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Incubator Stay Report Sarah Bichler

Hosting Institution: University of California at Berkeley
International Advisor: Prof. Dr. Marcia Linn

sarah4As part of my Ph.D. in the International Doctoral School “REASON”, I spent four weeks as a visiting doctoral researcher with my international doctoral advisor Dr. Marcia Linn and her research group at the Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley (UCB). Dr. Linn’s research focusses on technology-enhanced science learning: Namely, her research group promotes inquiry science learning by designing online learning units (Web-based Inquiry Science Environment, WISE) that are available to teachers and students worldwide.

My goal for the exchange was not only to benefit directly from the expertise of Marcia and her group with respect to my own projects, but also to learn about the ongoing projects being carried out and developed in her lab. From day 1, I was warmly welcomed and included within the research group and project meetings. We met twice a week for projects, once a week for research group, and Marcia and I met individually each week to discuss progress of my Ph.D. as well as my plan for the upcoming and last months of the Ph.D.

During project meetings, I learned about current lines of investigation, for example a new tool implemented in WISE that gives teachers an overview of their students’ understanding in real time. During research group meetings, I had the chance to present my doctoral research and received valuable feedback from members of Marcia’s lab as well as from her students. A highlight of my stay was visiting schools and experiencing the real-life use and implementation of WISE. I observed three different teachers integrating WISE into their teaching practice and engaged with students to find out what they thought of specific features within the learning environment.

Beyond providing me with a wonderful research experience, Marcia invited me and my husband to join her at the Bay Area Children’s Theatre in San Francisco and in Berkeley to see “She persisted” and “Gold: – The Midas Musical” and to see “HOME” at the Berkeley Rep.


I want to sincerely thank REASON and the Elite Network of Bavaria for making this visit possible and to express my gratitude to Marcia for her support and encouragement that started when I first met her in 2015 and has only been growing ever since. I am also especially thankful that I could learn about current projects, reconnect with members of Marcia’s group that I have known for a while now, and to get to know her current Ph.D. students much closer. Beyond being able to benefit from the opportunity to develop my own project writing, I feel that the chance to become more integrated and up-to-date with Dr. Linn’s lab and their ongoing projects not only strengthened my collaboration with Marcia and her group but also solidified the foundation to continue such fruitful and collaborative exchanges with researchers that I truly consider as new friends. All in all, I believe the visit was a productive success.

I wish any future REASON member that their advisory team is as supportive and open for collaboration as mine and that their international experience reassures them in the path they are pursuing as well as inspires them as much as my time at UCB reassured and inspired me.

Sarah Bichler is conducting research on facilitating learning and reasoning processes under the supervision of Prof. Frank Fischer (LMU), Prof. Birgit Neuhaus (LMU) and Prof. Marcia Linn (University of California at Berkeley).