Osman Umarji Collaborates with Researchers at the University of Helsinki to Study Science Engagement in High School
Ph.D. student Osman Umarji, who is advised by Distinguished Professor Jacquelynne Eccles, just returned from the University of Helsinki, Finland. In Helsinki, he was collaborating with Dr. Katariina Salmela-Aro and her students on a project investigating science engagement in high school classrooms. The research project used a novel research method, experience sampling, to capture students’ in situ perceptions of their science classes, including their interest and emotions. Students were given smartphones and beeped throughout the day for two weeks about what they were experiencing in the moment, whether in science class or other places. In addition, physiological data such as heart rate, sleep, and cortisol were collected to understand how physiological measures and student reports are related to learning and motivation.
This study hopes to improve the quality of science education by informing educators about students' perceptions of their science classes and to better understand when students feel they are fully engaged, and therefore, in “optimal learning moments.” Osman hopes to take what he has learned from his experiences in Finland and apply the experience sampling method to answer various research projects related to academic motivation, values, and character strengths.
Osman is a fourth year doctoral student whose research interests include motivation, values, self-concepts, child and adolescent development, and longitudinal research methods.