[Speaker] October 3rd – Eleanor O’Rourke, Northwestern University

September 26, 2017

Time: Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017, 11:00 am-12:00 pm

Location: 4405 Siebel Center

Title: Educational Systems for Maximizing Learning Online and in the Classroom

Abstract: The goal of my research is to develop novel computing systems that optimize student learning for any environment. Learning is impacted by a wide variety of factors, and it can be challenging for teachers to personalize instruction to meet diverse student needs. In this talk, I will describe my work on developing interactive technologies that capture fine-grained information about the learning process and leverage this data to meet the unique needs of each student, teacher, and classroom. My research approach combines techniques from computer science and the learning sciences to first understand the factors that impact learning, then build novel systems that optimize learning given those factors, and finally evaluate the resulting systems through large-scale online and classroom experimentation. My talk will demonstrate how I have used this approach to create an incentive structure that promotes the growth mindset in an educational game, develop new frameworks for generating instructional scaffolding, and evaluate a personalized learning system that visualizes student data in real-time for classroom teachers. My work demonstrates that personalized data-driven systems can transform how we teach, assess, communicate, and collaborate in learning environments.

Biography: Nell is the June and Donald Brewer Junior Professor in Computer Science and Learning Sciences at Northwestern University. Her research lies at the intersection of human-computer interaction and educational psychology with a focus on developing data-driven systems that support motivation, personalization, and formative assessment in learning environments. Her current research explores the design of interactive systems that promote the growth mindset, encourage playful learning, and foster metacognitive reflection through personal data. Her interventions have been used by over 100,000 students online, adopted by companies, and used in classrooms. She has also won several awards and scholarships, including the Google Anita Borg Scholarship and the Microsoft Research Graduate Women’s Scholarship. Nell received her Ph.D. in Computer Science & Engineering from the University of Washington in 2016.

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