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Biorobotics Laboratory BioRob

Open positions

Ph.D. Student Position in Intelligent Tutoring and Assessment Systems in Education

We invite applications for a PhD student position at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), in collaboration with the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence (IDSIA), the Department of Education and Learning of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI-DFA) and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). The position is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) within the National Research Program on Digital Transformation (PNR 77).

The PhD student will be active in the project Assessing the development of computational thinking skills through an intelligent tutoring system: an exploratory study in several Swiss cantons, including Vaud and Ticino, led by Prof Dr Francesco Mondada (EPFL), Prof Dr Luca Gambardella (IDSIA), Dr Alberto Piatti (SUPSI-DFA) and Dr Dorit Assaf (FHNW). The project focuses on the assessment of computational thinking skills in the Swiss compulsory schools and aims at (i) defining an age-based competence model for computational thinking and identifying for each age category suitable prototypical problems requiring CT skills to be solved, (ii) developing a state of the art intelligent tutoring and assessment system that support pupils while solving specific problems requiring CT in a class measuring, at the same time, their CT skills, enabling thus a semi-automatic large scale monitoring and (iii) validating the developed framework, collecting data about the effectiveness of the introduction of educational robotics into formal education at a primary and lower secondary level, with particular attention to the Swiss educational robot Thymio II. The methodology will be tested on several classes in various Swiss regions where specific programs address CT skills and that are introducing the Thymio II robot in primary and lower secondary school classes.

For this position, we are looking for an outstanding Ph.D. student with excellent mathematical, technical and/or educational skills, as well as basic reading and listening skills in the national languages (Italian, French and German). The applicant should have a Bachelor and a Master degree in either Engineering, Computer science, Mathematics, Robotics or Educational sciences with strong technical background. The PhD student will work together with all the project partners. The workplace will be located in Lausanne (EPFL).

The appointment will be for 4 years. The PhD student will be employed and matriculated at EPFL. EPFL, IDSIA, SUPSI-DFA and FHNW offer together a unique intercultural and stimulating environment at the forefront of the introduction of CT in education.

Please submit motivation letter, CV and the name and contact information of three referees to francesco.mondada@epfl.ch by September 10th, 2021.

© 2020 EPFL, BIOROB, Station 9, 1015 Lausanne, tel. +41 21 693 3825
Last modification 08/24/21


Francesco Mondada

Laboratoire de Systèmes Robotiques
Station 9
CH-1015 Lausanne
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Tél: +41 (0) 21 693 73 57
Fax: +41 (0) 21 693 78 07