It's a great feeling to reach the end (even if it's a small end) of a challenging season.

1) Digital portfolios: how to clean up my act

2) Reflections on my own writing process and growth. I hope for continued opportunities to write often.

3) Feedback is important. Give good feedback, take others' feedback seriously.

1) AC4: learned more about statistical assumptions underlying tests

2) Digital storytelling can be compelling and can take a lot of time

3) Neuroscience is a fascinating field that confirms a lot of what we know already.

1) Article Critique 4: more concise, more critique, more rationale.

2) Bret is the videogame master. And he likes videogame in 1 word.

3) RDP: while it is more motivating to work on my interest-related work, it is also more motivating to work too much.

1) How to do an interview well (and not well)

2) What aspects of the article critique I need to work on: evidence

3) importance of minimally sufficient writing

1) Further understanding of how transfer occurs across perspectives

2) TPACK - a framework for considering the interplay between TK, CK, and PK

3) article critique and research reports: how to be precise, minimally sufficient with language

1) When I am at home I am compelled to complete items on my to-do list.

2) Noise

3) Physical stagnation.

1) endogeneity/exogeneity push on independent variable

2) how to write everyday

3) temperature method for understanding internal validity

1) More about: why do we take samples? and why special importance on random sampling?

2) Information processing

3) Learning as process, learning as outcome.

1) Looking broadly at learning theories can be more helpful than narrowing aligning oneself with one theory.

2) Article critique: provide rationale (evidence, even if only a few words) for your critique.

3) Single subject design sounds interesting for exploring changes in teacher behavior.

1) How to connect oral/visual elements during research report

2) Concepts of operant conditioning

3) "presence" concepts with technology - very interesting

1) Measurement

2) Language during research report (correlation, not effect)

3) Revision of logic models, interest

1) revision of logic model

2) mixed methodology: qual -> quant -> qual

3) program milestones

1) Theory and Conceptual framework

2) The importance of evidence in an article critique

3) Research interest ←→ Logic models

1) Research what you care about, what shapes you

2) Importance of handbook

3) Defining research interests is much harder than I thought it would be.

1) Identity is in part the collective stories that are told about you. Technology can enable co-creation.

2) The PhD is a skill set.

3) Don't equate good work with a single method.

Remaining Question(s)



















Who wants scotch?

I'm actually good...

In writing the peer reviews, I found that I am still a little confused by research problems and measures. I get them, sorta...

Like every other week, how do I work faster? I'm managing time ok and I understand the prioritization of some tasks over others. I'm just slow at everything.

How do I keep going? I'm exhausted. I've hardly slept for 5 weeks.

How can I work faster? It took me 9-10 hours just on the articles and postings... This is just too much with all the other things due.

Still need to work faster, especially on reading Schunk... How?

1) When I hit this obstacle, I will work on writing faster.
2) When I hit this obstacle, I will skip videogames and sleep less.
3) When I hit this obstacle, I will plan ahead and have a very specific research topic in mind before I start searching on Google Scholar.

endogeneity and exogeneity, causality, validity issues, breadth of research designs...

How do I keep working toward minimally sufficient? How do I write well and convincingly within constraints by word counts etc? Especially for article critiques...

So many questions about randomness. This morning was not at all clear to me.

I think I'm good today...

None right now... brain too tired.

I need to land on the dependent variable for my logic model. I have digital affinity spaces --> bridging social capital --> ???

Not really a question, but wanting practice on the levels of specificity in logic models. I'm still intrigued by the connection between theoretical research and design-based research and how to have them both.

1) Research summaries. Organizing my notes
2) Handbooks vs. articles - how to prioritize secondary research

I think I'm good. Lots of questions, but they don't feel relevant for today. (Things about research questions, finding exhaustive background literature...)


Just looking forward to the future

I am still reflecting pretty heavily on the topic of when a paper is good enough

I am still very curious about how neuroscience continues to build our understanding of development and how it will attempt to transcend physiological observances to cognitive processes

A question that was asked as a response to one of my posts was should experiments lower on the hierarchy hold equal power in enacting policy

A question brought up by my peers that I too wonder is how the quality of educational research has changed since Ronau and Rakes argument that it was not very "rigorous"

I am still getting my bearings on the audio project


Balance between internal and external validity. How to determine when it's time to focus on designing one more than the other

how will my experience differ from hybrid students

where is SCT situated in the map of ed psych frameworks

Does behaviorism have modern educational implications?

Validity and reliability errors to consider when designing my study

How can I determine the balance of quantitative and qualitative measures for my RDP

I am still not completely confident in my ability to determine the level of specificity to use when constructing logic models

Today was useful in that I was challenged to think more deeply about what my true interests are and still have a good deal of reflecting to better define it

How will the research projects (practicum, dissertation) be organized to execute (participants, funding, etc)?


What should we expect for stats in the fall?


none at this time

How to propose research without knowing all the details. I had trouble with coding categories for discussions in my study and demographics of participants.

How to manage my time well and feel good about the quality of my work. The audio interview did not portray the quality I am used to when creating pieces - I have to be ok with that.

None right now

Add scholarly work to my to do list and prioritize.

Use noise-cancelling headphones.

Take exercise breaks.

How to stay aware of opportunities for hybrid students?

How does technology afford or constrain our experiences in interaction?

How do research questions influence design and methodology?

None today...


At this point, I don't know what I don't know.

Are there specific exercises to make academic writing minimally sufficient?

Finding the balance between:

What I am interested in?
Is it interesting to others?

How are research interests refined?
How do we search the field to discover needs for new contributions?