Assistant Professor Nigel Bosch presented his research and served as a session chair at the ACM Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation, and Personalization (UMAP), which was held June 9-12 in Larnaca, Cyprus. UMAP is an international conference for researchers and practitioners working on systems that adapt to individual users and groups of users and that collect, represent, and model user information. The theme of this year's conference was "Making Personalization Transparent: Giving Control Back to the User."
Bosch presented the paper, "Modeling Improvement for Underrepresented Minorities in Online STEM Education." Coauthored with Eddie Huang and Lawrence Angrave of the Department of Computer Science and Michelle Perry of the Department of Educational Psychology, the paper presents a new perspective on learning outcomes by measuring improvement rather than grades alone. Based on learning management system data from seven semesters of an online introductory science course, Bosch and his fellow researchers found that while students from underrepresented minority racial groups were less likely to receive high grades, as previous studies have shown, their exam scores improved throughout the semester a similar amount compared to their peers. In addition, students' behaviors, such as exam submission times and online forum usage, related to their improvement. The paper touches on the "implications of these findings for reducing inequalities in education, and the possibilities for underrepresented minority students in online STEM education in particular."
Bosch uses machine learning/data mining methods to study human behaviors, especially in learning contexts. His research examines data such as facial expressions, audio recordings, log file records of user actions, and other sources that provide insight into learners' behaviors. After earning his PhD in computer science from the University of Notre Dame in 2017, Bosch worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). He is a faculty affiliate of NCSA and Illinois Informatics.