Dr. Gulacar’s research group focuses on understanding of problem solving procedure and finding ways to increase high school and college students’ achievement in solving problems. We enjoy taking a journey in the mind of a problem solver using qualitative and quantitative methods to understand how that person uses his knowledge to tackle with a wide range of problems and tasks. So, it is important to reveal and highlight the interaction between problem solving performance and nature of knowledge system. As advocated by constructivist theorists, knowledge is created in the minds of learners through interactions between their experiences and pre-existing knowledge and transforms into a more organized form as the learner develops a better conceptual understanding. Students’ ability to deal with problems is closely associated with the success in knowledge construction and transformation. An understanding of this process with its variables is essential to properly address the sources of students’ challenges and failures experienced in problem solving. Knowing that students’ knowledge system is not only the factor affecting their problem solving performance, we also keep a close eye on the influence of teaching methods, educational technology, cognitive variables, motivation, attitude, and self-efficacy on students’ success with learning and application of knowledge in problem solving. In addition, in conjunction with our current and past research, we modify current teaching methods and develop more effective instructional strategies and educational materials addressing different learning styles, needs, and interests of diverse groups of students at secondary schools and colleges and, in turn, examine their effectiveness.
Education, Awards and Professional Highlights
- UC Davis Committee on Research Grant Award (2016)
- Appointed to UC Davis faculty (2015)
- Best Paper Award, Clute Institute International Academic Conference (2014)
- University Teaching Effectiveness Award, Western Michigan University (2007)
- Ph.D. Western Michigan University (2007)
- B.A. Uludag University, Turkey (1996)
- Gulacar, O., Eilks, I., & Bowman, C.R. (2014). Differences in general cognitive abilities and domain-specific skills of higher- and lower-achieving students in stoichiometry. Journal of Chemical Education, 91 (7), 961-968.
- Gulacar, O., Sinan, O., Bowman, C.R., & Yildirim, Y. (2014). Exploring the changes in students’ understanding of the scientific method using word associations. Research in Science Education, 1-10. doi: 10.1007/s11165-014-9443-9.
- Sahin, A., Gulacar, O., & Stuessy, C. (2014). High School Students’ Perceptions of the Effects of International Science Olympiad on Their STEM Career Aspirations and Twenty-First Century Skill Development. Research in Science Education, 1-21. doi: 10.1007/s11165-014-9439-5
- Gulacar, O., & Bowman, C.R. (2014). Determining what our students need most: Exploring students’ perceptions and comparing difficulty ratings of students and faculty. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 15 (4), 587-593.
- Bowman, C.R., Gulacar, O., & King, D. B. (2014). Predicting student success via online homework usage.The Journal of Learning Design, 7 (2), 47-61.
- Gulacar, O., Bowman, C.R., Tomasso, M.*, & Sahin, A. (2014). Investigating the evolution of students’ conceptions about the scientific method. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Pittsburg, PA: NARST.
- Gulacar, O., & Bowman, C.R. (2014). Exploring the influence of technology on students’ preferences for a learning method. Proceedings of the Workshop on the Impact of Pen and Touch Technology in Education. College Station, TX.
- Gulacar, O., Overton, T.L., Bowman, C.R., & Fynewever, F. (2013). A novel code system for revealing sources of students’ difficulties with stoichiometry. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 14 (4), 507-515.
- Gulacar, O., & Feakes, D. (2013). Observational investigation of student problem solving: The role and importance of minor variables in the process. Science Education International, 24 (2), 344-360.
- Gulacar, O., Damkaci, F., & Bowman, C.R. (2013). A comparative study of an online and a face-to-face chemistry course. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 12 (1), 27-40