This course is discontinued

UV9917H2 – Optimizing learning opportunities for students in preschool and beyond

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Responsible: Veslemøy Rydland, University of Oslo, Joshua Lawrence, University of Oslo

Lecturers: Deborah Lowe Vandell, University of California, Irvine, USA

                 Carol McDonald Connor, University of California, Irvine, USA 

The present course focuses on the links between children’s learning and development in preschool and academic outcomes in school, including language and literacy development and content-area learning. We will discuss the short- and long-term effects of early education and care as well as the effects of out-of-school time (afterschool programs) on social and academic outcomes. In addition, we explore how the effects of educational activities may be moderated by the skills and knowledge children bring with them to preschool and the school, and how we can consider individual differences as we design interventions to optimize learning opportunities for children. Methodologically, the course emphasizes longitudinal observation studies and randomized controlled field trials – as well as the exploration of moderation analysis across both research frameworks.

Professor Deborah Lowe Vandell’s research focuses on the effects of developmental contexts (early child care, K-12 schools, after-school programs, families) on children’s social, behavioral, and academic functioning. As one of the principal investigators with the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, she has conducted an intensive study of 1300 children from birth through high school. This work is viewed by many social scientists as one of the most comprehensive studies of the short-term and long-term effects of early education programs, schooling, and the family on children’s development.  In other research projects, she has studied the effects of after-school programs, extracurricular activities, and unsupervised time on academic and social outcomes. This work has underscored the importance of out-of-school time as a key factor in children’s success at school.

Professor Carol Connor’s research interests have focused on children’s learning in the classroom – from preschool through fifth grade – with particular focus on reading comprehension and children living in poverty. This line of research is revealing how the effectiveness of specific instructional activities depends on the language, self-regulation, and reading skills children bring with them to school; these child-by-instruction interaction effects are evident as early as preschool and continue at least through third grade for a number of child language and literacy outcomes. Dr. Connor is currently the principal investigator conducting a series of basic research studies and randomized controlled field trials investigating the reasons children fail to achieve proficient reading comprehension skills and the causal implications of child-by-instruction interaction effects on student achievement, specifically investigating the effect of individualizing language arts, social studies, and science instruction in kindergarten through fifth grade based on students’ language and early reading skills.


PhD-candidates at the Faculty of Educational Sciences will be given priority, but it is also possible for others to apply for the course. Applicants must have at least a Master's degree.

Candidates admitted to the PhD Programme at the Faculty of Educational Sciences should apply through Studentweb 

Other applicants may apply using this application form

Registration deadline: August 24, 2017.


This is an intensive course over two days, comprising a total of 12 hours.

Dates: 7-8 September 2017

Place: University of Oslo, Lucy Smiths hus, Hannah Ryggen room, 10th floor

You will find the timetable and literature on the semester webpage for this course.



1 credit point for course participation (80 % attendance is required).

3 credit points for course participation and submitted paper (5-7 pages, Times New Roman 12, line spacing 1,5).

Candidates who want their papers considered for presentation in the course should submit their papers within 1 September 2017.

Deadline for submitting papers after the course is 29 September 2017.

Papers are to be submitted electronically to Veslemøy Rydland ( with a copy to Olga Mukhina (

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Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

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Autumn 2017


Autumn 2017

Teaching language