Adaptive learning




Long before Blackboard, Pearson, or McGraw-Hill began incorporating adaptive learning in their course management systems, Computer Science professor Harry Keeling developed AssessTrack (  This pioneering web-based system facilitates both course management and program accreditation in Howard University's Department of Systems & Computer Science.  In 2013, it also won Dr. Keeling CETLA’s Teaching with Technology Award.

Like Blackboard, AssessTrack is designed to help faculty and students manage course content and activities.  It also allows faculty to enter student learning outcomes and “tag” each of the assessments to indicate which topic the assessment addresses and which outcome it assesses.  Moreover, by leveraging the assessment “tags” that faculty create, AssessTrack tags questions for course topics, activating an “intelligent tutor.”  Dr. Keeling explains, “Each student’s scores on our assessments form a ‘model’ of the student’s competencies and their understanding of the course content.  The tutoring agent uses the topic tags to assess each student’s model.  Then it generates and presents an individualized study guide for each student.”  This sort of “adaptive learning” now drives systems such as Pearson’s MyLabs (powered by Knewton), McGraw-Hill’s LearnSmart and ALEKS, MacMillan’s PrepU, Desire2Learn’s LeaP, WileyPLUS with Orion, Dreambox, Grockit, and Smart Sparrow.  However, AssessTrack was one of the first systems to offer students such personalized instruction.

A member of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, Dr. Keeling has presented and published numerous papers on intelligent tutors, traveling from Texas to Wisconsin and Oregon to Mexico and France.   Among his publications are “Adding Intelligent Tutoring to a Learning Management System” in the Journal of the National Technical Association, “An Experiment in Developing an Intelligent Educational Agent with the Disciple Learning Agent Shell” in The International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, and the chapter “A Methodology for Building Intelligent Educational Agents” in the book Artificial Intelligence in Education.  Dr. Keeling has shared his knowledge and experience through his teaching as well.  At Howard, he has taught Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Introduction to Programming in his college in addition to information systems courses in the School of Business.  Now, in this video, he will share his insights with anyone who is interested in how adaptive technologies can transform teaching and, most important, students’ learning.

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