Graz University of Technology (German: Technische Universität Graz) is one of two universities of technology in Austria and was founded in 1811 by Archduke Johann of Austria. This year, Graz University of Technology (TUG) is celebrating its 200th anniversary. What began as a modest school in 1811, developed in the course of time into a very dynamic university of technology which pursues top teaching and research in the fields of engineering science and the technical-natural sciences. The strength of its knowledge-oriented and applied research in the context of numerous competence centres, the Christian-Doppler laboratories, special research fields, research focuses, and large EU projects ensure the quality of the education and training at Graz University of Technology. Especially in the last years the number of bachelor's and master's programmes as well as the number of students, which is meanwhile over 11,500, increased.

The teaching activities at Graz University of Technology are organised in seven faculties.
The Knowledge Management Institute (KMI), which is involved in the CULTURA project under the acronym TUG, is one of in total eight institutes of the Faculty of Computer Science.

The Knowledge Management Institute at the Graz University of Technology undertakes interdisciplinary research on knowledge management in a broad spectrum of domains, integrating technological and application-oriented perspectives, including aspects of cognitive and social science, as well as workplace learning. Leveraging its expertise, TUG aims at making a substantial contribution to teaching within the "Software Development and Economy" Study Program of Graz University of Technology.
The technology-oriented research stream focuses on acquiring, managing and applying semantic metadata and ontologies. From an applied perspective, TUG investigates the use of social software in the context of Web 2.0 to build structures and transfer knowledge within and across individuals, institutions, and organizations. A special focus in this area is on contextualizing and personalizing learning events in the professional workplace and other learning environments (e.g., APOSDLE project).
The KMI is organised in five main research areas. One of these is the Cognitive Science Section, which has its roots in the Cognitive Science Section at the University of Graz, Department of Psychology. The focus of research from a cognitive psychological viewpoint is on the investigation of the structures of cognitive processes, the representation and modelling of knowledge and skills, as well as their applications in individualised web-based testing and in personalised, adaptive eLearning systems. Contributing to and participating in the empirical evaluation and validation of technology-enhanced learning systems based on scientifically sound methodologies also ranks among major tasks.

TUG closely cooperates with University of Graz (Department of Psychology, Department of Information Science) and the Know-Center, Austria's K+ Competence Center for Knowledge Management, and therefore retains close connections with Austrian corporate partners.

Contribution to CULTURA

The Cognitive Science Section at TUG has a rich expertise in national and international projects in the area of adaptive systems and their evaluation. The specific expertise on evaluation and research methods will be applied by CULTURA to maximise the technical validity and quality of the services and environment delivered. In addition, TUG has experience on formal theories and frameworks for macro- and micro-level adaptivity, which will be applied in CULTURA.

In more detail, the main interests of TUG in CULTURA are centred on evaluation and adaptivity. Regarding evaluation a main task of TUG is the elaboration and refinement of a sound methodological framework for the evaluation of the CULTURA core intelligent services and adaptive user community environment for the realisation of adaptive cultural experiences. This includes methodologies of user-centred evaluation as well as the investigation of the scientific soundness of the theoretical approaches underlying adaptivity in CULTURA (Social Network Analysis, Natural Language Processing). Furthermore, a continuous and non-invasive evaluation approach and tool will be developed and elaborated. With respect to adaptation, approaches based on Competence-based Knowledge Space Theory (CbKST) will be translated to intelligent adaptation in the field of digital cultural heritage collections in order to contribute to the multi-dimensional adaptive technology of the CULTURA environment.

Related work

In the area of adaptive systems and their evaluation, the Cognitive Science Section has been and is involved in several EU projects such as ELeGI, iClass, ELEKTRA, 80Days, GRAPPLE, ImReal, TARGET, and ROLE. The experiences and outcomes of these projects are used as a basis for further research and the contribution of TUG in CULTURA.

Within the scope of these projects the members of TUG has been responsible for developing sound evaluation methodologies, as well as for conducting and monitoring empirical user evaluations. This includes investigating technology enhanced learning (TEL) opportunities and experiences, as well as supporting the development and giving evidence of achievement and benefit of TEL solutions along the development lifecycle. Evaluation frameworks based on psycho-pedagogical and technological principles are defined, refined and improved. A main focus of this work is on elaborating evaluation approaches that take into account the challenges of evaluating adaptivity and its benefits.

Another main research strand of the Cognitive Science Section within the involvement in EU projects has been on elaborating methodological frameworks for intelligent educational adaptation in virtual learning environments and in game–based learning. The main theoretical basis for this is Competence-based Knowledge Space Theory (CbKST), which enables the personalisation of learning paths as well as adaptive assessment of knowledge and competence. In the field of game-based the concept of micro-adaptivity has been devised, which allows to non-invasively assess skills and competence by interpreting user interaction, and to provide adaptive interventions and scaffolding tailored to individual learners' needs.