Basilica: Reconfigurable Multi-Party Dialogue Environment

Funded by: the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research
PIs: Carolyn P. Rose
Students, Staff, and Collaborators: Rohit Kumar

Project Overview

The goal of the instructional approach underlying the design of the VMT-Basilica framework is to maximize the benefit students receive from the interactions they have with one another by providing support for learning and effective collaboration in a way that is responsive to what is happening in the interaction in real time. Previous discourse analyses of collaborative conversations reveal that the majority of those interactions between students do not display the .higher order thinking. that collaborative learning is meant to elicit, and we have found this as well in our own observations in lab and classroom studies, both at the college level and at the middle school level. The literature on support for collaborative learning and learning more generally tells us that scaffolding should be faded over time, that over-scripting is detrimental to collaboration, and unnecessary support is demotivating. Thus, a major goal of our research is to address these issues with a framework that allows us to track what is happening in the interaction so that the automatically triggered support interventions can respond to it appropriately. Desiderata of the framework include reusability of component technologies, compatibility with other platforms, and the ability to provide flexibility to system designers to select from a wide range of existing components and then to synchronize, prioritize and coordinate them as desired in a convenient way.


  1. Kumar, R. & Rose, C. P. (2009). Building Conversational Agents with Basilica, Proceedings of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (demo)
  2. Kumar, R., Chaudhuri, S., Howley, I., Rose, C. P. (2009). VMT-Basilica: An Environment for Rapid Prototyping of Collaborative Learning Environments with Dynamic Support, Community Event Proceedings of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (interactive poster, nominated for best technical design award)
  3. Chaudhuri, S., Kumar, R., Howley, I., Rose, C. P. (2009). Engaging Collaborative Learners with Helping Agents, submitted to Artificial Intelligence in Education
  4. Chaudhuri, S., Kumar, R., Joshi, M., Terrell, E., Higgs, F., Aleven, V., Rose, C. P. (2008). It.s Not Easy Being Green: Supporting Collaborative .Green Design. Learning, in Proceedings of Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS .08) (poster)
  5. Weusijana, B. A., Kumar, R., Rose, C. P. (2008). MultiTalker: Building Conversational Agents in Second Life using Basilica, Second Life Education Community Convention, Purple Strand: Educational Tools and Products, 2008, Tampa, FL.
  6. Kumar, R., Rose, C. P., Wang, Y. C., Joshi, M., Robinson, A. (2007). Tutorial Dialogue as Adaptive Collaborative Learning Support, Proceedings of Artificial Intelligence in Education (nominated for Best Student Paper)