MA in Education, 2014
School of Education
November 1, 2013
Research Focuses on Adolescent Interactions in Collaborative Learning Environments
Diana Mullins is a third year Ph.D. student in the School of Education specializing in Language, Literacy, and Technology (LLT). She is currently studying interactions taking place in collaborative learning environments, both face-to-face and online.
“I am particularly interested in the processes by which students revise their thinking while in dialogue with others. With Assistant Professor Tesha Sengupta-Irving I am currently studying how student utterances, activities, and interactions signify the ways in which students can become learning opportunities for one another.”
A second area of research is informed by her years of classroom teaching with one-to-one networked laptops (Maine Learning Technology Initiative). Diana studies how technology affects the teaching and learning of writing with Professor Mark Warschauer and Assistant Professor Joshua Lawrence. She is analyzing iterative drafting and collaborative interactions among adolescent authors and their peer and teacher reviewers while they revise writing assignments in a cloud-based document-sharing platform. This work also informs Diana’s contributions to “Research in Digital Literacy: Tools to Support Learning” in Adolescent Literacy in the Age of the Common Core, published by Harvard Education Press.
Additionally, working with Associate Professor Carol Booth Olson, Director of the UCI Writing Project, Diana conducts research exploring the effects of a cognitive strategies teaching intervention designed to improve middle and high school student analytical writing outcomes. This work has led to her interest in discussion-based approaches to teaching and learning and analyzing materials and processes that support students’ strategic actions while they are reading, writing, listening, and speaking. In order to continue to work with classroom teachers and students during her time as a graduate student, Diana has served as Technical Liaison for the UCI Writing Project, as an Associate Director of the Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute for Teachers, and she has been a teacher in the Young Writers Program serving K-12 students in the surrounding communities.
In her fifteen years as a classroom teacher, Diana sought to promote greater equity in learning by reforming curriculum, instruction, assessment, and school climate. She was awarded the 2009 Exemplary Practice Award from the Maine Association for Middle Level Educators for her contribution to a middle school climate initiative that promoted strategic decision-making and restorative justice approaches to conflict resolution. Currently, she is a member of the School of Education Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience (DECADE) Student Council.
I am a proud mother of a teenage daughter who has embraced this move from Maine to California as a welcome transition in her life, and she has flourished here as a student, a performer, and an engaged citizen. Because of her, I find my research and contributions to the education of our youth all the more relevant and meaningful.