Professor Computer Science School of Computing and Information System Faculty of Science and Technology Athabasca University, Canada
Dr. Vivekanandan Kumar is Full Professor in the School of Computing and Information Systems at Athabasca University, Canada. He holds the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Discovery Grant on Anthropomorphic Pedagogical Agents, funded by the Government of Canada. Imagine a world where software agents living inside your computer teach, play, study and mentor you — motivating your interests, challenging you and improving the way you live and learn. His research focuses on developing anthropomorphic agents, which mimic and perfect human-like traits to better assist learners in their regulatory tasks. His research includes investigating technology-enhanced erudition methods that employ Big Data Learning Analytics, Self-Regulated Learning, Co-Regulated Learning, Causal Modelling, and Machine Learning, to facilitate deep learning. He earned his doctoral degree in Computer Science (PhD) from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, as the best graduating student in 2001. He holds a master’s degree in Computer Science Applications (MCA) as the first rank holder from Bharathiar University, India, where he also completed his bachelor’s degree (BSc) in Physics with a minor in Mathematics. He launched his professional career in 1990 as a Scientist at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing in Mumbai, India. During this tenure, he won a United Nations fellowship to train at the Learning Research and Development Centre, University of Pittsburgh, USA. During his first academic appointment in 2001 as Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University, Canada, he worked as an Educational Technologist with the Asian Development Bank to develop an online learning infrastructure and a master’s degree programme in educational technology for the Open University of Sri Lanka. He took up an academic position as Senior Lecturer with Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand in 2006. Two years later, he returned to Canada as Associate Professor in Athabasca University’s School of Computing and Information Systems. With backing from major research funds in Canada such as NSERC, SSHRC, and CFI, he has become an active member and contributor to the research community in Canada. With over 100 research publications in refereed journals, international refereed conferences, and book chapters, and with tightly focused professional activities that include being a journal editor, funding reviewer, and conference administrator, he strives to advance analytics-oriented, computer-mediated, causality-infused balance between learning efficiency and instructional effectiveness. He is passionate about networked knowledge economies, social change through science fiction, empowerment of women through information and communication technologies, and comparative analyses of native cultures.
Dr Kumar has an ability to provide exceptional direction and opportunities for his large cadre of students. His students are folded in to his research program as part of the team and this team atmosphere generates collegiality and students learn to interact as colleagues and researchers. His students are consistently gaining valuable research skills with exceptional records to support and demonstrate these skills. His generosity and passion for research and supervision has benefited his students and the profile of Athabasca University’s MScIS program. Vive’s exemplary graduate supervision skills are widely recognized outside of the Faculty of Science and Technology. He selflessly and generously serves as a co-supervisor, supervisory committee member and external examiner for Athabasca University graduate students and graduate students at other institutions. Dr Kumar has demonstrated exceptional graduate supervision as seen in his ability to graduate students with impressive research records, research skills, and publications. His generosity and success with respect to supervising students within and outside of Athabasca University has garnered him a reputation as a premier graduate student supervisor.
In addition to inspiring the use of data analytics to customize personalized learning that caters to learner’s abilities, Dr. Kumar encourages external relationships with other sectors (as evident in the information technology, healthcare and special education fields involved in my research), creating a community of research experts in interdisciplinary studies that work together to serve in attaining that goal of personalized learning. Dr. Kumar has been consistently pleasant to talk to and work with, despite the large volume of responsibility he holds. He embodies Athabasca University’s mission of being open, available, accountable, and dedicated to excellence.
Dr. Kumar possesses a grand vision for the research he oversees, and inspired our learning analytics research group with that vision. To help achieve this goal, Dr. Kumar provided an environment where all of his students could share and inform one another on our work. Not only did this environment give us valuable experience in presenting research, but it also allowed us to synergize our work. Dr. Kumar constantly encouraged us to leverage one another’s strength and knowledge to make our work the best it could be.
I did not know much about Prof. Kumar before choosing him as my Supervisor. It was through the recommendations of one of my fellow MSc. IS students. Looking back today, this is the best supervision choice I’ve ever made. Under Professor Kumar’s Supervision, I’ve received several awards. This academic success would not have been possible without Professor Kumar’s diligence and promptitude, providing guidance and direction, resources and also the belief he entrusts in me that I have the potential. The research group he leads is one of the most prolific of the entire Athabasca University, at least to my knowledge. I often say to myself I wish I had such environment prior to my Master program. Professor Kumar sets an environment that makes it easy and comfortable for students to talk to him and this makes a huge difference in Supervisor-Student successful relationship. Our success as student is the reflection of the success of our Supervisor.
I have been working with Dr. Kumar as his research assistant since 2012 on many projects in learning analytics. Dr. Kumar has always been inspiring to me as for his keen vision of research and his pursuit of excellence. His passion for research is communicated everywhere. Prof. Kumar is very gifted in motivating his students to give the best of themselves, making them to aspire to new heights, while maintaining a high level of consideration and appreciation for his team's work. Dr. Kumar is a very dynamic and hard-working person. His patience and his devotion for his students' success have always been very palpable. In a few words, Dr. Kumar is an outstanding first-class researcher!
I have been working under Professor Kumar as an undergraduate student and research assistant for the past four years. I have worked in several very diversified research projects with Prof. Kumar and have been greatly enriched by those experiences. Prof. Kumar has always been very kind, helpful, understanding, and patient in helping me through the challenges and successes of those research projects. He is very passionate about the research areas he pursues and successfully communicates and transmits his passion to his students. Throughout the past years, I have always found him to be very encouraging and supportive. I have learned a lot through my research experience thanks to Prof. Kumar, and the combination of course work and research has proven extremely beneficial to my experience.
In the multiple projects we worked together, every interaction with Prof Kumar has been a rich and enjoyable experience. He represents a wonderful balance between encouraging to take on new challenges while having this human personal sensitivity to ensure I’m not overwhelmed. He provides just sufficient guidance to hint directions while letting me strive on my own for a better learning experience. Prof Kumar discerns the interest and capabilities of his students and always offers new opportunities. He is not afraid to delegate, which allows plenty of occasions to grow in various areas of research. Through his leadership, a research group has developed comprising research assistants and graduate students. He continuously encourages members of his research group to share ideas, and help each other in various theses or research projects. This creates a sense of belonging where the success of one is a success for all. He always finds the time to listen to our concerns or questions, to provide guidance, to look at our progress and provide positive comments and constructive critics. It’s really motivating to work with him and for him.
Prof. Kumar has a special ability to create and stimulate interest for new research areas involving the use of advanced technology. His passion and excitement for any new ideas and futuristic research projects are contagious. While focusing on learning analytics and all the technologies that would make it efficient in the educational world, Prof. Kumar always ensures that my work and projects are in alignment with my fields of interest. In addition, and most importantly, Prof. Kumar's considerate human approach and respectful relationship makes every challenge easier and pleasant to work on. He helps me always strive for excellence while keeping rewarding my daily efforts. He never minimizes the work done, while always pushing me to work to the maximum of my abilities to achieve high standards.
Copyright © Claudia Guillot 2018. All Rights Reserved.