Prospective Graduate Students

Positions available now

I am looking for Phd and Master students in the area of Learning Analytics to work on basic and applied research on personalized Learning Analytics visualizations and on integration aspects of Learning Analytics visualizations with Learning Management Systems (Virtual Learning Environments). Ideally, students would have strong programming background to be able to integrate visualizations into open-source version of Canvas - an LMS in use at SFU. This research will require building prototypes and investigating different approaches for presenting visualizations to students and their effect on student motivation.

I am also looking for an undergraduate student, who is a good programmer, to help my research group with the research direction listed above. Strong skills on the web front-end (Javascript, D3.js) are an asset. This can be a part-time research assistant position. To inquire, send me an email if you are interested and highlight your accomplishments.

Apart from concrete needs specified above, I am always looking for talented students who can contribute to my research. Before you contact me I would encourage you to read further, and if you decide that my lab is the place you would like to spend next few years, THEN send me your information based on guidelines below. Regrettably, I do not have time to answer generic emails listing your achievements and plainly stating “I am interested in your research area”.

The process: You need to know that ALL graduate students at SIAT are recommended for admission by the Graduate Admission Committee and then admitted by the Dean of Graduate Studies at SFU. Therefore you MUST satisfy all the requirements set up by SIAT and SFU. You can review those at The regular admission cycle for September ends typically in February of the same year, check for any deadline extensions on the SIAT website. MSc students are rarely admitted outside of the regular cycle. PhD students can be admitted to any semester by exception. I support this avenue only for the students where I advertised the position and I selected the applicant through the competitive process. If I do not advertise the position then aim for the regular admission cycle (i.e. I will NOT admit a new student outside of the regular cycle).

What admission criteria are the most important (this is my simplified summary for you to get an idea what matters to be admitted to SIAT): Grades are important, 3.0 GPA is the SFU minimum (or 3.33 upper division GPA from your Bachelor's degree). The cut-off GPA at SIAT is different every year, somewhere around 3.5. However, you can get admitted if your GPA is below the cut-off IF there is a faculty member who REALLY wants to work with you. SIAT admits students that fit with the school’s profile (i.e. direction of the school and research interests of the faculty). You are required to submit a letter of intent (research proposal) with your application. This is THE KEY document. I am always looking for SPECIFIC research ideas, not general research areas you are interested in (see more below). My other colleagues do the same. In your letter you should mention which faculty members you would like to work with and what research you would like to do with them. You need to do your homework here. Finally, reference letters are looked at in detail. Choose you referees carefully and ask them to be as specific as possible.

My expectations: I am supervising MSc and PhD students with a STRONG research orientation. I admit students who can work with me or in my lab on the research projects. I strongly believe that working on the projects gives you a good context for your research. Your letter of Intent MUST explain what research you would like to do. It has to be in the areas of my recent research. How do you find out? Read research papers I or my graduate students or collaborators have published in last 2-3 years. Propose new research ideas you would like to explore in your studies. Briefly outline the research question and how you would go about solving the problem (1-2 paragraphs is enough). Reference my papers if it helps you explain your ideas. The goal here is that I want to see that you have a potential to generate your OWN research ideas. I will normally arrange for a skype meeting to give both of us opportunity to ask questions. Once you are admitted, we will talk about your research directions and align them with my current and future projects. I expect you to be a bit flexible.

I also believe that I should support my students through research assistantship. RAships come from project budgets and I admit only as many students as I can support.

How to contact me: Send me an email. To read it, I need to see your research proposal attached as described above. I will respond within few days. If there is CV only I will NOT read it nor will I reply. You need to understand that I am getting several enquiries per week and I do not have time to respond to those who did not do their homework.