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Murdoch University & Students Create AI Tool for Increasing Effectiveness of Online Education

by Eddie Rayner

Murdoch University Dubai has announced that two of its students, along with a faculty member, have created a prototype Artificial Intelligence tool that could hold the key to enhancing the delivery and effectiveness of online learning via virtual classes. The Emotion-Affective Domain Mapping System (EADMS) is a new approach and an innovative solution that aims to bridge the gap in the efficacy of learning that naturally exists between in-person classroom and online learning. It is a prediction tool that uses facial data collected from students’ webcams during online classes, extracts emotion attributes and maps it with Bloom’s Taxonomy, a global standard of behavioural and cognitive learning outcomes. 

In a new development, The International Journal of Inspired Education, Science and Technology (IJIEST), published the paper describing the EADMS system that was submitted by Murdoch University Dubai students, Eiman Ansari and Abubakr Sajith, and Head of IT School, Joseph Stevens. The IJIEST is a world-renowned double-blind peer-reviewed journal that publishes the most advanced research in the areas of education, learning and teaching, artificial intelligence in education, cognitive disabilities, and language education. 

Emotion-Affective Domain Mapping System (EADMS) analyses students’ facial data during online classes to help improve course content and delivery 

In a virtual classroom environment, educators lose the opportunity to interact with students and tailor their teaching style to what suits them best. They normally use students’ facial expressions and emotional responses to predict their under-standing levels subjectively, which is not possible in a virtual environment. The EADMS system captures students’ facial data during online classes in the form of a video and uses Artificial Intelligence to determine emotions like contempt, anger, fear, happiness, disgust, surprise, and a neutral state of emotion. The system translates facial data into emotional data, which is mapped with the ‘Affective Domain’ of Bloom’s Taxonomy (a standard of behavioural and cognitive learning outcomes). This helps generate a graphical chart that plots the understanding level of students. The EADMS has demonstrated success in extracting information from videos on the internet to a reasonably reliable level. 

Dr James Trotter, Murdoch University Dubai’s Dean and Academic President, congratulated the team on their breakthrough research that could help improve the efficacy of online learning worldwide. He said: “It is very difficult to assess student comprehension levels subjectively during virtual classes. It is also estimated that the problem of poor integration of technology within education systems is set to cost us roughly 0.3 to 0.9 years’ worth of education per year. The proposed EADMS solution, by two bright Murdoch University Dubai students and their faculty mentor, is a novel way to improve comprehension assessment and subsequently improve course content and delivery.” 

Eyebrow raising, eyelid tightening, and mouth dimpling are facial expressions that indicate the highest level of student engagement. A combination of geometric based and appearance-based video analysis, as outlined by the EADMS, has provided accurate results for detecting engagement levels. 

Eyebrow raising, eyelid tightening, and mouth dimpling are facial expressions that indicate the highest level of student engagement

Mark Brown, General Manager, Murdoch University Dubai, said that the university is involved in taking the EADMS prototype to its next level of logical development. “We anticipate that after the due refining, testing and development process, that is essential to bringing such a technical product to market, we will soon see it reach the product stage. It would be a great achievement, not only for Murdoch University Dubai but also for the UAE, when the product finds popularity with educators across the world.” 

Murdoch University is globally renowned, ranked as one of the Top 100 Young Universities in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings), and placed in the top 2.5% of global universities (QS Rankings 2020), having also been at the forefront of Australian and global research for more than 40 years.  

For more information about the university and EADMS, please contact: [email protected]