Dr. Neil Heffernan, the William Smith Dean Chair Professor at Worcestor Polytechnic Institute (WPI), joins Mike to talk about how his career interweaves great teaching, computer science, and “ASSISTments” – a set of digital tools designed to make homework assignment and evaluation more efficient. Neil tells us his origin story which includes meeting his wife Cristina while teaching and doing research in K12 Education right through their creation of the ASSISTments Foundation for which Neil serves as the Chair.
We talk about the effective blending of artificial intelligence and human teaching to deliver next-level learning opportunities. We dive into the critical importance of the human elements of motivation, coaching, and inspiration in great teaching. We also discuss how Neil and team have been able to leverage a platform built on crowdsourced content to begin to truly scale ASSISTments to reach hundreds of thousands of students and how the pandemic has increased demand and usage.
Neil and team are doing fascinating work. We hope you enjoy learning more about it!