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CIDE Graduate Student Profiles

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Alfonso SintjagoAlfonso Sintjago

Doctoral Student
Expected Graduation: 2014
Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela

Previous Education

Areas of Interest


I would not be where I am today without the help of the mentors that I have met throughout my life, role models who emphasized that any person can contribute, and that all of us can promote positive changes. When I think of my future, it will likely focus on a mixture of research and practice. I hope to work for a Department of Education, here or abroad, or an NGO that is influencing the lives of many. As I learned from the book “What If” during my undergraduate career, a single individual or a small group can have a major influence for the improvement of society. Promoting the tenets of integrative leadership, I hope to work in collaborative and innovative teams and help organize teams to tackle grand challenges and address problems in an interdisciplinary and comprehensive manner. In terms of research, I am currently working with three organizations in the Dominican Republic to improve a program run by its government to address the digital divide. There I have been able to apply both my theoretical understanding of comparative education and education technology and some of the practical skills I learned through my minor in evaluation.

Another part of my work focuses on the potential that openness has to reach every corner of the world. When I applied to the University of Minnesota I was interested in studying the impact of OpenCourseWare in developing countries. Since then, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other changes have grown in visibility. My work emphasizes the need to improve these resources so that all individuals across the world have the possibility to obtain a better education. Having worked as an IT Fellow and as a researcher during the first year of the iPad initiative, I had the opportunity to work extensively with mobile technologies participating as an instructor in numerous workshops for faculty members and evaluators where we supported them in more effectively utilizing mobile devices. I have participated in various evaluation projects including an evaluation of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA), and the evaluation of the first five UMN Coursera MOOCs among other education technology projects. I have organized booksprints and policysprints, as well as integrative leadership workshops including an open space technology event with Provost Hanson and a Finding Common Ground forum with the Center for Integrative Leadership. By working together and using technology effectively, individuals worldwide will be better prepared to address the challenges they are likely to face in the professional careers and by many of us in later parts of the 21st century. It is my passion to help others, across the world, to find ways in which they can obtain a quality education, develop their talents, and increase their ability to improve society.

Dissertation Topic

The Development and Use of Personalized Learning Environments through Low Cost Smart Mobile Devices by Instructors in Community Technology Centers in the Dominican Republic to Improve their Mobile Literacy, Information Literacy, and Teaching Skills.


Staats, S., Sintjago, A., & Fitzpatrick, R. (2012). Kiva microloans in a learning community: An assignment for interdisciplinary synthesis. Innovative Higher Education, 1-15.

Sintjago, A., Link, A. (2012) From synchronous to asynchronous: Researching online focus groups platforms. In A. H. Duin, E. Nater, & F. Anklesaria (Eds.). Cultivating change in the academy: 50+ stories from the digital frontlines at the University of Minnesota in 2012. University of Minnesota.

Staats, S., Link, A., Sintjago, A., & Robertson, D. (2012, July). Interdisciplinary algebra with iPads. In 36th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (p. 269).

Sintjago, A., Lindsay, C. (2012). Concerns about privacy, security and use of sensitive information in Internet focus groups. Proceedings from the 2012 American Evaluation Association Conference.

Link, A., Sintjago, A., & McKay, M. (2012). “Geeking out” with iPads: Undergraduate instructors discuss their experiences during the first year of a large-scale tablet initiative. In World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education, 2012(1), 1112-1116.


Sintjago, A., & Thayer, T. (2013, March). Booksprints: Collaborative knowledge construction. Presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society, New Orleans, LA.

Sintjago, A. (2013, February). Mobile Apps for Evaluation. Presented at the 18th Annual Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) Spring Training Conference, St. Paul, MN.

Sintjago, A. (2012). Recursos de educación abierta, la creatividad, localización y un salto hacia el futuro. Presented in Open Education Week 2012.

Revised October 2013