Learning and Teaching
I have taught a number of different courses over the years, ranging from Software Engineering to Professional Development and Java programming at all levels. I have also supervised undergraduate, postgraduate as well as research students on a variety of topics.
Most recent teaching
I have taught a range of modules over the years both core computer science modules and more specialist artificial intelligence modules. As I currently serve as Director of the Institute for Analytics and Data Science (IADS), I am not teaching any modules, but my most recent teaching was on agents and multi-agent systems:
CE313 Agent Technology: this is an undergraduate 3rd year course which introduces agents and multi-agent systems. Students are introduced to agents, their fundamental characteristics and architectures as well as multi-agent systems. Issues on communication, cooperation and multi-agent planning are also covered. Auction protocols are briefly described under the topic of negotiation. Mobile agents are also discussed.
CE835 Agent Technology for E-commerce: this is a graduate course which describes agents and multi-agent systems but specializes in the applications of agent technology in electronic commerce. The emphasis of the course is mainly on negotiation protocols and strategic behaviour. Mobile agents and their applications in electronic commerce are also explored. The course also covers legal, security and trust issues regarding the use of agents in electronic commerce.
Both courses used my book on Agent Technology for e-Commerce as the supporting text and involved coursework in which the students were required to develop agents to participate in simulated environments such as marketplaces. The software used to this end is e-Game.
I have supervised a number of research students over the years in a range of topics from negotiation to semantic information extraction and machine learning.
I am currently supervising students in recommendation technologies, semantic information extraction and user profiling, self-organisation in complex systems and learning from and modelling complex and Big Data. For more information on my current research interests please look at the Research page. If you are interested in pursuing your PhD studies in any of these areas, you can contact me by email.
Teaching Agents and Multi-agent Systems and AI in Education
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Intelligent Agents (IA) have been incorporated into the curriculum of Computer Science degree schemes for a number of years now at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Despite the fact that the underlying research areas have developed over the years, teaching artificial intelligence, agents and multi-agent systems presents a number of problems:
· a great diversity in the topics covered as there is a lack of agreement on the core contents of such courses;
· a heavy influence of one’s own research expertise and specialization in deciding the content of such courses;
· a lack of standard methodologies and tools that practitioners can employ for teaching topics in these areas.
I am interested in the teaching aspects of agents and multi-agent systems and in particular innovative approaches to teaching the subject matter. I have been organizing workshops in order to identify, share and promote good practice with other colleagues at a national and international level. In the past I worked closely with the Higher Education Academy Information and Computer Sciences Subject Centre (HEA-ICS) to promote and disseminate good practice and served as a member on its Advisory Board.
I am also very much interested in pedagogical research and in particular game-based learning, interactive learning, collaborative-based learning and the use of technology in general to both support and enhance the students' learning experience. I am using simulation games in my courses which enable active learning and can also facilitate collaborative learning. In 2005, I was awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship (Rising Star category) by the Higher Education Academy for my innovative approaches to learning and teaching and supporting the students' learning experience.
Another issue that I am very interested in is the link between research and teaching, what is known as the research-teaching nexus. Incorporating research into the curriculum can take a number of forms and studies have shown that students benefit from being exposed to research in a number of contexts. However, the link is not automatic, it needs to be explicitly developed, nurtured and sustained at both the individual, departmental as well as the institutional level. I have worked on a project funded by the Higher Education Academy to investigate the link between teaching and research in Science and Engineering departments at the University of Essex and in particular staff and student perspectives. The report is available here.
A talk delivered as part of TEDxUniversityofEssex
© Maria Fasli 2015