Shirley Agostinho from University of Wollongong visited us the last two weeks. We have enormously enjoyed her visit these days, including encouraging conversations with the different members of the team, the nice piece of joint work done and the avenues for collaboration identified. We will really miss having her around!


From left: Laura Serra, Marc Beardsley, Kostas Michos, Kalpani Manathunga, Davinia Hernández-Leo, Shirley Agostinho, Pablo Abenia, Laia Albo

This is the picture we took the first day of her visit (Sep. 12th) and that she has also shared in their “learning design research” blog.

Below the slides I used in the panel “Global partnership for development. The role of academia in empowering participatory and collaborative action” at the Social Impact of Science Conference 2016. I talked about “Open collaborative platforms, education and research: MOOCs, ILDE“.


The session was chaired by Enric Senabre Hidalgo, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, and with speakers Xavier Serra Casals, Dept. of Information and Communication Technologies, Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Davinia Hernández Leo, Dept. of Information and Communication Technologies, Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Bruno Raimbault, Médecins Sans Frontières, Open Street Map movement; Xabier Barandiaran, Barcelona City Council – Participation Councillorship. The session organised with the support of the DTIC-UPF María de Maeztu Units of Excellence Programme (MDM-2015-0502).

Peter Sloep’s visit

ounl_petersloep_290Peter Sloep visited us at UPF 19th and 20th of July. We enjoyed discussions around learning design, communities, analytics, MOOCs, and group formation.


It has been a pleasure for me to chair this morning a very interesting session on the impact of MOOCs. It was one of the monographic sessions of this year CIDUI conference. I summarised five papers contributed by five teams of authors. Papers address the challenges around MOOCs and propose some solutions. This was followed by a debate by the authors with contributions by the audience.Foto_CIDUI_Davinia

Main topics included: challenges for educators and the institution; assessing the quality and impact of MOOCs; basic technological skills of educators and learners; and blended learning using MOOCs.

Some days ago Lori Lockyer, from Maquarie University (Sydney, Australia) visited us. We discuss with her our current research and she also shared with us outcomes from her projects, all around bringing learning design and analytic thinking together.




Together with MJ Rodríguez-Triana (EPFL), Y. Mor (PAU Education), P. Salvador (Carnegie Mellon), S. Warburton (U. of Surrey), B. Rienties (OU UK), L.P. Prieto (EPFL) and P. Scupelli (Carnegie Mellon), we’re co-organizing a workshop, to be held at EC-TEL 2016 in September in Lyon on “Connecting Learning Analytics with Learning Design“.

The workshop aims to open up the dialogue between the learning design (LD) and learning analytics (LA) communities, acknowledging the potential benefits for both fields from a productive synergy. As such, we expect participants from both of these communities, who have a deep understanding of one domain, and at least a keen interest in the other. We also welcome participants from other domains where the synergy of LD and LA could offer valuable opportunities.

Submissions are due in mid/end June. All the details in the workshop website: http://clad2016.ld-grid.org/#clad16 and the hashtag #clad16 !

We could have called it the “Learning Analytics Research Week” at DTIC. It was my pleasure to host several activities around learning analytics research last week. 

Dr. Roberto Martínez-Maldonado from the Connected Intelligence Centre (CIC) at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) has been the first visiting academic with an Erasmus+ International Mobility Grant (Erasmus+ KA107) at UPF. Within the activities of his visit, he instructed seminars devoted to PhD students. They included a hands-on workshop on multidimensional activity data visualization. The workshop engaged participants in crafting participatory data stories through the development of rapid low fidelity prototypes of collaborative work data. The workshop briefly introduced a series of concepts (such as multimodal data visualisation, learning analytics, HCI interaction data capture and visual metaphors). Then, the workshop focused on analysing a multi-user, multi-modal dataset that imposes particular challenges for visualisation design. The purpose for the attendees was to generate out-of-the-box ideas for visualising this particular Learning Analytics dataset, aimed at telling a story about collaborative group processes.

roberto_martinez-maldonado_DTIC-UPFRoberto Martínez-Maldonado also gave a DTIC Research Seminar titled “Multi-modal sequence mining and analytics of face-to-face collaborative learning”, where he introduced his work aimed at analysing aspects of students’ activity when learning collaboratively using digital ecologies enriched with sensors for identifying users, and also at multi-display settings. This strand of research is seeking out to automatically distinguish, discover and distil salient common patterns of interaction within groups, by mining the logs of students’ actions, detected speech, changes in group’s artefacts, etc. The talk showcased a number of group situations where multiple people are engaged in creative tasks that require design thinking and sense making. Multiple data mining techniques have been used in these scenarios to generate understanding of collaborative group processes including: classification, sequence pattern mining, process mining and clustering techniques.

abelardo-pardo_DTIC_UPF.pngDr. Abelardo Pardo, Senior Lecturer at the School of Electrical and Information Engineering, The University of Sydney, also visited the DTIC last week. He gave a DTIC Research Seminar with the title “Feedback at scale with a little help from my algorithms”. In his talk, Abelardo Pardo explained that despite the importance of formative feedback to improve educational experiences, providing adequate feedback in the right form, at the right time, at the right level is still challenging and risky. Academics in higher education institutions are increasingly under pressure to solve the tension between larger student cohorts in active learning scenarios and the quality of feedback given to students. The increasing amount of tasks that are mediated by technology offers the possibility to obtain a detailed digital footprint of the students. The talk explored some ideas about how to combine educational technology, data collection and prediction algorithms with current tasks carried out by instructors to amplify their effect in active learning scenarios.

These activities are connected with the strategic research program on Data Science associated to the Maria de Maetzu” distinction awarded to the DTIC. Learning Analytics research partly funded by this program was also presented at the 6th International Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference (LAK’16) recently held in Edinburgh.