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.
In the News
Education Post featured an op-ed by Neil Heffernan, professor of computer science and director of learning sciences and technologies, that examines ways school districts nationwide can make homework more effective and relevant. In “Schools Don’t Need to Ban Homework; They Just Need to Make It Better,” Heffernan argues for homework technologies that help replicate the kind of back-and-forth interactions that students and teachers have in class.
The Worcester Business Journal reported that WPI received a $895,000 grant from the Department of Education to provide six fellowships to graduate students looking to pursue studies in artificial intelligence. The program, called Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAAN), comes in anticipation of a decrease in artificial intelligence professionals in the field. GAAN will train students in the artificial intelligence field, and connect them with colleagues in academic, industry and government settings.