Exploring Student Experiences of Remote Learning During COVID-19

My current research project,  carried out in collaboration with my colleagues Dr. Amy Collier and Dr. Jeni Henrickson, seeks to understand how undergraduate and graduate students experienced the rapid transition to remote learning in Spring 2020. Using a post-intentional phenomenological  research design, we are particularly interested in the understanding the barriers that students may have faced in fully participating in their learning  during that time.

As of January 2021, we have completed data collection for the project and hope to share findings by the end of the spring semester.

Connected Learning  as a Framework for Learning Design

Several recent projects focused on using the connected learning framework to design learning that supports learner voice and choice, especially in the context of teacher preparation around educational technology. Projects in this area include:

wmMOOC (@wmMOOC)

While at Towson, my colleague Dr. Vicki McQuitty (co-Director, Maryland Writing Project) and I were awarded a SET Seed Funding Grant for 2017-2019 to support our work on designing, implementing, and researching a collaborative MOOC that supports professional learning for faculty, in-service teacher-leaders, and pre-service teachers on the topic of writing as making (hence, wmMOOC). Our learning design approach is guided by connected learning principles, and we used a design-based research approach to iterate the design of wmMOOC. wmMOOC has run twice (Jan-Feb. 2018, and Aug. 2018).  Scholarship resulting from this work includes:

McQuitty, V., Lohnes Watulak, S., & Runciman, J. (2019, April). Teacher risk-taking and changing practice through Writing as Making MOOC. Poster to be presented at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association, Toronto, CA.

McQuitty, V., Lohnes Watulak, S., & Runciman, J. (2018, November). Interest-driven teacher professional learning in the writing-as-making MOOC. Paper to be presented at the annual conference of the Literacy Research Association, Indian Wells, CA.

Lohnes Watulak, S., McQuitty, V., & Runicman, J. (2018, March). Voice and choice in teacher professional learning: Designing the writing-as-making MOOC. Poster presented at the annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, Washington, DC.

Lohnes Watulak, S., McQuitty, V., & Runciman, J. (2018, March). Examining teacher learning in a writing-as-making MOOC. Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of English Assembly for Research, Towson, MD.

Connected Learning in Educational Technology Courses

During my sabbatical in Fall 2017, I conducted research in 4 stand-alone educational technology courses to examine the possibilities for connected learning as a design framework for educational technology courses. The findings highlighted areas of synergy between the goals of connected learning and the goals of stand-alone ed tech courses, and illuminated ways in which the connected learning framework can open up a space for student agency in these courses. Work resulting from this research includes:

Lohnes Watulak, S. (2018). Making space for preservice teacher agency through connected learning in preservice educational technology courses. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 34(3), 166-178. Retrieved from

Lohnes Watulak, S. (2018, April). Instructors as brokers of digital learning opportunity: Exploring brokering practices in connected teacher education classrooms. In From connected learning to connected teaching: Toward a new vision of digital literacy teacher education. Structured poster session presented at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, NY.

Lohnes Watulak, S. (2017, October). Pre-service teacher experiences in the connected educational technology classroom. Presented at the 10th Annual Digital Media & Learning Conference, Irvine, CA.

Lohnes Watulak, S. (2017, March). Connected learning in pre-service technology education courses. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, Austin, TX.