The Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning

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Carolyn A. Maher

Carolyn A. Maher, Professor
carolyn.maher at
Graduate School of Education
Rutgers University

Carolyn A. Maher, PI, leads the research team in its work and oversees all aspects of the project; contributes to design research and directs the quasi-experimental research. She collaborates with the research team on the design of the Video Mosaic Collaboratory (VMC) and the assessment instruments. She works closely with researchers across sites to create instructional interventions designed to develop teachers’ reasoning about mathematics and children’s mathematical thinking when video analysis using the VMC is incorporated into the experimental condition, as well as prepare appropriate alternative conditions. She supports the sessions with site researchers to develop and share video-based intervention; to create, accumulate and share data about those interventions via design research; and to evaluate the “value added” in studying videos via quasi-experimental research. She directs data analysis, collaborating with the research team. She prepares materials for publication in peer-reviewed journals and for dissemination at professional conferences. She convenes the Advisory Board and project consultants at appropriate intervals throughout the project to solicit their guidance on design and assessment issues and statistical analyses.

Carolyn A. Maher is Professor II of Mathematics Education and the Director of the Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning at the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers. She is Editor of the Journal of Mathematical Behavior and has served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Research in Mathematics Education. Her research, consisting of both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, has focused on the development of mathematical ideas and mathematical reasoning in learners over time. Most noteworthy is the longitudinal study that followed the mathematical thinking of a cohort group of students doing mathematics in and out of classrooms, now in its 21st year and tracking the subjects as young professionals. This longitudinal study is featured in the Private Universe Project in Mathematics, a series of six video workshops for teacher professional development that was produced by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The documentary, Surprises in Mind, published by RiverRun Media, features her long-term study. Recent research includes a three-year study of middle school students’ informal mathematics learning in an after-school setting in an urban NJ school district. With the current Discovery Research K- 12 grant from National Science Foundation, Maher and colleagues are now focusing on teacher education and how studying video episodes of children’s learning from prior research potentially can improve teachers’ abilities to reason mathematically. This latest NSF research project builds upon her current REESE Synthesis grant that selected video episodes on children’s mathematical reasoning as representative samples from prior studies for inclusion in a prototype of a searchable database accessible via the Internet. Professor Maher has published over 60 refereed journal articles and book chapters, and has given over 30 invited lectures, plenary sessions, and keynote addresses. She was invited co-chair of the Topic Study Group for “New Trends in Mathematics Education Research” at the Eleventh International Congress on Mathematics Education, held in July 2008. She gave the invited keynote lecture Critical Thinking Skills in Schools and Museums at the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies in June 2007. She was a plenary speaker at the 26th PME in Norwich, England, 2002, Senior Lecturer at the International Congress for Mathematics Education in Copenhagen, Denmark, 2004, and Plenary Speaker at the University of Helsinki Conference in Finland, 2004.


Marjory F. Palius

Marjory F. Palius, Research Project Manager
marjory.palius at
The Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning
Graduate School of Education
Rutgers University

Marjory Palius is Co-Principal Investigator on the NSF-funded grant, Cyber-Enabled Design Research to Enhance Teachers’ Critical Thinking Using a Major Video Collection. Collaborating with PI Carolyn Maher and other researchers, she works on design and vetting of data gathering instruments for use in instructional settings, and she coordinates data collection activities. She engages with an interdisciplinary team of researchers to plan for data analysis, and supervises data analysis efforts of student research assistants. Her project management responsibilities include maintenance of IRB approval for research with human subjects, overseeing contributions to research from consultants and experts from other departments (e.g., educational psychologists, statisticians, etc.), managing project resources (human and fiscal), monitoring adherence to project timelines, and planning meetings with Advisory Boards. In addition, she composes and submits project reports that incorporate activities and findings from various project personnel, and she engages in the writing of manuscripts on research activities and findings for submission as scholarly publications, and preparing presentations to disseminate research results at national and international conferences.

Marjory’s research is grounded in the social and philosophical foundations of education as well as mathematics education, and she is particularly interested in studying learning environments that foster the growth of conceptual understanding. She has been developing a methodology for analyzing discourse among learners working in collaborative groups, which emanated from prior research on a community of learners in higher education that spanned eight disciplinary areas in science and engineering. The methodology is currently being adapted for studying the discourse of secondary students working in small groups on mathematics problem solving to analyze ways in which their communication yields evidence of co- construction of mathematical ideas and reasoning.


Cindy Hmelo-Silver

Cindy Hmelo-Silver, Associate Professor in Educational Psychology
chmelosi at
Graduate School of Education
Rutgers University

Dr. Hmelo-Silver’s role on the VMC is to assist with study design, designing assessments and online course modules, and analyzing the design experiment data, including interaction analysis of video data. She will be adding concepts and terms specific to Educational Psychology to the VMCAnalytic to enable researchers in that discipline to analyze videos collaboratively from the VMC collection.

Dr. Hmelo-Silver received her PhD in Cognitive Studies at Vanderbilt University. She is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Learning Science. She is an expert in learning sciences and has experience in studying how people understand complex phenomena. Her research interests focus on problem-based learning, collaborative knowledge building, and using technology to scaffold complex learning. She has written over 50 articles and book chapters. Dr. Hmelo-Silver has received funding from NSF, a National Academy of Education Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Johnson and Johnson foundation and the Institute for Education Sciences. As part of her NSF Early CAREER RepTools project, she has experience in design-based classroom studies to support student learning about aquarium ecosystems as well as in experimental research to test different designs for technology.


Robert Sigley

Robert Sigley, Senior Researcher
rsigley at
The Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning
Graduate School of Education
Rutgers University

Robert's role in this project is to preserve the video collection of the Davis Institute, create clips for use during our interventions, film and maintain a database about our interventions.

He has a masters degree in statistics and is planning on entering the mathematics education program at Rutgers. Robert's research interests include implementing technology in the classroom and converting classroom style classes and problem solving activities into online courses.

For more information about the Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning, please visit our webpage at

Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning
Rutgers Libraries
Wisconsin Center for Education Research
National Science Foundation

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation through grant award # DRL-0822204.
The views expressed here are those of the participating researchers and not necessarily those of the NSF.