• Ph.D. 2020 – University of Kansas, Special Education
  • M.S. 2012 – Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Applied Linguistics
  • B.A. 2009 – Wuhan University of Science and Technology, English Education

Areas of Expertise

  • Technology-enhanced personalized learning (PL)
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Design of inclusive learning environments
  • Emergent technology


Dr. Zhang received her doctoral degree in special education with a focus on Instructional Design, Technology, and Innovation (IDTI) from the University of Kansas (KU). Prior to coming to UNC-Chapel Hill, she worked as an associate researcher at the Center for Research on Learning and Center for Innovation, Design, and Digital Learning at KU. The end goal of Dr. Zhang’s scholarship is to create accessible, inclusive, and engaging learning experiences through innovative implementation of pedagogy and technology for diverse learners with and without disabilities.


Dr. Zhang’s research primarily focuses on designing, implementing, and evaluating technology-enhanced personalized learning (PL) for students with and without disabilities in diverse educational settings. She takes an interdisciplinary approach to investigating the design of PL that is grounded in inclusive instructional design frameworks (e.g., the Universal Design for Learning framework) and learning theories (e.g., Self-Regulated Learning). Currently, she is part of a team that investigates the design and development of digital tools (e.g., AI-driven conversational agents) that have the potential to facilitate PL experiences for students with and without disabilities. In addition, Dr. Zhang’s research explores effective ways to improve educators’ capacity to integrate emerging technologies and innovative pedagogies in implementing PL. To achieve these goals, Dr. Zhang works with researchers across disciplines from universities, non-profit educational organizations, and industry to promote accessible, inclusive, and innovative learning experiences for all learners.