FaiREO: User Group Fairness for Equality of Opportunity in Course Recommendation

09/13/2021
by   Agoritsa Polyzou, et al.
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Course selection is challenging for students in higher educational institutions. Existing course recommendation systems make relevant suggestions to the students and help them in exploring the available courses. The recommended courses can influence students' choice of degree program, future employment, and even their socioeconomic status. This paper focuses on identifying and alleviating biases that might be present in a course recommender system. We strive to promote balanced opportunities with our suggestions to all groups of students. At the same time, we need to make recommendations of good quality to all protected groups. We formulate our approach as a multi-objective optimization problem and study the trade-offs between equal opportunity and quality. We evaluate our methods using both real-world and synthetic datasets. The results indicate that we can considerably improve fairness regarding equality of opportunity, but we will introduce some quality loss. Out of the four methods we tested, GHC-Inc and GHC-Tabu are the best performing ones with different advantageous characteristics.

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