Team Formation for Scheduling Educational Material in Massive Online Classes

Sanaz Bahargam, Dóra Erdos, Azer Bestavros, Evimaria Terzi

Whether teaching in a classroom or a Massive Online Open Course it is crucial to present the material in a way that benefits the audience as a whole. We identify two important tasks to solve towards this objective, 1 group students so that they can maximally benefit from peer interaction and 2 find an optimal schedule of the educational material for each group. Thus, in this paper, we solve the problem of team formation and content scheduling for education. Given a time frame d, a set of students S with their required need to learn different activities T and given k as the number of desired groups, we study the problem of finding k group of students. The goal is to teach students within time frame d such that their potential for learning is maximized and find the best schedule for each group. We show this problem to be NP-hard and develop a polynomial algorithm for it. We show our algorithm to be effective both on synthetic as well as a real data set. For our experiments, we use real data on students' grades in a Computer Science department. As part of our contribution, we release a semi-synthetic dataset that mimics the properties of the real data.

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