My name is Austin Cory Bart, and I am a Visiting Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech. In spring 2017, I received my PhD in Computer Science Applications with a Learning Sciences certification, also from Virginia Tech. I graduated with an Honors Degree with Distinction in Computer Science from the University of Delaware in 2012. I study introductory computing experiences, both in terms of student motivation and cognition. I spend a lot of my time teaching introductory Python.

My primary research interest is Digital Education, which can be broadly divided into two facets:

Computer Science Education - The study and practice of teaching people how to become better Computer Scientists. This includes:
  • How we can measurably improve student performance with regards to learning objectives
  • Better understanding the role of contextualization in how students learn
  • Increasing diversity and student perspectives, especially with regards to women in computing
  • Increasing student motivation to learn and use CS concepts/tools
  • Creation of tools to directly improve CS classrooms
Learning Sciences - The study and application of how people learn. This includes:
  • Investigating how people learn and the best ways to teach (especially Instructional Design)
  • Novel learning software to teach myriad subjects and skills, especially 21st century skills like Computational Thinking
  • Pedagogy of educational software development
  • Development of abstract frameworks for learning software
Digital Education is not just about pedagogy or technology. This subject lies at the intersection of many disciplines: software engineering, learning sciences, data science, information storage and retrieval, cognitive science, and more. These disciplines are required by Digital Education researchers to develop tools, artifacts, and techniques to aid the educational process. Integrating them into my research is both a natural consequence and a personal thrill.

My goal is to create technical scaffolding that can support educational experiences for students and aid instructors. I have created, and will create in the future, technological tools that are useful at levels from kindergarten to continuing education. I am extremely comfortable wearing the hat of a software developer and a curriculum developer. Through these experiences, I have come to recognize and appreciate the human element in teaching and learning, and how software can be used to support that process.

Word Cloud of my Dissertation