Instructor’s AI work recognized in Horizon Report
March 30, 2022
Informatics faculty member Fawzi Ben Messaoud, Ph.D., is using AI to teach AI—and his efforts are being recognized on an international scale.
Ben Messaoud is a lecturer in Informatics and AI for the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI. His FazBoard project has been selected for inclusion in the 2022 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report, Teaching and Learning Edition (see page 21 ).
A nonprofit association dedicated to advancing higher education via information technology, EDUCASE issues its highly regarded annual Horizon Report to highlight trends and key technologies shaping the future of higher education around the world.
The annual Horizon report “is based on the perspectives and expertise of a global panel of leaders from across the higher education landscape,” EDUCAUSE says on its website.
A learning tool that learns
In partnership with the virtual visual canvas collaboration platform Alleo, SoIC lecturer Ben Messaoud and his team developed a teaching and learning tool they dubbed the FazBoard.
As Ben Messaoud describes it, “FazBoard is a human-AI hybrid system using an infinite digital canvas with embedded AI-Assistant to simulate the teacher’s, individual, and collaborative learning spaces.
“It integrates teaching/learning materials and provides 24/7 instant responses and access to a virtual Teacher Assistant automating the collection of students’ inquiries and learning analytics.”
Results from the project will be used to help adjust the curriculum, Ben Messaoud says. This may include its difficulty or clarity, the method and style of delivery—even its substance.
After surveying students who used the program, Ben Messaoud says, “More than 82% of the 17 students in the survey agree that FazBoard with the AI assistant can improve the student/teacher communication.”
Developed with student input
Ben Messaoud worked with research assistant May Charles Samuel, and students Jay Conway, Marat Kornyev, and Hope Willis to create FazBoard. The goal: to address students’ engagement, connectedness, and equity in learning outcomes.
All students are capable of learning, Ben Messaoud says. “But they learn in different ways.”
Ben Messaoud and the team utilized Alleo virtual collaboration software to develop a platform that would achieve several objectives:
- Focus on active learning, instead of teaching
- Give students 24/7 instant responses via an engaging, conversational AI teaching assistant
- Use adaptive and active learning to customize activities for different learning styles, to ensure equitable access and learning outcomes
Ben Messaoud has enjoyed discovering how students are using FazBoard.
“I was surprised at how significantly the platform made the learning experience collaborative and personalized,” he says. “As a result, it is more engaging, fun, and productive for my students.”