Cornell University
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René Kizilcec

Assistant Professor

Areas of Interest

social psychology, human-computer interaction, learning analytics, digital learning (MOOCs, mobile)


René Kizilcec is the Director of Digital Learning Research in Stanford's Graduate School of Education and co-founding member of the interdisciplinary Lytics Lab at Stanford. He will join the Department of Information Science at Cornell University as an Assistant Professor in July 2018.

He holds a Ph.D. in Communication and M.Sc. in Statistics from Stanford University, and a B.A. in Philosophy and Economics from University College London. His research is on social and cultural psychological factors in interactive technologies, for example, how psychological barriers hinder the academic achievement of online learners, how effective self-regulation strategies vary across cultures, and how peer influence spreads in social networks. He is particularly interested in the psychological challenges to realizing the potential of digital environments for diverse and global audiences. He leverages techniques from data mining, machine learning, and natural language processing to examine behavior and motivation, reveal heterogeneous treatment effects, and inform user-centered design. His research has been published in leading journals such as Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Journal of Educational Psychology, Computers in Human Behavior, Computers & Education, and in the proceedings of leading human-computer interaction and education conferences. He was awarded a Nathan Maccoby Outstanding Dissertation Award, ACM Best Paper Award, and multiple competitive research fellowships.


See here for hyperlinks to papers/supporting materials.

Kizilcec, R. F., Saltarelli, A. J., Reich, J., & Cohen, G. L. (2017). Closing global achievement gaps in MOOCs. Science, 355(6322), 251-252. 

Kizilcec, R. F. & Cohen, G. L. (2017). Eight-minute self-regulation intervention improves educational attainment at scale in individualist but not collectivist cultures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 114(17), 4348–4353.

Kizilcec, R. F., Davis, G. M., & Cohen, G. L. (2017). Towards Equal Opportunities in MOOCs: Affirmation Reduces Gender & Social-class Achievement Gaps in China. In Proceedings of the Fourth ACM Conference on Learning at Scale, L@S 2017. Cambridge, MA. (Won Best Paper Award)

Kizilcec, R. F., Perez-Sanagustin, M., & Maldonado, J. J. (2017). Self-Regulated Learning Strategies Predict Learner Behavior and Goal Attainment in Massive Open Online Courses. Computers & Education, 104, 19-33.

Eckles, D., Kizilcec, R. F., & Bakshy, E. (2016). Estimating peer effects in networks with peer encouragement designs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 113(27), 7316-7322. 

Kizilcec, R. F. (2016). How Much Information?: Effects of Transparency on Trust in an Algorithmic Interface. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016. San Jose, CA.

Kizilcec, R. F., Bailenson, J. N., & Gomez, C. J. (2015). The Instructor’s Face in Video Instruction: Evidence from Two Large-Scale Field Studies. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(3), 724-739.

Kizilcec, R. F., Piech, C., & Schneider, E. (2013). Deconstructing Disengagement: Analyzing Learner Subpopulations in Massive Open Online Courses.In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, LAK 2013. Leuven, Belgium.