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My Research

I am an educational researcher within the fields of instructional design and learning analytics. My goal is to support adult learners and nontraditional students (e.g., single parents, working adults) to improve their quality of life through distance learning. I believe that distance learning is a vehicle to reduce poverty due to personal experience. My grandma completed her teaching degree through correspondence, which nowadays evolved into online learning. She taught me three things. One, education was our only way out of poverty; two, quality higher education need not happen in-person. And three, interacting with her peers was one of the most challenging parts of learning at a distance. I distilled my research interest from these experiences as follows: 


Social Presence and Interaction in Communities of Inquiry

My involvement in online learning incited my interest in understanding the pedagogical recommendations made to support social presence in online learning, which has been shown to impact student outcomes. Altogether, these experiences will result in my three-article dissertation focusing on social presence predictors of engagement in online learning over time, modeling social presence’s “contagious” learning nature, and examining how social presence supports knowledge construction. The first part of my dissertation, “The dynamics of a MOOC’s learner-learner interaction over time: A longitudinal network analysis” is already published by Computers in Human Behavior. 


Open Pedagogies and Networked Learning 

I am also an advocator of Open Pedagogies. My work spans from the use of Open Educational Resources (OERs) (Richardson et al., under review), to Social Networking Sites (SNSs) (Castellanos-Reyes et al., 2021), to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) (Castellanos-Reyes, 2021); yet, all converge on finding alternative and inexpensive technology platforms for education in a connected world.


Latina/o/x’s in Instructional Design

I identified as a Latina researcher. My work focuses on the representation of Latina/o/x perspectives in higher education, and specifically in instructional design. I started my focus on this topic by leading the panel “To be a Latinx in instructional design: A rare gem” at the AECT conference in 2020. Recently, I focused on short scenarios depicting scenarios in which technology is used to guarantee continuity of education in Latin America in a forthcoming chapter, “Mobile Learning in Emergency Situations: Four Design Cases from Latin America.” (Castellanos-Reyes et al., in-press). My future work will include the examination of de Latina/o/x identity in design decisions.

My Methodologies

I enjoy quantitative methods to answer my research questions and modeling learners’ online learning behaviors through social learning analytics. I rely on network analysis to understand learners’ networks and their interaction with online learning environments. My doctoral training included substantial coursework on quantitative research methods, including social network analysis, awarding me a graduate certificate on “Quantitative Research, Assessment, and Evaluation in Education” on May 2021. The socio-constructivist research paradigm guides my work and how I see learning. The following is a list of experiences that reflect my methodological skills: 


  • Spring 2021: Analysis of Large-scale International Education Data (Stata)

  • Fall 2020: Multilevel Modeling (R)

  • Spring 2020: Social Network Analysis (UCINET, R - RSiena)

  • Fall 2019: Meta-analytic procedures (R)

  • Fall 2018: Quantitative Data Analysis in Education 2 (SPSS)

  • Summer 2018: Introduction to measurement (R)

  • Fall 2017: Experimental Statistics I (SAS)



Castellanos-Reyes, D. (2021). The dynamics of a MOOC’s learner-learner interaction over time: A longitudinal network analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 123(2021), 106880.   [IF = 6.829] 

Castellanos-Reyes, D., Maeda, Y., & Richardson J.C. (2021). The relationship between social network sites and perceived learning and satisfaction: A systematic review and meta-analysis. [book chapter]. In M. Griffin & C. Zinskie (Eds.), Social Media: Influences on Education. Information Age Publishing.

Castellanos-Reyes, D., Romero-Hall, E., Vasconcelos, L. & García, B. (In-press). Mobile Learning in Emergency Situations: Four Design Cases from Latin America.

Castellanos-Reyes, D., Romero-Hall, E., Vasconcelos, L. Glazewski, K. & García, B. (2020, November 2 - 7) To be a Latinx in instructional design: A rare gem [Panel Presentation]. Association for Educational Communications and Technology Annual Meeting, virtual.

Richardson, C., Castellanos-Reyes, D., Janakiraman, S., & Duha, M. (Under review). Developing a Digital Repository for Online Teaching Using Design-Based Research

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