Dr. Stephen AguiIar is an Assistant Professor of Education in the Educational Psychology concentration at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education. His areas of expertise include motivation and self-regulated learning as they relate to the design and implementation of educational technologies. He specializes in learning analytics, data visualizations, and gameful approaches to teaching and learning.

His research focuses on the design, efficacy, and motivational implications of learning analytics-based applications, and how they can be used in ways that promote social justice and educational achievement among ethnic and racial minority students. Specifically, Aguilar studies how data visualizations of academic achievement influence students' academic motivation and self-regulated learning strategies. He was also awarded funding from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) to study how Hispanic students’ sense of control contributes to their post-secondary achievement and aspirations.

Aguilar received a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Georgetown University, a M.A. in the Humanities (Philosophy) from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan. Previously, he taught sixth and seventh grade in East Palo Alto, California and served as a the Director of Institute Technology for Teach For America-Los Angeles’s summer institute.

Recent Posts

Tips for a Successful Job Talk

Note: This post was originally published by Inside Higher Ed January 10th, 2018 under the tittle “Tips for a Successful Job Talk” Job talks are high-stakes professional presentations that can make or break your chances to land your dream position. It is unsurprising, then, that they are frightening experiences. Given how important a job talk is, I […]


This post originally appeared in Inside Higher Ed on 11/15/16 Current events have highlighted systemic racism in America yet again, and social media feeds continue to be inundated with posts about racism and police brutality. Often, these online conversations enter the classroom, lecture hall or other communal spaces within the university. This can often leave […]

Thoughts on the “Imposter Syndrome”

Note: This post was originally published by Inside Higher Ed April 13th, 2015 under the tittle “We Are Not Imposters”  To my fellow graduate students I say this: I am not an impostor, and neither are you. You might not believe me, but before you begin pushing back against my assertion and dismantling your confidence with […]

Python sctipt for MAXQDA timestamps

My dissertation is focused on the sense-making practices of college-students when they examine representations of their achievement. In order to get a handle of this phenomenon, I opted for a multiple-method approach—so I’ve been collecting both quantitative data, as well as qualitative data. As of now I have a couple of dozen interviews under my […]

My Dissertation in One Picture

I’m fortunate to have been invited to attend the 5th annual Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference (LAK ’15), where I will take part in the Doctoral Consortium (DocCon). I’m excited to get feedback on my dissertation design from the DocCon organizers and my fellow graduate students. Aside from a 15 minute presentation, we were also asked to design […]

Use of an Early Warning System

During the 2012-2013 academic year I was selected to be a Learning Analytics Junior Fellow at the University of Michigan. It was a great experience where I got to work with senior faculty on a number of projects, including Student Explorer—an early warning system used by academic advisors. The experience culminated in a  talk I […]