René Kizilcec is an Assistant Professor of Information Science in the School of Computing and Information Science at Cornell University. His research focuses on the impact of digital technologies in educational contexts, particularly questions of equality in online learning and social-psychological barriers to success, and scalable interventions to improve educational outcomes and reduce achievement gaps. Kizilcec is known for his research on understanding and supporting learners in open-scale courses such as Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. He also works on developing methods for the design and analysis of experiments. His research has been published in Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Educational Psychology, Computers in Human Behavior, Computers & Education, and in the proceedings of leading human-computer interaction and education conferences; his work received multiple ACM Best Paper awards and competitive research fellowships.
His recent work examined the consequences of social identity threat, self-regulation, trust, and cultural differences on individual behavior and performance using longitudinal field experiments. Specifically, he investigated theory-based interventions to (1) close the online global achievement gap between members of more and less developed countries in online courses, (2) support goal pursuit across cultural contexts with self-regulation strategies, and (3) enhance the online learning experience by strategically placing social cues in videos. He leverages techniques from data mining, machine learning, and natural language processing to examine behavior and motivation, reveal heterogeneous treatment effects, and inform user-centered design. Kizilcec has also worked with Facebook to conduct research on social influence in sharing behavior on social media.
Kizilcec received a BA in Philosophy and Economics from University College London, and an MSc in Statistics and PhD in Communication from Stanford, with a thesis on designing psychologically welcoming online learning environments, which was awarded the Nathan Maccoby Outstanding Dissertation Award. Prior to joining Cornell, he worked as a research scientist in Facebook’s Core Data Science team, research director in the Stanford Graduate School of Education, and as research faculty at Arizona State University.
You can follow him on Twitter @whynotyet.