Dr Thushari Atapattu

Dr Thushari Atapattu
 Position Research Associate
 Org Unit School of Computer Science
 Email thushari.atapattu@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 9077
 Location Floor/Room 4 46 ,  Ingkarni Wardli ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    2015- : Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Computer Science, University of Adelaide

    2011-2014: PhD in Computer Science, University of Adelaide

    2010-2011: Software Engineer

    2008-2009: Research Assistant, University of Colombo School of Computing

    2004-2008: Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons), University of Colombo

  • Awards & Achievements

    2017: Adelaide Women's Research Excellence Award

    2015: Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence

    2013: Finalist for Google Anita Borg scholarship (PhD category in Asia-Pacific Region)

    2012: Google PhD Travel Award

    2011: University of Adelaide PhD Scholarship

  • Teaching Interests

    I will be teaching following courses;

    2019 (Semester 2): COMP SCI 1106 - Introduction to Software Engineering

    2017 (Semester 1): COMP SCI 7098 - Master of Computing & Innovation Project

    2017 (Semester 2): COMP SCI 1106 - Introduction to Software Engineering

  • Research Interests

    My research focuses on better understanding the latent discourse aspects in large corpora of natural language text, and using this understanding to build computational models that can improve human communication process. My research interests lie in the areas of text mining, natural language processing, discourse processing, and educational technology. Some of my recent research projects explores;

    1. Using linguistic fingerprints to combat cyberbullying,
    2. Modeling language related to mental health using social media data,
    3. Impact of teachers’ academic discourse in lecture videos for students’ video engagement in massive classrooms (MOOCs),
    4. Modeling coginitive engagement and measuring new knowledge construction in online teacher professional development MOOCs
    5. Language and discourse aspects of learners’ with ‘confused’ state in massive open online courses (MOOCs)

     For potential students (Honours, Masters and PhD):

    If you have a passion for any of the above areas and would like to pursue higher studies in the University of Adelaide, feel free to email me with your current CV, transcripts of all degrees and a statement about your research interest.

    Some information about Postgraduate scholarship (domestic and international) can be found here


    Current HDR/Research students

    PhD students

    Menasha Thilakaratne (PhD) with Katrina Falkner - Literature-based knowledge discovery using Natural Language Processing techniques, 2017-2020

    Lavendini Sivaneasharajah (PhD) with Katrina Falkner - User roles in online learning context through linguistic expressions, 2018-2021


    Georgia Zhang (Topics in Computer Science), Detection of Cyberbullying aginst minorities, 2019

    Dung Anh Hoang (Topics in Computer Science), Automated identification of mental health issues in Social media, 2019

    Alexa Ng (Topics in Computer Science), Impact of semantic relatedness of course content for video learning, 2018

    Roland Croft (Topics in Computer Science) with Christoph Treude, Identifying the topics of Stack Overflow discussions, 2017


  • Research Funding

    K. Falkner, R. Vivian, and T. Atapattu, Artificial Intelligence resources to support the Artificial Intelligence in schools initiative, Department of Education & Training, $585,000 (2019)

    K. Falkner, R. Vivian and T. Atapattu, AI Professional Development program for K-12 teachers in support of the Digital Technologies Curriculum in Australia, Google Australia & New Zealand, $83,749 (2019).

    K. Falkner, R. Vivian and T. Atapattu, Understanding the relationship between social community formation and progression within MOOC environments, Research Contract, Google Australia, $37,687 (2017).

  • Publications


    Atapattu, T., Thilakaratne, M., Vivian, R., Falkner, K. Detecting Cognitive Engagement using Word Embeddings within an Online Teacher Professional Development Community, Computers and Education, May 2019 (In press)



    Prana, G. A., Treude, C., Thung, F. Atapattu, T., Lo, D. Categorising the content of Github README files. Emprirical Software Engineering, September 2018


    Atapattu, T. & Falkner, K. Impact of Lecturer’s Discourse for Students’ Video Interactions: Video Learning Analytics Case Study of MOOCs, Journal of Learning Analytics, May 2018

    Thilakaratne, M., Falkner, K., Atapattu, T. Automatic Detection of Cross-Disciplinary Knowledge Associations. Student Research Workshop of 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Melbourne, Australia, July 2018


    Atapattu, T., Falkner, K. and Falkner, N. A Comprehensive text analysis of Lecture Slides to Generate Concept Maps. Computers & Education, 115, pp. 96-113, December 2017

    Atapattu, T., Falkner, K. Discourse analysis to improve the effective engagement of MOOC videos. Accepted for the 7th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference (LAK), Vancouver, BC, Canada, March 2017


    Atapattu, T., Falkner, K. and Tarmazdi, H. Topic-wise classification of MOOC discussions: A visual analytics approach. Proceedings of the 9th International conference on Educational Data Mining (EDM), Raleigh, NC, USA, June 2016

    Atapattu, T., Falkner, K. A Framework for Topic Generation and Labeling from MOOC Discussions. Proceedings of the Third Annual ACM Conference on Learning at Scale (L@S), Edinburgh, Scotland, April 2016


    Atapattu, T., Falkner, K. and Falkner, N. Educational Question Answering Motivated by Question-specific Concept Maps. Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED), Madrid, Spain, June 2015 (Nominated for Best Paper Award)

    Atapattu, T., Falkner, K. and Falkner, N. Task-adapted Concept Map Scaffolding to Support Quizzes in an Online Environment. Proceedings of the 20th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE), Vilnius, Lithuania, July 2015

    Atapattu, T., Falkner, K. and Falkner, N. An Evaluation Methodology for Concept Maps Mined from Lecture Notes: An Educational Perspective. Communications in Computer and Information Science (CCIS), 510, pp, 68-83, Springer International Publishing, 2015 (Book Chapter)


    Atapattu, T., Falkner, K. and Falkner, N. Acquisition of Triples of Knowledge from Lecture Notes: A Natural Language Processing approach. Proceedings of the 7th International conference on Educational Data Mining (EDM), London, July 2014

    Atapattu, T., Falkner, K. and Falkner, N. Evaluation of Concept Importance in Concept Maps Mined from Lecture Notes: Computer vs Human. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Computer Supported Education, Barcelona, Spain, April 2014 (Nominated for Best Student Paper Award)


    Atapattu, T. Automated Generation of Practice Questions from Semi-Structured Lecture Notes. ICER' 12, Auckland, New Zealand, Sep 2012 (Doctoral abstract)

    Atapattu, T., Falkner, K. and Falkner, N. Automated Extraction of Semantic Concepts From Semi-Structured Data: Supporting Computer-based Education through the Analysis of Lecture Notes. Dexa 2012, Vienna, Austria, Sep 2012


    Atapattu, T., De Zoysa, K. Accessing an Interactive learning tool using telephone communications. In the proceedings of the ICT2010, Singapore, June 2010


    Atapattu, T., De Zoysa, K. V-Learning: Using voice for Distant Learning in Emerging Regions. In the proceedings of the International conference on Computer Supported Education, Lisboa, Portugal, March 2009


    Unpublished works

    Atapattu, T., Falkner, K., Falkner, N. and Palmer, E. 2015. A computational model for task-adapted knowledge organisation: improving learning through concept maps extracted from lecture slides, University of Adelaide, Australia (PhD thesis)


  • Professional Associations

    Association for Computer Linguistics (ACL)

    International Artificial Intelligence in Education Society (IAIED)

    Society for Learning Analytics Research (SOLAR)

    International Educational Data Mining Society (IEDM)


  • Community Engagement

    Developer of Teaching AI in Primary and Secondary classroom course

    Co-developer and co-instructor for the CSER Digital technologies MOOC (Next steps) for Years 7-8

    Committee member of Higher Education Research Group of Adelaide (HERGA)

    Member of Google Anita Borg Alumni community

    Member of Learning Analytics Community of Practice - University of Adelaide

    Committee member of Learning Analytics Operations Group (LAOG) - University of Adelaide

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Entry last updated: Wednesday, 14 Aug 2019

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