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February 26, 2019 | 11:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.
Category: Seminar
Location: State Hall #224 | Map
5143 Cass
Detroit, MI 48202
Cost: Free
Audience: Academic Staff, Alumni, Current Graduate Students, Current Undergraduate Students, Faculty, Parents, Prospective Students, Staff

Ranking to Learn: Exploring Search Engines Optimized for Human Learning Goals


Search engines are a key information resource for anyone wanting to learn something. Yet while current search engines are highly optimized for generic relevance on many important tasks, they typically ignore the nature of an individual user's learning goals and the effort that might be required to reach them. My research group at the University of Michigan has been exploring "searching as learning", developing retrieval models, algorithms, and evaluation methods for search engines that try to do a better job at helping people learn, broadly defined. I'll present an overview of our recent contributions in that area, as well as discuss connections with ongoing related work on adaptive learning systems for reading comprehension.


Kevyn Collins-Thompson is an Associate Professor of Information and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on developing algorithms and systems for effectively connecting people with information, especially toward educational goals. Current projects include search engines optimized for human learning tasks and online personalized tutors for improving literacy skills. Before joining the University of Michigan in 2013, Kevyn was a researcher in the Context, Learning, and User Experience (CLUES) Group at Microsoft Research. Kevyn received his Ph.D. from the Language Technologies Institute in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and his B.Math in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo. In the past year, he has served as General Co-Chair of ACM SIGIR 2018, shared the CHIIR 2018 Best Student-led Paper Award with his PhD student Rohail Syed, and was named a co-winner of Coursera's 2018 Outstanding Educator Award.

For more information about this event, please contact LaNita Stewart at 313-577-2478 or