Professional Development

Carnegie Mellon Holds 12th Annual LearnLab Summer School

The Simon Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has concluded its 12th annual LearnLab Summer School, a week-long intensive course that teaches graduate students, working professionals and researchers about CMU-developed tools that merge education, data and technology.

This year 55 students worked in small project teams to gain hands-on experience in one of four learning tracks: Building Online Courses with OLI (Open Learning Initiative), Intelligent Tutor Systems Development, Computer Supported Collaborative Learning or Educational Data Mining. The program matches students with CMU mentors, who emailed with students as they completed preparatory work required before the summer school began. Then from July 11 to 15, students attended lectures, discussions and laboratory sessions where they developed a small prototype experiment in math, science or language learning. On the last day, the teams presented their work to each other.

The Building Online Courses with OLI track introduced students to the "underlying pedagogical approach and design philosophy that supports OLI learning experiences" and guided them "in the use of the tools and technologies that constitute the OLI platform," according to the site. Students applied their learning by refining learning outcomes to make them more precise and measurable and then developing content, activities and assessments to support those learning outcomes.

The Intelligent Tutor Systems Development track taught students how to implement a prototype computer-based tutor using tools such as CTAT (Cognitive Tutor Authoring Tools), which supports the development of intelligent tutoring systems, or TuTalk, which is used to develop tutorial dialog systems that interact with students through natural language.

The Computer Supported Collaborative Learning track taught students how to use authoring tools such as TuTalk, TagHelper and SIDE to "implement automatic support for collaborative learning that could be integrated with an existing environment," according to information on the site.

The Educational Data Mining track taught students how to analyze an educational data set using data mining tools and algorithms and then interpret and present the results. Students had the option of using their own data set or one of the data sets currently in the LearnLab's DataShop.

The LearnLab is the scientific arm of the Simon Initiative and was originally funded by the National Science Foundation. Further information about the LearnLab Summer School can be found on LearnLab's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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