Pierre Tchounikine

I am Professor of Computer Science at Université Grenoble-Alpes (Grenoble, France), and a member of the LIG laboratory.

My research mainly focuses on:
  • Human Computer Interaction (HCI): appropriation, designing for appropriation.
  • Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL): scripting, orchestration, appropriation, emancipation.
  • Old stuff: Methodological issues in Technology Enhanced Learning, Text-based communication (structuration by threads, structuration by speech-acts), Recommender systems, Knowledge engineering (task-method modeling).

I also work (research and teaching) on: Enseigner la pensée informatique à l'école (Computational Thinking at school).

Contact: Pierre.Tchounikine@imag.fr

Service (present & recent past)

Research activities

The downloadable pdf files contain pre-print versions.

Human Computer Interaction (HCI): appropriation, designing for appropriation

I work on the elaboration of an understanding of software appropriation phenomena, and how to design and implement software that human actors can appropriate to themselves. Appropriation may lead to use software applications for other purposes than the ones for which they were designed and/or to undertake tasks in an unexpected way. How email clients are appropriated as Personal Information Management (PIM) devices is a typical example. I address appropriation as the process by which users, while interacting with the effective tasks at hand, attribute functional values to software artifacts. This perspective leads to consider how users may be offered adaptation means that are likely to allow them to solve their problems themselves.

Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL): scripting, orchestration, appropriation, emancipation

I work on different issues related to CSCL scripts (collaborative learning scenarios) and their operationalisation in technological settings. The theoretical perspective underlying my work is that users (students, teachers) do not passively receive structuring devices (scripts; enactment platforms; scripts editors): they actively develop their usages of these artifacts. I try to develop an understanding of the elements at stake and how one may take them into consideration when designing technology. I developed a general conceptual analysis of the technological dimensions related to the operationalization of CSCL macro-scripts and their orchestration. With P. Dillenbourg, we studied the pedagogical interest and necessity of scripts' flexibility. I've been working with PhD students on different implementations of these ideas. Earlier work focused on supporting learners self-organization and, in particular, interfaces supporting learners in making their organization explicit and adapting it in context.

Methodological issues in Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)

(presently not very active)

I'm interested in the methodological (trans)disciplinary issues related to the design of educational software. I wrote different texts from which a book.

Text-based communication (structuration by threads, structuration by speech-acts)

(old stuff)

The objective of these works was to explore how technologies may help structuring communication in learning situations. We mainly focused on coherence issues in threaded conversations (Forums) taking place in virtual learning communities. We identified two situations which discourage the emergence of learning conversations taking place in threaded based tools: “interactional incoherence” and “sequential incoherence”. For each of these identified drawbacks, we conceive mechanisms which intend to surmount these incoherencies: first, the localization of topics in a message, based on the “what you answer is what you link” criteria; second, a visualization that allows merging in a single view the time order and the thread order of the messages. We also studied mining data produced by students with Social Network Analysis techniques to highlight structural properties of learning conversations based on a relational perspective (analysis of chains of references). With colleagues, we also designed a framework based on the speech-acts theory to structure communication as a means to (1) support students involved in collective activities and (2) support the tutor in the perception of these activities.

Recommender systems

(old stuff)

The objective of these works was to explored how to plug on top of an existing system (“epiphyte approach”) a recommender system. We applied the approach to enhance the adaptivity of an existing Website by plugging on top of it a recommender system that displays additional tips and functionalities in a separate window. The recommender system analyzes the way the user browses through the Website according to predefined prototypical ways of using the Website (“models of use”) and then proposes information or features that appear useful according to this model. We also applied the approach to help learners appropriate a Web-based learning curriculum and become active participants in their learning. The approach is based on a detailed modeling of the curriculum and intends to equip the learners with different computer-based tools facilitating a multiple point of view perception of the curriculum, while promoting self evaluation and self regulation of the learners’ curriculum performance. The proposed architecture is generic and can be used in the context of an already existing Web-based learning system. We also studied general methodological issues.

Knowledge engineering, Task-method modeling

(old stuff)

The general objective of these works was to develop a flexible approach to the elaboration and operationalization of the conceptual model of a knowledge based system by data-abstraction. We first developed a general approach (Mapcar). We then focused on the Task–Method paradigm and providing operational but flexible high-level constructions. The developed framework proposes an operational kernel, i.e. operational but flexible high-level constructions: modelling primitives, such as task or method, and manipulation mechanisms, such as select a method. These constructions can be customized in order to better capture the paper-based model to be operationalized. This permits the construction of an implemented system that is an explicit reification of the paper-based model, and, therefore, enables to analyze the model by means of the analysis of the system. The approach facilitates the conciliation of the initial modelling phase, the model refinement phase and the operationalization phase that are achieved when constructing a KBS. We showed that the Task/Method paradigm is adapted for modeling the problem-solving method that the teacher wants to communicate to the student as well as the pedagogical strategies that have to be put into practice for managing the interaction with the student.

Enseigner la pensée informatique à l'école (Computational Thinking at school)

Je m'intéresse à l’enseignement de la pensée informatique, à l'école élémentaire (CM1, CM2) notamment.

Sur ce terrain je mène différentes actions :

Publications (full list)

The downloadable pdf files contain pre-print versions.