Mitja Jermol

Mitja Jermol (Jožef Stefan Institute)

About the Chairholder

Mitja Jermol is the holder of UNESCO Chair on Open Technologies for Open Educational Resources and Open Education and a head of the Centre for Knowledge Transfer at Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia. Center has setup and is being running one of the world’s top open scientific video portal Mitja’s research is focused on using Artificial Intelligence in the context of Business Intelligence, Personalised Learning, Smart Cities and Factories of the Future. Mitja has been active in more than 20 H2020, FP7 and FP6 projects in these areas. Together with his team he has initiated a nation-wide initiative on developing and deploying open education called “Opening Up Slovenia”. He is a member of the European Complex System Society, Open Education Consortium, Opencast and European current research information systems (CRIS) community. Mitja is a co‐founder of the two institute spin‐outs, Quintelligence and Cycorp RER. Mitja was also conference chair for “Open Course Ware Consortium” Global Conference 2014.

About the Chair

The Chair contributes to Open Educational Resources agenda in a twofold manner, firstly as a means of creation of innovative practices in driving forward the use of ICTs for OER-supported teaching and learning, online based education by using VideoLectures.Net, and secondly by applying methods in the realm of “big data” to analyse emerging trends in learning outcomes, in the creation, and dissemination in the field of OERs by means of AI techniques.

The Chair focuses on OERs at national/regional and global level in line with the set objectives. The Chair offers AI technologies, evidence and guidance for OER research methods ranging from use cases, deployment, exploration, exploitation, and operability in all educational sectors. This is UNESCO’s single such Chair with this remit. It’s not copying other Chairs, but has a unique remit and identity, which will complement other UNESCO Chairs in the area of Open Educational Resources. It has a clear interdisciplinary and intersectoral dimension: it goes across several of UNESCO’s programmes: education and communication and information.

The following activities are already part of the research strategy and efforts of Jožef Stefan Institute and will only be up-scaled and enforced by the work of the OER Chair: OER Research – research activities on OER ICT– enabled learning environments, learning analytics and educational data mining with definition of case studies – Digital technologies are being developed and “marketed” for educational use since decades but a large implementation gap exists. There is a slow adoption rate of technologies in education, because of mismatch between real needs and supply. The lack of use of technologies is particularly affecting the primary and secondary education. There is a need for building the evidence base for more effective learning with technology. This will go hand in hand with tools and processes for collecting, storing, exploring and reasoning on large-scale educational data We will collect “big data” from students’ technology supported learning activities, transforming the data into information and producing, recommending actions aimed at improving learning outcomes.

Prototype development, installation and deployment of state-of-the-art tools and ICT technologies, measure feedback and analysis of contexts, processes and environments – In order to have feasible research data, a real-life and functional ICT based network for OER based video educational content creation, consumption and harvesting needs to be setup. For this purpose the Opencast Matterhorn free and open lecture capture for classes and events, process the recordings, and distribute those recordings over an Open content delivery network to learners alongside a suite of tools for engaging with the recording to support learning, among those are the transLectures language modules, cross language multimodal content analysis and modelling tools from Xlike and Xlime, user modelling services from Quintelligence (JSI spin-off company), the export to the VideoLectures.Net platform and MediaMixer fragmentation services. In addition the following services for cross-language cross-media analytics will be adapted for use in OER: Newsfeed (realtime news collection service), Enrycher (realtime text enriching and contextualisation services), ArchiveExplorer (offline large collection content analytics services), DiversiNews (real time content analytics), ScienceAtlas (online social network analytics services), EventRegistry (knowledge extraction, trend detection services), LaVie (recommendation engine) and textgarden set of tools for text analytics. The prototype development will be done in cycles depending on the related RTD projects. Each cycle will finish with the phase of testing and validation. Testing will be done in the controlled environment while the validation will use for external users (existing members and visitors to portal). Both phases will follow already running procedures at JSI. The testing phase is being done at the development portal while the validation phase is being conducted with the selected registered members of (currently there are more than 21.000 registered members mostly researchers, academics, lecturers and students.

Dissemination and demonstration – development of joint or single business plan, exploitation of results, investigate service models, clustering and liaison, active community building and standard means of dissemination (presentations, publications, events, meetings, data exchange) – The main visibility objectives of this project are to make scientific, industrial and educational communities aware of the project and its results; to disseminate project activities and results in related fields or application sectors. Additionally to build a community around the project results and actively maintain a communication channel to its members. The project will follow a dissemination and community building strategy and will ensure that the technology deployed and data collected and created within the project are available beyond the end of the project. It will actively communicate with communities outside of the project, collect their feedback and involve them in the software development and research activities. Exchange of research staff – supervision, training of PhD and other research staff interested in computer science and technical aspects of OER.

Networking – sharing and promoting best practices, case studies, prototypes and research results. Here we define two types of research projects. The first type (Type 1) reflects the research program of the OER Chair and therefore has its focus ICTs for online learning for OER, underpinned by advanced knowledge and context technologies. These research projects will be supervised under the OER Chair. The second category (Type 2) is a set of ongoing FP7 research projects involving Jožef Stefan Institute in a variety of OER related subjects from the domain of Language technologies, Multimodal content analytics, Text understanding, Information and communication technology applications and Community set-up and networking. These will be connected to the OER Chair in order to enhance synergy with UNESCO OER ‘Chair for Studies on strategy, implementation and impact’ in the overall OER research agenda at Jožef Stefan Institute.

The OER Chair is fully involved in these (Type 2) research projects. In the first year and part of the second year the research activities (A) will build on ongoing FP7 research projects (Type 2). At the same time Jožef Stefan Institute will bid and develop new research projects under the Horizon 2020 research program and the research program of the OER Chair and in collaboration with the other partners listed in c. partnerships/networking (Type 1).

Relevant projects

X5gon: Cross Modal, Cross Cultural, Cross Lingual, Cross Domain, and Cross Site Global OER Network – ICT-19-2017 – Media and content convergence: X5gon stands for easily implemented freely available innovative technology elements that will converge currently scattered Open Educational Resources (OER) available in various modalities across Europe and the globe. X5gon will combine content understanding, user modelling and quality assurance methods and tools to boost creating a homogenous network of (OER) sites and provides users (teachers, learners) with a common learning experience. X5gon will deploy open technologies for recommendation, learning analytics and learning personalisation services that will work across various OER sites, independent of languages, modalities, scientific domains, and cultural contexts. It will develop services for convergence of OER media which includes full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, related events and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. The solutions that will be offered to OER sites are fivefold: Cross-modal: technologies for multimodal content understanding; Cross-site: technologies to transparently accompany and analyse users across sites; Cross-domain: technologies for cross domain content analytics; Cross-language: technologies for cross lingual content recommendation; Cross-cultural: technologies for cross cultural learning personalisation.

MyMachine Slovenia JSI is also running the Slovenian branch of MyMachine; a unique methodology, honoured by United Nations, Sir Ken Robinson, UNESCO, the Open Education Global Consortium and the Creativity World Forum that started in Belgium and is now running in Belgium, Slovenia, Portugal, France, South Africa, USA, Slovakia and Norway. MyMachine runs in schools and consists of 3 steps in one academic year: 1. IDEA: children from kindergartens or elementary schools invent their own ‘Dream Machine’. Anything goes. The main criterion is that it’s relevant for the child who really, really wants it. 2. CONCEPT: higher education students translate this idea into a product concept. 3. WORKING PROTOTYPE: technical Middle and High School pupils build a real working prototype, by collaborating with children, students, industry partners and by utilizing their community. MyMachine formed a unique platform that stimulates collaboration, innovation, creativity, participation and fosters sharing ideas, inter-generational learning about how to confront challenges and above all allowing the future generations (from kids to youngsters and students) to confront ideas and visions no matter how crazy they might sound, to test them and bring them to life. First year of MyMachine Slovenia resulted in four working prototypes, whereas the second year it was already present in all regions of Slovenia by involving 27 educational institutions nationwide. The ideas and collaborations continue to motivate all involved to think outside of the box, but most of all it makes the children, pupils and students experience a unique ecology of talent that co-designs in an iterative process of creating prototypes. MyMachine gets all levels of education introduced in the world of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM), by being involved in this design driven creative, hands on process of materializing ideas.

MOVING – Objective INSO-4-2015 – Innovative schemes for open innovation and science 2.0: Training towards a society of data-savvy information professionals to enable open leadership innovation: MOVING is an innovative training platform that enables users from all societal sectors to fundamentally improve their information literacy by training how to use, choose, reflect and evaluate data mining methods in connection with their daily research tasks and to become data-savvy information professionals. The MOVING platform will be implemented in two use cases: (i) EY provides the use case of compliance officers with worldwide 60.000 public administrators. (ii) TUD provides a use case on educating young researchers on how to apply and interpret data-intensive research tasks. Here, we address 100.000 to contribute in the area of cross-lingual text understanding. The developed technology will be language-agnostic, while within the project we will specifically address English, German, Spanish, Chinese and Hindi as major world languages and Catalan and Slovenian as minority languages.

XLime – Objective ICT-2013.4.1 Content analytics and language technologies, Target a) Cross-media content analytics: FP7 Collaborative project: cross-lingual cross-media knowledge extraction. The goal is to connect different modalities of real-time data with an emphasis on hundreds TV streams, social media data and e-commerce data. The research goal is to establish cross-media probabilistic semantic space where all the different data modalities could be mapped, compared and on the top of which new services could be provided. The project is challenging from the side of scale, velocity of data and data complexity.

MEDIAMIXER – Objective ICT-2011.4.4: Intelligent Information Management Target outcome e) Community building networks: FP7 Coordination and support Action: Community set-up and networking for the reMIXing of online MEDIA fragments. The goal of the project is to use the data from VideoLectures.NET (approx. 20,000 annotated video lectures) to be split into smaller content units and recombined into new training units in a form of lessons, tests and tutorials. LT-Web – Objective ICT-2011.4.2 – Language Technologies: FP7 Support Action: Language Technologies in the Web. The goal of the project, led by W3C is to define the Internationalization Tag Set (ITS 2.0), that is: meta-data for web content (mainly HTML5) and “deep Web” content, for example a CMS or XML files from which HTML pages are generated, that facilitates its interaction with multilingual technologies and localization processes. The results of the project led to W3C MultilingualWeb-LT working group.

TransLectures – Objective ICT-2011.4.2 – Language Technologies: FP7 STREP: Transcription and Translation of Video Lectures. The goal is to develop innovative, cost-effective tools for the automatic transcription and translation of online educational videos. Specifically, the project is developing tools for use on VideoLectures.NET, a collection of videos recorded at various academic events set up by Jozef Stefan Institute, and for poliMedia, a lecture capture system designed and implemented at the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia.

X-Like – ICT-2011.4.2 – Language Technologies: FP7 STREP: Cross Lingual Knowledge Extraction, coordinated by JSI-AILab. The goal of the X-Like project is to develop technology to monitor and aggregate knowledge that is currently spread across mainstream and social media, and to enable cross-lingual services for publishers, media monitoring and business intelligence. The aim is to combine scientific insights from several scientific areas to contribute in the area of cross-lingual text understanding. The developed technology will be language-agnostic, while within the project we will specifically address English, German, Spanish, Chinese and Hindi as major world languages and Catalan and Slovenian as minority languages.


UNESCO Chair in Open Technologies for Open Educational Resources and Open Learning
Jožef Stefan Institute
Jamova 39 1000
Ljubljana Slovenia

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