Andrew Chiarella (Photo)

Andrew Chiarella

Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology
Athabasca University

Insight Development Grant

The following research is supported by an Insight Development Grant provided by SSHRC.

Principal investigator: Andrew Chiarella
Co-investigator: Linda Chmiliar

Funding period: 2011-2013
Funding amount: $26,600


The goals of the planned research are to 1) modify a reading application that enables the evolution of social text signals so that it can be accessed as an online, browser-based application, 2) deploy that application in an online university course, 3) observe and describe the emergence and evolution of the social text signals over time, and 4) compare students who read the text with signals present to those who read the text without signals on a variety of reading process and text comprehension measures.


The study would advance knowledge about digital text by empirically studying the effects of digital text in educational settings and examining those effects with respect to self-organizing systems theory, developing original digital text software for research and teaching purposes, and creating measures and techniques for analyzing the data produced. The software developed would support learners reading educational texts by using a social software approach. The software evolves text signals in response to, and as a by-product of, the actions of the learners; an efficient means of adding text signals. Such a system would not require text authors or instructors to manually add text signals; an activity that is time-consuming and costly. It is hoped that the software could be developed further and eventually deployed in university courses for the benefit of students.