Gloria, welcome to CIC! Can you tell us a bit about yourself – where did you grow up, and how did you get interested in computing?
Hi, my name is Gloria Milena Fernandez Nieto I am from Bogotá, Colombia. When I was at middle school I emphasize my training in Science and Maths, since then I identify the variety of fields in science chemistry, biology, physics and maths. Because of that, I decided to study computer science at Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas (UDFJC) as a career. During my bachelor programme I had the chance to work in a research group, where I learn different things about formal research, e-learning, knowledge management, information theories and new technologies.
Further, I start a three years Master at Universidad de Los Andes (UA) in Bogotá, Colombia, some of the courses in my master (especially Big Data course) gives me a new view of data science. At UA my research was focused on Learning Analytics, analysing patterns in student’s behaviour in MOOCs. Nowadays, I am delighted exploring new alternatives of Learning Analytics (LA) as part of my PhD candidature here at CIC.
Is there a Big Question that fascinates you?
The Big Question for me is: how to give meaning to multimodal data to enhance teaching and learning process in blended scenarios? I can see a huge potential in analytics in both physical and virtual spaces, I think linking both could bring the possibility to model learner’s profile in a more complete way. However, there is a huge challenge, which is try to find the most suitable combination of social sciences like education and psychology with computer sciences.
Can you summarise the goals of your PhD for us?
In my PhD I will analyse student’s behaviour within the classroom (physical space) and online spaces. As this is my first year I am still identifying which could be my main contribution in the field, but as I mention before the huge challenge is to give meaning to raw data and translate that data into output that can bring insight (feedback, assessment etc.) in teaching and learning process.
What are your first impressions of Sydney, and CIC?
Sydney is 16 hours apart from Colombia, when I first arrive I thought it is going to be difficult to be so far away from home, but now I realized that it is not, I could find the best times to talk with my family and more important here in Sydney I have found a lot of amazing people, they are very kind and have helped me. The work environment here in CIC is amazing, people are very open to share what they are doing in their research and they (students and advisors) are always telling me important tips to succeed in the PhD.
I am very grateful with UTS for offering me the International Research Training Program Scholarship (IRTP), with Simon Buckingham Shum for give me the chance to be part of CIC, and Kirsty Kitto and Roberto Maldonado for advising me at my work.
How can people get in touch with you to learn more?
You can contact me via:
Now, I am working on my blog as soon as I have a version to release I will tell you.