Research for the higher education of the future

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How can we ideally support students and, at the same time, reduce the burdens on teaching staff? And what kind of contributions can we expect from AI and adaptive learning technologies?

These are the key focuses of research at CATALPA, the Center of Advanced Technology for Assisted Learning and Predictive Analytics.

After all, the use of AI is reshaping the university landscape. Numerous technological options are currently available, yet their impact and benefits for students and teaching remain largely unexplored in research. At the same time, commercial corporations dominate the discourse. However, education is a highly sensitive area. On the one hand, it is crucial that data pertaining to students and teachers is handled responsibly. On the other, working according to the principle of “trial and error” is not an option for teaching as every university bears responsibility for its students. In the areas where technology can help improve university teaching, we need evidence-based findings as to how this can be achieved – from the perspective of psychology and educational science together with input from computational linguistics and computer science.

CATALPA operates as a kind of living laboratory, providing evidence-based insights to facilitate the meaningful implementation of AI, adaptive learning systems, and personalized teaching in higher education. The aim is to enhance educational equity by offering tailored support for students.

Unique framework, unique bandwidth

Its close connection to the FernUniversität in Hagen with its 70,000 digital students provides CATALPA with excellent framework conditions for its application-oriented research.

As an interdisciplinary research center, CATALPA covers a whole spectrum of disciplines relevant to digital education: from computer science, computer linguistics and psychology to educational science and sociology. Consequently, the research center delivers a wide range of insights that is unique in Germany – from basic research to application.