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Sunny Avry

PhD Student

TECFA

Computer Science Department

Battelle Bat. A

Rte de Drize 7

CH - 1227, Carouge (GE)

Switzerland

tel: +41 22 379 01 84

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Interests

Psychology focus

  • Collaborative acts, i.e., collaborative intentions and effects behind communicative exchanges
  • Socio-cognitive and socio-relational aspects of collaborative problem solving
  • Socio-metacognitive and socio-metarelational aspects of collaborative problem solving
  • Role of emotion (subjective emotional experience, emotional sharing, and emotional competencies) in collaboration

Computer science focus

  • “Semantic and sentiment analysis: developing algorithms to infer collaborative acts behind speech content”
  • “Process analysis: developing algorithms to discover patterns of collaborative acts and their relationships with problem-solving efficiency”

Current research

Collaborative problem-solving

Collaborative problem solving means approaching a problem responsively by working together and exchanging ideas. Collaboration is a useful tool, especially when specific expertise is needed (and available), and relies on factors such as a readiness to participate, mutual understanding, and the ability to manage interpersonal conflicts. Collaborative problem solving is particularly useful when dealing with problems that are complex.

In the learning sciences there was a major shift in the 1990s to move from “cooperative learning” towards “collaborative learning”. While many authors use these terms interchangeably, a key difference was identifi ed by Dillenbourg and colleagues (1996). According to their distinction, cooperation is referred to as an activity which is accomplished through division of labour. In other words, while cooperative learners might coordinate at some points of their activity, they often work in parallel. Many scholars have noted that cooperative learning neither makes full use of a group’s potential nor requires the whole set of social skills that people rely on when working together.

Interplay between emotions and collaborative problem-solving

In academic settings, learners are regularily required to solve problems together. As Barron (2003) brillliantly demonstrated in her article, put learners together, as smart as they are, is not sufficient to guarantee sucessful group outcomes. On the contrary, group success heavily depends on the kind of interaction, especially the responsiveness to the other group members. Which kinds of group processes forge successful collaboration is still an open question in research. In such context, emotions experienced by collaborators could give insights on what is going on, both in terms of working atmosphere and in the way people bring into play collaborative problem solving strategies.

Teaching

  • 2018 - now: “Digital learning and Distance Education”
  • 2019 - 2020: “Software Engineering”
  • 2016 - now: “Data Structure”
  • 2014 - 2018: “Algorithms Programming”
  • 2014 - 2018: “Methodology in Experimental Psychology”

Publications

Education

  • Master in Cognitive Sciences, 2012

    Ecole Normale supérieure (ENS - ULM)

  • Master in neuropsychology, 2013

    University Paris Descartes

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