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Athabasca University

Dr. Maiga Chang

Assistant Professor, School of Computing and Information Systems

Dr. Maiga Chang is Assistant Professor in the School of Computing Information and Systems, Athabasca University (AU), Athabasca, Alberta, Canada. His researches mainly focus on mobile learning and ubiquitous learning, museum e-learning, game-based learning, educational robots, learning behavior analysis, data mining, intelligent agent technology, computational intelligence in e-learning, and mobile healthcare. He is guest associate editor of IEEE Multidisciplinary Engineering Education Magazine, the local chair of IEEE DIGITEL 2008, general co-chair of Edutainment 2009, program co-chair of Edutainment 2011, special area chair in pervasive education of International Conference on Systems and Networks Communications 2012, and advisory co-chair of International Conference on Mobile, Hybrid, and On-line Learning 2012. He has participated in 159 international conferences/workshops as a Program Committee Member and has (co-)authored more than 147 book chapters, journal and international conference papers. In September 2004, he received the 2004 Young Researcher Award in Advanced Learning Technologies from the IEEE Technical Committee on Learning Technology (IEEE TCLT). He is a valued IEEE member for seventeen years since 1996 and also a member of ACM (since 2001), AAAI (since 2001), INNS (since 2004), and Phi Tau Phi Scholastic Honor Society.

Dr. Maiga Chang has two feature research directions: (1) context-aware and location based inquiry-based learning activity generation, and (2) game-based assessment and educational reward systems.

The context-aware and location based inquiry-based learning activity generation research can generate a series of story-based quests (i.e., a quest chain) to make the learning activities attractive to the users and to make the users interact with specific real (e.g., projector, rest room, pine tree, etc.) and virtual (payroll system, business policy, E-Commerce course, etc.) objects in the real world. The series of learning activities (i.e., learning activity chain) is automatically generated according to user's needs (or the needs of user's learning goal at that moment), learning history, surrounding context (i.e., learning objects associated with the chosen role that the user wants to play and the chosen learning theme, user’s location, etc..) for the user. Multi-agent system design principle has been adopted into the proposed research, with multiple agents' help, the learning activity generation system can be running on different smartphones easily. Currently the CAM-RPG can run on HTC Touch Cruise (Windows Mobile), HTC S320 (Windows Mobile), and Nokia 5800 (Symbian OS).

In the very beginning the learning activity generation research focused on generating learning activities for new hires of company in order to reduce the cost of orientations and on-the-job trainings and give new hires personalized and role-dependent learning experiences. However, due to the requests from teachers, the necessary knowledge structures for teaching terms and technologies in undergraduate-level management information system course has been built and the learning activity generation system has been used to transform school campus to a virtual science park where famous businesses reside in. Students could take learning activities in school campus and visit different company to seek specific products and services to learn concepts related to undergraduate level Management Information System course.

For the game-based assessment and educational reward systems, Dr. Chang's research team designed and developed two games - Java Education al Multiplayer Online Game for assessing student's knowledge of Java programming language and Trading Card Game being as discipline-independent educational reward system.

Java Educational Multiplayer Online Game creates a virtual world for students traveling from one village to another. When they travel around the virtual world, students meet NPCs (Non-Player Characters) and other students. Students can pick quests up from NPCs according to the level of their own characters. Students need certain required skills and knowledge in solving the quests, after they complete the quests, corresponding rewards such as gold and experience points will be given to them. Students can use gold to buy some foods for their characters in order to travel far away and explore the virtual world. The experience points, on the other hand, represent the mastery level students have in particular knowledge domain.

Trading Card Game is a discipline independent game, which means, the in-game rewards can be delivered by any teacher in any course. The game is a sort of board game, therefore, the in-game rewards are cards and students need to compete with each others. In order to make students have correct perception and positive attitude towards the competitions, the rankings of students are based on their credits rather than how many matches they have won or lost before. Students can get credits for the efforts they have tried to make during the match, so they still receive credits even they lose the match, sometimes, a student who loses the game could even receive more credits than the winner of the match. Students might be able to have more options and strategies for the match if they have more in-game rewards and even might be able to defeat their opponents easier. Well-designed peer competitions have been proved as a good way to get students motivated and it is the basic idea of this mechanism. For those students who don't want to compete with others, the in-game rewards (i.e., the cards) have collectable feature just like coins, stamps and hockey cards; students may want to see higher level cards as well as rare cards in their card collection book. The effect of the game-based educational reward mechanism will be kept in student minds and the learning motivation engaged by the mechanism can be carried to the followed course. The students may want to get better in-game rewards in the followed course by learning harder and putting more efforts in the assignments, participation, discussions, and etc.

Updated March 03 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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