Yorkville Dean, Rita Kop, Wins Best Paper at Conference in Morocco

Alumni Success

October 13, 2016

Written by Erin Hatfield

Yorkville University’s Dean of the Faculty of Education, Rita Kop, recently won the Best Paper Award at the Europe, Middle East and North Africa Conference on Technology and Security to Support Learning (EMENA/TSSL’16).


The paper, Creating a Personal Learning Ecosystem: The Double-Edged Sword of Algorithms and Automation to Support Serendipitous Learning, was written by Kop in collaboration with Helene Fournier and Heather Molyneux from the National Research Council of Canada.

“Ever since I got involved with technologies for learning I have been fascinated by how they might be used to enhance learning and the learning experience,” Kop explained. “I am also continually looking at where the technology is pushing us as educators.”

Kop said she believes technology is pushing us outside the boundaries of institutions and her paper looks at the research and development of a personal learning eco-system outside the institution and what the challenges would be for learners to manage such an environment themselves.

The National Research Council of Canada, for instance, is working on such an environment and technologies  that might recommend information based on earlier projects of learners and on their personal profile and competencies that they already have.

“Clearly there are challenges to overcome; for instance, it would mean that learners might be learning without an instructor and instead use information recommender systems,” Kop explained. “These systems are based on algorithms that might not be the best to make learners think at a deeper level. My idea is that learners will require serendipitous information, not necessarily the exact information, but information with a twist, or information that has been obtained through human filters.”

The EMENA/TSSL’16 conference was held in Saïdia, Morocco from October 3 to 5, 2016, but Yorkville University students, faculty and alumni will have an opportunity to hear this award winning presentation. Kop will present her ideas and discuss them with Yorkville University faculty, students and alumni on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 3 p.m, Atlantic Time Zone/ 2 p.m. EST/1 p.m. CT/ 12 noon MT/ 11 a.m. PT via Omnijoin. To register and ensure you receive the login information send your name to Jill Cummings, Associate Dean Faculty Development, at  [email protected]  or by calling (506) 454-1220 (ext. 1303).