Research Profile

Research Interests and Contributions

My research focuses on studying and modeling user interactions in various learning contexts. To that end, I follow a combined bottom-up and top-down approach: I engage in exploring data traces of user practice and in seeking patterns that may be backed up by theoretical reasoning. Following this approach, my main contributions are in student modeling and in learning analytics

In my PhD thesis I proposed the use of time-series to model collaborative learning activities and to assessing collaboration quality. To that end, I implemented an automatic rater of collaboration quality using Dynamic Time Warping and studied its use as part of a teacher dashboard. I explored the use of analytics for scaffolding collaboration and communication. I also studied the adaptation of Social Network Analytics and other modeling techniques to support communication and knowledge exchange in MOOCs and small groups. Furthermore, I have been exploring the use of learning analytics to explore motivation shifts among small groups and to support making through learning activities in informal settings (for example, Dev Camps and Hackathons).

Currently, I am a Senior Researcher in Learning Analytics in the Center for Educational Technology, University of Tartu. I work on a project that explores the use of Learning Analytics to provide personalized feedback and to scaffold learning. Furthermore, I am a consultant for a joint-project between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh that aims to provide adaptive support to students who use a dialogue-based intelligent tutor. While I was in Carnegie Mellon University, I implemented a student model to guide high-school students through adaptive tutorial dialogues for physics. To choose the appropriate line of reasoning, I proposed a computational approach to model the Zone of Proximal Development, that is according to Leon Vygotsky, “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers”. This approach builds on the concept of the Grey Area, that is the area where the student model cannot predict with acceptable accuracy the outcome of a student step with respect to correctness (that is, whether a student will answer a question correctly). 


Research Experience

  • University of Tartu (Senior Researcher / Assistant Professor, current position)

From February 2018, I hold a Senior Researcher (Assistant Professor) in Learning Analytics in the Institute of Education, University of Tartu (Estonia). I am grateful to work with Prof. Margus Pedaste and excellent colleagues at the Centre for Educational Technology. Here, I explore the use of Learning Analytics (LaTartu) to provide personalized feedback and scaffold learning. I also participate in the Educational Technology Master Program where I am responsible for the "Introduction to Learning Analytics" course 

  • Carnegie Mellon University (postdoctoral researcher, 2016-2018)

From April 2016 to March 2018, I worked at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute in Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, USA) with Prof. Bruce McLaren on a collaborative project between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University ("Rimac: Improving a Natural-language Tutoring System that Engages Students in Deep Reasoning Dialogues about Physics", Project's Website). The project aimed to develop and use a student model to support the adaptation of tutorial dialogues for a physics intelligent tutoring system. 

  • University of Duisburg-Essen (postdoctoral researcher, 2014-2016)

From August 2014 to March 2016, I had the honour to work in the Collide Group at the Department of Computational and Cognitive Sciences, University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany) with Prof. Ulrich H. Hoppe. During my time there, we explored the use of learning analytics to scaffold the communication in MOOCs, to support learning activities through online labs and to foster creativity and reflection in maker events such as Hackathons.


Research Activities

As part of my research, I participate in other research activities such as talks, seminars and demos, program committees, conference organizations, reviewing, etc. I am a reviewer for international journals such as Computers and Education and iJCSCL, and international conferences, such as LAK, CSCL, CSCW, CHI, etc. I have also been serving as a program committee member for conferences (LAK, ICALT, ECTEL) and Publications Chair for EICS 2015. I have been giving demonstrations and talks to conferences and other events (SFHMMY 4, EESTEC@Upatras, Demo session at Greek Usability Day-2008). You can find the resources for my recent talks here:

    • August 2018: Invited talk at the IEEE Estonia Section Meeting at Jäneda, Estonia (talk title: " LA Tartu: Designing a Learning Analytics platform for the University of Tartu… and beyond!") slides
    • October 2017: Invited talk at the ScienceEd meetings, University of Pittsburgh
    • September 2017: Invited talk at the HCII Seminar Talks (video)
    • April 2017: Two demos for the HCII Demo Day, Carnegie Mellon University
      • Demo I. An adaptive tutoring system for physics using reflective dialogue (poster)
      • Demo II. LASAD-Grammar App: A collaborative application to support students who study English grammar (poster)
    • November 2016: Invited talk at the PAWS Lab, University of Pittsburgh (slides)
    • September 2016: Invited talk at the HCII Seminar Talks (slides, video)


Education

  • University of Patras
    • PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering (2009-2014).

      I did my PhD in the Human-Computer Interaction group under the supervision of Prof. N. Avouris. During my Ph.D. I focused on human-computer interaction, groupware evaluation, technology-enhanced and computer-supported collaborative learning. My PhD thesis explored the use of time-series for the analysis and evaluation of collaboration quality during collaborative learning activities.

    • Diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering (2001-2005).

      I received my diploma in 2005 focusing on Electronics and Computer Systems. The objective of my diploma thesis was to design and implement an online platform for monitoring and managing of the university network. 

  • TEI Piraeus
    • Certificate in Computer Systems Engineering (1996-2000).

      From 1996 to 2000 I studied in the Department of Electronic Computer Systems Engineering in TEI Piraeus (Piraeus University of Applied Sciences). During my studies I worked in the Computer Networks & Peripheral Devices Laboratory (PeLAB) under the supervision of Prof. Sotiris Leventis who also supervised my undergrad thesis.