Research & Theory

Bret Staudt Willet
Michigan State University

This year, I am the Graduate Student Representative for RTD, meaning I serve on the board for two AECT divisions (RTD and GSA). I have appreciated becoming familiar with AECT business and getting involved with special projects through these multiple perspectives. Ultimately, RTD feels like my professional home, and I would like to continue to serve this community. I am excited to be considered for RTD Secretary—my close friends and colleagues have joked that taking notes during meetings is my Marvel superpower. In all seriousness, my former career involved building and facilitating a team of twelve members scattered across the United States, and my Master’s and PhD degrees were both online. As a result, I have had many years of learning how to participate in and capture the essential meaning from online collaborations. I would be passionate about and genuinely excited by the prospect of keeping the RTD board’s knowledge organized.

I am currently a third year PhD student in the Educational Psychology & Educational Technology program at Michigan State University. My research focuses on how and why K-20 educators connect with each other through social media—I am especially interested in how these platforms can support social constructivist processes for teacher education and teacher professional development. This work is interdisciplinary and utilizes a variety of methods—both human and computational—including qualitative content analysis, social network analysis, and machine learning. I also hold a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology, a Graduate Certificate in Serious Game Design and Research from Michigan State University, and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and sociology from Bucknell University. I teach each of the Master’s courses in MSU’s Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning, as well as a course to help undergraduate pre-service teachers think critically about using technology for teaching and learning.

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