SOLER – an initiative of the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation – is dedicated to facilitating the systematic generation of insights about teaching and learning in the context of Columbia courses and degree programs through the process of Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER). SOLER serves to lower the barriers for faculty to perform impactful DBER work within their departments by supporting project elements such as study design, research instrument development, Institutional Review Board approval, data security and analysis, and dissemination of results. Additionally, SOLER collaborates with CUIT and other entities across the University to develop tools that streamline the acquisition of insights into teaching and learning processes at scale – for example, tools for efficiently mining data generated by students’ engagement with digital learning platforms – an enterprise termed learning analytics.
SSRAs operate with mentorship and guidance from the SOLER leadership team and support various elements of faculty DBER projects and other SOLER efforts.
SSRAs' responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:
- Performing literature reviews to explore the theoretical basis, context, and implications of DBER studies
- Framing research objectives and matching study designs to specific aims
- Preparing research materials for Institutional Review Board approval
- Developing or refining methods of assessment or measurement
- Managing technical elements such as audio or video recordings
- Coordinating study activities with research participants
- Implementing assessment methods (e.g., evaluating student work according to rubrics)
- Applying qualitative research methods to analyze student-produced text
- Identifying and performing appropriate statistical methods for data analysis
- Writing code for data analysis and visualization or other software needs
- Formulating a plan to disseminate findings
- Composing research reports, presentations, and other documents
Highly qualified SSRA candidates will have knowledge and skills in several of the following areas:
- Scientific method (research questions and hypotheses, independent and dependent variables, correlation vs. causation)
- Primary scientific literature and literature reviews
- Experimental design (within-subjects vs. between-subjects comparisons, blinding, etc.)
- Operationalization of constructs; reliability and validity of measures
- Statistics (descriptive and inferential statistics, regression analysis)
- Qualitative research methods (e.g., grounded theory)
- Programming (e.g., Python, R) for data analysis or simple applications
- Electronic signal acquisition and/or mathematics of signal processing
- Written and oral communication
- Graphic design (e.g., Adobe Illustrator, Figma)
- Good academic standing in a degree program
- Second-year masters/doctoral or more advanced standing
Compensation: starting at $20/hour
Scope of Commitment
- SSRAs are hired for a period of one semester with the possibility of extension if performance and progress is satisfactory.
- SSRAs have a variable workload from week to week, with a typical weekly commitment of 5-10 hours.