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Iris Howley

Learning Scientist - HCI Researcher
Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Williams College
(starting autumn 2017)


I am a human-computer interaction researcher and learning scientist focusing on enabling students to overcome obstacles to effective participation in their learning process. Currently, I am a postdoctoral research fellow in Stanford, California working with the LINK Research Lab at the University of Texas Arlington and the Lytics Lab at Stanford University. My dissertation examined the impact of reputation systems on student help seeking in online course discussion forums.

My research combines human-computer interaction methodologies with an awareness of education research theory. To inform the design of educational technology for learners and instructors I perform user studies to understand human behavior and learning-processes in digital learning environments, develop approaches for refining and displaying relevant student data, and generate design recommendations by analyzing human behavioral responses and learning with these new approaches.



It's an exciting time to be a computer scientist, making it an exciting time to spread the wealth of approaches, applications, and problem domains of the field to the future generations of computer scientists. I am driven by a goal of inclusivity in the classroom which is reflected in my project-based learning and evidence-based teaching philosophy. To further improve the learning experience, I gather early course evaluations from students and seek assessments of my teaching from pedagogical experts. To date, I have lead recitation sections at the college-level, one on human-computer interaction methods and one specifically on prototyping methods for non-programmers. I have also mentored junior students in computer science via eTextiles design projects and advising independent study projects, all activities I look forward to continuing in the future.