Proposition for a PhD thesis

Topic : Design of dynamic, adaptive and contextual dashboards

The HUBBLE project (HUman oBservatory Based on anaLysis of e-LEarning traces) is funded by the French Agency of Research (ANR). It aims at proposing the creation of an observatory for building and sharing analysis processes of massive e-learning traces. HUBBLE will enable the participants (teachers, students, learning designers, managers, etc.) to analyze and explain learning and teaching phenomena with technology enhanced learning environments. The analysis processes will guide the decision-making of the participants involving in the learning and teaching setting. Thus, they have to be usable and integrated in the latter. On top of that, they will also be used by e-learning researchers in order to produce concepts, models and indicators.

HUBBLE makes use of the existing platforms to allow the design, sharing and management of analysis processes based on the traces available in the observatory. HUBBLE will also consider ethical questions regarding traces and their analysis.

The HUBBLE project aims at promoting collaborative research activities between research teams in Computer Sciences and also in Human and Social Sciences, thus developing a national observatory. The research activity is based on case studies proposed by partners. These case studies will be used to design and implement the analysis processes, which will be later on shared throughout the observatory.

Beyond the experimental or technological results, the HUBBLE project fosters and strengthens a national community around Learning Analytics with an objective to increase its visibility inside the European and international research communities.

Thesis description

The dynamic dashboards aim at visualizing indicators given by the analysis process of massive learning traces covered by the project, as well as the interaction means among participants and/or with other resources produced or found during learning activities. These dynamic dashboards are generated according to the participants, their roles (teacher, learner, tutor, learning manager, designer, head, etc.), their past and current activity. In other words, these dashboards have to be adaptive and based on learning context. Therefore, there is a need to have relevant information organized contextually along with the dashboards being generated on the fly at the relevant moment throughout the learning process. In this regard, it is necessary to specify the links between indicators, their possible representations (according to the environment) and their targets (teacher, learner, tutor, etc.). There is also a need to produce templates of dashboards for specific learning situations that will be further reused (capitalization of observational situation). One of the main particularities of the research effort in this thesis covers the fact that indicators will be trans-learning situations and trans-learning environments. For instance, it is pertinent for a learner to monitor his progress or to have a reflective analysis of his learning process thanks to the indicators, computed across different MOOCs and learning environments where he has involved. The research objective of this thesis is to propose a formal and declarative model, allowing the implementation of the dashboard (editor, compositor, generator of dashboards). To do so, it will be significant to work in collaboration with the other tasks of the HUBBLE project (analysis scenarios, indicators, etc.), and also to consider existing works of all partners. The work organization of this thesis will be iterative. Intermediate experimentation will be conducted during the project lifetime in order to validate the proposals.


Sébastien IKSAL
Email : sebastien (dot) iksal @ univ-lemans (dot) fr
Phone : +33 2 43 59 49 19

Madeth MAY
Email : madeth [dot]  may @univ-lemans (dot) fr
Deadline : June 30th 2015

Hubble, let’s roll




Hubble (human observatory on analysis of e-learning traces), the ANR project unites more than 40 experts and researchers in TEL and Educational Sciences from both public and private institutions.

Part of our implication in the project is to define different analysis scenarios for a dedicated learning case that we either use in our daily teaching activity or set up for experimental situations. Our goal is to help researchers study various aspects of an educational setting. For instance, thanks to the analysis made on the tracking data issued from a learning environment, researchers can explain the evolvement of the participants and their behaviours throughout a learning session.

We collaborate with several scientific partners to provide tracking approach (data collection methods) and data visualisation mechanisms for the selected learning environments covered by the project. We are also in charge of deploying technological solutions to ensure the protection of user personal data exploited, shared and distributed throughout the project.

Today marks the start of Hubble. Things are about to get serious :)

Follow us on

Introducing iZiSecure

iZiSecure Technology


A group of my students and I have been working on iZiSecure for awhile now. It’s an R&D project that aims at innovating the way we use our mobile devices for more than just checking Facebook. A lot of effort had been put into this project, from conceptual design to technical implementation. This morning and for the first time ever, we showed the first prototype of iZiSecure to the SATT business manager (Romain THOMAS). That’s it :)



From left to right: Simon LEDUNOIS, Maxime BLANCHARD, Khalil EL SMAILI, and the business manager Romain THOMAS

Life without Facebook, would it be better?



Social networks are part of our lives. Or should I say they invade our lives to a point beyond our control. Instead of doing something about it, we are embracing those so-called social technologies even more and more everyday. Let’s talk about Facebook, the most popular social network to date. While some of us are aware of the danger of using Facebook, others seem to neglect the privacy issues and the consequences of putting too much trust in Facebook. Have you ever asked what Facebook (could) have done with your wall posts? pictures of yours? and of those you tagged? or every single detail of your personal life, like the high school you went to 10 years ago and whom you got married to last weekend?

Facebook’s privacy rules are not that easy for users to understand. Therefore, they can get lost very easily in the pile of complicated privacy setting. And that’s exactly when they decide to let their guard down and pretend that there was no risk at all. A mistake indeed. Not everyone is reading what you post on Facebook with good intention.

Bear in mind that what you posted on the internet, would stay there f-o-r-e-v-e-r ! :) And the latest “Google forget me policy” won’t probably be any help to you. Wait a second, what’s Google doing here? Well, Facebook features an option allowing Google to index its content. So what you posted on your wall might also end up in Google search results.

I’m not dramatizing the situation here, but I really think it’s time for you to seriously reconsider the matter and to take control of what you post and share on Facebook. It’s not too late. Go to your Facebook timeline; tweak your post privacy setting to “Friends” or to those with whom you would like to share. And it’s done (for now).

Without privacy concerns, I admit that Facebook is one great social tool. I myself, use Facebook on a regular basis. It helps me get in touch with my family and friends from different corners of the world. Facebook also makes me laugh thanks to those nonsense status messages, compromising pictures and videos, some of which don’t even belong to my friends. Why is that? Well, Facebook is not that smart to warn you that what you are about to post is for the whole world and not for only your friends. I know right (/sarcasm).

Facebook is not the only social network we have become dependent on. Some of us misunderstand what social networks are for, and in time, start to lose sight of what probably matters to us the most: real life, real friends and real conversation without having to use ton of smilies which don’t even make sense.

So stop reading this post right now, go out, grab a beer with your friends, socialize differently. Leave Facebook for a while, it will be still there when you are back, while your friends won’t if you leave them behind too often.


image credit :