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Call for Applications

Simon Initiative's LearnLab Summer School to be held at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Application Process Closed

Monday, July 11, 2016 - Friday, July 15, 2016

The application deadline is May 15, 2016.

  • An intensive five-day course that focuses on the use of advanced learning technologies for both development of technology-enhanced course materials as well as scientific research related to the effectiveness of such materials in real educational settings. The summer school covers the design, implementation, running, and analysis of in vivo experiments.
  • The course is half lecture and half hands-on activities.
  • The course will provide both conceptual background knowledge on advanced technology for learning and hands-on experience with state-of-the-art development tools.
  • Applicants choose one of four parallel tracks: Building Online Courses in the Open Learning Initiative (OLI), Intelligent Tutor Systems development (ITS), Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), and Educational Data Mining (EDM).
  • Application deadline: Midnight May 15, 2016. Notification of acceptance June 6, 2016.

Summer School Content

We invite applications for participation in an intensive 1-week summer school on technology-enhanced learning experiments and building intelligent tutoring systems. The summer school will provide a conceptual background and considerable hands-on experience in developing, running and analyzing technology-enhanced learning experiments. Materials are drawn from research as well as abbreviated portions from our Masters of Educational Technology and Applied Learning Science (METALS) curriculum (


The summer school is organized into four parallel tracks: Building online courses with OLI – OLI Track (OLI), Intelligent Tutor Systems development (ITS), Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), and Educational Data Mining (EDM). The tracks will overlap somewhat but will differ significantly with respect to the hands-on activities, which make up about half the summer school. The goal for each track is described below.

  • Building online courses with OLI – OLI Track: In the OLI (Open Learning Initative) track, you will focus on elements of effective course design including connection between learning objectives and learning outcomes. Participants will create OLI courseware and be able to continue to use OLI tools and techniques after the summer school. Participants identify a course module that they would like to create and the expected learning outcomes. The learning outcomes will be refined making them precise and measurable. Course content, activities, and assessments to support these outcomes will be developed.
  • ITS track: In the intelligent tutor system development track, your goal will be to implement a prototype computer-based tutor, using authoring tools developed by LearnLab reseachers, such as CTAT (the Cognitive Tutor Authoring Tools) which supports the creation of intelligent tutoring systems, or TuTalk, which is used to develop tutorial dialogue systems that interact with students in natural language.
  • EDM track: If you are in the educational data mining track, your goal will be to analyze an educational data set using data mining tools and methods. The data set could be one of the data sets currently in LearnLab's Data Shop or you could bring your own.
  • CSCL Track: If you are in the Computer Supported Collaborative Learning track, your goal will be to implement automatic support for collaborative learning that could be integrated with an existing environment, such as the Virtual Math Teams on-line learning environment.

The summer schools involves intensive mentoring by LearnLab researchers, which starts by e-mail before the summer school (in order to select a subject domain and task for the project, where appropriate) and continues during the summer school with a good amount of one-on-one time during the hands-on sessions. The mentors are assigned based on your interests as stated in the application. (All participants will have the opportunity to interact with all course instructors, but will interact more frequently with their designated mentor.)


The summer school will last five days. Each day will include lectures, discussion sessions, and laboratory sessions where the participants will work on developing a small prototype experiment in an area of math, science, or language learning. The participants will use state-of-the-art tools including the Cognitive Tutor Authoring Tools and other tools for course development, environments for Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, natural language dialog, semi-automated coding of verbal data, and DataShop for storage of student interaction data analysis of student knowledge and performance.

On the last day, student teams will present their accomplishments to the rest of the participants, followed by a "graduation" party. Participants are expected to do some preparation before the summer school starts.

Background Reading

For those who would like to get more information prior to submitting an application, papers available provide background about the topics, technology, and tools that will be discussed during the summer school.

Course Instructors

The primary course instructors are expected to include:

Dr. Kenneth R. Koedinger
Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Vincent Aleven
Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Carolyn Penstein Rosé
Language Technologies Institute
Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Carnegie Mellon University

Mr. Norman Bier
Simon Initiative
Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. John Stamper
Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Amy Ogan
Human-Computer Interaction Institute
Carnegie Mellon University

All instructors have considerable experience in research and development in technology-based learning experiments, computer-supported collaborative learning, intelligent tutoring systems and tutorial dialogue systems. Members of the team have taught summer schools for the past four years. Key instructors have taught similar material as semester-long courses.

Required Background

The course is intended for anyone with the educational zeal who would like to learn how to create technology enhanced learning experiments or with the appropriate computational background to actually build an intelligent tutoring system. This could include seasoned edutech researchers, advanced graduate students, computationally sophisticated teachers and commercial or military instructional developers.


Please visit our online application page

Important Dates

  • The deadline for applications is May 15, 2016.
  • Admission decisions will be made by June 6, 2016.


The fee for attending the summer school is $950.00. The fee for Graduate Students is $500.00; proof of current enrollment is required for this rate. For full time students a limited number of partial graduate students scholarships are available. See the application for information about how to request a scholarship. The fee includes a continental breakfast and lunch, but not lodging or travel. Please make checks payable to Carnegie Mellon University.

Participants will be responsible for paying for their own travel, additional meals and lodging. Dorm rooms at the Carnegie Mellon University campus are available for a low rate (typically around $80/night for a single room). Rooms may be shared further reducing this cost.

Academic credit is not available, although participants will receive a certificate verifying their participation. 30 hours of Act 48 credit is available for K12 teachers.

For More Information

Please address inquiries to Michael Bett, .