Behind Our Research

Featured Interview: Michael Hock

"I believe the future of education will embrace more online learning opportunities that are blended in nature and more responsive to the needs of individual students. Our challenge is to make sure online learning is responsive to the needs of diverse learners."
Michael Hock

What do you do for KUCRL and how long have you been with KUCRL?

In 1990, I was appointed as director of the University of Kansas Academic support program for university student athletes. In this position, my colleagues and I created interventions and programs that supported the academic needs of all athletes. Later, I became associate director of the Center for Research on Learning (CRL) and received Department of Education funding to develop and show the effectiveness of literacy interventions for students who were underprepared for the academic challenges they faced. Currently, I direct the work of the CRL and continue to seek external funding to support development and implementation of comprehensive reading programs, motivation and self-determined behavior programs, and efforts to provide effective professional learning to educators. In addition, I am currently working to move many of our programs to instructional technologies supported platforms. My overarching passion is to ensure the continued success of the CRL.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently the principal investigator of a five year grant from the Department of Education Institute for Education Science IES) to show the effectiveness of the Possible Selves Transition program and the Possible Selves plus the Self Determined Learning Model of Instruction combined program. I also continue to support the state of Kansas Striving Readers grant.

Is there an achievement you're most proud of?

Irma Brasseur-Hock, Don Deshler and I created and validated a comprehensive adolescent reading program that has the potential to significantly improve the reading and thinking skills of adolescents with limited literacy proficiency. The program, Fusion Reading, has been published by McGraw-Hill Education. I'm also proud of the way the Possible Selves program has given voice to hopes, expectations, and fears of students and adults. When individuals are given the opportunity to express their future selves, acquiring the skills and knowledge to do so becomes more relevant.

What resources or tips do you have for educators that are transitioning to online learning?

Translating evidence based programs and practices to effective online learning platform is a much heavier lift than is seems at first glance. The transition requires significant planning and knowledge of effective instructional technology. Most challenging in this effort is ensuring that online learning is much more than moving print to online PDF files, but that it includes powerful pedagogy that can be delivered in online platforms.

What's an interesting, little-known fact about you?

My first job out of high school was working in an underground copper mine in Butte, Montana. Each work day I would get into a small "cage" that was lowered 4,900 feet below the surface. My work consisted of drilling, blasting, and loading copper ore into rail cars. After a year and a half, I decided that getting a college degree was a better path to a more fulfilling (and longer) life.