Mihai Dascalu

Fulbright Scholar, 2014-2015


Overall, the Fulbright scholarship has been an extraordinary experience that represented a significant academic boost in terms of research work and expertise, marking notable enhancements to the integrated software framework under construction – ReaderBench. Current results have already been submitted and accepted at top tier conferences including AIED 2015 (a full paper and an interactive event) and CSCL 2015 (a full paper and a short paper), as well as prestigious conferences like LAK 2015 (a short paper and a demo), CSCS (two papers) and ECTEL 2015 (a short paper and an interactive event at a renowned European conference). A journal paper that presents detailed findings has been submitted at a high quality journal, whereas another paper is in an advanced state, soon to be submitted. Multiple research paths are also under development and for sure well represent the foundation for additional joint research papers and potential new projects. These experiments cover new corpora of essays and of self-explanations to be assessed in terms of automated comprehension prediction, as well as anonymized MOOC conversations to be evaluated with regards to members’ participation and collaboration.

Particular enhancements implemented within our software framework ReaderBench will be integrated within the H2020ICT2014 644187 RAGE project that I’m coordinating on behalf of my home university. Moreover, specific findings are to be used within the NSF funded project “Modeling and Supporting Creativity during Collaborative STEM Activities”, currently carried out by the ASU team. In addition, the latest findings and experiments in terms of training specialized semantic models (Latent Semantic Analysis and Latent Dirichlet Allocation) are to be integrated into the “Semantic Web Applications” master course taught at my home university. All in all, the undergone research represented a cornerstone in terms of the international relationships with other prestigious researchers (e.g. Scott Crossley, USA; Philippe Dessus, France; Nicolae Nistor, Germany) with whom we have multiple joint experiments, as well as multiple scientific papers already submitted or under construction.

In addition, the different methodologies than the European ones, centered on extensive validations, have changed my approach in terms of conducting research. Also, the American culture has widened my perspective by introducing a fresh breeze and more commitment towards family and specific work values. From a different perspective, traveling was great and it extended the overall experience. As an example, the Fulbright Enrichment Seminar "Old to New West: The Role of Land in Shaping the American Story" in Tulsa, OK was a great opportunity to meet fellow Fulbrighters and to exchange ideas and cultural impressions. There are so many different flavors and specificities for each US region, whereas the overall diversity is truly beneficial.

As a final remark, for sure I will encourage Romanian and international exchange students, as well as fellow colleagues back at my university, to apply for Fulbright grants. Therefore, I will guide interested students and colleagues on how to apply for the program as it will definitely represent a major achievement and a life-changing experience for them, as well.

My fulbright experience

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Students at the advising center

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Romanian-U.S. Fulbright Commission

Adress: 2 Ing. Nicolae Costinescu Street, sector 1, Bucharest, Romania
Phone: 021.230.77.19
Fax: 021.230.77.38
E-mail: office@fulbright.ro

Fulbright Educational Advising Center

Phone: 021.231.90.15
E-mail: feac@fulbright.ro

 Public hours

Tuesday: 1:00 PM - 7:00 PM
 Wednesday: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
 Thursday: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM