Collaboration Support for Learning with Visual Representations in Undergraduate Chemistry
Martina Rau

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Wisconsin-Madison

Primary Discipline

Educational Psychology
Many students have difficulties interpreting visuals. It is well established that collaboration can help students learn with visuals. Prior research has focused mostly on how verbal communication can help students reason about how visuals show complex concepts. However, we know little about how nonverbal communication, such as pointing gestures, help students learn with visuals. As part of this project, Dr. Rau will investigate how supports for verbal and nonverbal communication affects students� learning with visuals. To this end, she will conduct a study with chemistry students learning about molecular geometry with ball-and-stick models and Lewis structure drawings. This study will help us understand how collaboration can enhance learning through verbal and nonverbal communication processes.
About Martina Rau
Martina Rau is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin ? Madison?s Department of Educational Psychology, with an affiliate appointment in Computer Sciences. Her research focuses on understanding how students learn STEM content with visual representations and to examine how educational technologies can help them use visuals more effectively. To this end, she uses a multi-methods approach that integrates learning outcome measures with process-level measures of learning. She received her doctorate degree from the Human-Computer Interactions Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. She has received an NSF CAREER grant, an award from the Siebel Scholar Foundation for academic excellence and leadership, and best paper awards at the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education and the International Conference on Educational Data Mining. Dr. Rau also has a master?s degree in Psychology.

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