Rebecca Reynolds


Associate Professor of Library and Information Science


CI 306

Rebecca Reynolds’ work investigates social constructivist human learning across a range of contexts including naturalistic online participatory settings such as social media environments and MOOCs; information environments supporting inquiry activity; and more structured and designed learning settings, systems and experiences. She also researches and engages in the design and development of socio-technical systems for learning including instructional technologies that bear specific learning goals and objectives. Rebecca applies socio-technical, learning sciences, information science and media studies perspectives to human knowledge-building, sharing and meaning-making with networked technologies, at multiple levels of analysis. She is the co-founder and co-editor of the journal, Information and Learning Science, published by Emerald.


Newhouse School, Syracuse University
Ph.D., Mass Communication

Newhouse School, Syracuse University
M.A., Media Studies

Tufts University
B.A., Sociology


One of my longstanding projects (2005-2018) addresses the iterative design, development and evaluation of a scalable e-learning solution for computer science education at the K-12 level (formerly called Globaloria; now called Proto after the e-learning system’s acquisition and commercialization). This research project investigates children’s learning of computer science, programming/coding, and a range of new digital literacies, via an online e-learning system that contains a fully intact curriculum designed and developed by this organization, in coordination with my research. The system offers game design courses in K-12 schools at a growing level of scale throughout the US. One focus in this work is on children’s information practices, and the structures and scaffolds designed into the system to facilitate guided discovery and student uses of the rich educational resources provided in the system, throughout the curricular scope and sequence.

Overall, my work has occurred in both formal and informal educational settings. I am beginning a new project exploring the expansion of online leisure time learning among communities of adult learners, now made possible via networked web conferencing and open courseware platforms. I’m exploring publishing companies’ early forays into re-envisioning the marketing of their book authors and content experts, via online course offerings and “master class” experiences that place everyday people in direct contact (via networked technologies and online courseware) with experts in a range of knowledge domains. Currently my work in this strand addresses domains of spiritual / health / lifestyle practice such as yoga, mindfulness, meditation, eco-spirituality and shamanism. I explore this work from multiple angles, including design, social and psychological effects, and organizational impacts such as how these courseware offerings contribute new business models in cultural industries.

At SC&I, I teach courses in the Ph.D. program such as “Research Foundations” and special topics courses related to my research agenda, as well as MI courses including “Social Informatics” and “Learning Theory, Inquiry and Instructional Design”, and undergraduate ITI courses including “IT & Learning” and “Gender and Technology”.

Centers, Labs, Working Groups, and Clusters

Funded Projects

Institute for Museum and Library Services Early Career Development Grant ($399,995) 2012-2016

Rutgers University Faculty Research Grant, with Dr. Cindy Hmelo-Silver of Rutgers GSE ($47,006) 2011-2014

SC&I Summer Fellowship Grant, with Dr. Nick Belkin and two Ph.D. students ($13,000) 2012

Selected Publications

Reynolds, R., Chu, S., Ahn, J., Buckingham Shum, S., Hansen, P., Haythornthwaite, C., Hong, H., Meyers, E., Rieh, S.Y. (2019). Inaugural issue perspectives on Information and Learning Sciences as an integral scholarly Nexus. Information and Learning Sciences. 120(1/2). Pp. 2-18.

Reynolds, R. & Hansen, P. (2018). Inter-disciplinary research on inquiry and learning: Information and Learning Sciences perspectives. Proceedings of the ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR). New Brunswick, NJ.

Reynolds, R. & Harel, I. (2019, in press). Lessons Learned During Research and Development of Globaloria, 2005-2017. In Holbert, N., Berland, M. & Y. Kafai, Constructionism in Context.

Reynolds R. & Leeder, C. (2018). Cultivating school librarian decision-making for e-Learning Innovation. In Lee, V. & A. Phillips, Reconceptualizing Libraries: Opportunities from the Information and Learning Sciences.

Reynolds R. & Leeder, C. (2018). The digital divide and web use skills. In Hobbs, R. & Mihalaidis, P. International Encyclopedia of Media Literacy. NY: Wiley.

Awards & Recognitions

Annual Faculty Outstanding Research Award, Department of Library and Information Science, Rutgers University, 2015/2016

Annual “Outstanding New Student Organization” Award, for the Women in Information Technology and Informatics organization at Rutgers University (co-founder and faculty advisor), 2014-2015

Annual Faculty Teaching Award, Department of Library and Information Science, Rutgers University, 2011/2012

AERA/AIR Research Scholar and Fellow, American Institutes for Research (AIR), Washington, D.C., $55,000 annual stipend, 2009-2010

UNIVERSITY FELLOWSHIP, Newhouse School Ph.D. Program, Syracuse University, $26,000 annual stipend plus full tuition, 2004-2007

Research Keywords


Guided Discovery-based Game Design Learning
  • Longstanding design-based research partner in my work on guided discovery-based game design learning:

Other Publications:

Reynolds R. (2018, in press). Game design in media literacy education. In Hobbs, R. & Mihalaidis, P. International Encyclopedia of Media Literacy. NY: Wiley

Chu, S., Reynolds, R., Notari, M., Taveres, N., & Lee, C. (2016). 21st Century Skills Development through Inquiry Based Learning From Theory to Practice. Springer Science

Reynolds, R. & Leeder, C. (2017). Information uses and learning outcomes during guided discovery in a blended e-learning game design program for secondary computer science education. Proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), Jan. 2017, Waikoloa, HI.

Reynolds, R. (2016a). Relationships among tasks, collaborative inquiry processes, inquiry resolutions, and knowledge outcomes in adolescents during guided discovery-based game design in school. Journal of Information Science: Special Issue on Searching as Learning. 42: 35-58.

Reynolds, R. (2016). Defining, designing for, and measuring “digital literacy” development in learners: A proposed framework. Educational Technology Research & Development. 64(1).

Reynolds, R. & M. M. Chiu. (2015). Reducing digital divide effects through student engagement in coordinated game design, online resource uses, and social computing activities in school. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. DOI: 10.1002/asi.23504