A voting center is in charge of collecting and aggregating voter preferences. In an iterative process, the center sends comparison queries to voters, requesting them to submit their preference between two items. Voters might discuss the candidates among themselves, figuring out during the elicitation process which candidates stand a chance of winning and which do not. Consequently, strategic voters might attempt to manipulate by deviating from their true preferences and instead submit a different response in order to attempt to maximize their profit. We provide a practical algorithm for strategic voters which computes the best manipulative vote and maximizes the voter's selfish outcome when such a vote exists. We also provide a careful voting center which is aware of the possible manipulations and avoids manipulative queries when possible. In an empirical study on four real-world domains, we show that in practice manipulation occurs in a low percentage of settings and has a low impact on the final outcome. The careful voting center reduces manipulation even further, thus allowing for a non-distorted group decision process to take place. We thus provide a core technology study of a voting process that can be adopted in opinion or information aggregation systems and in crowdsourcing applications, e.g., peer grading in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
Personalized inclusive eLearning requires a dynamic support in terms of recommendation strategies that combines design time and runtime approaches. This support is to be provided by standard-based open learning management systems. In this paper, we identify different situations during the delivery of a course based on the Collaborative Logical Framework approach and propose when to recommend and what recommendations are to be provided to the learners to improve their performance by addressing eLearning critical factors. Expert evaluations and empirical studies maintain this work.
This article presents new algorithms for inferring users’ activities in a class of flexible and open-ended educational software called exploratory learning environments (ELE). Such settings provide a rich educational environment for students, but challenge teachers to keep track of students’ progress and to assess their performance. This article presents techniques for recognizing students activities in ELEs and visualizing these activities to students. It describes a new plan recognition algorithm that takes into account repetition and interleaving of activities. This algorithm was evaluated empirically using two ELEs for teaching chemistry and statistics used by thousands of students in several countries. It was able to outperform the state-of-the-art plan recognition algorithms when compared to a gold-standard that was obtained by a domain-expert. We also show that visualizing students’ plans improves their performance on new problems when compared to an alternative visualization that consists of a step-by-step list of actions.
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields play growing roles in national and international economies by driving innovation and generating high salary jobs. Yet, the US is lagging behind other highly industrialized nations in terms of STEM education and training. Furthermore, many economic forecasts predict a rising shortage of domestic STEM-trained professions in the US for years to come. One potential solution to this deficit is to decrease the rates at which students leave STEM-related fields in higher education, as currently over half of all students intending to graduate with a STEM degree eventually attrite. However, little quantitative research at scale has looked at causes of STEM attrition, let alone the use of machine learning to examine how well this phenomenon can be predicted. In this paper, we detail our efforts to model and predict dropout from STEM fields using one of the largest known datasets used for research on students at a traditional campus setting. Our results suggest that attrition from STEM fields can be accurately predicted with data that is routinely collected at universities using only information on students' first academic year. We also propose a method to model student STEM intentions for each academic term to better understand the timing of STEM attrition events. We believe these results show great promise in using machine learning to improve STEM retention in traditional and non-traditional campus settings.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) bring together thousands of people from different geographies and demographic backgrounds -- but to date, little is known about how they learn or communicate. We introduce a new content-analysed MOOC dataset and use Bayesian Non-negative Matrix Factorization (BNMF) to extract communities of learners based on the nature of their online forum posts. We see that BNMF yields a superior probabilistic generative model for online discussions when compared to other models, and that the communities it learns are differentiated by their composite students' demographic and course performance indicators. These findings suggest that computationally efficient probabilistic generative modelling of MOOCs can reveal important insights for educational researchers and practitioners and help to develop more intelligent and responsive online learning environments.