Dr. Ryan Watkins

Dr. Ryan Watkins headshot

Dr. Ryan Watkins

Professor, Educational Technology Leadership

School: Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Department: Educational Leadership, Cross-Disciplinary


Office Phone: (202) 994-2263

Ryan Watkins, professor of Educational Technology, is an author of eleven books and more than 95 articles. His websites include www.ryanrwatkins.com and www.WeShareScience.com. His publications are frequently cited in the performance improvement literature, making him the 4th most cited author of journal articles in the field.

Ryan is an active member of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), the American Evaluation Association (AEA), and has served a vice president of the Inter-American Distance Education Consortium (CREAD).

In 2005 Ryan was a visiting scientist with the National Science Foundation, and he routinely works on projects with the World Bank on applying needs assessment, instructional design, and performance improvement to international assistance programs (including work in China, Laos, Kenya, and Tunisia).

Dr. Watkins has created two free tools related to AI for instructors:

  1. survey tool for starting conversations about the ethical uses of AI in an instructor’s course
  2. beta for helping instructors communicate what specific uses of AI are permitted for a particular assignment

Ph.D., Florida State University

M.A., Florida State University

B.A., Florida State University

PhD in Education: Human-Technology Collaboration Concentration

Educational Technology Leadership Programs:

  • Master's in Educational Technology Leadership
  • Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology Leadership
  • Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design



  • Educational Technology
  • Artificial Intelligence in Education
  • Needs Assessment
  • Monitoring & Evaluation
  • Website Design
  • Coding (Python)

Watkins, R. , Engel, L. C., & Hadsteadt, D. (2015). Is the “net generation” ready for digital citizenship? Perspectives from the IEA International Computer and Information Literacy Study. Policy brief: IEA International Computer and Information Literacy Study. IEA commissioned policy brief.

Kumar, S., Leonard, A., Watkins, R. , & Vovides, Y. (2014). Art of knowledge exchange . Washington, DC: World Bank. Available in print, or free online.

Watkins, R. , & Corry, M. (2014). Preparing students for e-learning success. In A. Hirumi (Ed.), Designing alternative environments to facilitate e-learning: A systematic approach . Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Watkins, R. , & Corry, M. (2013). E-learning companion: A student's guide to online success (4th Ed.). New York: Wadsworth/Cengage.

Watkins, R. , Kaufman, R., & Odunlami, B. (2013). Strategic planning for distance education - Revised. In M. Moore (Ed.), Handbook of American Distance Education (3rd Ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Watkins, R. , West Meiers, M., & Visser, Y. (2012). A guide to assessing needs: Tools for collecting information, making decisions, and achieving development results . Washington, DC: World Bank. Available in print, or free online.

Lim, J., Dannels, S., & Watkins, R. (2009). Qualitative investigation of doctoral students' learning experiences in online research method courses. Quarterly Review of Distance Education .

Watkins, R. , & Leigh, D. (Eds.) (2009). The handbook of improving performance in the workplace - Volume 2: Selecting and implementing performance interventions . San Francisco: Wiley-Jossey/Bass. Honored with a 2011 ISPI Award of Excellence in the field of performance improvement.

Kaufman, R., Guerra-Lopez, I., Watkins, R. , & Leigh, D. (2008). The assessment book: Applied strategic thinking and performance improvement through self-assessments . Amherst, MA: HRD Press.


  • May 2024Dr. Ryan Watkins was a panelist at the DC Chamber of Commerce’s forum on "Capital AI: Innovating for a Smarter DC.” The event explored economic, social, educational, workforce and civil-service implications of AI adoption across a range of sectors.
  • April 2024Dr. Ryan Watkins presented both a co-authored paper ("Building Interdisciplinarity in Engineering Doctoral Education") and on a panel ("Enhancing Education with LLMs: Innovative Approaches in Engineering Pedagogy") at the mid-Atlantic American Society for Engineering Education conference.
  • March 2024Dr. Ryan Watkins presented on AI and Ethics at the Association of American Universities (AAU) 37th annual Public Affairs Network conference in Washington, DC.
  • March 2024 - Dr. Ryan Watkins was quoted in the Education Week ;article, "A State Uses AI to Determine School Funding. Is This the Future or a Cautionary Tale?"
  • November 2023 - Dr. Ryan Watkins, presented about "LLMs (large language models) in Social Science and Humanities Research" at the NSF Center for Integrative Research in Computing and Learning Sciences (CIRCLS) 2023 Convening. At this roundtable, he discussed the development of norms and standards for the use of LLMs in scientific workflows and in the reporting of research that utilizes LLMs in their methods. From creating synthetic data and using LLMs in qualitative analysis, to fuzzy joining of datasets and explaining code, there are many applications of LLMs in social science and humanities research. Dr. Watkins shared that now is the time for disciplines to begin developing scientific norms, standards, and ethical boundaries for how these tools are used in research workflows.
  • October 2023 - Drs. Ryan Watkins, Natalie Milman, and Michael Corry published a chapter which they co-authored titled, "Lifelong learning as a learning and instructional design technology professional," in the book Becoming a learning and instructional design technology (LIDT) professional.
  • September 11, 2023 - Dr. Ryan Watkins was quoted in the GW Hatchet article, "Professors to add AI exercises to courses, syllabi."
  • August 21, 2023 - WTTG-Fox5 quoted Ryan Watkins, professor of educational technology leadership, in the article “Schools face challenges with AI as students head back to class,'’ by David Kaplan.
  • August 2023 - Dr. Ryan Watkins published a blog to help instructors have conversations with their students about the ethical use of AI called, "From AI to A+: Prepare Your Students for Using ChatGPT and other AI."
  • February 8, 2023 - WUSA-CBS9 spoke to Ryan Watkins, professor of educational technology leadership, about fighting artificial intelligence cheating.
  • January 30, 2023 - Dr. Ryan Watkins took part in a panel discussion hosted by GW Libraries and Academic Innovation regarding ChatGPT. Read more about the discussion in GW Today's article "Did ChatGPT Write This Article?"
  • January 28, 2023 - ABC’s “Good Morning America’’ spoke to Ryan Watkins, professor of educational technology leadership, in the segment “Some school districts are banning this artificial intelligence tool.’’
  • January 12, 2023 - WTOP-FM quoted Ryan Watkins, professor of educational technology leadership, in the article “DC region schools ban AI tool ChatGPT,’’ by Scott Gelman.
  • December 18, 2022 - Dr. Ryan Watkins published a recent blog, “Updating Your Course Syllabus for chatGPT,” to help colleagues prepare for student use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools in Spring 2023. It includes many design tips and assignment ideas for updating your syllabi. 
  • December 2022 - Dr. Ryan Watkins was accepted into the Spring 2023 cohort of the Center for AI and Digital Policy's Artificial Intelligence (AI) Policy Clinic. The clinic is an intensive, interdisciplinary, semester-long course established to teach future leaders how to conduct AI policy analysis, research, and evaluation.
  • October 6, 2022 - Dr. Ryan Watkins and Soheil Human (University of Vienna, Austria) recently published the article, “Needs and AI,” in the AI and Ethics Journal. In the article they argue that re-thinking needs for, needs through, needs by, and needs with AI can be a very useful means towards the development of realistic approaches for sustainable Human-aware, Accountable, Lawful, and Ethical (HALE) AI systems.
  • Summer 2022 - Dr. Ryan Watkins, Purav Kumar Parekh (GW student, Computer Science), and Justice Banson (faculty, Western Washington University) developed the Code2Learn website. The website allows people to share coding tutorials that are organized by discipline and coding language. From education to psychology and economics to history, the site includes 275+ fun projects that will help you or your students develop coding skills relevant to their academic interests. If you have favorite coding tutorials to share, you can share them on the site as well.
  • June 28, 2022 - Dr. Ryan Watkins and his colleague Soheil Human (University of Vienna) recently published "Needs-aware artificial intelligence: AI that ‘serves [human] needs’" in the journal AI and Ethics. The article introduces the important role that the construct construct of need can/will have on the future Artificial Intelligence.
  • April 19, 2022 - Dr. Ryan Watkins, along with colleagues from the Schools of Engineering at GW and Georgetown, received an NSF grant, Security and Privacy Implications of Remote Proctoring for School Policies and Practices” (Award #2138654). The three-year interdisciplinary grant will study privacy and security concerns related to online proctoring tools at the student, instructor, and institutional levels.
  • March 29, 2022 - Dr. Ryan Watkins was recently accepted into the Center for Integrative Research in the Computing and Learning Sciences (CIRCLS) “project incubator” on the topic of Artificial Intelligence and Literacy. This NSF funded program brings together interdisciplinary teams to ideate research proposals and develop research collaborations.


AI graphic

ChatGPT for K-12 Educators {Recording}

Wednesday, 2/22/2023, 5:00pm - 6:30pm

GSEHD invites teachers and school administrators to learn about how recent advancements in AI (such as, chatGPT) are being used, and possibly misused, in class.

open book with illustrations of academic related items rising from it

The Future of Education Entrepreneurship {Recording}

Tuesday, 1/31/2023, 4:00pm - 5:00pm

In this virtual panel event, meet researchers across GW who are working to understand how entrepreneurship takes form, domestically and internationally.

Artificial Intelligence stock photo

AI is in Your Classroom Even if You Didn't Know It!

Wednesday, 1/18/2023, 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Learn more about how recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies (such as, chatGPT) are now being used in classrooms, labs, and offices.