Vanessa Svihla, PhD, is an associate professor at the University of New Mexico (UNM) with appointments in the learning sciences and engineering, and she directs the Interaction and Disciplinary Design in Educational Activity (IDDEA) Lab. Dr. Svihla received her MS (Geology) and PhD (Science Education) from The University of Texas at Austin. She served in the Peace Corps and was a post-doctoral scholar at UC Berkeley.
She draws inspiration from her own practice in fashion design and instructional design, as her research focuses on how people learn when they design. She is particularly interested in how people find and frame problems, and how these activities relate to identity, agency and creativity.
Jordan O. James is a Native American Ph.D. student in the Organization, Information, and Learning Sciences (OILS) program as well as a lecturer at the University of New Mexico’s School of Architecture and Planning in the Community & Regional Planning program. He has served as a graduate research assistant on the NSF-funded FACETS project and has been recognized as a Graduate Studies student spotlight recipient and teaching scholar. Jordan studies learning in authentic, real-world conditions utilizing Design-Based Research methodologies to investigate design learning and social engineering, in which he studies urban planners who design real-world interventions for communities and students who use design to learn. A member of the Grand Portage Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa, Jordan obtained both his Masters of Community & Regional Planning and Bachelor of Media Arts from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque where he lives with his wife and three daughters.
Todd Hynson & Chen Qiu also help out on this project.
Advisors & Peer thought partners
Michelle Jordan, PhD, (Arizona State University) studies collaborative and team design to understand the role uncertainty plays in learning. Richard Reeve, PhD, (Queen’s University, Ontario) studies ways to support instructors to become designers of and thoughtfully incorporate technologies into their teaching. Brian Gravel, PhD, (Tufts University) studies how students learn in makerspaces as they design objects that hold personal or community value. Over the past 3 years, Dr. Gravel and I have been discussing ways to support students to frame their own design problems. Joshua Danish, PhD, (Indiana University) studies how people learn through activity and ways to test instructional designs while simultaneously building theory. Dr. Danish and I have been discussing ways that making, designing and learning can intersect productively. Elizabeth Boling, MFA, (Indiana University) conducts research on design practice and pedagogy, instructional design and designing materials to support teaching and learning. Nadia Kellam, PhD, (Arizona State University) studies how students develop professional engineering identity, and how faculty transition to student-centered teaching strategies. Jennifer Bekki, PhD, (Arizona State University) is an associate professor of manufacturing engineering with expertise in survey development and validation in engineering education. Jeff Branson (Sparkfun Education Department) is the Education Outreach Coordinator and has expertise developing instructional tools related to makerspace education. Tryphenia Peele-Eady, PhD, (University of New Mexico) conducts and teaches qualitative and ethnographic research with a focus on linguistic contexts of teaching and learning practices. Rama Gullapalli MD, PhD, (University of New Mexico) has been developing a course on low-cost biomechanical design involving 3D printing, Arduino, and sensors.