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Eleanor O’Rourke

Eleanor O’Rourke

  • Assistant Professor, Learning Sciences
  • Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Academic Area

Learning Sciences

Research Interests

Design of technology-enabled learning experiences, educational games and playful learning, growth mindset interventions, connected classroom ecosystems.


Eleanor O’Rourke is an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University with a joint appointment in Computer Science and the Learning Sciences. Her research lies at the intersection of human-computer interaction and education with a focus on developing playful data-driven systems to support learning in diverse classroom and online environments. Some of O’Rourke’s recent projects have included the design of incentive structures to promote growth mindset behaviors in educational games and studying the use of personalized learning systems for the classroom that visualize student data in real-time to support teachers. Her interventions have been used by over 100,000 students online, adopted by companies, and integrated into classrooms.  

Eleanor O’Rourke earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington as a member of the Center for Game Science. She received her undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Spanish from Colby College. Her work has been recognized through several awards and scholarships, including the Google Anita Borg Scholarship and the Microsoft Research Graduate Women’s Scholarship.


  • PhD, Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington, 2016
  • MS, Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington, 2012
  • BA, Computer Science and Spanish, Colby College

Selected Publications

Eleanor O’Rourke, Erik Andersen, Sumit Gulwani, Zoran Popovic (2015). A Framework for Automatically Generating Interactive Instructional Scaffolding. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2015).

Eleanor O’Rourke, Christy Ballweber, Zoran Popovic (2014). Hint Systems May Negatively Impact Performance in Educational Games. Proceedings of the First Annual ACM Conference on Learning at Scale (L@S 2014).

Eleanor O’Rourke, Kyla Haimovitz, Christy Ballweber, Carol S. Dweck, Zoran Popovic (2014). Brain Points: A Growth Mindset Incentive Structure Boosts Persistence in an Educational Game. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2014).