Will your MOOC know if you are struggling? Maybe: A computer can learn to recognize, and respond intelligently to, users’ emotional state.
By Will Knight on July 1, 2013
Even a good teacher may not always be able to tell, at a glance, which students are quietly struggling and which need more of a challenge. Fortunately, laptops may soon come with enough emotional intelligence built in to do the job for them.
A recent study from North Carolina State University shows how this might work. Researchers there used video cameras to monitor the faces of college students participating in computer tutoring sessions. Using software that had been trained to match facial expressions with different levels of engagement or frustration, the researchers were able to recognize when students were experiencing difficulty and when they were finding the work too easy.
The project suggests a way for technology to help teachers keep track of students’ performance in real time. Perhaps it could even help massively open online courses (or MOOCs), which can involve many thousands of students working remotely, to be more attuned to students’ needs (see “The Crisis in Higher Education”). Read more.