DANCE: Discussion Affordances for Natural Collaborative Exchange


Director: Carolyn Penstein Rosé

Carnegie Mellon University

Co-Director: Oliver Ferschke

Carnegie Mellon University


Drawing from two decades of research in Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, we are working to design an extension of the edX platform to enhance instructionally beneficial discussion opportunities available to students. With this working group, we want to bring together people from academia and industry to build a common vision regarding what kinds of research would be valuable to the community once such a platform extension was in place to support it. Our work is initially focusing on the edX platform in particular, but in the long run we seek to provide these capabilities to Massive Open Online Courses and other online learning platforms more generally. In particular, this working group is partnering with edX as a satellite collaborative, seeking to involve researchers and developers from multiple universities, foundations, and industrial organizations.

Our foundational work is beginning with specific interventions designed to offer synchronous collaboration activities supported by intelligent conversational agents and enhancements to threaded discussions to support more intensive help exchange by leveraging social recommendation technology. However, our goals are much broader than this, seeking to leverage insights and methodologies from the field of Human-Computer Interaction and encompassing both synchronous and asynchronous communication very broadly. Our vision includes text, speech, and video based interactions, instrumented with all sorts of intelligent support powered by state-of-the-art analytics and leveraging language technologies and artificial intelligence more broadly in order to offer contextually appropriate support. We will coordinate this effort with regular online meetings and occasional in-person workshops.