Chinmay Kulkarni, Carnegie Mellon University


Monday, October 26, 2015, 4:30pm to 6:00pm

See also: Speaker Series


William James Hall Room 105

Carnegie Mellon University's Assistant Professor, Chinmay Kulkarni discusses his research with the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and advances in the science of learning.

He previously spoke on "Leveraging Global Diversity through Small Group Discussions in Massive Online Classes" through Discussion Affordances for Natural Collaborative Exchange (DANCE) Talk Series hosted by CMU.

Title: Structuring Peer Interactions for Massive Scale Learning

Learning with peers helps students reflect, generalize knowledge and apply it more successfully to new problems. How can we scale successful peer learning from the controlled environment of the small classroom to the wild, massive scale of online classes? In his talk, Chinmay Kulkarni will introduce computational systems that structure peer learning at massive scale, and demonstrate their efficacy through the results of randomized controlled experiments with more than 10,000 students.

These systems demonstrate how insights from educational theory can be distilled into interfaces that scale teaching to thousands of learners. For instance, he will describe how students using PeerStudio obtain improvement-oriented feedback on open-ended work in just twenty minutes at any time of day, enabling them to revise and gain mastery. Similarly, the Talkabout system assigns students to small geographically-diverse video discussion groups in real-time, and demonstrates how global diversity can promote reflection and a deeper understanding of concepts.

In classes across disciplines including computer science, psychology, and design, more than 100,000 students on Coursera and EdX have used these systems for peer assessment and discussion. 

Finally, Kulkarni hopes to reflect on how the large scale and diversity of online classes can enrich learning at universities, and how computational systems can enable new kinds of learning and creative work.


Chinmay Kulkarni is an Assistant Professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. His research group investigates how new software and pedagogical systems can leverage peer processes at massive scale. Over the past three years, his work has been used by more than 100,000 learners online, in classes taught by more than twenty universities, including Harvard. In his idle time, Chinmay is either making coffee, drinking coffee, or clicking "View Source" on web pages he visits.