High Turnout and Faculty Reinvention Mark the Launch of the AERA Virtual Research Learning Series—Three More to Be Offered in June

May  2020





AERA kicked off a nine-course Virtual Research Learning Series (VRLS) in May, with the first two courses together drawing a worldwide attendance of over 700. All of the courses are in a four-hour format and have been designed to engage attendees in the learning process in virtual space and scaled to size. At press time, over 2,000 registrants had signed up for one or more courses, with all courses already well over 150 registrants each.

The first course, “What Would It Take to Change Your Inference? Quantifying the Discourse about Causal Inferences in the Social Sciences,” was led by Kenneth Frank at Michigan State University. It included break-out sessions and floating instructors visiting each room. A high point was the post-course virtual meet-up with Frank for informal conversation, proximal to what can happen face-to-face.

The second course, “How to Get Published: Guidance from Emerging and Established Scholars,” was led by Patricia Alexander at the University of Maryland and a set of 12 expert collaborators who have been delivering this course at the AERA Annual Meeting for many years. Taking the approach of a community of educators, the team worked through every feature of the course seeking to anticipate the attendee experience and maximally enable substantive discussion in virtual space. Topics ranged from conceptualizing studies to selecting appropriate journals. The faculty sought to avert a series of cameos by interspersing questions through a chat function and joining together in panels to field questions and add new ideas. 

All of the courses will be available on demand through the AERA Virtual Research Learning Center (VRLC). Coming quite soon in June are the following three offerings:  

  • On June 3, Jenny Grant Rankin (U.S. Department of State, Fulbright Specialist Program) will teach “Sharing Your Research with the World,” focusing on how to communicate research to large, diverse audiences. 
  • 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) will present “Introduction to Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” 
  • On June 10, Emmanuel Sikali (U.S. Department of Education) and Ruhan Circi (American Institutes for Research [AIR]) will co-direct a course titled “The Future Is Here: Analyzing NAEP Process Data Using R.” They will be joined by several fellow instructors from AIR: Fusun Sahin, Xiaying Zheng, Juanita Hicks, Soo Youn Lee, and Tiago A. Caliço. 

Designed to reach participants at different skill levels, the Virtual Research Learning Series is intended particularly for graduate students, early career scholars, and other researchers seeking to build new knowledge or skills. All courses include interaction, active discussion, and Q&A with participants. AERA aims to maximize the accessibility of the courses by providing closed captioning and American Sign Language. 

To view all nine course descriptions and to register, click here. Courses are available for a modest fee of $35 each. Registration includes not only the four-hour real-time class experience for those who register beforehand but also continued on-demand access to the recorded course through the AERA Virtual Research Learning Center (VRLC).

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