Talks I am giving/have given recently

Cloud computing — the opportunities and challenges

Intelligent Assessments

[Anna Univ conference, Chennai, December 2012]
The growing popularity of e-learning —- more generally use of technology to enhance quality of education — has also been influencing assessments. Most learning management systems (e.g. moodle, sakai, etc) offer fairly sophisticated online testing systems. Specialised packages for assessments are also available. Online submission of assignments, framework for peer evaluation, automated gradebook, etc are some of the other gadgets one can easily find today. Given the power of computers, the opportunity for personalisation, and the rapidly growing world wide web and associated infrastructure, the path ahead is challenging and exciting. We will look at some of these in this talk.

Assessment of subjective examination questions is one of the fascinations, looking for mechanisms to help teacher assess long answer questions ranging from 1-2 sentences to multiple pages. Automated question generation is another interesting challenge — covering a spectrum of options from single sentence based questions to subjective questions, and template based questions to open questions. A third aspect is evaluating the quality and suitability of an assessment instrument. This is also an interesting issue covering student fairness, syllabus fairness, expectation fairness, scenarion fairness. The scenario fairness, for example, involves appropriateness of the instrument in the target scenario — open/closed book, written/oral, duration, etc. We will be looking at some of these issues in this talk.

Personalisation of Education

[Royal College Workshop, Mumbai, December 2012]
Use of technology in education, to enhance the teaching-learning process is now spreading to newer dimensions and technologies. Though, we, in India, are still in the early days struggling with PPTs and Learning management systems, a number of aspects including online lectures (e.g. coursera), assessments and collaboration are today feasible and are widely used. With personalised access to computing becoming feasible through laptops, smartphones, etc, personalised tutoring is an active area of interest. This offers a number of educational, pedagogic and technological challenges. Personalisation means choosing right topic, right type of content, right type of intervention, etc while teaching. We will look at two major aspects of this trend in this talk.

First, we look at adaptive instruction where the focus is in capturing and maintaining a detailed learner profile and always choosing an appropriate type of learning resource, keeping in mind his prior knowledge, academic goals, learning style, etc. We discuss based on the Anurup, the adaptive instruction delivery system, project in CDAC Mumbai. Second, we look at building intelligent tutoring systems where the focus is on tutoring a learner on a specific topic (e.g. factorisation, inflection of verb in Marathi) through a set of suitably chosen problem scenarios. The approach is constructivist, enabling the learner to explore, with the teacher observing and intervening meaningfully. This involves formalising and understanding a number of aspects of teaching-learning process and building computer models of them. We look at a set of examples from teaching how to compute LCM, to teaching Marathi, and expose the challenges and excitements of the journey.

Adaptive Instruction - a Review

[Invited talk in T4E Hyderabad]

Personalised instruction delivery – issues and challenges

Personalisation with minimal human intervention is an exciting challenge for most of the industries, as it provides individual attention without high investment on human resources. It attracts the customers as they receive solutions tailored to their profiles. The field of education has not been an exception. In the field of education, however, the challenges are many. What can one personalise? What is worth personalising? On what basis is the personalisation to happen? How reliably can one measure that property/attribute? How technologically feasible are the various types of personalisation? And so on are among the many questions that are relevant. CDAC Mumbai (Kharghar) has been working on instruction personalisation for a while and has built a system called Anurup. The team there has also been looking intelligent interventions in tutoring, which is an extreme scenario for personalisation. This talk will look at the various aspects of personalisation, review some of the interesting work in this area, and reflect on the path and challenges ahead.

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