Arti Ramesh
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Computer Science
University of Maryland, College Park
"A Probabilistic Approach to Modeling Socio-Behavioral Interactions "

Monday, February 29, 4:00 PM
Packard Lab room 466

Abstract:   The vast growth and reach of the Internet and social media have led to a tremendous increase in socio-behavioral interaction content on the web. The ever-increasing number of online interactions has led to a growing interest to understand and interpret online communications to enhance user experience. My work focuses on building scalable computational methods and models for representing and reasoning about rich, heterogeneous, interlinked socio-behavioral data. In this talk, I focus on one such emerging online interaction platform---online courses (MOOCs). I develop a family of probabilistic models to represent and reason about complex socio-behavioral interactions in the following real-world problems: 1) modeling student engagement, 2) predicting student completion and dropouts, 3) modeling student sentiment in discussion forums toward various course aspects (e.g., academic content vs. logistics) and its effect on their course completion, and 4) designing an automatic system to predict fine-grained topics and sentiment in online course discussion forums. I demonstrate the efficacy of these models via extensive experimentation on data from twelve Coursera courses. These methods have the potential to improve learning and teaching experience of online education participants and focus limited instructor resources to increase student retention.

Bio:   Arti Ramesh is a PhD candidate at University of Maryland, College Park. Her primary research interests are in the field of machine learning and data science, particularly on probabilistic graphical models. Her advisor is Prof. Lise Getoor. Her research focuses on building scalable models for reasoning about interconnectedness, structure, and heterogeneity in socio-behavioral networks. She has published papers in peer-reviewed conferences such as AAAI and ACL. She has served on the TPC for ACL workshop on Building Educational Applications and has served as a reviewer for notable conferences and journals such as NIPS, Social Networks and Mining, and Computer Networks. She has won multiple awards during her graduate study including the outstanding graduate student Dean’s fellowship 2016, Dean’s graduate fellowship (2012 – 2014), and yahoo scholarship for grace hopper. She has worked at IBM research and LinkedIn during her graduate study. She received her Masters in Computer Science from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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