The principal investigator Carolyn P. Rose, Carnegie Mellon University, along with co-principal Investigators James Herbsleb, Carnegie Mellon University; and George Siemens, UT Arlington will examine environments that many people engage in independently to learn computing, online communities, and massive open online courses (MOOCs). This activity could be very compelling as people come to these environments because they have personal goals to learn the material. However, a challenge in these environments is that there is little support for learning. In addition, these environments are not adaptive to learners’ needs. This project will tackle both of these challenges. The PIs will first characterize groups of learners to understand their needs and then design approaches to personalizing the environments based on those needs.
The PIs address a need for both learning and independent online work communities by providing a combined learning work community. Many authentic production communities, such as GitHub, do not provide support for novices who want to learn to contribute. Similarly many learning communities, such as MOOCs and other online learning environments, do not provide outlets for learners’ products to become authentic. The PIs will combine data from MOOCs and online communities to discover groups of participants who behave in similar ways and investigate how to support the needs of these groups. This will lead to the proposed novel combined learning and work community that both provides support and offers authentic outlets for work products that are valued beyond a particular course.