Title: Digital Technologies and Educational Mapping: A Catalyst for Innovation in Higher Education

Abstract: Institutions of higher education around the world are questioning how to evolve their programs to embrace increased interdisciplinarity, especially in the area of computing and its role in undergraduate degree programs. At the same time, institutions are under pressure to improve access and affordability. Digital technologies present an opportunity for us to rethink our education models, including our curricular structures, our pedagogy, and our business models. This talk will describe my work in educational mapping, which includes the design and creation of scalable methods and tools for data modeling, data visualization and digital analytics. These tools have been deployed to create educational maps at multiple levels from individual classes to entire institutional curricula. Educational maps are key enablers to unlocking the value of educational data, to creating personalized pathways and adaptive learning systems, and to achieving data-driven decisions.

Karen Willcox

Bio: Karen E. Willcox is Director of the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, and a Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin. She holds the W. A. “Tex” Moncrief, Jr. Chair in Simulation-Based Engineering and Sciences and the Peter O’Donnell, Jr. Centennial Chair in Computing Systems. Before joining the Oden Institute in 2018, she spent 17 years as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she served as the founding Co-Director of the MIT Center for Computational Engineering and the Associate Head of the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Prior to joining the MIT faculty, she worked at Boeing Phantom Works with the Blended-Wing-Body aircraft design group. Her research has produced scalable computational methods for design of next-generation engineered systems, with a particular focus on model reduction as a way to learn principled approximations from data and on multi-fidelity formulations to leverage multiple sources of uncertain information. She is also active in educational innovation, developing scalable network models and educational technologies that enable data-driven decisions in education. She is a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) and Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). In 2017, she was awarded Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM).