Carolyn Penstein Rosť

A picture of me

Carnegie Mellon University
Language Technologies Institute
and HCI Institute
Gates-Hillman Center 5415
5000 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3891
+1 (412) 268-7130 (W)
+1 (412) 268-6298 (F)

Projects: Projects.html
Teaching: Teaching.html
Selected Publications: Selected Publications
Full CV: CV-Rose-2017.pdf
My Group: MyGroup.html
Recent Press Coverage: News.html
EdX Satellite Working Group: DANCE , which you can join here.
Personal: Stuff about Me
Spinoff Company: LightSIDE Labs
Tutorial at Learning@Scale: Tutorial on What we know about discussion for learning
Tutorial at 2014 LASI: Text Mining and Educational Discourse
Past President and Inaugural Fellow of The International Society of the Learning Sciences
Executive Editor of the International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning and the IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies

Statement of Career Goals

My research program is focused on better understanding the social and pragmatic nature of conversation, and using this understanding to build computational systems that can improve the efficacy of conversation between people, and between people and computers. In order to pursue these goals, I invoke approaches from computational discourse analysis and text mining, conversational agents, and computer supported collaborative learning. I ground my research in the fields of language technologies and human-computer interaction, and I am fortunate to work closely with students and post-docs from the Language Technologies Institute and the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, as well as to direct a lab of my own, called TELEDIA. My groupís highly interdisciplinary work, published in over 200 peer reviewed publications, is represented in the top venues in 5 fields: namely, Language Technologies, Learning Sciences, Cognitive Science, Educational Technology, and Human-Computer Interaction, with awards or award nominations in 3 of these fields. An exciting current direction of my group's work is spearheading a satellite working group to support social interaction for learning in MOOCs with EdX called DANCE. My recent article published in Nature can be found here.

My research has birthed and substantially contributed to the growth of two thriving inter-related areas of research: namely, Automated Analysis of Collaborative Learning Processes and Dynamic Support for Collaborative Learning, where intelligent conversational agents are used to support collaborative learning in a context sensitive way. The key idea behind all of my work is to draw insights from rich theoretical models from sociolinguistics and discourse analysis, and pair them down to precise operationalizations that capture the most important essence of what is happening for achieving impact. My approach is always to start with investigating how conversation works and formalizing this understanding in models that are precise enough to be reproducible and that demonstrate explanatory power in connection with outcomes that have real world value. The next step is to adapt, extend, and apply machine learning and text mining technologies in ways that leverage that deep understanding in order to build computational models that are capable of automatically applying these constructs to naturally occurring language interactions. Finally, with the technology to automatically monitor naturalistic language communication in place, the final stage is to build interventions that lead to real world benefits.

This approach leads to three aspects included in each project:

In an effort to arrive at generalizable models, I am pursuing this research program in multiple parallel contexts that provide opportunities to investigate how both the manifestation of the conversational constructs as well as their effects on outcomes are nuanced through mediating contextual variables. Thus, I am conducting research on eight currently funded projects from a variety of government and industrial funding sources, such as NSF, NRL, and Google. Since my tenure review in 2013, I have served as PI on 3 newly funded grants totaling 2.5M and Co-PI on 6 others totaling 8M. This includes most recently a 4M NSF DIBBS grant on which I am Co-PI and a 2M NSF BigData grant on which I am PI. Most of these projects fall within my primary impact area of education and learning more broadly, including informal learning and knowledge diffusion in online communities such as Wikipedia, GitHub, and Climate Colab.

In my recent service as President of the International Society of the Learning Sciences (now Past President), Executive Board member of the International Artificial Intelligence in Education Society, Steering Committee member of ACMís Learning@Scale, Associate Editor of the International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (now Executive Editor) and the IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, I have taken the opportunity to build bridges between research communities that foster and support the multi-disciplinary collaborations that have provided a conducive environment for birthing advances in my own research and those of many others. In this capacity I have had the opportunity to host and/or participate in organizing inter-community visioning sessions at conferences such as Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, Artificial Intelligence in Education, and Learning Analytics and Knowledge. I convene a group of over a dozen leaders from international research societies in the Learning Sciences to work towards a vision for coordination and bridge building, including co-location of conferences. As part of that effort I recently ran a leadership retreat in Edinburgh in April 2016 to forge a specific, concrete vision for an international umbrella organization to facilitate bridge building and coordination between these related research societies through cross-society awards and cross-community paper presentations. This plan has now been approved by the governing boards of 6 international research organizations in the Learning Sciences and will be officially launched in the coming months.