Doctoral Consortium 2021

Doctoral Consortium 2021

Koli Calling ’21 Doctoral Consortium: AI Education for All

Koli Calling 2021 will organize a two-day pre-conference doctoral consortium (DC) on AI Education for All, from Tuesday 16th (morning) until Wednesday 17th (evening) CET, November 2021 at online / Koli, Finland. 

The doctoral consortium is organized by:

  • Prof. Matti Tedre, School of Computing, University of Eastern Finland
  • Prof. Arnold Pears, Department of Learning in Engineering Sciences, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Dr. Tapani Toivonen, School of Computing, University of Eastern Finland
  • Dr. Henriikka Vartiainen, School of Applied Educational Sciences and Teacher Education, University of Eastern Finland


During recent years, a major technological shift has triggered discussions about the need to amend computing education at all education levels. Traditional, rule-based automation has been joined by methods of Artificial Intelligence (AI), such as machine learning (ML), deep learning, and various data science methods.  Although AI drives an increasing number of apps and services popular among different sectors of the datafied society, research on how to teach the principles of AI at different levels of education is only slowly gaining momentum.

AI and data science professionals are taught at higher education levels, but AI is not yet considered a “21st century skill”, like computational thinking and fundamental programming concepts are. Computing education research has almost completely focused on traditional, rule-based programming, and there is a negligible body of literature on learners’—especially K-12 learners’—knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes concerning AI-based technology; on how learners of all ages can learn AI’s possibilities, applications, limitations, drawbacks, and how to make AI-based systems; as well as on useful pedagogical approaches for teaching them for all. 

This doctoral consortium provides opportunities for Ph.D. students to explore ideas and perspectives on computing education research on teaching artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, and related topics on different levels of education. We welcome submissions from participants at any stage of their doctoral studies.

Abstracts from all accepted DC participants will be published in 2021 Koli Calling proceedings under a special DC section. 


The consortium is designed primarily for students who are currently enrolled in a doctoral programme with a focus on computing education research or educational technology, and whose topics are related to how to use or teach machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science, or related fields in all levels of computing education, ranging from K-12 to higher education. Students who aim to carry out research in the field and who have a research plan but not yet a formal doctoral student researcher status, may apply as well.  The number of participants is limited to 10.


  • To further the research agenda of the participants by providing supportive feedback within a friendly forum
  • To provide a space where the participants are able to practice their communication skills by interacting and giving constructive feedback to their peers
  • To create and strengthen a solid network and research community among doctoral students working on similar topics
  • To foster interesting collaboration ideas/opportunities among the participants
  • To support young researchers with the necessary advice regarding research and career paths

Tentative Schedule

It is possible to participate in the DC face-to-face at Koli, or virtually through Zoom and other virtual working environments. Physical gathering at Koli is subject to prevailing COVID-19 situation and possible travel / gathering restrictions in Finland. Please consider also your own country’s and institution’s restrictions and guidance when planning participation.

All main activities of the DC will take place between 9am – 8pm Finnish time (GMT +2). The schedule is tentative and subject to change according to the schedule of the Koli Calling 2021 conference.

Day 1: Tuesday 16th November

  • Travelling from Joensuu to Koli (onsite participants)
  • Doctoral consortium starts: Introductory remarks
  • Presentations of individual research
  • Group and individual work
  • Evening programme

Day 2: Wednesday 17th November

  • Summary of Day 1.
  • Working with expert facilitation
  • Q&A panel
  • Doctoral consortium wrap-up

During the Koli Calling conference (18th – 21st of November)

  • Participation in the poster session at Koli Calling Conference
  • Special doctoral consortium activities during the conference with input from the conference participants

Accommodation and Meals

Free accommodation and meals are preliminarily arranged in shared twin rooms at (for those who arrive in person to Koli). For private rooms at the participant’s cost, there is a wide variety of choices in Koli National Park from which transport can be arranged; please contact the organizers for a list of nearby options. Travelling to Finland / Koli is not necessary for participation, but there will be also means for online communication.

Proposal Submission

Each candidate should submit:

  1. A two-page abstract of their research using the poster submission template from Koli Calling website (see
  2. A brief 1-page bio including information about previous studies, previous research topics, publications if any, and possible teaching experience or pedagogical studies 
  3. A max 1-page list of questions and topics related to your own study that you would like to discuss with the other participants and get feedback on during the doctoral consortium

Submission Deadline and Procedure 

All deadlines are Anywhere on Earth (AoE), which is UTC-12.

  • Submission deadline: September 22
  • Notification of acceptance: latest by September 29 
  • Contributions should be submitted in PDF format to the EasyChair submission system. Please select the Koli Calling DC track when making the submission. If necessary, you can make a zip package of the separate files.

Review Process

The review and decision of acceptance will take into account the following factors:

  • Novelty of the proposal
  • Quality and clarity of the contribution
  • Potential value to the work of other members of the doctoral consortium

Confidentiality of submissions will be kept throughout the review process. Each proposal receives at least three reviews.

For more information please contact Dr. Tapani Toivonen (firstname dot lastname at uef dot fi).