Ongoing Research Projects

Swiss Digital Skills Academy: Mastering Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Open Educational Platforms (OEPs)

Denis Gillet, Kim Lan Phan Hoang, and Juan Carlos Farah

Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Open Educational Platforms (OEPs) are playing a key role in strengthening digitalization in higher education. Up to now, their development and deployment have been mainly carried out by IT services and media experts. The creation of a Swiss Digital Skills Academy is enabling and empowering professors and educators in higher education institutions, as well as HEP/PH students to take control of and to fully adopt their digital ecosystem in their educational practices. Digital skills learning modules are co-designed and federated between Swiss Academic institutions and rely on shared open, i.e., freely accessible, resources and platforms. The knowledge transfer is delivered as short workshops or learning sessions, as well as more complete modules or programs targeting Certificates of Advanced Studies (CAS). The project is organized in work packages led by partners in charge of the conception and the creation of the associated learning modules. EPFL is providing as an in-kind contribution the Graasp platform, an OEP, to support creation, hosting and sharing of OERs by the interested partners.

Hub4Schools: Accelerating Digital Innovation in Schools through Regional Innovation Hubs and a Whole-School Mentoring Model

Denis Gillet, Juan Carlos Farah, and Kim Lan Phan Hoang

iHub4Schools aims to accelerate whole-school digital innovation in schools by establishing Regional Innovation Hubs in more than 75 European schools in five European countries. Those hubs are implementing project approaches as well as multiply school-to school mentoring structures. This is achieved by supporting the collaboration between 600 digitally advanced and less advanced teachers through a variety of peer learning approaches and engagement structures. iHub4Schools is also developing an agile whole-school mentoring model that embraces both inter- and intra-school levels, and integrates novel evaluation approaches and the Learning Analytics Toolbox. Long-term sustainability is ensured by a systematic stakeholder engagement strategy that will integrate initiatives and partners on a local level (municipalities, school boards, teacher associations and network). Regional impact is sustained by the upskilling of the teachers and school heads to scale and sustain the innovation in and across the schools.

ASPIRE: Graasp for Open Evidence-Based Research in Digital Education

Denis GilletHagop TaminianKim Lan Phan Hoang, and Juan Carlos Farah

Graasp is an open-access, GDPR-compliant cloud platform for digital education developed and hosted at EPFL in the framework of national and international initiatives. It is exploited worldwide by universities and schools for blended active learning or digital knowledge sharing and has currently over 165’000 users. A driving feature of the platform is that—provided consent—it is possible to collect data regarding teacher and student (learning analytics), which can be used not only for pedagogical awareness and reflection, but also for evidence-based research. ASPIRE is empowering researchers, beyond the current platform stakeholders, to access data generated within Graasp. The project is carried out collaboratively by EPFL, HEIA-FR, and HEP-BEJUNE, covering as such 7 cantons and two linguistic Swiss areas in order to facilitate a national-wide adoption. In addition, the project combines research competencies in human computer interaction, software engineering, data science, and education.

CLOC DEAR MENA: SUDAC Cluster of Cooperation “Digital Education And Research for MENA”

Denis Gillet and Isabelle Vonèche Cardia

Access to digital education and research is crucial for the implementation of several Sustainable Development Goals, such as SDG4 (Quality Education), SDG9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities). New information and communication technologies allow delivering up-to-date digital methods with emerging forms of learning, teaching and technology transfer. The goal of this cluster of cooperation is to bridge the digital gap between the Global North and South to ensure equal access to information, cutting edge tools and techniques, and therefore, to foster innovation, partnership and entrepreneurship.

GraphNEx: Graph Neural Networks for Explainable Artificial Intelligence

Denis Gillet, and Nour Benassi, in collaboration with LTS2

GraphNEx is contributing a graph-based framework for developing inherently explainable AI. Unlike current AI systems that utilise complex networks to learn high-dimensional, abstract representations of data, GraphNEx embeds symbolic meaning within AI frameworks. We are combining semantic reasoning over knowledge bases with simple modular learning on new data observations, to adaptively evolve the graphical knowledge base. We are validating the GraphNEx framework, including both model performance and the performance of the explanations, with two application scenarios in which transparency and trust are critical: System Genetics to assist the discovery of clinically and biologically relevant concepts on large, multimodal genetic and genomic datasets; and Privacy Protection to safeguard personal information from unwanted non-essential inferences from multimedia data (images, video and audio) as well as to support informed consent.

Smart eTrolley: Lightweight vehicles for Intermodality Areas and Transportation Hubs (GVA, SBB)

Denis Gillet, Ezequiel González Debada, Adeline Ung, and Yves Piguet

Commuting in large train stations or airports could be challenging for passengers such as tourists not knowing the place and their ways, elderly people with low mobility or high stress in crowd, parents traveling with children and luggage, or young people with sport equipment. This project investigate future solutions relying on lightweight vehicles such as connected and autonomous luggage trolleys to tackle these intermodality challenges.

DIARY: Digital Affordances for Improving Adolescent Mental Well-being with Application to Bullying (EPFLinnovators)

Maria GaciIsabelle Vonèche Cardia, Denis Gillet

In human-computer interaction, establishing trust is an important aspect of the design of digital affordances, such as mobile apps, especially for individuals who have the necessity of disclosing sensitive information regarding distressing experiences. As privacy and security have been identified as factors that nudge individuals into disclosing sensitive information, they could be utilized to design digital affordances for adolescents to disclose bullying. This project enhances approach that build upon existing models, and combines the social and technical dimension of trust for designing digital affordances for adolescents who are bullied at schools by the local community. The aim is to provide a digital solution that will help the anti- bullying intervention at schools in Switzerland and beyond.