Meet the Team: Maghana Kasal
What is your background?
For my undergraduate, I studied computer science engineering. Now, I am completing a Masters in computer science at WPI. After my Bachelors, I worked in industry for five years, with three years as a full-stack developer in SAP Labs in India and two years as a consultant at Attune Consulting India. In my work at WPI, I focus on machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing-- all of which are very popular right now!
What made you interested in ASSISTments?
When I first came to WPI, I researched each of the computer science faculty and the projects worked on in their labs. I was immediately interested in the work being done by Dr. Heffernan and the ASSISTments lab. I liked the name ASSISTments and thought the videos on the blog were really inviting. I was impressed that the lab was using high tech computer science concepts in a way that non-computer scientists can understand. When I joined the lab, I became even more excited when I found out how good ASSISTments is for people. I was very surprised to hear that ASSISTments is free to teacher and student users! The thought of making such a top-notch educational tool free and accessible to everyone is so amazing.
One of the things I love about ASSISTments is that everything is up-to-date with technology. At the lab, we are using deep learning, machine learning and natural language processing techniques. The use of these complex techniques makes ASSISTments fun to work on for us grad students and programmers as well!
How do you think that computer science can be used to better education?
I think the most important contribution of online tools is to help teachers give feedback. We are constantly talking about the role of feedback in education at our lab! People often think of feedback as a simple response about whether the assignment was good or not. But I think there is so much more potential for feedback to help the learning process. Online homework systems allow teachers to see immediately if students complete a question or assignment incorrectly. This will allow the teacher to better help his students. Instantaneous feedback is a unique contribution that online homework can make to improve education.