Conferences - Seminars

  Thursday 8 November 2012 16:15 - 17:30 BC 420

IC Colloquium : Toward Interdisciplinary Research in Online Education Technologies

By Armando Fox, Academic Director, Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education (BRCOE)
Professor in Residence, Computer Science Division, University of California, Berkeley

The "new generation" of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) has re-catalyzed conversations about teaching and learning across the country. While it's unsurprising that computer scientists have led the recent charge in online education in their role as technologists, I will argue that computer science _research_ must play a continuing leadership role as well in guiding the evolution of this new field. The work will be interdisciplinary not only across CS research areas, but between CS
and the other departments representing the other 99% of human study. To mention just a few opportunities, the scale of these courses enables "near-real-time"  pedagogy research at a pace and significance level never before possible, but we must design the right instrumentation tools and analyses while guarding student privacy. Research in human-computer interaction has begun to focus on activities enabled by social networking and crowdsourcing, but engagement with education researchers will be needed to understand how these activities are related to the roles of collaboration and community in online learning.
Pushing the envelope of automatic grading frees up valuable instructor time and gives students more opportunities to get feedback on their work, but much remains to be done to apply state-of-the-art techniques in statistical language processing and image recognition to such tasks.

The ideal outcomes will polish our on-campus courses, increase the level of intellectual engagement in our personal interactions with students, open new interdisciplinary research opportunities both within and outside CS, and provide high quality education to millions of students who might otherwise be denied it. A pitfall to avoid is transplanting existing classroom teaching techniques unchanged (whether we think they work well or not) to the new medium of online education, or thinking of online education as a one-to-one substitute for existing learning experiences.

Armando Fox ( is Professor in Residence in UC Berkeley's Computer Science Division as well as the Academic Director of the Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education (BRCOE).  His research spans cloud computing in the AMP Lab (Algorithms, Machines & People), highly productive parallel programming in the Par Lab (Parallel Computing Laboratory), and most recently, online education.  During his previous time at Stanford, he received teaching and mentoring awards from the Associated Students of Stanford University, the Society of Women Engineers, and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. He was named one of the "Scientific American 50" in 2003 and is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award and the Gilbreth Lectureship of the National Academy of Engineering. In previous lives he helped design the Intel Pentium Pro microprocessor and founded a successful startup to commercialize his UC Berkeley Ph.D. research on mobile computing. He received his other degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT and the University of Illinois and is an ACM Distinguished Member.

Organization Prof. George Candea

Contact Christine Moscioni

Accessibility Informed public

Admittance Free

This event is internal