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Faculty members

Candace Thille

Candace Thille
Candace Thille
Academic Title 
Associate Professor (Teaching)
Other Titles 

Affiliate Faculty, Stanford Neurosciences Interdepartmental Program
Director, Stanford Open Learning Initiative
Co-Director, Stanford Lytics Lab

Contact Information
(650) 723-9132
Program Affiliations 
Learning Sciences and Technology Design (LSTD)

CIF21 DIBBs: Building a Scalable Infrastructure for Data-Driven Discovery and Innovation in Education: Funded by the National Science Foundation.
In collaboration with Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and the University of Memphis, we are creating a community software infrastructure, called LearnSphere, which supports sharing, analysis, and collaboration across a wide variety of educational data. LearnSphere supports researchers as they improve their understanding of human learning. It also helps course developers and instructors improve teaching and learning through data-driven course redesign. 

The Learning Engineering Initiative: EdHub.  Funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative/Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
The EdHub project is a cross-sector initiative, to engineer the creation of a novel research and development hub in the Bay Area that is designed to integrate, by design, ongoing research in the Learning Sciences with ongoing approaches to enduring problems of practice within education.

Adaptable Learning Feedback for Instructors: The Open Analytics Research System (OARS). Funded by the Stanford VPTL Innovation Grant.
The activities and embedded assessments in online courseware provide support to students and generate fine-grained student learning data. The Open Analytic Research System (OARS) collects and models student learning data and and presents information to instructors in a dashboard to guide instruction and class activities. 

Next Generation Courseware Challenge: A Partnership for Iterative Excellence in Online Courseware for College Learners.  Funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 
The OLI statistics courseware was created as an open educational resource (OER) on, the now proprietary, CMU OLI platform.  In moving to Stanford, I moved the courseware to Lagunita, Stanford’s OpenEdx platform so that it would once again be an OER and extended the capabilities of the Lagunita platform to support the OLI statistics course.  In collaboration with multiple partner institutions, we have continued to expand and update the courseware and conducted several learning studies.  We have conducted studies in "Mindset" with Carol Dweck's (Stanford Psychology) PERTS group. In collaboration with Emma Brunskill (Stanford Computer Science), we are implementing an adaptive problem solver that uses Bayesian optimization algorithms to automatically identify which items to include in a practice set, and how to adaptively select these items in order to maximize student performance on the specified set of learning objectives and skills. Additional RCT studies that we are currently conducting in the OLI statistics courseware at our partner institutions include a study on the impact of prompting and scaffolding learners to make strategic choices about their use of course resources; and a separate study that builds affect detectors into the courseware to test the impact of timing interventions to the affective as well as cognitive state of the learner.  

Learning is complex. Decades of research in the science of human learning have produced results that could transform higher education; however, research findings have not often made a positive impact on teaching practice, educational technology design, or student learning.  My mission is to build learning environments and data systems that not only facilitate the transfer of knowledge from learning research into teaching practice, but also engage researchers, practitioners and learners in making progress on our fundamental understanding of human learning. The focus of my work is in applying the results from research in the science of learning to the design and evaluation of open web-based learning environments for college level courses, and in using those environments to conduct research in human learning.  

"Improvement in post secondary education will require converting teaching from a solo sport to a community-based research activity" - Herbert Simon 1991

  • University of Pennsylvania, Ed.D., Higher Education, 2013
  • Carnegie Mellon University, M.S., Information Technology, 2005
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.A., Sociology, 1980

  • Since September 2013: Assistant Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Education
  • Since September 2015: Affiliate Faculty, Stanford Neurosciences Interdepartmental Program
  • Assistant Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Education (2013-Present)
  • Carnegie Mellon University: Director, Open Learning Initiative (2002-2013:) 
  • Interaction Associates, LLC: Executive Vice President, West Coast Regional Managing Director, CFO, CIO, Consultant (1984-2002)

  • Data Analysis and Interpretation (EDUC 200A)
  • Engineering Education & Online Learning (EDUC 391/ENGR 391)
  • Lytics Seminar (EDUC 407)
  • Learning Sciences and Technology Design Research Seminar and Colloquium (EDUC 291)
  • Proseminar on Teaching and Learning (EDUC 325B)

Thille, C. & Zimmaro, D. (2017). Incorporating learning analytics in the classroom. In Zilvinskis, J. & Borden, V. (Eds.). New Directions for Higher Education.  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Koedinger, K. Liu, R., Stamper, J., Thille, C. Pavlik, P. (2017). Community based educational data repositories and analysis tools. Proceedings of the Seventh International Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference Pp. 524-525. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada  March 13, 2017. New York, NY: ACM

Thille, C. (2016). What the science of learning indicates we should do differently. In Otte, G. Goldstein, M.  (Eds.), Change We Must: Deciding the Future of Higher Education. New York, NY.

Thille, Candace M. (2016). Bridging Learning Research and Teaching Practice for the Public Good: The Learning Engineer. New York, NY: TIAA Institute.

Thille, C. Schneider, E., Kizilcec, R., Piech, C. Halawa, S., & Greene, D.  (2014). The future of data–enriched assessment. Research & Practice in Assessment, 9, 5-16.

Thille, C (2014).  MOOCs and technology to advance learning and learning research.  Ubiquity. Volume 2014 Issue April, Article No. 1 (pp.1-7).  New York, NY: ACM

Thille, C (2013) How technology is transforming higher education. Proceedings of the Aspen Institute Congressional Congress. Oct 4-7, 2013

Kaufman, J., Ryan, S., Thille, C. & Bier, N. (2013). Open Learning Initiative Courses in Community Colleges: Evidence on Use and Effectiveness. Technical Report of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Retrieved from

Thille, C. (2012). Changing the production function in higher education.  Part of the series: Making Productivity Real: Essential Readings for Campus Leaders. Washington, DC: American Council on Education. 

Strader, R. & Thille, C. (2012). The Open Learning Initiative: Enacting instruction online.  In Oblinger, D.G. (ed.) Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies. Washington, DC: Educause

Thille, C. (2012). Treating higher ed’s ‘cost disease’ with supersize online courses.  In McCormick, T. & Young, J.  (eds.) Rebooting the Academy:  12 Tech Innovators who are Transforming Campuses. Washington, DC: Chronicle of Higher Education.

Thille, C (2012). Technology: Conducive and disruptive roles in improving student success and college completion. Proceedings of 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges. Washington, DC: AACC

Thille, C.  & Smith, J. (2011). Cold rolled steel and knowledge:  What can higher education learn about productivity? Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning.  March/April 2011.

  • Steering Committee, Association for Computing Machinery Learning at Scale Conference (ACM L@S2018)
  • Co-Editor, MIT Press Learning at Scale Book Series
  • Member, American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Board of Directors
  • Member, Advisory Council of NSF Education and Human Resources
  • Member, Advisory Board of the William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation University System of Maryland
  • Member, Technical Advisory Council of the American Association of Universities STEM initiative
  • Fellow, International Society for Design and Development in Education
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