Iris in black and white

About Me

I started my PhD at Carnegie Mellon University's Human Computer Interaction Insitute in 2008. I am advised by Dr. Carolyn Rosť in the HCII and LTI. My past research focused on various applications of ontologies and the Semantic Web, but my current participation in the Program for Interdisciplinary Education Research enables me to take an interdisciplinary approach to learning sciences (more specifically, Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning).

Research Overview

My research focuses on answering questions regarding how to leverage affordances of educational technologies to overcome studentsí social obstacles to seeking help, with a particular emphasis on those social obstacles encompassed by evaluation apprehension and self-presentation concerns. I enjoy incorporating student dispositions (motivation, self-efficacy, life aspirations, etc) and social influences (identity & positioning) into intelligent tutoring systems. Much of learning today takes place in social environments, and I believe it is important to incorporate these social factors into educational technologies. My main goal is to help students overcome obstacles to effective participation in both academic discussions and the community at large.

Research Interests

Conversational agents, Intelligent tutoring systems, Computer-supported collaborative learning, Discourse analysis, Help-seeking, Motivation and dispositions, Evaluation apprehension, Educational technologies for underserved communities.


I can be contacted at ihowley AT cs DOT cmu DOT edu