MARCH 2 2012 23:25h
'Emotion-sensing' software helps students
The new technology, which mimics the interaction of human tutors, offers tremendous learning possibilities for students by redefining human-computer interaction, they said.
Developed at the University of Notre Dame, the "AutoTutor" and "Affective AutoTutor" programs can gauge the student's level of knowledge by asking probing questions and analyzing the student's responses to those questions.
The software can identify and correct student misconceptions while responding to the student's own questions, gripes, and comments, the researchers said.
"Most of the 20th-century systems required humans to communicate with computers through windows, icons, menus, and pointing devices," psychology professor Sidney D'Mello said in a university release Friday.
"But humans have always communicated with each other through speech and a host of non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, eye contact, posture and gesture.
"In addition to enhancing the content of the message, the new technology provides information regarding the cognitive states, motivation levels and social dynamics of the students," D'Mello said.
AutoTutor is an intelligent tutoring system that helps students learn complex technical content by holding a conversation in natural language, the researchers said, while Affective AutoTutor adds emotion-sensitive capabilities by monitoring facial features, body language, and conversational cues.
SOUTH BEND, Ind., March 2 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say they've created emotion-sensing tutoring software that can assess and respond to students' cognitive and emotional states.