«Conversational agents in MOOCs: what’s the point?»




Stavros Demetriadis


Research in computer-supported collaborative learning consistently indicates the value of developing tools for boosting learners' productive social interaction (that is, learners' dialogue and argumentation). At the same time, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) emerge as a new form of online learning experience that transcends the boundaries of traditional educational forms and offers new opportunities to distance learners worldwide. The question we pose is: How can we enhance learners' social interaction in MOOCs and reap important learning benefits? In my talk I'm going to present and discuss: a) the approach (and research evidence) we follow for triggering online peer interaction in small groups based on teacher-configurable conversational agents; b) explain how we plan to integrate this technology in MOOCs and explore its potential in the framework of a newly started EU Erasmus+ project.



Author’s biography

Stavros Demetriadis 

Associate Professor at the School of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh), Greece. He holds a BSc degree in Physics, MSc in Electronic Physics, and PhD in Multimedia educational technology from AUTh. He teaches courses and conducts research in the broader area of technology-enhanced learning with emphasis on Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL), Adaptive hypermedia systems for learning, Educational robotics and Tangible interfaces for programming, Conversational agents, Multimedia learning, Cognitive training technologies and Massive open Online Courses (MOOCs). He is member of the scientific committee in several top ranking international Conferences each year (IEEE, ICALT, ECTEL, CSEDU). He is currently Project Coordinator of the ‘colMOOC’ Erasmus+ EU funded project aiming to promote social interaction in MOOCs through the use of conversational agents. Recently, he has started developing the pytoLearn website (http://pytolearn.csd.auth.gr/) for advancing Python-based domain-related coding and is also offering a MOOC on “Introductory Programming with Python” (in Greek). His major publications and research statistics are available on Google Scholar. 

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