Associate Professor of LTI and HCII Carolyn Rosé will lead Carnegie Mellon's contributions to the new Digital Learning Research Network (dLRN), a collaboration of 10 institutions across the nation funded by a $1.6 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Led by the Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge (LINK) Lab at the University of Texas Arlington, the network will support researchers examining the effect of digital learning on higher education now and in the future.
According to dLRN director George Siemens, executive director of LINK Lab, the network will aim to close the gap that exists between digital learning research and its impact on practice. Some of the research areas on dLRN's agenda include competency-based learning, learning analytics, global growth of higher education, learning at scale and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), personalization and adaptation, and credentialing and accreditation through digital programs.
Carnegie Mellon is poised to play a key role in that research.
Funding from this grant will contribute to Rosé’s ongoing work developing MOOC platform extensions to provide affordances for discussion-based learning, with the goal of facilitating help exchange, collaborative reflection and sense-making, and even project-based learning. This work relates to an effort called DANCE (Discussion Affordances for Natural Collaborative Exchange) that Rosé is spearheading to engage researchers and practitioners across institutions in a satellite collaborative under the umbrella of the edX open source community, with the goal of making a production-grade version of these extensions available as a core part of the Open edX platform.
“This is a great opportunity to investigate how insights from the field of computer-supported collaborative learning can contribute to the development of a new generation of MOOCs that better leverage the tremendous untapped resources for support the students themselves bring,” said Rosé, who is also president elect of the International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Rosé is also currently collaborating with HCII Professor Robert Kraut to investigate ways to reduce attrition in MOOCs through mentoring, team assignments and other techniques. Their work, part of a Google Focused Research Award, also aims to identify warning signs that students are in danger of dropping out and to develop interventions to re-engage them in courses.
In addition to Carnegie Mellon and UT Austin, other institutions participating in dLRN include Stanford University; Teachers College Columbia University; the Smithsonian Institution; the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; the University of Arkansas System; the University System of Georgia; California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative; and SRI International, a nonprofit innovation and research organization.