Debbie Tyrrell

Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences
Ph.D. Education

Doctoral degree received from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, in Instructional Technology (online program). Additional graduate certificates earned in Instructional Technology and Interpretive and Qualitative Research from Duquesne. Dissertation titled Show and Tell: Learning with Interactive Videoconferencing in Kindergarten examined students’ meaning making from a Vygotskian perspective. Ethnographic data collection included six months of onsite field study and observation in a kindergarten classroom. MBA degree received from the University of Pittsburgh. Undergraduate degrees from Carnegie Mellon University included triple BS degrees in mathematics, industrial administration, and economics. Professional responsibilities include work as an independent educational researcher, program evaluator, and grant writer. From 2009-2013, Dr. Tyrrell worked in the sponsored research department at Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, WV, as an educational researcher and program evaluator for K-12 and adult learning projects funded by NASA, NASA Education, NIOSH, the Army Corps of Engineers, MSHA, and the Benedum Foundation. Tyrrell's research interests focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning, curriculum, pedagogy, and instructional technology design. Since 2014, Tyrrell's research and program evaluation responsibilities center on health-related grants received from the National Institutes of Health (USA) Science Education Partnership Awards. Her current grant, Natural Disasters and Health, includes an online role-playing simulation where middle school student teams coordinate disaster response, triage victims, and apply knowledge of body systems to deduce the best treatments and recovery protocols.

Before becoming an educator, Tyrrell ran small businesses centered on consulting services in the areas of networking, technology and public utilities. Tyrrell's experience includes work with diverse populations in nearby homeless shelters as well as Namibia, Africa. Recent publications include a book chapter about using live simulations to teach human anatomy and the diagnostic process to high school students, and journal articles about problem-based learning modules to teach socioscientific issues.

At Walden University, Tyrrell works as a dissertation committee chairperson for students in the Ph.D. and Ed.D programs in Educational Technology Design and Learning, Instruction, and Innovation specializations. Teaching assignments include the following courses: Authentic Assessment, Innovation and Diffusion of Learning Technologies, Current Research in Educational Technology, eLearning, and Designing Instruction for eLearning. She also serves as a qualitative methodologist.

Courses Taught

EDPD 8192 - Diffusion of Learning Technologies

EDPD 8098 - Current Research in Ed Tech


EdD, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Post-master's Certificate, Georgia Institute of Technology and NASA ePDN

Post-master's Certificate, Duquesne University

Post-master's Certificate, Duquesne University, McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

MBA, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Triple B.S., Administration and Management Science, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Public Service

Youth Steering Committee, Committee Member - Pittsburgh, PA

STEM competitions, Judge - Wheeling

Beverly Heights Church, Volunteer - Pittsburgh, PA`

Awards / Honors

Highly Commendable Dissertation Award, International Institute of Qualitative Methodology, Alberta, Canada, 2010

Doctoral Student Award, Building a Technology Research Agenda: An Early Career Symposium, National Science Foundation and the Association for Educational Communications & Technology Research & Theory Division, 2008

NASA EPSCoR Competitive Research, , 2013


Wood, C., Tyrrell, D. C., Calinger, M., Shia, J., Kudlak, L., Ondeck, L. (2018). Pandem-Sim: Development and pilot testing of a live simulation of infectious disease outbreaks. Journal of STEM Outreach

Tyrrell, D. C., Calinger, M., Wood, C., Langran, E., Borup, J. (2018). Pandem-Sim: Results of a High School Epidemiology Live Simulation Pilot Test: Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference.

Tyrrell, D. C., Calinger, M. L. (2016). Handbook of research on gaming trends in P-12 Education: Using a live simulation to teach human anatomy and the diagnostic process to high school students.