Biography of Michelle A. Hoyle

 * General Information

How old Michelle is, she doesn't generally admit to, so you're not likely to find out from here. When she's not busy with school, work, or working on 'bots and web pages, she likes to spend time reading. She also enjoys singing very much.

[Sound File]

short sample of me talking.
singing (~1.7 MB).
CBC interview (~3 MB) with Michelle (from 1992?).

 * Education

Michelle finished her Bachelor of Science degree in honours computing science at the University of Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, in October of 1995. After finishing, she joined the Software Engineering Group, led by Dr. Helmut Schauer, and the Artificial Intelligence Lab, led by Dr. Rolf Pfeifer, at the University of Zürich in Switzerland. She's currently working on her Ph.D. at the University of Sussex under the direction of Dr. Judith Good, head of the IDEAs Lab, in Informatics. In October of 2008, Michelle switched from primarily teaching at the Open University to starting a new Ph.D. in educational technology examining learning and motivation in World of Warcraft. She spends a lot of time teaching, writing, and chairing courses at the Open University. She finished the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (H812) at the Open University in 2010.

 * Recent/Current Jobs

Open University (Feb. 2000 - present)
Associate Lecturer in Maths, Computing and Technology (Region 13, UK)
Associate Lecturer in Institute of Educational Technology (Region 13, UK)
Moderator - Web Application Development Certificate
Course Presentation Chair - Web Application Development Certificate
Course Author - TT281 and TT381 in Web Application Development Certificate

Award-winning associate lecturer at the Open University, starting with their first on-line distance education courses "You, Your Computer, and the Net" (T171) and "Learning Online: Computing with Confidence" (TU170). She is or has also been a moderator for "Web Applications: Design, Development, and Management" (TT280), "Client Side Development" (TT281), and "Open Source Development Tools" (TT381). She has been the course presentation chairs of both TT281 and TT381, and is/has been a member of those Course Team, developing themes, writing assessment material, writing study guides, and checking content for TT280/TT281. She provides a contact point for students interested in learning more about how they can live with computers and make productive use of both computers and the Internet in their own lives. Her work entails marking assignments, as well as moderating discussions, and providing guidance and extra material as required, depending on the course. 2008 saw her starting as an associate lecturer on the new E-Business Technologies: Foundations and Practice (T320) course.

M150 Feb 2008, Feb 2006, Feb 2005, Feb 2004
T171 Feb 2003, Feb 2002, Feb 2001, May 2000
T320 Feb 2009, Feb 2008
(Course-wide Moderator)
Feb 2011, Feb 2010, Feb 2009
TT280 Feb 2003 (Course Team), Oct 2002, May 2002
(Course Presentation Chair)
Feb 2007, May 2006, Feb 2006, May 2005, Oct 2004
TT281 Feb 2008, May 2004, October 2003, May 2003
(Course Presentation Chair)
May 2011, Feb 2011, May 2010, Feb 2010, Feb 2009, Oct 2007, May 2007
TT381 May 2009, May 2008, Feb 2007, May 2006, Feb 2006, May 2005, Oct 2004, May 2004
TU170 Feb 2002
(Critical Reader)

In September of 2008, she joined the Institute of Educational Technology as an associate lecturer on the postgraduate course H810: Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students.

H810 Sept 2010, Sept 2008


Transcena Design (Mar. 1998 - May 2009)
Vice-President, Web Technologies (Brighton, UK/Edmonton, Canada)

Design and implement commercial web sites, including backend CGI programming in Perl, PHP, or JavaScript as necessary. Nifty effects provided courtesy of JavaScript and Java programming. On the print medium side, prepare graphics for high-definition printing as well as doing layout and proofing for brochures and periodicals. Keep current on new web technologies, as well as be conversant with up and coming technologies that might be of use in the commercial design market.


Department of Computer Science (Apr. 1998 - Aug. 1999)
University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada)

Lecturer for CS 101, An Introduction to Computers. Entailed organizing material, teaching, composing exams and assignments, and supervising teaching assistants and designing/maintaining web pages for the course, including the creation of an online discussion forum.

During stint at the University of Alberta, she taught 7 undergraduate classes, with an enrollment of around 800 students.


Faculty of Arts Outreach (Apr. 1998 - Aug. 1999)
Grant MacEwan Community College (Edmonton, Canada)

Lecturer and lab instructor for CS 101, An Introduction to Computers, in the Spring Intersession. Entailed organizing material, teaching, composing exams and assignments, and supervising students in lab.


Institut für Informatik (Oct. 1995 - August 1999)
University of Zürich (Zürich, Switzerland)
Research Assistant

Create chaos and mayhem in orderly Swiss society. When not creating chaos, teach classes in computer science (Pascal and Java programming), help edit papers, and work on computational linguistics for use in natural language understanding of textual material likely to be found in the domain of the Internet. In addition, study and design intelligent agents for information filtering and methods for applying software engineering and Internet technology to the the field of distance education.


Institute for Information Systems (Summer 1996)
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Zürich, Switzerland)
Research Assistant

Develop and implement a testing methodology for the Spider Information Retrieval System at the Swiss Technical Institute in Zurich, under the direction of Dr. Peter Schäuble.


CineNet (Oct. 1995 - Feb. 1998)
Reviewer (Switzerland)

CineNet is Switzerland's online guide to what is playing in theatres around Switzerland. This requires people to watch the movies in advance, write up previews, and provide critical commentary prior to the general release of the movie.


IRIS/PreCarn (1993- Sept.1995)
University of Regina (Regina, Canada)
Research Assistant

Perform duties as required for a dispersed, distributed group of AI researchers across Canada, funded by IRIS/PreCarn. For the most part, these duties consist of support for conferences and accumulation and report writing for the individual project groups for presentation to the funding agency.


Computational Intelligence: An International Journal (1991 - Jan 1996)
Editorial Assistant

Database design for in-house database and databases intended for distribution, and database management on the Macintosh; corresponding with the publishers, authors, and editors via mail and e-mail; design of forms and promotional materials for the web and more traditional media distribution methods; and maintenance of a Web server and an FTP site.

 * Previous Research Projects

Search Engines - Despite the rapid proliferation of sites on the Internet which promise to help you find what you're looking for on the web, it's well-known that people do experience difficulties in their searches. I started working on a project in 1996 researching new ways to compare documents. The idea was if you can take a pair of documents and decide that they are similar in content, you have the opportunity to build a search engine that returns results that are more relevant to what a user actually wants. I was using the lexicographic tool WordNet to obtain an idea of what a document is about.

Adaptive Learning Agents for Information Filtering - In today's fast- paced world, people are deluged with data and information from traditional media sources such as television and newspapers and now from the information highway. So much information is barraging people that a term -- information overload -- has been coined to describe the point at which a person simply cannot absorb any more information. My current research is into adaptive user interfaces which aid people in filtering through the sea of data based on an intelligent understanding of their current interests so as to avoid information overload.

 * Recreational Computer Projects

Internet Relay Chat Game Bots -- Previously, I worked with Kenrick J. Mock on producing high-quality, addictive text-based games for the Internet Relay Chat. To date, Kenrick and I have collaborated on Risky Business, which is a quiz game show, and Chaos, which is a team game where people spit out as many items in a category as possible, and Acrophobia, an acronym expansion game. I now work on these games alone for the servers where I run the games and have since produced MadLib (in conjunction with Mark Traas) and Bosh. As a sideline to the actual design and programming of these games, I also provided a web service and discussion forum for people to find out about the games and to obtain information on writing categories and questions for the games.

BBSs and Beyond -- I ran the Human Impact Lab, a Citadel BBS, for several years on a variety of platforms. Over the years, I have written many utilities, especially ones for networking with other non-Citadel bulletin boards, and for manipulating the message base in preparation for such networking attempts. Some of the utilities have been distributed to other members of the BBS network. The BBS community, however, has grown too small and I have graduated to the Internet. I find the universe of the Internet to be a very fascinating microcosm of humanity, and I am interested in developing tools which help people deal with the immenseness of the Internet. As part of my fascination, I was running a standalone IRC server,, which served as a testbed for my IRC games and provided a little virtual community which could be studied.

Computing Science 100 -- In the fall of 1994, I gave a lecture for 400 students from all disciplines and of all ages on the history of computing and on designing web pages. The entire lecture was created on computer and using an advanced colour LCD display system from Sharp, I was even able to show the colour pictures right from the computer in the lecture hall. After the lecture was completed, an HTML version of the lecture and copies of all the slides were placed onto my local web server. This is now an award-winning web presentation, with licensing available to educators for use in non-networked classrooms. This material has recently been recognized for its content by Britannica Online.

Guest Editor's Suite -- This is a set of three databases designed from scratch, including an appropriate set of consistent icons across the integrated set. The suite is designed to provide guest editors for the Journal with a set of tools for tracking manuscripts from the beginning, where they decide to do a special issue, to the final point, where the issue is ready to be published. The software is designed to be easy to use and comes with a comprehensive manual and troubleshooting guide. This was designed for CI and was being distributed to guest editors.

 * Other Interests

Languages -- I took German courses for a number of semesters as well as French. If pressed, I'll also confess to having mutilated Cantonese and Mandarin upon occasion. My German professor was very interested in computers and education and we both are fascinated with systems which can do automatic language translation. How people use language and the analysis of language was a longstanding interest of mine, especially in my first Ph.D. project using natural language to improve web search.

Computers in Education -- Continuing my previous interest in computers and education at the University of Regina, the software engineering group also studied how to apply computers to various levels of teaching where I was in Switzerland. It was easily predictable that I shall somehow become involved in this effort, probably in the domain of the WWW and distance education and I followed up on this by starting a Ph.D. in educational technology in October of 2008. It is this interest that led to tutoring for the Open University's online courses.

Reading -- I love to read. I have several thousand books at home, which I seem to have to move quite frequently. My favourite genre is probably science fiction. I positively adored much of Asimov's and Heinlein's earlier works. I also quite like Greg Bear, C.J. Cherryh, Charles Sheffield, Connie Willis, and Clifford B. Simak. (A very old, typical sampling of my bookshelf is available here.) In addition to science fiction, I also read a great deal of general fiction and non-fiction. I am interested in cognitive psychology, computer topics, and different cultures and languages. Some of my many favourite general fiction authors are Isabel Allende and Joanne Harris.

Writing -- I have been a journal and reflective writer on/off throughout the years in addition to writing research papers and teaching materials. In 2004, I officially launched a web site dedicated to my personal writing and thoughts called Ein2 (Ein Zwei). A separate site, devoted to my teaching and academic work, is The Einiverse. WoW Learning is a separate website devoted to my research work in World of Warcraft and learning.

Contacting Michelle

[telephone]I generally can't be contacted by telephone.

[mail] ein AT

[ICQ] My ICQ paging number is 3836725 (Eingang).

[Twitter]Follow me on Twitter. I'm Eingang for my research and OUEin for students in my courses.

[Welcome Page]
Michelle A. Hoyle
About Me, Monday, June 13, 2011