Prof. Barbara Di Eugenio receives funding from the Qatar Research Foundation

Professor Barbara Di Eugenio received a new award from the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). She is the sole UIC PI, and overall co-PI on a joint project in the total amount of $1,038,000, to conduct research on "Intelligent Learning Environments for Computer Science Undergraduate Education" (see abstract below). The PI is Davide Fossati, a former member of the NLP lab, who is now a faculty member at Carnegie-Mellon University-Qatar. The UIC portion is $346,854.

Abstract: "The goal of this proposal is to support Computer Science (CS) education at the undergraduate level. The Qatar National Vision 2030 emphasizes excellence in education to foster the development of a knowledge-based society. However, current Computer Science degree programs in Qatar suffer from very low enrollment and high attrition rates, mostly due to low achievement of students in their freshman and sophomore years. Our goal is to support students in learning concepts and skills that are known to be "stumbling blocks" to achievement and retention in CS, such as linked lists and recursion. Towards this end, we propose to develop and rigorously evaluate Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) that can support student achievement in CS core courses. We will (a) systematically embody effective modes of instruction, such as demonstration via worked-out examples, within a novel ITS, ChiQat-Tutor; (b) integrate ChiQat-Tutor into the undergraduate CS curricula of universities in Qatar and the United States; and (c) conduct systematic evaluations of the learning environment as ChiQat-Tutor is used in actual CS courses.

QNRF was established in 2006 as part of the Qatar Research Foundation ongoing commitment to establish Qatar as a knowledge-based economy. QNRF aims to foster original, competitively selected research in engineering and technology, physical and life sciences, medicine, humanities, social sciences and the arts. In addition to funding, QNRF aims to encourage dialogue and partnerships. This award falls under their National Priorities Research Program.