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Brian C. Nelson

Brian C. Nelson is an Associate Professor of Educational Technology in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. Dr. Nelson’s research focuses on the theory, design, and implementation of computer-based learning environments, focusing on immersive games. An instructional designer and learning theorist, he has published and presented extensively on the viability of educational virtual environments for situated inquiry learning and assessment. Dr. Nelson’s recent publications have addressed issues related to the design and evaluation of educational games, with a focus on situated cognition and socio-constructivist based design. Recent articles and chapters include “Managing cognitive load in educational multi user virtual environments,” “Exploring embedded guidance and self-efficacy in educational multi-user virtual environments,” and “Exploring the use of individualized, reflective guidance in an educational multi-user virtual environment.”

Dr. Nelson was the Project Designer on the River City Virtual World project through two NSF-funded studies, and is a Co-Principal Investigator on the on-going NSF-funded SAVE Science and SURGE studies. Each of these studies explores the use of computer games to teach and assess science inquiry and content. He was recently co-PI on two MacArthur Foundation grants: 21 st  Century Assessment, investigating new models for assessment in digital media-based learning environments, and Our Courts, creating and assessing an immersive game to promote civic engagement.

Dr. Nelson earned his doctorate at Harvard University in 2005.