Augmented Social Cognition: How Social Computing is Changing eLearning

Time: Wednesday, July 6, 10:15-11:00
Location: Loke Yew Hall, 1/F, Main Building, The University of Hong Kong

  • Dr. Ed H. ChiEd H. Chi is a Research Scientist at Google. Until very recently, he was the Area Manager and a Principal Scientist at Palo Alto Research Center's Augmented Social Cognition Group. He led the group in understanding how Web2.0 and Social Computing systems help groups of people to remember, think and reason. Ed completed his three degrees (B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.) in 6.5 years from University of Minnesota, and has been doing research on user interface software systems since 1993. He has been featured and quoted in the press, including the Economist, Time Magazine, LA Times, and the Associated Press.
  • With 20 patents and over 90 research articles, his most well-known past project is the study of Information Scent --- understanding how users navigate and understand the Web and information environments. He also led a group of researchers at PARC to understand the underlying mechanisms in online social systems such as Wikipedia and social tagging sites. He has also worked on information visualization, computational molecular biology, ubicomp, and recommendation/search engines, and has won awards for both teaching and research. In his spare time, Ed is an avid Taekwondo martial artist, photographer, and snowboarder. (

Our research in Augmented Social Cognition is aimed at enhancing the ability of a group of people to remember, think, and reason. Our approach to creating this augmentation or enhancement is primarily model-driven. Our system developments are informed by models such as information scent, sensemaking, information theory, probabilistic models, and more recently, evolutionary dynamic models. These models have been used to understand a wide variety of user behaviors, from individuals interacting with social bookmark search in Delicious and to groups of people working on articles in Wikipedia. These models range in complexity from a simple set of assumptions to complex equations describing human and group behaviors.

Indeed, increasingly, new social online resources such as social bookmarking sites and Wikis are becoming central in eLearning. By studying them, we further our understanding of how knowledge is constructed in a social context. In this talk, I will illustrate how a model-driven approach could help illuminate the path forward for social computing and social learning.

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    Last modified on July 6, 2011