Diagnosing and acting on student affect: the tutor's perspective

Kaska Porayska-Pomsta, Manolis Mavrikis, Helen Pain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In this paper we explore human tutors' inferences in relation to learners' affective states and the relationship between those inferences and the actions that tutors take as their consequence. At the core of the investigations presented in this paper lie fundamental questions associated with the role of affective considerations in computer-mediated educational interactions. Theory of linguistic politeness is used as the basis for determining the contextual factors relevant to human tutors's actions, with special attention being dedicated to learner affective states. A study was designed to determine what affective states of the learners are relevant to tutoring mathematics and to identify the mechanisms used by tutors to predict such states. Logs of tutor-student dialogues were recorded along with contextual factors taken into consideration by tutors in relation to their specific tutorial dialogue moves. The logs were annotated in order to determine the types and range of student and tutor actions. Machine learning techniques were then applied to those actions to predict the values of three factors: student confidence, interest and effort. Whilst due to limited size and sparsity of data the results are not conclusive, they are very valuable as the basis for empirically derived hypotheses to be tested in further studies. The potential implications of the hypotheses, if they were confirmed by further studies, are discussed in relation to the impact of tutor's ability to diagnose student affect on the nature of computer-mediated tutorial interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-173
Number of pages49
JournalUser Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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