The Ripple effect: making waves in teaching and learning

5 Nov 2021

This article was originally published in UQ News.

A senior lecturer at The University of Queensland is gaining international attention for his innovative efforts to change tertiary level teaching and learning with the help of artificial intelligence.

Dr Hassan Khosravi, a lecturer in Data Science and Learning Analytics in UQ’s Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation, invented an AI based educational tool called RiPPLE which improves student engagement, satisfaction and learning.

“Lecturers are time-poor, but they care about their students and they want to find meaningful ways to enrich their learning,” Dr Khosravi said.

“As the workload and class sizes have increased over the past few years, lecturers often found it difficult to develop their resources and experiences for students; that’s why we’ve created RiPPLE.

“The novelty of the RiPPLE system is that instead of relying on lecturers developing content, we partner with students to create and evaluate the content, which not only helps students in their learning and fosters higher order thinking, but also reduces the workload of lecturers implementing the system in a course.”

The platform has been used by 25,000 students in more than 100 courses in recent years.

Dr Khosravi said the program was designed to help students better regulate their learning and spend more time on things that they need help with.

“Students don’t necessarily use their time wisely when they study and may focus on aspects that they’ve already mastered rather than things they find difficult and perhaps less joyful to study,” he said.

“RiPPLE uses algorithms to adapt learning materials based on student performance, to estimate each student’s skills, and to actively monitor student progress.”

Dr Khosravi said the program was working extremely well.

“A recent survey of students using the platform reported that it helped them with their learning, was easy to use and navigate and they would like to see it in other courses,” he said.

“Two large scale experiments investigating if it helped student learning, one at UQ and the other at La Trobe University, found that using the platform has contributed to higher grades.”

Dr Khosravi has been working with UQ’s commercialisation company, UniQuest to patent the intellectual property of the work done in developing RiPPLE and explore various pathways for commercialisation.

“We are very excited about the possibility of commercialisation, but I think the most important thing is we are solving a problem,” he said.

“I think we’re working on a program that’s both a really exciting research avenue and also something that can benefit higher education in the future.”

Dr Khosravi was recognised with a Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning at UQ’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Learning this week.

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