Achievements

Dr. Hui Niu receives Dean's Convocation Medal

June 02, 2017
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As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of Education, Dr. Hui Niu is being recognized with the award of the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Dr. Niu on her outstanding achievements.

For her dissertation, Pedagogical Efficacy of Argument Visualization Tools, Dr. Hui Niu developed a new online argumentation visualization tool which she calls the dialectical map. Students create dialectical maps by identifying and composing claims, evidence, and warrants and filling them in an online map. They then draw an integrated conclusion by evaluating arguments and counterarguments in a visually hierarchical structure.

After conducting empirical research, Dr. Niu found that the dialectical map boosted what learners remembered and comprehended from a text, and it increased the quality of writing about the topic in a post-test.

Professor Joan Sharp from the Department of Biological Sciences used the dialectical map in her undergraduate biology classes, and observed in multiple classes that the quality of students’ arguments improved substantially over the course of three assignments. She also remarked that the dialectical map had improved her own understanding of argumentation and how to teach students argumentation skills.

Students also found the tool useful. According to Professor Sharp, a student said, "I thought I was skilled in argumentation before, but I found I wasn't, and this tool taught me how to argue." 

Dr. Niu’s dialectical map has attracted the attention of Dr. Tony Bates, a well-known Canadian expert on e-learning, who will include her work as a case study of innovation to be presented at the conference of the International Council for Open and Distance Learning (ICDE 2017) in Toronto. The Teaching and Learning Centre at SFU recently included the dialectical map and its applications in their blog: These Students are Learning to Argue—and that's a Good Thing.

Dr. John Nesbit, Dr. Niu's supervisor says, “Hui Niu is the most outstanding doctoral student I have ever supervised and is very deserving of recognition for her research.”

Dr. Niu is now preparing a manuscript that will be submitted for publication in a top-ranked, peer-reviewed journal.

She says, "See you on the other side."

Writer: Danika Wong

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