Digital Learning Research Support Services

two people doing research in front of a laptop

Supporting Data-Driven Approaches to Improve the Student Experience

If you are leading a research project related to online and blended learning and would like some extra support, you might consider collaborating with us! We can collaborate with UArizona researchers to support their original queries related to learning through digital modalities.

As a campus leader in online and blended course design, we strive to equip our instructional designers with the data to make informed decision about their teaching and design practices. Doing research with us has a broad impact both for the UArizona community and for Institutions around the country. As an R1 institution, we seek to provide empirically sound guidance to our instructors, our peer institutions, and the broader academic community.


If you’re interested in collaborating with us to conduct original research on technology-driven learning or teaching, please complete a collaboration request.

Those eligible include:

  • Tenured and tenure track faculty 
  • Career track faculty 
  • Instructional staff
  • Staff with research backgrounds
  • Graduate students 

The individual who submits this request will serve as the Primary Investigator (PI) for their request.

A PI is limited to one collaboration request per cycle and may collaborate with us as the PI for only one project at a time. If an individual engages in collaborative research with us, that individual is eligible to apply for another collaboration 12 months after the previous project is closed. 

Process & Responsibilities

If your collaboration request is accepted, we will follow up with you to negotiate the support needed to run your study. This support may include access to technology resources, technical support, and funding. In exchange, you will conduct the study as the Principle Investigator (PI), including obtaining IRB approval, recruiting participants, collecting and analyzing data, and publishing results. We may collaborate with you to co-publish articles, podcasts, and research-focused blogs to share results with the broader UArizona community.

All projects should be completed within a 12 month period unless otherwise negotiated. At the end of each fiscal year, the PI will submit a progress report and (when applicable) a budget summary.

Submission Cycle

Requests will be evaluated twice per year, in April and October. Exact dates will be posted at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. Your request will be processed within a month of these deadlines, and you will be notified within that timeframe.

Research collaboration request deadlines fall during the following two weeks each year:

  • Week of April 15th
  • Week of October 15th 

The spring 2022 deadline has already passed. The fall 2022 deadline will be posted at the beginning of fall semester. Although we only process requests twice per year, we accept them on a rolling basis, so feel free to make your request whenever you are ready!

Additional Information

You can request a variety of services from our team to support your research. Our services may include instructional design support, consultation from our multimedia design team, use of our studio facilities, library support services, and assistance using institutionally supported educational technologies. Funding from our office may be available, and we can support your effort to find and apply to larger grants. There is no minimum or maximum amount that can be requested. Requestors should ask for the amount that they need. We can negotiate the final amount through consultation after accepting the collaboration request. We can also provide estimates for being written into grants. 

Below is a list of possible research topics or areas to illustrate the potential types of projects we could work on. Collaborations are negotiated on a case by case basis and are not limited to the following:

  • Learner engagement in digital environments
  • Universal Design for teaching and learning
  • Best practices for audiovisual instruction
  • Accessible course design and student success
  • Culturally responsive online teaching
  • Online learning vs. emergency remote instruction
  • Learner/instructor readiness for online learning
  • E-Learning and student success
  • Effective assessment practices in online learning
  • AI/VR/AR Technologies as they apply to digital learning environments

If you have questions about your eligibility, funding, or other issues regarding research support, please contact Nicole Schmidt ( to set up a consultation.

If you are ready to request a collaboration with us, please fill out the Research Collaboration Request Form.

Research Collaboration Request Form

Have a look at some of the past and current projects that we have supported.

  • Principle Researcher: Caleb Simmons
    • Project title: Video Production Value and Student Success
    • Project summary: This study seeks to 1) determine which aspects of video production yield the highest impact on the achievement of learning outcomes; 2) produce a report that provides recommendations to the University community that outlines the cost-benefit ratios of different production strategies, all with eye toward aiding teaching personnel in the selection of optimal course material production strategies; 3) clarify at the University level (e.g., OIA, Arizona Online, Digital Learning) the most effective ways to invest in online education.
  • Principle Researcher: Kathleen Kennedy
    • Project title: PALS: Educational Equity and Inclusion through Personalized Adaptive Learning
    • Project summary: This study aims to use differentiated instruction (DI) and adaptive learning (AL) methods to foster individual student success, broaden access to quality education, and build a more equitable learning environment. It involves the creation of 16 Personalized and Adaptive Learning System (PALS) courses, with a total of 32 or more course offerings. Based on an average class size of 40 students, this provides test populations of 1,280 to 2,560+ students and 16 instructors.
  • Principle Researcher: Nicole Schmidt
    • Project title: Quality Matters and Student Success
    • Project summary: Quality Matters (QM) has become an international benchmark for quality assurance in online learning. However, no interventional study to date has drawn an explicit connection between the impact of QM professional development and the broader concept of student success. This multi-institutional case study explores the impact of Quality Matters (QM) professional development on student success, using Lane et al.’s (2019) framework.

If you would like to try out a new digital tool in your classroom, check out Pilots section of our Technologies page to learn more.