Keynote Speakers

Deepak B. Phatak

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Title: Main-Streaming MOOCs in India - A Hybrid Approach

The established educational system of universities and colleges, continues to offer standard courses taught in a conventional manner. These lead to a degree recognized by the society, and by the prospective employers. MOOCs provide an opportunity to learn from best teachers from well-known universities of the world. The grades and certificates obtained by learners are not yet recognized by employers. University system thus has a monopoly on certification, and therefore has no incentive to adopt MOOCs as a part of pedagogy.

I believe that the technology and methodology underlying MOOCs, have positive implications for enhancing learning. I also believe that we now have a great opportunity to combine the benefits of online learning and the conventional face-to-face educational system, by adopting a hybrid methodology. The flipped classroom, for example, permits significant increase in the engagement level of learners. This has been effectively tried and used by many.

This keynote describes the efforts made in India for creating such hybrid model. One approach was used to train teachers on a large scale. Another effort was to let students from multiple colleges learn a subject through both online and face-to-face simultaneously, with their grade determined by a composite score from both online and regular university assessments – a key factor ensuring actual adoption of MOOCs. A third pilot offered a blended MOOC for a skill course, where large scale audio/video interaction was arranged, with local hand-holding provided to groups.

The talk will conclude with suggestions for speeding up the main-streaming process, including enhanced scope, and need for addressing important policy issues.

Deepak B Phatak is a teacher working with IIT Bombay since 1971, currently as a professor of Computer Science. He worked mostly in Databases and information systems in the past. He has been an advisor to a number of financial institutions and regulators in India, on IT related matters. He set up an IT business incubator in IIT in 1999, and the first interactive distance mode educational programs using VSATs in 1999. He is regarded as a keen promoter of open source knowledge content. His interests in educational technology include development of affordable educational tools and associated pedagogy.

Nikol Rummel

Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
Title: Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning: Working Towards a Utopian Future

Building on a recent position paper (Rummel, Walker & Aleven, 2016), I will first contrast different Dystopian and Utopian visions of the future of computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL). Against this background, I will discuss research that I see as important in working towards a Utopian future for CSCL. In particular, I will argue that we need to carry out rigorous empirical research and engage in related theory-building towards a comprehensive instructional framework for CSCL. This framework will allow us to provide nuanced and flexible support to collaborative learners in computer-based settings. The proposed research can build on prior work, which has produced several taxonomies of support for collaborating students. These taxonomies identify dimensions such as the timing of support (whether support is provided immediately or with some delay during the collaboration, or before or after the collaboration), the psychological realm of support (cognitive, social, metacognitive, motivational, affective), the mode of support (explicit or implicit), the locus of support (direct or indirect), the target of support (group formation, domain knowledge, peer interaction, social skill), and the type of support (guiding, challenging reflection, mirroring). However, as yet they fall short of providing an integrated instructional framework that allows orchestrating support across the multiple dimensions. Working towards such a framework will be one of the major challenges of our field in the coming years.

Rummel, N., Walker, E. & Aleven, V. (2016). Different futures of adaptive collaborative learning support. Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 26(2), 784-795.

Dr. Nikol Rummel is a Full Professor and head of the Educational Psychology Lab in the Institute of Educational Research at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA. Her research focuses on instructional support for learning in computer-supported settings, with a focus on CSCL and on developing and evaluating adaptive collaborative learning support. Moreover, she develops methods for analyzing collaborative process data, in particular chat data and audio-video recordings of student dialog in combination with log data of students' learning processes. Dr. Rummel is president of the International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS). She is Associate Editor of the Journal of the Learning Sciences, and Editorial Board member of the International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, and of Learning & Instruction. She has been and is PI and Co-PI on numerous research grants by international funding agencies, such as: the DFG (German Science Foundation), the European Union, the US National Science Foundation (NSF), and the US Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

Bruce McLaren
Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Title: Learning With Educational Games: Is it Just Hype or Supported by Evidence?
Do computer-based educational games lead to learning? While many people take this for granted, given the obvious motivational characteristics of educational games, there is relatively limited scientific evidence for learning with games. In this talk, I will discuss the rise and appeal of educational games, as well as meta-analyses of educational game research that reveal the lack of evidence. I will also discuss my own research in this area, in which my lab has uncovered some evidence for the benefits of games in learning mathematics. We have developed and empirically tested an educational game called Decimal Point, a game to help middle school students learn about decimals. I will present the results of a recent study we did with the game, as well as some of the game and instructional design characteristics that appear to have led to our results. More generally, I will discuss how the investigation of design characteristics is critical in educational games research. Finally, I will summarize some directions forward in educational games research.

Prof. Dr. Bruce M. McLaren, an Associate Research Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, is passionate about how technology can support education and has dedicated his work and research to projects that explore how students can learn with educational software, in particular, software that runs on the world-wide web. He is particularly interested in intelligent tutoring systems, e-learning principles, collaborative learning, and educational games. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Intelligent Systems from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh, and a B.S. in Computer Science (cum laude) from Millersville University. He has over 130 publications (25 journal articles) spanning peer-reviewed journals, conferences, workshops, symposiums and book chapters. He is the President-Elect (2017-2019) of the International Society for Artificial Intelligence in Education.