Baker and TC faculty colleagues focus on the exploding field of educational data mining (EDM), which uses advanced computer technologies to sift through huge amounts of data generated by intelligent tutoring systems and other online learning environments for information on how learners behave. As Baker detailed in his MOOC, data mining – already a staple of the medical, financial services and retail worlds – can reveal why an individual student is getting the wrong answers to a subtraction problem; guide a teacher on how to make the best use of classroom time by pinpointing which homework problem stumped the most students the night before; and tell a superintendent which science curriculum is proving most effective with students across the district.
These are issues that Baker, Associate Professor of Cognitive Studies, has won international recognition for probing. At 36, he has published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers on the use of EDM that range from assessing boredom and cheating among students who use online tutoring systems to the mining of educational data to better understand metacognition, motivation and self-regulated learning. His ultimate focus is on creating computer-based environments in which users learn because they are genuinely engaged in their work.