AIRCOEE: AI Research Center of Excellence for Education

Published: October 16, 2023
Category: News
AI Research Center of Excellence for Education
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ICT Announces Leadership Role in AI Research Center of Excellence for Education

The USC Institute for Creative Technologies, a unit of the Viterbi School of Engineering, and a Department of Defense (DoD) University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) sponsored by the US Army, is pleased to announce its leadership of AIRCOEE (AI Research Center of Excellence for Education). The initiative is a two-year $4.5 million dollar research contract through the U.S. Army Research Office. AIRCOEE will address two fundamental questions: “How do we use AI to improve education?” and “How do we upskill our population in AI and prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century?”  

Dr. Benjamin Nye, ICT’s Director of Learning Sciences, is AIRCOEE’s Project Investigator, with Dr. Bill Swartout, ICT’s CTO as co-PI. There will also be cross-collaboration with other USC schools and technology units, including a project track with USC Rossier Assistant Professor Dr. Stephen Aguilar to develop AI-Enhanced Dashboards (AID), and a track with USC Institute for Information Sciences Research Assistant Professor and Principal scientist Dr. Jose-Luis Ambite, to research AI Assisted Revisions for Curricula (ARC) when best-practices are updated.

“AIRCOEE embodies a core mission for the Institute for Creative Technologies: transforming education by combining artificial intelligence, academic expertise, and lessons learned from military training at scale,” said Dr. Benjamin Nye. “We are building on our strengths to develop AI for a broad range of educational needs: not just students and teachers in a classroom, but also self-paced learning between courses and tools for content developers to tune their lessons.”

AIRCOEE includes a total of five research tracks to develop applications which will apply AI to accelerate Army University learning, and also advance AI upskilling across the DoD and civilian workforce, including:

  1. Army Writing Enhancement Toolset (AWE): An intelligent tutoring system and writing-support tool which assists instructors in teaching the Army Writing Style for distinct categories of Army writing (e.g., task orders). 
  2. AI-Enhanced Dashboard for Instructors & Students (AID): A suite of intelligent dashboards designed for instructors which present metrics on engagement, risk of failing assessments, and atypical topics/resources (e.g., particularly easy or hard). The dashboard will provide instructors with early warnings about students who may be struggling so that they can intervene before serious problems occur.
  3. Meta-Tutoring for Improving Self Regulated Learning (SRL) Skills with AI: a personalized recommender system for learning which trains “learning to learn” skills as learners practice a content area they are motivated to learn. 
  4. AI Assisted Revisions for Curricula (ARC): A developer tool for semi-automated revisions to training materials, by identifying areas to update based on an analysis of changes in doctrine, policy, or manuals. 
  5. AI-Upskilling with AI Tools (AI-UP): An integrated set of intelligent tutoring systems for rapidly learning a personalized set of AI skills aligned to a specific job role and goal, giving the workforce the knowledge needed to enhance productivity.

Dr. Bill Swartout said: “We’re excited about AIRCOEE because it allows us to expand and integrate and our existing and award-winning software systems, such as virtual mentors to advise students, smartphone-based personal assistants for learning that adapt to students’ experience and abilities, and game-based systems that make learning AI engaging and fun. The result will be an integrated suite of capabilities that will educate our military and civilian workforces about AI and prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century.”

If any members of the Press would like more information, please contact Sophia Stuart, Public Communications Manager & Writer, ICT,