Cornell University: René Kizilcec named Jacobs Foundation Fellow

René Kizilcec, an assistant professor in the Department of Information Science in the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, has been named a 2022-2024 Jacobs Foundation Fellow and will examine effective, affordable hybrid learning in secondary-school education in low-resource areas.

“We aim to explore how teachers are using technology to augment learning in a classroom setting, and the contexts in which students are using online learning platforms for hybrid learning,” said Kizilcec, who directs Cornell’s Future of Learning Lab. “The goal is to understand the real-world use and experiences to improve technology design, marketing, and ultimately learning outcomes.”

Hybrid learning – a mix of traditional, in-class studies paired with supplemental, online learning on platforms – has become a fixture of modern education in light of the pandemic. While hybrid learning’s use and potential are immense, its impact on learning outcomes and academic pathways in low-resource areas in the U.S. and internationally is not well understood. As part of the Jacobs Foundation Fellowship, which elevates researchers whose work improves learning for youth around the world, Kizilcec will explore insights to help inform the design and implementation of educational technologies, for all students.

A leading online learning scholar, Kizilcec has examined nearly every facet of tech-assisted learning. His recent research awards include a Google Award for Inclusion Research, for which Kizilcec will investigate bias in artificial intelligence models used to predict student success. Last year, he also launched the Behavioral Intervention Research Infrastructure (BIRI), a Schmidt Futures-funded educational research infrastructure to make it easier for behavioral and psychological scientists to carry out large-scale experiments in online learning environments.

“The way people learn is changing, and my research lab works to advance our understanding of the impact of technology in education and how it can be an engine of equality in society,” Kizilcec said. “The research we conduct informs the design of online learning environments and identifies effective and scalable strategies to support learners.”

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