State, national and international fellows augment MVLRI staff

MVU dedicates staff members to MVLRI projects as well as augments its capacity through a fellows program drawing from state, national and international experts in K-12 online learning from K-12 schooling, higher education and private industry. Fellows receive one-year appointments and are selected based on the alignment of their strengths with MVLRI  priorities for the year. The following experts are currently working collaboratively with MVU staff to provide research, evaluation, and development expertise and support.


Michael K. Barbour is an Associate Professor of Instructional Design for the the College of Education and Health Services at Touro University, California, in Vallejo. He has been involved with K-12 distance, online and blended learning for almost two decades as a researcher, evaluator, teacher, course designer and administrator. His research has focused on the effective design, delivery and support of K-12 online learning, particularly for students located in rural jurisdictions. Recently, Dr. Barbour’s focus has shifted to include governance and policy issues related to effective distance, online and blended learning environments. This has resulted in invitations to testify before House and Senate committees in several states, as well as consulting for Ministries of Education across Canada and in New Zealand. Dr. Barbour completed his Ph.D. in Instructional Technology at the University of Georgia, his M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning and B.Ed. in Intermediate and Secondary at Memorial University of Newfoundland, his B.A. in Political Science from Carleton University, and, most recently, a Certificate in Adult Education at St. Francis Xavier University.


Dennis Beck is an Assistant Professor of Educational Technology at the University of Arkansas. His research focuses on the impact of online technologies on vulnerable populations. He has studied special education parent and student satisfaction with cyber schooling, as well as the impact of homework on student achievement and student and parent satisfaction in cyber schools. Additionally, in order to better understand the impacts of cyber schooling on vulnerable populations, he has studied the virtual school field experiences for pre-service administrators as well as the roles, responsibilities, issues, and difficulties facing those in leadership of these type of schools. He has published in several venues, including Computers & Education, American Journal of Distance Education, Educational Administration Quarterly, and the Journal of Educational Research. Dr. Beck holds a doctorate from the University of Florida in Curriculum and Instruction.


Jered Borup is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Learning Technologies at George Mason University. In his current position, he is the professor-in-charge of the Integration of Online Learning in Schools Master’s and Certificate programs that are devoted to improving teacher practices in online and blended learning environments. Previous to earning his Ph.D. at Brigham Young University, Jered taught history at a junior high school for six years. He has also taught online and blended courses since 2008. His current research interests include developing online learning communities and identifying support systems that adolescent learners require to be successful in online environments. A full list of his publications can be found here.


Richard Allen Carter, Jr. is a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas. Prior to initiating his doctoral work, Richard worked with learners with disabilities in elementary school settings in Kansas and his home state of North Carolina. His current research focuses on the implementation of self-regulation practices for students with disabilities in both fully online and blended learning environments. He has also conducted work that looks at disability accommodation and IEP development and implementation in online schools. In addition, Richard assists with studies that examine a broad range of effects of online instruction for students with disabilities for the Center on Online Learning for Students with Disabilities (COLSD). He is currently part of a research team that is implementing technology-enabled personalization for students with disabilities in public elementary school.


Charles R. Graham is a Professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University with interest in technology-mediated teaching and learning. Charles studies the design and evaluation of online and blended learning environments and the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Charles has authored 50+ articles in over two-dozen journals and 20+ chapters related to online and blended learning in edited books. He conducts much of his research with graduate students who he loves to work with and mentor. Charles has co-edited two books on blended learning research (Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs and Blended Learning: Research Perspectives, Volume 2). He has also co-authored a book for teachers and practitioners interested in designing blended learning environments (Essentials for Blended Learning: A Standards-based Guide) and a book on research methods for young researchers learning to do research in online and blended learning contexts (Conducting Research in Online and Blended Learning Environments: New Pedagogical Frontiers). In 2015 Charles became a Fellow of the Online Learning Consortium “For outstanding achievement in advancing theory, research and effective practice in online and blended learning.” Additional details about his scholarly work can be found online at


Tiffany Kawohl is a teacher at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. She runs the Learning Opportunity Center (LOC), which is a lab for middle school and high students taking online courses at the middle school, high school or college level. Her students are either deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired. Previous to her position in the LOC, she taught reading and English to deaf/hard of hearing students. She holds a Master of Education degree in Deaf Education and a bachelor’s degree in Deaf Studies from the University of North Florida. She is certified in Deaf Education (K-12), English (6-12), and Middle Grades Integrated Curriculum (6-9) and holds endorsements in Reading (K-12) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (K-12).


Chin-Hsi Lin is an Assistant Professor in Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education at Michigan State University. Dr. Lin earned his Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Technology from the University of California, Irvine, in 2012. His research interests revolve around learning processes in online learning. Specifically, his work has predominantly focused on self-regulation and teacher effect and how they predict achievement. His current project aims to determine optimal class size and instructors’ load for K-12 online courses in virtual schools.


Peiyi Lin is a Research Associate at the Institute for Learning Technologies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research projects focus on K-12 online learning, teacher professional development in STEM areas, the role of school leadership, the effect of instructional technology on student learning, data mining and data visualization. Her statistical expertise includes latent variable analysis, multilevel analysis and longitudinal data analysis. She received an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University. Prior to coming to the United States, she taught high school English for a year in Taipei, Taiwan, where she completed an M.A. in English Language and Literature from National Taiwan Normal University, and a B.A. in English Language and Literature from National Chengchi University.


Daryl F. Mellard is a Research Professor at the University of Kansas and principal investigator for the USDE funded Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities (COLSD). COLSD staff research trends, issues, and potential positive and negative consequences for students with disabilities in K-12 online learning. His previous research focused on adolescent and adult literacy and on improving the quality of life for persons with disabilities as they participate with community agencies, community and technical colleges, social services, and employment settings. For the National Technical Assistance and Dissemination Center on Response to Intervention, Dr. Mellard directed its review of responsiveness to intervention. He served on the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Learning Sciences: Foundations and Applications to Adolescent and Adult Literacy. He has served on the board of directors for a local independent living center. In other areas, he’s very interested in the piscatorial arts.


Jesse R. Pace earned his Ed.S. degree in School Psychology from the University of Kansas in 2015, and he is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research. His school psychology work included the assessment and treatment of individuals with cognitive and behavioral disabilities, ranging from children with learning disabilities to geriatric patients with Alzheimer’s disease. In terms of research, he has been a Graduate Research Assistant for the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities (COLSD) since 2012. His research activities include an extensive range of ongoing related methodological and dissemination activities from instrument development to publication. He has co-authored and presented on COLSD research findings. His research interests center around measurement and equity in education, including the intersection of the two.


Mary Frances Rice is a researcher at the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities at the University of Kansas. She began her career in education as a teacher of English language arts, English as a Second Language, and reading support classes at the secondary level. Her current research focuses on professional identity development in teachers as they co-make curriculum with students in technologized settings and attend to various levels of policy. This line of research is carried out both nationally and internationally. In addition, Mary has conducted studies on text complexity and visual support in online learning courses. She has been honored by Division H and the Narrative SIG of the American Educational Research Association and the Emerald Literati Network for her scholarship. She is the author of Adolescent Boys’ Literate Identity (2011) and the editor of Exploring Pedagogies for Diverse Learners Online (2015).


Erin Stafford, M.A., is a Research Associate II at Education Development Center and works directly with formal and informal education practitioners to design, refine, research and evaluate education curricula, interventions, and professional development experiences. She currently oversees all analytic technical assistance projects for the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands (REL-NEI), serves as the alliance researcher for REL Midwest’s Virtual Education Research Alliance, and consults on evaluations of various formal and informal education projects. Stafford also has managed online survey development and analysis projects related to online courses, online teachers and onsite mentors, led practitioners in gathering data related to online learning, and helped build the capacity of state- and district-level practitioners to understand and use data in their practice. Prior to working at EDC, Stafford served as the manager of research, evaluation, and assessment at the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana and as an evaluator at the Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago.


Binbin Zheng is an Assistant Professor in the department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education at Michigan State University. Dr. Zheng’s research focuses on new technologies and students’ language and literacy development, as well as online teaching and learning. Her primary research methods involve a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods such as regression analysis, hierarchical linear modeling, longitudinal analysis, social network analysis and content analysis. Dr. Zheng received her Ph.D. degree from the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine in 2013. She received UCI’s Public Impact Distinguished Fellowship in 2013 and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE) Fellowship in 2011-2012. Dr. Zheng’s work has been published in various journals including Review of Educational Research, Computers & Education, British Journal of Educational Technology, TESOL Quarterly, Teachers College Record, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy and Journal of Science Education and Technology.


Jacqueline Zweig, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Associate at Education Development Center and conducts collaborative research with practitioners, policymakers and researchers in the areas of virtual education and Educator Effectiveness. Dr. Zweig specializes in statistical and econometric analysis. She serves as the alliance researcher for the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest’s Virtual Education Research Alliance and is the principal investigator for the recent REL study, Professional experiences of online teachers in Wisconsin: Results from a survey about training and challenges. Zweig has developed surveys for schools, online teachers and onsite mentors to gather information about their experiences with online learning. In addition, she oversees all Applied Research and Evaluation studies for REL Northeast and Islands and is an author on several REL publications. Zweig received her B.A. in Economics from Colby College and her Ph.D. in Economics, with a concentration in Applied Microeconomics, from the University of Southern California.