EDLI Newsletter 9 – March 2022

General Team Update

The EDLI Team has been working on compiling a two-year report that details the accomplishments of the initiative to date, enumerates EDLI’s current projects, and charts a path for the next two years. EDLI continues to deepen its ties with key collaborators on campus and is well-positioned to be a strategic supplement to the burgeoning Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation at MSU. 

IT Postdoc-EDLI Collaboration 

EDLI deepened its ties with MSU IT last month by collaborating with three postdoctoral researchers. These three educational experts came to MSU during the COVID-induced year of remote instruction to help solidify the university’s support of online education. Their diverse skill sets will be integral in furthering EDLI’s research, evaluation, and implementation of digitally-enhanced pedagogies. 

Dr. Cui Cheng

  • Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology, Michigan State University
  • M.A. in Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Tianjin University
  • B.A. in English, Tianjin University

“I am currently a Curriculum Development Specialist with the Instructional Technology and Development team at MSU IT, assisting faculty in course design and technology integration. I gained my Ph.D. from the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program in the College of Education at MSU in 2020. During my doctoral studies, I taught, designed, and researched courses of different modalities. Before coming to MSU, I worked in Beijing for several years in a technology company, focusing on user needs analysis and user experience design.

Broadly, I am interested in how technologies can facilitate, enhance, and even transform teaching and learning in higher education. I am specifically interested in user experience design and research, new literacies of reading and learning on the open Web for complex problem solving, and teaching and learning in online, hybrid, and synchronous hybrid courses, where face-to-face and online participants interact in real-time through technologies.”

Dr. Cierra Presberry

  • B.A. in Special Education, Michigan State University
  • M.A. in Teaching and Curriculum, Michigan State University
  • Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education, Michigan State University

“My career started in Detroit, where I was a special education teacher at the elementary and secondary levels. During my doctoral program at MSU, I taught a variety of courses within the teacher preparation program in the areas of literacy and social studies. In my current role with MSU IT, I work with instructors to improve the quality of the online components of their courses. I am particularly interested in addressing issues of equity and ensuring that all students have access to the education they deserve.”

Dr. Natalie Vandepol

  • B.S. in Biology, Stanford University
  • Ph.D. in Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University

“The best career advice I got in undergrad was that if I was unsure what I wanted to do next, to do whatever would give me the most options afterward. So, I got a Ph.D. while I figured things out. My experiences as a graduate teaching assistant inspired me to pursue a career in Instructional Design, which led me to my current postdoc role in MSU IT. I am particularly interested in crafting learning experiences that foster knowledge transfer and engage students in general education requirements outside their usual academic interests.”

In Mid April, Natalie will transition from her current role in MSU IT to become a learning experience design specialist in the Broad College of Business. In that position, she will continue to support the EDLI initiative, while also supporting online programs and courses in the Broad College.

Research, Evaluation, & Implementation (REI)

Building off of the common R&D (Research and Design)  approach of organizations to innovate, EDLI views our approach to innovation as combining evaluation and implementation to the research element, RE&I. Our process builds upon the traditional approach of centers for teaching that involve making recommendations for implementation that are informed by the literature. 

We add an iterative cycle of evaluation of the implementation,

and this allows us to help instructors to build capacity in finding sources of data in their classroom and interacting with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).

Through this process faculty, staff, students, and even facilitators engaged in this work learn more about the educational processes at work in the classroom. All are in a better position to discuss this work, which leads to a return to the primary literature, not as a consumer, but as a potential producer of knowledge. (Contact: Stephen, Jun, and Jeremy)

Colleges Online Learning Academy

We shared our call for applications to our third year of the Colleges Online Learning Academy (COLA) fellowship for graduate students in our three colleges. This fellowship will allow students the opportunity to engage in their own digital teaching and learning projects. We are also working with the Graduate School to integrate the fellowship with the Certification of College Teaching Program and open the COLA workshop offerings to all graduate students. 

EDLI Fellows Update


EDLI Faculty Fellows consultants continue to work with the math faculty member to examine the potential influences of the structured student support program on student engagement in the introductory math course context (MATH 101). We are currently surveying the students enrolled in the course through anonymous online research questionnaires. Next, the research team members plan to recruit students for conducting in-depth, one-on-one interviews. (Contact: Jun and Stephen)

Scott Schopieray

Dr. Scott Schopieray is the Assistant Dean for Academic and Research Technology in the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University. He is a core team member of the Enhanced Digital Learning Initiative (EDLI) where he focuses on institutional strategy, motivation to teach with technology, and technological structures to support digital teaching and learning. Dr. Schopieray is also Associate Director of MESH Research, a center focusing on the future of digital scholarly publishing.