research examines field-related topics through the lens of human-centered design
and systems perspectives, with consideration to the relationship between technology,
organizations, and society/people. Within this lens, I have examined and
published on openness (including student agency, and the impact of freedom, and
transparency of systems), human-centered design (and the impact of these
frameworks on Instructional Design), and small meaningful collaborations
- I have a solid
publication history with 5 peer reviewed articles in reputable scholarly
journals, 11 edited columns in TechTrends, a co-authored book chapter, and 12
refereed conference proceedings. I have also led 6
keynote presentations, led or co-led 41 presentations at various conferences,
classes, and events, and created and led or co-led 25 workshops.
goals for scholarship include continuing to publish in well recognized
journals, editing a book, moving into journal editorship, and collaborating
with other researchers.
- I am
also very interested in establishing an Instructional Design/Research Studio
within the program to allow students to collaborate on real-world projects.
Statement of Research Interests
always been intrigued with an interest in humans, and this eventually grew to
consider their relationships with technology, organizations, and with other
people and society. This interest has evolved interestingly through the years,
and my approach has come to include robust framings of challenges primarily through
human-centered design and systems perspectives.
formal research efforts involved addressing real-world challenges in the local
community. As part of NASA’s DEVELOP National Program, our small team sought to
use satellite imagery and scientific in situ data to improve mosquito
treatment efforts in the county, among other projects. Our work impacted
practice and policy for the local Department of Public Health. I was brought on
as a business liaison to gather data and work between government agencies, and
served as a co-lead for the research team.
helped me understand the practical impact that research work can have, and
sparked a genuine interest in exploring practical topics. After entering a
Ph.D. program in Instructional Design and Development a few years later, I began
a regular practice of scholarly examination . . . and my own interests started
to evolve and mature. I became deeply engaged with an active research studio
during this time, and briefly explored the areas of gamification,
human-computer interaction, and performance improvement, before centering more
fully on the area of adoption and diffusion of technology. This interest encouraged
me to think more critically about education structures, the affordances of
technology and its impact on education, and on what the design of a
human-centered education system might look like.
to explore human-centered educational systems led to a focus on openness, which
is primarily comprised of technologically enabled innovations which have
organizational and systemic impact, and involved challenging and reframing systems
in ways that encouraged them to potentially become more human-centered. Openness
is a complex and interesting topic for research. For one thing, it is not
clearly or consistently defined, and it immediately brings to mind certain
concepts which can be interpreted in a myriad of different ways. It is often
politicized and used ideologically, and it is often framed as an idealistic
utopian state to which everyone should naturally adhere. Through much
examination of existing work, I was able to create an operational definition of
openness that focuses on how transparency and freedom are ingrained into
systems and produce distinct affordances which can force reflection on the
foundational assumptions of systems such as traditional scholarly diffusion and
online learning (Baker III 2014 a). Examples of this reframing can be seen in
the systems of Open Access Research, Open Teaching and Learning, Open
Educational Resources, and Open Source Software, which each challenged
educators to think critically about the core of what we do and how we might
exist if this core was substantially shifted. Much of my work within openness
has dealt with examining aspects of these reframed systems (see Baker III,
2014b; Baker III 2014c; Surry, Baker III, et. al. 2014; Baker III & Surry,
2013a; Baker III & Surry, 2013b and Baker III, 2012).
element of my work within openness involved exploring its history. Presumably
because of the tremendous impact digital technology has on its promulgation and
affordances, many people claim openness emerged from the Open Source Software
movement in the 1980s. In fact, openness has a rich history in education, going
back at least to the time of Socrates, and being exemplified in the
foundational ideas of Dewey and Montessori, and most prominently in the Open
Education and free school movements of the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s (Baker III,
2016). There are a great number of educators and researchers whose work is
highly influential in openness, and its principles are exemplified in many
constructivist classrooms—which have emerged as the dominant model for
education in the 21st century. The underlying concepts of openness
are more pervasive than it initially seems, and in many ways these concepts are
inseparably intertwined with the soul of education.
dissertation work explored the impact of openness in higher education through
analysis of policy statements in Carnegie classified Very High Research
Institutions in the United States. I drew a stratified random sample and
searched for policy statements related to the implementation of openness, and
then analyzed them for policy role as enabler, barrier, or neutral. From this
examination, I created a set of example policy statements and recommendations for
institutions to draw upon when writing policy to address openness—whether to
enable it, prevent it, or address it neutrally (See, Baker III, 2014d).
Research with a practical element is something I strive for.
This exploration of openness as a way to reframe systems to be more human-centered led to consideration of other lenses for this reframing. I began to explore the potential of small groups working together and their ability to shape and have impact at large scale. This led to the co-development and interest in the concept of micro-communities, and a conceptualization of where they might prove impactful (Surry, Baker III, & Rausch, 2013; Whiteside, Garrett Dikkers, & Baker III, 2019). These micro-communities reframe traditional collaborative professional development models into more human-centered engagements which are driven by the members and have far-reaching impacts.
have more formally explored the role of human-centered design/design thinking
with regard to instructional design. Along with my graduate assistant, I
performed a systematic content analysis of the literature, which led to
reviewing 1075 abstracts and 70+ related papers, and ultimately identifying a core
set of papers for analysis. These examinations were used to draw parallels
between Instructional Design and the larger design field, and to produce
recommendations and implications for use of design thinking models within
practice (Baker III, & Moukhliss, in press). The expertise within the
instructional design field is relevant to everything that happens in higher
education, and a similar case can be made for many industries—yet in my
experience, most people are unaware of what we do, or can do. I believe that it
is important that we continue to negotiate our role as designers in a design
field, and that we take an active role in shaping the future of education and
business. We must then communicate this effectively to the larger community.
will continue to explore this line of reframing systems through design. I am
currently exploring the topic of individual performance through productivity
and planning systems. These systems have the potential for large scale impact
for individuals, such as students and employees, as well as for organizations
through improved performance and productivity. Mastering these systems has the
potential to improve work-life balance for individuals as well, while retaining
or improving levels of performance.
Overall, examining human-centered design
through a systems lens continues to be an important, rewarding, and impactful
area ripe for study. As seen here, studies in this area can focus on a variety
of topics, which makes it adaptable to changes and ensures its long-term
relevance as a research agenda. Three possible studies in this area include 1) An
analysis of personal productivity systems to determine the core elements of
functional systems, 2) Examining frameworks used in higher education for
serving the needs of the people involved (e.g., examining and comparing the
structures of resources and services provided to students at various institutions,
and making recommendations based on the results) 3) Implementing and evaluating
small co-curricular groups of informal practice (e.g. research or instructional
design studios) to determine what impact these have on student preparation and
comfort with ideas upon sustained participation. There is great value in any of
these studies, and practical recommendations would emerge from their
recognition of my work in research on systems thinking for research in systems
thinking and diffusions of innovations, I received the Charles M. Reigeluth
Emerging Scholar Award at the Association of Educational Communications &
Technology (AECT) conference this year. As my research continues to develop, I
would like to undertake more studies with qualitative and mixed methods
emphasis, continue to publish in recognized journals (such as BJET, TechTrends,
and Review of Education) and produce book chapters, become more involved in
journal editorship (I edited an an ongoing column in TechTrends, and am
currently engaged in guest editing a special issue), and eventually write or
edit a book of my own. I am also very interested in exploring the potential of establishing
an Instructional Design or Research Studio with the students in the program, as
my involvement in a studio had a tremendous impact on my professional
For much of
my academic career, I kept up with research efforts on my own time, as they were
outside of my full-time professional position. Since I took on an Assistant
Professor role with some time devoted to scholarship a little over a year ago,
I have produced two published studies, co-authored a book chapter, have another
publication ready for submission, and am nearly finished with the initial
analysis for another paper. I find research to be a very important and
rewarding pursuit, and it presents ample opportunities both to learn and
develop as a professional, and to provide meaningful guidance to those who
practice within our industry. In total, I have a solid publication history with 5 peer reviewed articles
in reputable scholarly journals, 11 edited columns in TechTrends, a co-authored
book chapter, and 12 refereed conference proceedings. I have also led 6 keynote presentations, led or co-led 41 presentations
at various conferences, classes, and events, and created and led or co-led 25
workshops. I plan to continue producing and publishing scholarly work, as it is
a passion and has proven to be a very rewarding experience.
III, F.W. (2016) An Alternative Approach: Openness in Education over the last
100 Years. TechTrends doi:
III, F. W. (2014a). Open Participatory Engagement Network (OPEN): An
instructional design meta-framework for creating participatory networked
learning environments. In Society for Information Technology & Teacher
Education International Conference (Vol. 2014, No. 1, pp. 227-233).
III, F.W. (2014b). Open dialogue: A content analysis of the #openeducation
Twitter hashtag. In Proceedings of the Association of Educational Communication
Technology Annual Conference, Jacksonville, FL, 2014.
III, F. W. (2014c). Developing the Open Factors Instrument: An Implementation
Questionnaire for Gauging Openness. In Society for Information Technology &
Teacher Education International Conference (Vol. 2014, No. 1, pp. 1378-1385).
III, F.W. (2014d). Policies related to the implementation of openness at
research intensive universities in the united states: A descriptive content
analysis (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from http://www.fredwbaker.com/baker-dissertation-public-version.
III, F. W., Surry, D. W. (2013a). Open Education Designs: A Taxonomy for
Differentiating and Classifying Open Learning Environments. In R. McBride &
M. Searson (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology &
Teacher Education International Conference 2013 (pp. 189-194). Chesapeake, VA:
III, F.W., & Surry, D.W. (2013b). Faculty Enthusiasm Toward Compulsory
Participation in an Institutional Open Educational Resources Repository. In R.
McBride & M. Searson (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information
Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2013 (pp.
1831-1836). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
III, F.W. (2012). Unshackling Future Minds: How including openness in teacher
education can avoid insurrection and usher in a new era of collaboration. In P.
Resta (Ed.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher
Education International Conference 2012 (pp. 1488-1493). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
III, F.W., Moukhliss, S. (in press). Concretizing Design Thinking: A Content
Analysis of Systematic and Extended Literature Reviews on Design Thinking and
Human-Centered Design. Review of Education.
Surry, D., Baker III, F.W. & Rausch, T. (2013). The Role of Micro Communities in Educational Research. In R. McBride & M. Searson (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2013—Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 2453-2456). New Orleans, Louisiana, United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved October 3, 2019 from https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/48470/.
D.W., Baker III, F.W., Morgan, R.E, LeBlanc, E. J., & Beck, B. (2014).
Content analysis of articles published in open access and traditional access
educational technology journals. In Society for Information Technology &
Teacher Education International Conference (Vol. 2014, No. 1, pp. 1462-1477).
Garrett Dikkers, A., & Baker III, F.W., (2019). Moving Beyond Trial and
Error: Exploring Case Studies of Professional Development Models in K12 Blended
Learning. In T.L. Heafner & R. Hartshorne (Eds.), Handbook of
Research on Emerging Practices and Methods for K-12 Online and Blended Learning
(Chapter 12). IGI Global doi: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8009-6 Retrieved from https://www.igi-global.com/chapter/moving-beyond-trial-and-error/223616