Keynote Speakers

Prof. Judy Robertson

Professor of Digital Learning

The Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Dancing Rainbots: Computing Education with Girl Guiding


We want women and girls to participate, thrive, and succeed in computer science. This talk will explore the dismal state of the landscape just now, and offer some explanations from the research literature as to the nature of the barriers which women face: masculine cultures, lack of insufficient early expertise, gender gaps in self efficacy, stereotype threat and the lurking shark of unconscious bias. We'll look at the positive results from interventions which have successfully addressed these problems and how CS educators can learn from these. By way of illustration, new educational materials from a collaboration between University of Edinburgh and Girl Guiding in the UK will be presented, along with a discussion of the design principles behind them.


Judy Robertson is Professor of Digital Learning at the University of Edinburgh. She has been a computer science educator for seventeen years, and is familiar with the problem of recruiting female students into undergraduate computer science courses. She is equally familiar with the challenges of being the only woman in a room full of computer scientists, starting from her own years as an undergraduate student in computer science and artificial intelligence. She has published studies relating to increasing girls' interest in computing, and is co-editor of "Equal Bite: Gender Equality in Higher Education" - a crowd sourced collection of articles, recipes and illustrations about efforts to redress the gender balance at the University of Edinburgh.

Prof. Maria Virvou

Department of Informatics, University of Piraeus, Greece

A New Era Towards More Engaging and Human-like Computer-based Learning by Combining Personalisation and Artificial Intelligence Techniques


Engagement of learners in computer-based tutoring constitutes an important feature that is sought by learning applications to maximise the educational effectiveness. Moreover, the recognition of human emotions in interactive computer- based learning applications has also been considered important although it had been overlooked for many years in the past. In view of these, dynamic personalisation and a variety of artificial intelligence techniques offer new perspectives, insights and realistic results in rendering computer-based learning more human-like and engaging than it has ever been before. This talk will present and discuss research challenges and effective approaches towards a new era of personalisation and human-like behaviour of computer-based learning software. I will review the research advancements on this topic that have been achieved in the software engineering lab of our department. In particular, the talk will focus on the automatic analysis of computer observations in computer-based learning that are collected, taking input from at least three modalities of interaction, namely the keyboard, camera and microphone in conjunction with contextual information and are then used to draw inferences about the users' cognitive status, reasoning, social classmate behaviour, preferences and emotions. In return, the tutoring content and the user interface is automatically adapted accordingly to address the individual user's needs by making appropriate recommendations and presenting adaptive guidance. Contextual information differs depending on the kind of computer- based learning applications. As such, a diversity of paradigms of fully developed and evaluated computer-based learning systems, in our lab, will be presented and discussed to exemplify the above research in the context of virtual reality educational games, social network learning, mobile learning and multi-modal stand-alone learning, based on the combination of cognitive theories about human reasoning and emotions, machine learning algorithms, decision making theories and fuzzy logic. The talk will conclude by highlighting open research areas for further research.


Maria Virvou was born in Athens, Greece. She received a B.Sc. Degree in Mathematics from the University of Athens, Greece, a M.Sc. Degree in Computer Science from the University College London, U.K. and a Ph.D. Degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from the University of Sussex, U.K.

She is a Full Professor, Director of Post- Graduate Studies, Director of the Software Engineering Lab and former Head of the Department in the Department of Informatics, University of Piraeus, Greece. She is author/co-author of over 350 research papers published in international journals, books and conference proceedings and of 7 books and monographs in Computer Science published by Springer and other publishers. She has been Editor of over 20 collections of papers in conference proceedings or books, published by major academic publishers, such as IEEE, Springer and IOS Press. Many such collections have been among the most downloaded books of the respective publishers summing up in over 50.000 downloads. She has also been Editor-in-Chief of the SpringerPlus Journal (Springer) for the whole area of Computer Science. Additionally, she has been an Associate Editor of the Knowledge and Information Systems (KAIS) Journal (Springer) and Member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal on Computational Intelligence Studies (Inderscience). She has been General Co-Chair of the yearly conference series of International Conference on Information, Intelligence, Systems and Applications (IISA 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013), technically-sponsored by IEEE, which aims at promoting research in the area of interactive multimedia and major applications such as e-learning and m-learning. She has been the General Chair/Program Chair of over twenty (20) International Conferences. Among them, she was General Chair/Program Chair of seven annual International Conferences on Intelligent Interactive Multimedia Systems and Services (KES-IIMSS-2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008). She has been the Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator of numerous national / international research projects. She has supervised 12 Ph.D. theses which have been completed successfully and many of her former Ph.D. students hold academic positions in Universities. She is currently supervising 5 Ph.D. students and 5 post-doctoral researchers. Many journal articles of hers have been ranked among the most cited/downloaded papers of the respective journals where they have been published. She has been a recipient of many best paper awards in international conferences. She has been an invited keynote speaker for many international conferences. According to Microsoft Academic Search, she has been ranked as 52 in the top 100 authors out of 58000 authors worldwide in the area of Computers and Education.

Her research interests are in the area of Computers and Education, Artificial Intelligence in Education, user and student modeling, e-learning and m-learning, Knowledge-Based Software Engineering and Human-Computer Interaction.