Dr. Timothy McKay, University of Michigan

Dr McKayDr. McKay is a data scientist, drawing inference from large data sets. McKay’s research has been in two main areas: observational cosmology and higher education. He has also been an academic administrator, leading the 1800 student Honors Program in the UM College of Literature Science and the Arts from 2008-2016.

In astrophysics, McKay’s main research tools have been the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Dark Energy Survey, and the simulations which support them both. His team uses these tools to probe the growth and nature of cosmic structure as well as the expansion history of the Universe, especially through studies of galaxy clusters and gravitational lensing. He has also studied astrophysical transients, including gamma-ray bursts, as part of the Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment.

In higher education, McKay does learning analytics: using the rich, extensive, and complex data produced by digitally mediated education to better understand and improve student outcomes. In 2011, his team created the ECoach computer tailored student support system. In 2014, he launched the REBUILD project, an effort to increase the use of evidence-based methods in large foundational courses. From 2012-2015 he chaired the University of Michigan’s Learning Analytics Task Force, which helped to create several new systems and structures supporting the use of data to improve teaching and learning. This group’s Learning Analytics Fellows Program provided the basis for McKay’s edX MOOC on Practical Learning Analytics.

In 2015, McKay founded the Digital Innovation Greenhouse, an education technology accelerator within the UM Office of Academic Innovation. As Faculty Director of DIG, he works with a team of software developers, user experience designers, and behavioral scientists to grow good ideas from innovation to infrastructure. He also co-chairs the UM Institutional Learning Analytics committee. This faculty group is charged with conducting research aimed at understanding the student experience at Michigan, especially in areas most likely to impact the decision making of campus leaders.

Dr. Sanna Järvelä, University of Oulu, Finland

DSC_0111 (1)Dr. Järvelä ( is a professor in the field of learning and educational technology and a head of the Learning and Educational Technology Research Unit (LET) in the Department of Educational Sciences, University of Oulu, Finland. Her main research interests deal with self-regulated learning, computer supported collaborative learning and on-line learning processes.

Järvelä and her research group is internationally well known from theoretical advancement of motivation as a contextual phenomena and of social aspects of self-regulated learning. Her research work has strong contribution to the methodological development of process oriented research methods in the field of learning and collaboration and recently applying of multimodal methods in self-regulated learning research.

Järvelä has been an invited expert in different national and international expert commissions (e.g. OECD and scientific organizations) as well keynote speaker in international conferences (e.g. EARLI and CSCL). She has been an associate editor of Learning and Instruction (2010-2014) and is currently is the associate editor of Frontline Learning Research and International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. She is the EARLI (European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction) president elect (2017-2018).  In 2015 Järvelä was invited to the member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and she was the Francqui Chair holder at the Gent University Belgium for the year 2016.  Järvelä has published more than 100 scientific papers in international refereed journals and about 50 book chapters and three edited books.

Dr. Sidney D’Mello, University of Notre Dame

sidney_d_mello_2015Dr. D’Mello is an Associate Professor with joint appointments in the departments of Computer Science and Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. His primary research interests are in affective computing, affective science, learning sciences, human-computer interaction, and speech and discourse processing. He has co-edited six books and has published over 200 journal papers, book chapters, and conference proceedings in these areas. D’Mello and his team have received 11 best/outstanding paper awards at international conferences, have been featured in several media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, and have been supported by the National Science Foundation, Institute for Education Sciences, the Gates, Raikes, Templeton, Walton Foundations, Educational Testing Service (ETS), and QUASAR USA. D’Mello serves(d) as an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, IEEE Access, and IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing (2012-2016). He also serves(d) on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, Discourse Processes, User-Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction, Frontiers in Psychology-Human Media Interaction, and Journal of Educational Psychology (2011-2013). He serves on the executive boards of the International Artificial Intelligence in Education Society and the Educational Data Mining Society. D’Mello received his PhD. in Computer Science from the University of Memphis in 2009.