Computer Science


Peter Gibbons Memorial Lecture Series: Technologies for Deep Learning

The final of four lectures on Computing: From Theory to Practice held on June 3, 2009
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Speakers: John Hamer, Andrew Luxton-Reilly, Beryl Plimmer - CS Department, The University of Auckland

The speakers for this lecture are all members of our Computer Science Department staff whose research interests include aspects of the teaching of Computer Science as a topic that interested Peter Gibbons.

When: Refreshments at 5.30pm, lecture starts at 6.00pm.
Where: University of Auckland Conference Centre, 22 Symonds St, Building/room 423-342

John is a senior lecturer in Computer Science. His research interests include declarative programming and computer science education.

Andrew is a senior tutor in Computer Science. He is working on a PhD in computer science education. His research interests include peer assessment and technologies for collaborative learning.

Beryl is a senior lecturer in Computer Science. The main focus of her research is human computer interaction, including HCI for computer science education.

Synopsis: Information technology has provided easy access to vast amounts of data useful for education: course materials, on-line tutorials and Wikipedia are all now on-line. Wonderful as these repositories are, they are often of little help in improving deep learning. Indeed, at times, the digitalization of documents makes it more difficult for students to learn from them.

In this talk we describe three research projects that enhance IT support for learning.

Aropa and PeerWise are web-based tools that enhance collaborative learning for large student classes. Aropa supports peer assessment, immersing students in the assessment process; providing them with timely and relevant feedback. PeerWise challenges students to devise good assessment questions which then provide an extensive question bank for self-study. Both tools have been adopted widely, both within the University of Auckland and in a number of overseas institutions.

The Digital Ink Annotation project improves learners' interactions with digital documents by allowing them to make their own "ink" annotations. These annotations may be mark ups (underlines, circles, etc.), comments (words and phrases) or pictograms (ticks, smilies, etc.). The process of annotating a document forces the reader to think more deeply about its content and meaning, and, when the document is later read, the ink annotations stand apart, so providing visual clues and commentary. We have developed tools for use in marking assignments, for annotating programs from within an IDE, and for annotating web pages.

These three research projects present numerous technical challenges, and touch on many issues in teaching and learning.

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