CSC News

August 09, 2012

Barry Peddycord Meets PFL!

This fall, Barry Peddycord III is beginning his second year of doctoral work in NC State's Computer Science program. But, in an unexpected twist, he became inspired to include an educational focus to his computer science training. Let's meet Barry Peddycord to see how he hopes to achieve his professional goals!
Originally from Lewisville, North Carolina, Barry earned his B.S. in Computer Science from NC State in 2011. So, pursuing graduate studies here was a fairly smooth and familiar transition. Even though he learned much about NC State as an undergrad, Barry attended the Graduate Student Orientation. It was at the August 2011 orientation meeting that he learned about the Graduate School's Preparing Future Leaders (PFL) program.
When Barry began his graduate program, he also began a blog to chronicle the ". . .fun, crazy, and painful things. . ." that happen during the course of graduate education. In introducing himself, he writes that he is ". . . driven by two passions that should serve as the basis for anyone who decides to pursue an advanced degree: a desire to learn, and a desire to teach." Unfortunately, his Ph.D. career began on a research grant, so he would miss the chance to serve as a teaching assistant. However, part of the PFL program includes Fundamentals in Teaching(FIT) workshops -- and that was the open door that he needed to walk through in order to combine teaching with his computer science research!
Currently, Barry's doctoral research is in the field of computational science, known as educational data mining and learning analytics. He uses ". . . data processing techniques to model and develop predictors for student understanding by looking both at artifacts of their coursework (such as tests, essays, etc) as well as interaction data collected by Course Management Systems (log-on patterns, participation in chat rooms and message boards)." With the growing popularity of large online classes, Educational Data Mining is becoming a very exciting field!
While still in the planning stages of his graduate studies, he wanted to put a sociological spin on his research, as well -- but held back from making that commitment. Barry says that his enjoyment of the FIT workshops honed his focus on the interdisciplinary path he really wanted to take. After running his ideas past his personal support group, he was ready to take the leap! Consequently, Barry saw the FIT workshops as a great resource for ". . .theoretical background in good teaching." And he enrolled in every PFL workshop that fit his schedule and offered learning and networking opportunities. So far, he has attended a total of 22 workshops, includingProfessional Development Seminars (PDS) and Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) seminars!
Barry also developed his own idea for a new component of the FIT program that he presented to Dr. Barbi Honeycutt, Director of Graduate Teaching Programs. The new program --Fundamentals in Teaching: Current Issues in Teaching Research Reading Group -- will be launched in Fall 2012. The reading group brings together graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who have a deeper interest in teaching techniques and a need a discussion group that focuses on the current scholarly literature on the subject. Barry believes that the reading group will ". . . help keep us abreast of the latest news from educational research, develop critical thinking skills, and build up our EndNote portfolios with a rich collection of citations!"
Obviously, Barry is a huge advocate of the PFL programs! He says that PFL has helped him build ". . . an interdisciplinary network of contacts of people who aren't just intelligent, but are showing an extra level of commitment to their personal and professional growth by attending the workshops and discussions." In fact, Barry says that he's even going to workshops that he's already attended! It gives him the opportunity to ". . . see a fresh set of faces and hear a completely different conversation by the attendees, because the people who come to these workshops regularly are the kinds of people that are worth knowing."
When Barry isn't working on doctoral research or attending PFL workshops, he spends his spare time. . .well, doing other computer-related activities! He is currently the Secretary of the NC State Linux User's group, as well as the webmaster for the local section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Recently, he has joined the STARS Student Leadership Corps.
To find out more about Barry Peddycord III and his adventures in graduate school, please CLICK HERE to read his blog!
Story courtesy of the NC State Graduate School. 

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