Professor Neil T. Heffernan

WPI Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • I am a Professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the Computer Science Department
  • I direct the new PhD + Masters Programs in Learning Sciences and Technologies.  We just finished a search for a tenure-track faculty member and we hired Jacob Whitehill from Harvard.  This builds upon our hire of Erin Ottmar last year.

  • I am teaching at the graduate level  CS 568 to learn how to build smarter educational technology.
  • I am teaching the undergrad  Introduction to Artificial Intelligence in  2016 A Term.

  • MQP Projects I am happy to advise. 
  • I currently am directing 10 different grant funded projects spending about a million a year.  And personally, I am looking for a post doc to work on three new grants.
  • I work with others at WPI at this group. My students and staff here run the ASSISTments lab
  • I am well known for the web-based system I created called ASSISTments. You can learn more about ASSISTments from the NYTimes etc under the Press link. 
  • Most folks think that ASSISTments is a great public service, and it is, but a less understood aspect of ASSISTments is it also used as a shared scientific instrument. See here for a piece I wrote on this.
    • NSF has funded us to help other researchers run this own studies.  ASSISTments has been used, in partnership with a dozen others universities, as a shared scientific instrument to conduct randomized controlled trials comparing different ideas on how to improve student learning.  See these examples here. If you want to propose a randomized controlled trial to do inside ASSISTments, learn more here.  If you just want to know if ASSISTments is better than traditional "business as usual" situations, then read these studies that showed strong evidence that the answer is "yes!".  
    • We remove all personally identifiable information from our data sets and release them.  You can get access to all of our data here.  
  • I have expertise in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Educational Data Mining, Experiential Design, Psychometrics and the Cognitive Science of Mathematical Cognition (i.e., how do people learn math topics).  
  • My CV has my Awards, Grants and Publications.
Other stuff:
  • My students just released docASSIST, a google docs add-on. We also just released a Google App for Google Classroom to make it easy for schools to integrate with ASSISTments.  Some students are working on integrations with Schoology while the Edmodo integration is done.  
  • At the graduate level, I rotate each year through these three classes. 
    • I taught CS 568 to learn how to build smarter educational technology.
    • I taught CS 565 User Modeling.  That class focused on doing educational data mining.  
    • In the Fall, for 2015-16 I taught a special topics class on "online education"
  • I just taught Introduction to Artificial Intelligence in  2016 C Term.
    • WPI's Marketing Department made this video about the work I do.