Virtual Research Learning Series to Offer Four More Courses Starting in August
Virtual Research Learning Series to Offer Four More Courses Starting in August

June  2020

Building on the success of the first five courses, with substantial turnouts ranging from nearly 200 to close to 700 registrants per course, the AERA Virtual Research Learning Series (VRLS) resumes in August with the last four courses.

To date, the nine-course VRLS, which launched in May, has been received enthusiastically, with more than 3,200 registrants having signed up for one or more courses. The final four courses, featuring high-quality instruction from leading experts, interaction, active discussion, and Q&A with participants, include the following offerings:

  • On August 6, Marcus B. Weaver-Hightower (Virginia Tech) will teach “How to Write About Qualitative Research.” This interactive course aims to help beginning qualitative researchers—whether they are graduate students writing a qualitative dissertation or those learning qualitative methods so they can do mixed methods research—learn some of the key expectations, practices, and conventions of writing traditional qualitative research.
  • On August 26, David M. Fetterman (Fetterman & Associates) will present “Empowerment Evaluation.” Employing lecture, activities, demonstration, and discussion, the course will introduce participants to the theory, concepts, principles, and steps of empowerment evaluation as well as the technological tools to facilitate the approach.
  • On September 6, Katherine Picho (Howard University) and Marie Plaisime (Howard University) will present “Using Factor Analysis for Survey Design and Validation.” Intended for educators (including administrators) and researchers at all levels, this interactive course provides a primer on survey development and the use of factor analysis to validate surveys.
  • On September 15, Lorri Many Rivers Johnson Santamaría (Mixteco Indígena Community Organizing Project) and Cristina Corrine Santamaria Graff (Indiana University–Purdue University at Indianapolis) will teach “Co-Decolonizing Research Methods: Toward Research Sustaining Indigenous and ‘Other’ Community Engaged Ways of Knowing.” For those interested or engaged in research produced by or serving Indigenous peoples or people of Color in the United States directly or indirectly impacted by colonization, this course provides a way forward toward authentic collaboration with stakeholders and interested parties.

To view full-course descriptions of all courses and to register, click here. All courses in the Series are $35 and registrants have unlimited access.  Designed to reach participants at different skill levels, the VRLS is intended particularly for graduate students, early-career scholars, and other researchers seeking to build new knowledge or skills. AERA aims to maximize the accessibility of the courses by providing closed captioning and American Sign Language.

AERA held three courses in June, together drawing 1,270 registrants worldwide.

On June 3, Jenny Grant Rankin (Fulbright Specialist Program at the U.S. Department of State) taught “Sharing Your Research with the World,” focusing on research-based practices for communicating research to large, diverse audiences beyond academia. The highly interactive course covered a wide range of topics, including branding with personal websites, creating a social media presence, and writing blogs. It provided hands-on activities enabling participants to apply concepts learned in the course to their own circumstances. 

On June 4, Terri D. Pigott (Georgia State University), Amy L. Dent (University of California, Irvine), Joshua R. Polanin (American Institutes for Research), and Joseph Taylor (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs) led “Introduction to Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” The course covered the basics of joint systematic reviews in education research and the use of quantitative data in meta-analysis. Among the nearly 700 course registrants were 14 AERA Minority Meta-Analysis Fellows

On June 10, Emmanuel Sikali at the U.S. Department of Education and Ruhan Circi at American Institutes for Research (AIR) co-directed a team-taught course, “The Future Is Here: Analyzing NAEP Process Data Using R.” They were joined by five additional instructors from AIR. This course introduced the unique features of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) process data, which will soon be available to researchers. The course reflects AERA’s ongoing collaboration with the National Center for Education Statistics to promote skills for using large-scale datasets. 

The videos of the first five courses and related slides and materials will be available in late July for those who took the course or those who might wish to register through the AERA Virtual Research Learning Center. 

George L. Wimberly, AERA’s director of professional development, designed and leads this series. Questions about the courses should be directed to