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New Computers Respond to Students' Emotions, Boredom

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Bored student

AutoTutor and Affective AutoTutor model and respond to students' cognitive and emotional states.

Credit: Notre Dame University

University of Notre Dame researchers have developed AutoTutor and Affective AutoTutor, intelligent tutoring programs that model and respond to students' cognitive and emotional states.

The researchers say the technology offers new learning possibilities for students and redefines human-computer interaction. The programs can gauge a student's level of knowledge by asking questions, analyzing the answers, identifying and correcting misconceptions, responding to questions, and sensing frustration and boredom through facial expressions and body posture.

"In addition to enhancing the content of the message, the new technology provides information regarding the cognitive states, motivation levels, and social dynamics of the students," says Notre Dame professor Sidney D'Mello.

AutoTutor helps students learn technical content by holding a dialogue in natural language, simulating teaching and motivational strategies of human tutors, modeling students' cognitive states, and using its student model to dynamically customize the interaction to individual students answering students' questions. Affective AutoTutor adds emotion-sensitive capabilities by monitoring facial features, body language, and conversational cues.

"AutoTutor and Affective AutoTutor attempt to keep the student balanced between the extremes of boredom and bewilderment by subtly modulating the pace, direction, and complexity of the learning task," D'Mello says.

From Notre Dame News 
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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