Dynamic Support for Virtual Math Teams

Funded by: the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research
PIs: Carolyn Rosé and Gerry Stahl

Free on-line learning promises to transform the educational landscape of the United States through a significant broadening of supplemental educational opportunities for low income and minority students who do not have access to high quality private tutoring to supplement their in school education. The proposed solution is to develop a technological augmentation to available human support in a lightly staffed Virtual Math Teams (VMT) environment as well as deploying conversational agents that are triggered by automatically detected conversational events (Rosé et al., 2008; Mu et al., 2012) and that have the ability to elicit valuable collaborative behavior such as reflection, help seeking, and help provision (Cui et al., 2009). This project brings together expertise in technological development and careful experimentation both in the lab and in the classroom, a track record for large scale deployment of educational materials, and a solid foundation in significant student learning results in collaborative environments. It builds on results from a pilot project in which the team has built VMT-Basilica (Kumar & Rosé, 2011), which is a technical infrastructure for supporting collaborative problem solving, as well as having conducted pilot studies with it in an on-line setting with promising results (Kumar et al., 2007a; Kumar et al., 2007b; Gweon et al., 2006; Gweon et al., 2005).

In this collaborative research we attempt to understand how to structure interactions among peer learners in online education environments (Stahl & Rosé, 2011; Stahl et al., 2010a; Stahl et al., 2010b). We seek to enhance effective participation and learning in the Virtual Math Teams (VMT) online math service , housed in the Math Forum , a major NSF-funded initiative that specifically targets inner-city, low-income minority students. This is accomplished by designing, developing, testing, refining and deploying automated interventions to support significantly less expensive but nevertheless highly effective group facilitation (Kumar & Rosé, 2011; Weusijana et al., 2008). The key research goal is to experimentally learn broadly applicable principles for supporting effective collaborative problem solving by eliciting behavior that is productive for student learning in diverse groups. These principles are used to optimize the pedagogical effectiveness of the existing VMT-Basilica environment as one example of their concrete realization. The goal of this research is to yield new knowledge about how characteristics of the on-line VMT environment necessitate adaptation of approaches that have proven successful in lab and classroom studies in order to achieve comparable success in this challenging real world online environment.

Selected Recent Publications

  1. Mu, J., Stegmann, K., Mayfield, E., Rosé, C. P., Fischer, F. (2012). The ACODEA Framework: Developing Segmentation and Classification Schemes for Fully Automatic Analysis of Online Discussions. International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning 7(2), pp285-305.
  2. Stahl, G. & Rosé, C. P. (2011). Group Cognition in Online Teams, in Salas, E., Fiore, S., & Letsky, M. (Eds.) Theories of Team Cognition: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives, Section V: Social Psychology and Communication Perspectives, American Psychological Society.
  3. Stahl, G., Rosé, C. P., Goggins, S. (2010a). Analyzing the discourse of GeoGebra collaborations. Proceedings of the GeoGebra NA 2010 Conference
  4. Stahl, G., Rosé, C. P., O’Hara, K., & Powell, A. (2010b). Supporting group math cognition in virtual GeoGebra teams with software conversational agents, Proceedings of the GeoGebra NA 2010 Conference
  5. Kumar, R. & Rosé, C. P. (2011). Architecture for building Conversational Agents that support Collaborative Learning, IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 4(1), pp 21-34
  6. Cui, Y., Chaudhuri, S., Kumar, R., Gweon, G., Rosé, C. P. (2009). Helping Agents in VMT, in G. Stahl (Ed.) Studying Virtual Math Teams, Springer CSCL Series, Springer.
  7. Rosé, C. P., Wang, Y.C., Cui, Y., Arguello, J., Stegmann, K., Weinberger, A., Fischer, F., (2008). Analyzing Collaborative Learning Processes Automatically: Exploiting the Advances of Computational Linguistics in Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning 3(3), pp237-271.
  8. Weusijana, B. A., Kumar, R., Rosé, 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.
  9. Kumar, R., Gweon, G., Joshi, M., Cui, Y., Rosé, C. P. (2007a). Supporting Students Working Together on Math with Social Dialogue. Proceedings of the ISCA Special Interest Group on Speech and Language Technology in Education Workshop (SLaTE), Farmington, PA.
  10. Kumar, R., Rosé, C. P., Wang, Y. C., Joshi, M., Robinson, A. (2007b). Tutorial Dialogue as Adaptive Collaborative Learning Support, Proceedings of the 2007 conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education: Building Technology Rich Learning Contexts That Work, pp 383-390 Nominated for a Best Paper Award
  11. Gweon, G., Rosé, C. P., Zaiss, Z., & Carey, R. (2006). Providing Support for Adaptive Scripting in an On-Line Collaborative Learning Environment, Proceedings of CHI 06: ACM conference on human factors in computer systems. pp 251-260 Honorable Mention Award , New York: ACM Press.
  12. Gweon, G., Rosé, C. P., Carey, R., Zaiss, Z. (2005). Towards Data Driven Design of a Peer Collaborative Agent, Proceedings of the 2005 conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education: Supporting Learning through Intelligent and Socially Informed Technology, pp 813-815.