SISLT Research & Development projects are housed in the Allen Institute, named in honor of Dr. Bryce L. Allen who was recognized as an excellent instructor and ground-breaking researcher in SISLT during the period 1996 – 2001. The Allen Institute offers an infrastructure of support and a collaborative space wherein the vital inquiry of SISLT can be enhanced. Bryce Allen represented the best of collaboration and creative research; the goal of The Allen Institute is to continue in this noble tradition.


Ancient Texts | New Media | Future Ethics: Case Studies in Digital Text Analysis

Point of Contact: Twyla Gibson at
The international collaborative project involves conceptualizing new theoretical constructs and methodologies in the study of media, communication, and information. The interdisciplinary research at the intersection of ancient studies, digital humanities, and contemporary ethics involves developing an application programming interface (API) that will make it possible to pursue “big data” textual research across texts and traditions. The aim is to show the potential for innovative methodologies in digital textuality, intertextuality, and classification to uncover new information concerning foundational source texts of world cultures [Students can pursue programming, interaction design, studies in comparative textual research, philosophy, classics, religious studies, etc.]


Before Babel: The Universal Language and the Origins of Cultures

Point of Contact: Twyla Gibson at
The notion that there once existed a language common to all people that was lost in the Fall or the confusion at Babel has engaged philosophers and religious scholars for millennia. This project involves developing digital text analysis techniques to investigate the possibility that this idea is more than a legend [Students can pursue programming, interaction design, studies in comparative textual research, philosophy, classics, religious studies, etc.]


CowGames — A Simulation Tool for Animal Sciences

Point of Contact: Rose M. Marra at
CowGames is a beef cattle breeding simulation designed for use in undergraduate Animal Breeding and Genetics courses. It is designed to illustrate long-term breeding principles and effects; something that takes years in real life. The simulation features several production relevant traits as well as current genetic technologies that allows students to select, breed, evaluate and market virtual animals. The simulation was tested this past fall in courses at Mizzou and Michigan State University. Dr. Marra is working with PhD student Maria Haag to study the effect of different types of scaffolding within the simulation to support learning.


Cyber-physical Learning

Point of Contact: Johannes Strobel at
This project investigates the role of 3D printing and robotics on the learning process in STEAM subjects. From the mind to the digital to the creation/control of physical objects.
Online professional development of design, engineering and computer science. Research on how to facilitate teacher learning processes over distance and in online settings incorporating hands-on, problem-based learning
Empathy and care as essential trademarks and dispositions of STEM particularly Human Centered Design and engineering.
Inclusion, Access and Heterogeneity in technical fields: reducing stereotypes, inclusive design


Digital Didactical Designs

Point of Contact: Isa Jahnke at
Are you interested in studying the relation of teachers’ designs for student deep learning and student outcomes tablet classrooms? Digital Didactical Design (DDD) is an approach for researchers and teachers to analyze the use of web-enabled mobile technology. We use the five-layer DDD-model (Jahnke, 2015) for studying the designs. The model relates the teacher design to student learning as well as outcomes and student products created with different technology. We explores how teachers do design for learning; are there innovative forms of pedagogies? We are looking at the sociotechnical-pedagogical processes. The project helps teachers to reflect and to develop their designs for student deep learning “with” technologies.


Digital Humanities Commons @ The Allen Institute (DHC)

Point of Contact: Twyla Gibson at
The DHC serves as MU’s nexus of digital scholarship and innovation. Its mission is to promote faculty research projects and catalyze new scholarship in Digital Humanities. The facility offers a dedicated space, technical expertise, and networks for collaboration in a unique laboratory that aims to advance the work of arts and humanities faculty and their senior graduate students [students have a range of opportunities to work on different projects with faculty from various departments at MU in roles such as interaction design, programming, digital research design, communication and public relations, grant sponsored work, etc.]


Digital Libraries

Point of Contact: Heather Moulaison Sandy at
Digital libraries are ubiquitous, and services and systems to provide access support enterprises ranging from scholarship to commerce. Focus your study and research on theoretical and practical aspects of providing access to curated digital content in information centers. Special attention can be given to metadata, digital preservation, and standards/interoperability for electronic content.
Bibliographic Control and Access:
In the digital age, libraries more than ever need to meet user needs through organized, curated content. What advances are being made in bibliographic control and how do these support access?


Diversity Issues in Public Libraries

Point of Contact: Denice Adkins at
Public libraries are accessible to entire communities, but individual populations have different and sometimes conflicting needs. Explore diversity management and diversity issues specific to public libraries, and how those issues can be communicated with library administrators, staff, and patrons.


Greek Key Virtual Research Environment (VRE)

Point of Contact: Twyla Gibson at
This project involves developing a Virtual Research Environment (VRE) — i.e., a suite of tools and resources designed to help manage the increasingly complex range of tasks involved in bringing together scholars across disciplines and from around the globe to collaborate virtually on both small and large scale research on early source texts [Students can pursue programming, interaction design, studies in comparative textual research, philosophy, classics, religious studies, etc.]


Information Experience Laboratory

Point of Contact: Isa Jahnke at
Laboratory and enterprise for research, teaching and service in technology usability.


Latinos, Libraries, and Information Use

Point of Contact: Denice Adkins at
As Latino populations grow in the Midwest, and library use is one way of integrating those populations into the community. The information needs of Latino communities may be different from the information needs of non-Latino communities. Explore ways of making libraries and information provision more appropriate to diverse populations.


Libraries and Geographic Information Systems

Point of Contact: Denice Adkins at
As place-bound institutions, libraries provide services to populations that are located in and around those buildings. Explore GIS technologies and how they can be integrated into library data planning.



Point of Contact: Twyla Gibson at
A peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal for research on media and mediation [students can work as editors, proofreaders, commissioning articles etc. ]


Mission Hydro Science

Point of Contact: Jim Laffey
Mission HydroSci terrain simulator provides students with a set of tools to investigate water in socio-ecological systems. Students can manipulate topography by increasing and decreasing terrain elevation. They can also collect data to make sense of the changes they enact by placing sensors in the environment to monitor variables such as water flow, volume and quality. By manipulating the terrain, students discover how water cycles through the environment. A time-machine function allows students to predict and then observe long-term implications of hydrologic cycles.


Objects: Stories of Immigration and Material Culture

Point of Contact: Jenny Bossaller at
This project documents the items brought by German immigrants to Missouri, or made by German immigrants in Missouri. The end product will be an e-edition with rich metadata built on the Scalar platform combining multimedia (photographs, 3-D images, sound recordings) and GIS. It is a joint collaboration with the Missouri Humanities Council, historic societies, and scholars across the state.


Problem based learning environments — particularly in STEM disciplines

Point of Contact: Rose Marra at
Dr. Marra just received an NSF grant to study metacognition development in engineering students at the PBL Iron Range Engineering Program. Dr. Marra is actively seeking to hire a GA to help with data collection and analysis for this project.
Design, implementation and research of tools used to support meaningful collaboration in online settings. Dr. Marra was PI of the NSF funded SCEE (Supporting Collaboration in Engineering Education) where she created and researched tools to support online and asynchronous collaboration for engineering problem solving. Dr. Marra is currently working with colleagues to extend and refine this idea for supporting “kitchen” science labs in online K-12 science learning in the context of the MIZZOU K-12 Online High School.


Project Whistlestop

Project Whistlestop Logo
Point of Contact: Tom Kochtanek
The digital library for the Truman Presidential Library.


Reader Advisory and Reading Appeal

Point of Contact: Denice Adkins at
What makes a book a “good book”? Elements of appeal have been proposed, but have those elements of appeal been tested? Do they hold true for different generations? Different cultures? Different ages? Different reading formats like comics? Explore reading and reading research to help answer these questions.


School Libraries and Reading Performance

Point of Contact: Denice Adkins at
A child’s first exposure to libraries is typically through their school library. Large data sets often allow us to connect school library use and academic performance through quantitative methods. Explore school performance and other data to make arguments based on policy and strategy.


School Libraries Supporting Student Mental Health

Point of Contact: Denice Adkins at
This IMLS-grant funded project explores school libraries’ potential and capacity for supporting and providing mental health and mental health literacy in their communities.


Sociotechnical Design

Point of Contact: Isa Jahnke at
The Information Experience Lab adopts a SocioTechnical Design approach to integrate user experience in technical designs, for example, usability testing. Newest trends illustrate a need for usability testing for small devices and applications for wearables. The IELab is striving towards new usability methods for such new flexible devices. In addition, there is a need to rethink existing usability methods for new groups of users such as smart city applications, preschoolers and English language learners.


Supporting Collaboration in Engineering Education (SCEE)

Point of Contact: Rose Marra at
SCEE will develop an online, customizable environment — the Engineering Education Collaboration Environment — in which students will manage and implement collaborative activities associated with engineering design projects. The project will include dissemination, testing and research in several engineering classrooms at multiple institutions.


Technology to Enhance Learning Lab (TELL)

Point of Contact: Xinhao Xu at
The Technology to Enhance Learning Lab (TELL) strives to apply cutting-edge human-computer interaction (HCI) technologies like VR/AR and embodied interactive devices to help people learn and elevate their professional competence. The essential research question is about not only what to apply, but also How to apply such technologies in learning and training. Some current projects include: VR-based Online Orientation for New SISLT Students, Embodied Interactive Learning and Visual Attention in a Kinect-based Instruction, and Virtual Lab: An Interactive 3D Mixed Reality Laboratory. TELL also hosts the SISLT Introduction to VR-enabled Instructional Design course.


Towards Cross-action Spaces

Point of Contact: Isa Jahnke at
There is no thing called ‘distance learning.’ We learn when we are present. It is distance teaching. Also, the term of blended learning is crucial. What do we really blend? Thus, what happens when online and offline worlds are merging? Human behavior turns from inter-action to cross-action. Which kinds of designs for learning are needed under those new conditions? That is what we study. We argue we need reflective cross-actions in learning expeditions.



Point of Contact: Isa Jahnke at
Do you want to work with newest technologies such as smart glasses and wearables, and want to know how to ‘design for sociotechnical learning’? Then, join our SISLT team and our LexMizzou project where we create collaborative learning expeditions for new students on Mizzou Campus.