Stephanie Juth, a P.h.D. student in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services, recently traveled to Sweden to receive training on the SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) Eye Tracking machine.
This machine is new to Utah State, and Juth uses it to examine how people read in many different situations, such as hypertext and extended text documents online, or a page online that includes related links that the user can click on.
Specifically, Juth studies the way online tests and learning materials affect the cognitive load of children.
As Juth used the new SMI machine in her office, she soon learned she needed further training than she could find in manuals, articles, and other online resources.
She decided to travel to Sweden for more training at one of the SMI labs and began applying for funding.
She applied for numerous grants before reaching out to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, which was able to provide enough support to pay for the tuition of the program.
“Helping support amazing students like Stephanie is a no-brainer,” said Scott Bates, associate vice president for research. “To develop excellent researchers, you must put excellent students in important places and give them a chance to share their work, network, and to shine.”
While in Sweden, Juth was able to take methodology seminars from the top experts in the eye tracking field for three days. In the morning, she attended lectures on how to get clean data and analyze the numbers. In the evenings, she was mentored on the equipment.
“In the future [the program] will open up doors to conferences and publications that I would have never even known existed,” said Juth. “I can keep augmenting my knowledge as time goes forward.
Juth also gained knowledge of the best journals to publish eye tracking studies and the conferences to present at in the future. She gained many connections from all over the world of researchers who are using eye tracking to answer their research questions.
“My hope is that we can look at the cognitive burden we place on kids but also understand that some cognitive burden is beneficial to children. And with eyetracking and neuroimaging together you can kind of tell that story,” Juth said when asked about the impact of her research.
Writer: Bentlee Rice | Office of Research and Graduate Studies | email@example.com