Jaejin Lee

Photo of Jaejin Lee


Associate Research Fellow: BK21 Plus Institute of Future Education Design, Seoul National University


Ph.D. in Learning Technologies, 2015


Fun and interest with educational media, those affective and emotional changes through media experience, have been my research interests for over 10 years. From the research in my master’s thesis, I was fascinated in designing online teaching and learning systems for fun and continuously devoted to designing motivational elements in new media environment. Looking back the trajectory of my study and research, my research interests have changed in scope and color from web-based instruction systems to 3D virtual learning environments.

As soon as I came to UT at Austin, I participated in Alien Rescue project and found my research interests matched with 3D simulation based on fantasy theory. At first, I started 3D modeling with support from a few colleagues. My first models were rocks and trees, which should be located on a road in a 3D game. Later, I redesigned six aliens in Alien Rescue for the upgraded version based on the fantasy theory and expanded the use of alien models from the mere display to more engaging elements by rigging and animating the aliens for developing ending scenes celebrating students’ inquiry effort. I finally conducted my dissertation research using these aliens for investigating the effect of fantasy applied to my aliens.

After acquiring 3D modeling and animation capability, I also guided a 3D modeling team composed of several master’s students. Considering the limited resources in university’s game development team, I felt a sense of responsibility for the succession of technical advancement to the rest of the members and led the team to establish an autonomous capability of 3D modeling. Now many of the students already graduated, but I believe our endeavor became a foundation of Alien Rescue project and it has been fun for us to work on research and development in the project.

Why UT?

Learning technologies in the department of Curriculum and Instruction is a well-balanced program. Major research interests of the program include multimedia design for educational game development, CSCL in 3D learning environment, and teacher professional development for technology integration into classrooms. These major research areas are well aligned with educational reform movement for future school supported by new technologies. Faculty’s research activities are ongoing and research opportunity in the department is always open. Students are always encouraged to join the projects based on their capabilities as well as learn new research skills from diverse research projects.     

Life After UT

My life after UT was very straightforward. I got a job at the Institute of Future Education Design in Seoul National University, South Korea right before graduation. As a postdoc researcher, I am deeply engaged in diverse research for educational reform with technology in South Korea. I am participating a few research projects relevant to social learning analytics and MOOC for higher education and leading a small research on fantasy design for educational games.

In addition, I am teaching two university courses. I spent long time to talk with students who are interested in using technologies in classes and personally, meeting with new students in classes is another academic fun.

Advice for Current Students

Believe in your abilities and don’t be frustrated with shortage of product quality within limited time. I think I had a high expectation for my doctoral study and my graduation took longer time than my cohort. However, I was never frustrated about my academic performance because I did not lose hope and direction in the academic career. As much as the value of early graduation with rapid decision on research topic and job searching, spending enough time to explore relevant research topics and think about my role in a field for the future is important for one’s leadership development. I learned doing doctoral study required deep elaboration of theory as well as attitude change on our scholarly life. If you follow a study plan according to your program properly, then the holistic change of life can happen and people think you become a thoughtful expert in your area.