Neil T. Heffernan enjoys doing educational data mining and running the ASSISTments system. ASSISTments helps schools teach better. It’s a web service hosted at WPI that allows teachers to assign nightly homework or daily class work. Students get instant feedback while teachers get live reports. Professor Heffernan enjoys supervising WPI students in creating ASSISTments content and features. He has 6 dozens paper in educational data mining, and 20+ papers in comparing different ways to optimize student learning.
Professor Heffernan also Directs the Learning Science and Technologies Graduate Program. He is always interested in working with new students in solving these problems, and says ASSISTments has been created by WPI students for the world. Professor Heffernan's goal is to give ASSISTments to millions across the US and internationally as a free service of WPI.
EdSurge published an article by seventh-grade teacher Andrew Burnett, FA Day Middle School in Newton, in which she sited her work with Neil Heffernan, the William Smith Dean's Professor of Computer Science and the director of the Learning Sciences and Technologies Program at WPI. She detailed how her research for Heffernan, involving ASSISTments, a responsive online learning tool based in learning science that was founded by Heffernan and his wife, impacted her teaching when she returned to the classroom.
Boston 25 reported that WPI is getting an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to scale up ASSISTments, a middle-school math assessment tool. ASSISTments was created by Neil Heffernan, the William Smith Dean Professor of Computer Science and the director of the Learning Sciences and Technologies Program at WPI, and his wife, Cristina Heffernan.