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Sam Johnston


Research Scientist

Photo of Sam Johnston

Sam Johnston brings expertise in peer-based learning models, distance and blended education, and program evaluation to her work at CAST.

With support of the Gates Foundation’s Open Professionals Education Network, she recently led the development of UDL On Campus ( collection of online resources to aid postsecondary educators in implementing UDL.

Her primary research focus is on the use of networked technology to support peer-to-peer knowledge transfer.  She has conducted design-based research in both professional development and formal education settings.

Before joining CAST, Dr. Johnston was a Senior Associate and Distance Educator at the Center for Social Innovation (c4si), leading the company’s online learning strategy.  She also helped develop a blended learning curriculum for criminal justice and behavioral health professionals to create community-based alternatives to jail for individuals with serious mental illness.


“Education, in the deepest sense and at whatever age it takes place, concerns the opening of identities-exploring new ways of being that lie behind our current state.  Whereas training aims to create an inbound trajectory targeted at competence in a specific practice, education must strive to open new dimensions for the negotiated self.  It places students on an outbound trajectory toward a broad field of possible identities.  Education is not merely formative - it is transformative.”
--Etienne Wenger, Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity (1998, p.263)


Open Professionals Education Network


Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities
Inquiry Primed: An Intervention to Mitigate the Effects of Stereotype Threat in Science


EdD, MEd, Harvard Graduate School of Education
BA, McGill University

Selected Publications 

Johnston, S. C., Greer, D., & Smith, S. (Spring 2014). Peer learning in Virtual Schools. Journal of Distance Education (28)1.

Rose, D.H., Johnston S.C., & Vanden Boogart, A. (Winter 2013). Eds. Technology and Dyslexia Part 2. Perspectives on Language and Literacy (40)1.

Rose, D. H., Johnston S. C., & Vanden Boogart, A. (Fall 2013). Eds. Technology and Dyslexia Part 1. Perspectives on Language and Literacy (39)4.

Rose, D. H., Harbour, W. S., Johnston, C. S., Daley, S. G., & Abarbanell, L. (2008). Universal design for learning in postsecondary education: Reflections on principles and their applications. In S. E. Burgstahler, & R. C. Cory (Eds.), Universal design in higher education: From principles to practice (pp.45-60). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.