Join us each Thursday during the fall and spring semesters as we present interesting speakers on topics ranging from current areas of interest in HCI, software demos/reviews, study design, proposed research topics and more. The BBL is the one hour a week where we all come together and provide HCIL members the opportunity to build collaborations, increase awareness of each other’s activities, and generally just have a bit of fun together.
When: Every Thursday during the semester from 12:30pm – 1:30pm ET
If you would like to give (or suggest) a future BBL talk, send email to HCIL Director Jessica Vitak (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your proposed talk title, a brief abstract, and you bio.
Miss a talk that you were interested in? Check our YouTube channel to see if it was recorded. Most are, some are not; based on permissions from the speakers.
Fall 2021 Semester
Date: Thursday, September 16, 2021
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET
Talk Title: Where NLP meets people
Speaker: Hal Daumé III, Professor, Computer Science Department, University of Maryland
Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register
Abstract: Although natural language processing is about language and language is about people, a lot of research in this space in the past has abstracted away the “people” part. In this talk, I’ll briefly summarize some recent past work on bringing “people” back in, focusing on two pillars: (1) language systems that interact with people, and (2) addressing potential harms of language systems on stakeholder populations. Mostly I’ll talk about upcoming/ongoing projects, also following these two pillars, in settings like computational models of stereotyping, designing technology for content moderation, and interactive summarization.
Bio: Hal Daumé III is a Perotto Professor in Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park; he also spends time at Microsoft Research, New York City. He holds joint appointments in UMIACS and Language Science. For more information, see his website: https://users.umiacs.umd.edu/~hal/
Date: Thursday, September 9, 2021
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET
Talk Title: Communities, Computing & the Carolinas
Speaker: Tammy Clegg, Associate Professor, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland
Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register
Abstract: Recently, I was invited to give a keynote talk at the ACM International Computing Education Research Conference. After putting this talk together, I wanted to share it with my home research community as it included personal reflections on how my own approach to learning and HCI has been shaped by my early experiences in CS. In this talk I will trace my own entree into Computer Science as a woman of color in North Carolina, sharing ways community experiences played pivotal roles. More broadly, I will share research insights from my research that illustrate the pivotal role of communities for STEM learning and that point to ways to mobilize communities to support such learning. Lastly, I will share some examples of STEM and computing learning environments that draw upon inherent characteristics of communities to promote life-relevant STEM learning.
Bio: Tamara Clegg is an associate professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, where she co-directs the Youth eXperience (YX) Lab. She received her Ph.D. from Georgia Tech’s College of Computing and her B.S. in Computer Science from North Carolina State University. Tamara’s work focuses on designing technology (e.g., social media, mobile apps, e-textiles, community displays) to support life-relevant learning where learners, particularly those from underrepresented groups in science, engage in science in the context of achieving personally relevant goals. She seeks to understand ways such learning environments and technologies support scientific disposition development. Tamara’s work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Studies, and Google.
Date: Thursday, September 2, 2021
Location: iSchool Commons (HBK 0300)
Details: Join us for our welcome back to campus event. We’ll do introductions, catch up with lab members and their research, and have pizza. We’ll also have former HCIL director Niklas Elmqvist officially pass the torch (er, hockey stick) to incoming director Jessica Vitak. The event will be held in the iSchool Commons to give us more space to spread out.
Past BBL Events
Spring 2021 Semester
1/28 | Special Event led by Catherine Plaisant & Joel Chan
— Tagging the Historical CHI Video Archive (Watch-and-Hack-athon)
Abstract. The HCIL has worked to digitize 100’s of early CHI Videos from 1983 to 2002. Those videos show pioneering work and are important to our field. They are starting to be posted online but most have no keywords to help people find videos of interest. In teams (i.e. zoom rooms) we will watch a set of videos, tag them, then get back together and share impressions and thoughts about the videos we saw.
Bios. Catherine Plaisant is a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and Associate Director of Research of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Catherine earned a Doctorat d’Ingénieur degree in France (similar to an Industrial Engineering PhD). In 1988 she joined the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory where she has been working with multidisciplinary teams on designing and evaluating new interface technologies that are useful and usable.
Joel Chan is an Assistant Professor in the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies (iSchool), and Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL). His research and teaching focus on the intersection of people, information, and creativity. He wants to know how they (can best) combine to enable us to design the future(s) we want to live in. His work has been recognized with a Best Paper Award at the ASME Design Theory and Methodology conference, the Design Studies Award 2015, and supported by an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Project Scientist in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.
2/4 | Pardis Miri
— Facilitating Affect Regulation Using a Vibrotactile Technology
Abstract. Dr. Miri will discuss her work on designing vibrotactile technologies to facilitate affect regulation. Specifically, she will cover how she designed, engineered, and evaluated a vibrotactile breathing pacer to help with stress reduction in a population of young college students. She will discuss whether the pacer was effective in anxiety reduction (both in self report and psychophysiology measures) and, where effective for whom it was effective (e.g., for those low on Big Five Openness, the device was more effective). She will then discuss how she built on the knowledge gained from a college student population, and is currently targeting her research for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Bio. Pardis Miri, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, where she is working at the intersection of human computer interaction and affective science. Such research is highly interdisciplinary, and involves computer systems, human-computer interaction, psychology, and behavioral science. She is being advised by Professor Keith Marzullo at the University of Maryland iSchool, whose research is on distributed systems, and by Professor James Gross, whose research underlies much of what we now know about emotion regulation. She is also working with Professor Antonio Hardan of the Stanford School of Medicine, whose research is on children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Dr. Miri leads a multidisciplinary research team in the Stanford Psychophysiology Lab (the WEHAB team) aimed at the design, engineering, and evaluation of technologies to help people to successfully manage their emotions, moods, and stress responses. She is interested in both neurotypical and neurodiverse populations. Specifically, her work focuses on using theoretically-grounded and data-driven approaches to engineer end-to-end systems that empower people to regulate their unwanted affective experiences and behaviors in their everyday lives. Then, by running carefully-designed clinical experiments, she examines both the average effect (whether the system was effective in changing affect) and the heterogeneous effect (for whom the system was effective). The results of this research will inform practice about what types of interventions are more useful for what type of trait and state individual differences, and will reduce the use of drugs in personalized mental healthcare. To know more, please visit https://wehab.stanford.edu
2/11 | Nick Diakopoulos
— Automating the News: How Algorithms are Rewriting the Media
Abstract. Amid the push for self-driving cars and the roboticization of industrial economies, automation has proven one of the biggest news stories of our time. Yet the wide-scale automation of the news itself has largely escaped attention. In this rapidly shifting terrain, Nicholas Diakopoulos focuses on the people who tell the stories—increasingly with the help of computer algorithms that are fundamentally changing the creation, dissemination, and reception of the news.
Diakopoulos reveals how machine learning and data mining have transformed investigative journalism. Newsbots converse with social media audiences, distributing stories and receiving feedback. Online media has become a platform for A/B testing of content, helping journalists to better understand what moves audiences. Algorithms can even draft certain kinds of stories. These techniques enable media organizations to take advantage of experiments and economies of scale, enhancing the sustainability of the fourth estate. But they also place pressure on editorial decision-making, because they allow journalists to produce more stories, sometimes better ones, but rarely both.
Bio. Nicholas Diakopoulos is an Associate Professor in Communication Studies and Computer Science (by courtesy) at Northwestern University where he directs the Computational Journalism Lab. He is also a Tow Fellow at Columbia University School of Journalism as well as Associate Professor II at the University of Bergen Department of Information Science and Media Studies. His research focuses on computational journalism, including aspects of automation and algorithms in news production, algorithmic accountability and transparency, and social media in news contexts. He is author of the book, Automating the News: How Algorithms are Rewriting the Media, published by Harvard University Press. Recently he was a resident researcher in the Computational Political Journalism Lab at the Washington Post. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Computer Science from the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and his Sc.B. degree in Computer Engineering from Brown University.
2/18 | Camous closed today due to inclement weather —- WILL BE RESCHEDULED FOR A LATER DATE
2/25 | Cory Lebson
— Working in UX: During a Pandemic and Beyond
Abstract. Across the world, Covid-19 has led to lost jobs, economic stress and general uncertainty about what will come next. But how, specifically, have UX jobs been impacted? In this talk, Cory will provide an on-the-ground perspective on how Covid has impacted his UX work and provide perspective on what may be different about doing UX work in 2021 and eventually post-Covid.
Bio. Cory Lebson has been a user experience consultant for over 20 years and is the Principal and Owner of Lebsontech LLC. Lebsontech is focused on user research and evaluation, user experience strategy and UX training. Cory is the author of The UX Careers Handbook and is a LinkedIn Learning instructor. Cory also speaks frequently, has been featured on the radio and has also published a number of articles in a variety of professional publications. Cory has an MBA in marketing and technology management, as well as an MA in sociology and a BS in psychology (from UMD). Cory is a past president of the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) International and is also a past president of the UXPA DC Chapter.
3/4 | Kent Norman
— Information Integration Theory and the Human-Computer Interface
Abstract. Information Integration Theory (IIT) was developed in the 1960’s by Norman H. Anderson. It is a comprehensive theory on how people assess information of different types from different sources to form an overall judgment or decision. It has been used to scale information, determine the integration function, and measure the weighting of factors of information.While I was trained in IIT as a graduate student at the University of Iowa and a post doc at UCSD with Anderson and published numerous studies in the 70’s and 80’s, I failed to truly carry it through to research in HCI and more recently the psychology of video games. In atonement, I present this talk and propose new research methods using the experimental designs of IIT to reap the benefits of IIT in human-computer interaction.
Bio. Kent L. Norman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_Norman) received his doctorate from the University of Iowa in Experimental Psychology, 1973. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland where he was the director of the Laboratory for Automation Psychology and Decision Processes, (LAPPD) and is a founding member of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory since 1984. His research is on judgment and decision making, human/computer interaction, cognitive issues in interface design, usability research, and the design of electronic educational environments. During the last ten years his research lab has studied psychological aspects of video games including factors of attraction and immersion, violent acts in video games, and an assessment of skills required for different genres of games. He is the developer of HyperCourseware™, a prototype for blended classroom and Web-based learning and the co-developer of the QUIS™, the Questionnaire for Interaction Satisfaction. His most recent book is Cyberpsychology: An introduction the human-computer interaction, Second Edition (2017). He retired January 2018 after 42 years at the University of Maryland.
3/11 | Bill Killam
— The Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Tool: A Case Study
Abstract. The Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Tool redesign project is a good, albeit rare, example of a “soup-to-nuts” project. The project was conducted by the Human Factors Engineering firm I direct, for the National Cancer Institute . It involved literature research, interaction design, and iterative design as well as both qualitative and quantitative evaluations. After describing multiple interactive visualization designs we will discuss evaluation results and show a demonstration of the final implementation. The origin of the project provides some insight into when and how user experience design issues become the focus of a project in the corporate world. Sadly, it also shows when and how user experience design is forgotten in the corporate world.
Bio. Bill Killam is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland and teaches undergraduate courses on interaction design, research methods, and usability testing. He also teaches the HCIL Open House’s longest running tutorial (every year since 2000 and counting). He has a BS in electrical engineering and an MA in psychology and is board certified in Human Factors Engineering. In addition to teaching, he runs a Human Factors Engineering consulting firm out of Ashburn, VA.
3/18 | Spring Break
3/25 | Hernisa Kacorri, Catherine Plaisant
— Tips and Tricks to Prepare Videos and Make them Accessible
Abstract. We will share general principles and tips to produce high quality videos (software demonstrations, talk presentations, etc.) then open the floor to hear from other members of HCIL what other techniques you have found useful or what questions you have. We will pay particular attention to steps you should take to make your videos accessible. This session is NOT an introduction to video editing tools. It will focus on producing research videos for conferences such as CHI, VIS or CSCW.
Bios. Hernisa Kacorri is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies. She holds an affiliate appointment in the Department of Computer Science and the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park and serves as a core faculty at the Trace R&D Center. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2016 from The Graduate Center at City University of New York, and has conducted research at the University of Athens, IBM Research-Tokyo, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and Carnegie Mellon University. Her research focuses on data-driven technologies that can benefit the disability community, with an emphasis on rigorous, user-based experimental methodologies to assess impact. Hernisa is a recipient of a Mina Rees Dissertation Fellowship in the Sciences, an ACM ASSETS best paper award and a best paper finalist, an ACM CHI honorable mention award, and an IEEE WACV best paper award. She has been recognized by the Rising Stars in EECS program of CMU/MIT.
Catherine Plaisant is a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and Associate Director of Research of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Catherine earned a Doctorat d’Ingénieur degree in France (similar to an Industrial Engineering PhD). In 1988 she joined the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory where she has been working with multidisciplinary teams on designing and evaluating new interface technologies that are useful and usable.
4/1 | Sungsoo Ray Hong
— Towards Alignable AIs: Helping humans to better understand, steer, and use deep neural networks
Abstract. As the use of machine learning models in product development and data-driven decision-making processes became pervasive in many domains, people’s focus on building a well-performing model has rapidly shifted to understanding how their model works. Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in understanding how Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) work under the hood and more importantly, how we can adjust the way DNNs work based on our knowledge and expectation. However, DNNs’ architecture offers limited transparency, imposing significant challenges in (1) determining when DNNs make unsuccessful predictions with potential bias and more importantly, and (2) improving the model to make the future behavior align with human expectation. In this talk, I will introduce my approach and vision towards establishing an interactive platform that assists data scientists in steering DNNs in a more cost-efficient, effective, and useful way. At the beginning of the talk, I introduce a formative study that aimed at deeply understanding the current practice of data scientists who apply explainable AI tools in designing, building, and deploying machine learning models. Then I introduce my recent approaches focusing on leveraging interactive attention mechanisms towards empowering users to better steering DNNs in the stage of data collection/annotation and model building stages.
Bio. Ray Hong is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Information Sciences and Technology at George Mason University. He earned his Ph.D. in Human-Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington. In Mason, he directs the Alignment lab where members focusing on bridging the gap between humans’ mental models and the way that AI operates by designing novel tools and establishing theories in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer-supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). His ultimate mission is to improve the way people interact with and tune AIs to have trustworthy and unbiased insights and decisions. Before joining the University of Washington, he had 5 years of industry experience at Samsung Research where he contributed to commercializing digital products adopted in Samsung’s millions of mobile and home devices.
4/8 | Dick Horst
— Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night, nor difficult to use websites, nor Covid-19 — User Research for the U.S. Postal Service
Abstract. Dick Horst is the founder and president of UserWorks, a DC-area consulting firm that specializes in UX design and evaluation. For the last ten years, UserWorks has been supporting Booz Allen Hamilton in helping the U.S. Postal Service enhance its web presence. The work has involved a series of user research studies that have utilized a variety of user research methods to address a wide range of interaction design issues. It thus serves as a good example of an ongoing program of support for an enlightened client who appreciates the value of a user-centered design process and who has had a sustained commitment to user research in implementing their online business processes. Dick will provide an overview of this work, including some of the challenges involved, design issues of interest, the UX methods employed, and the types of design improvements that have been recommended (and in most cases implemented). He will use this case study to address some of the similarities and differences between this sort of applied user research and the more academic cognitive research and tool development for which the HCIL is so well known.
Bio. Dr. Horst founded UserWorks over 30 years ago and has piloted the company through business upturns and downturns, including the current Covid-19 pandemic. He has a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University, a masters and Ph.D. degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University in cognitive psychology, and a background in psychophysiological research, having conducted his dissertation research at the University of Illinois and worked early in his career at the University of Maryland Medical School.
4/15 | Martez Mott
— Accessible Virtual Reality for People with Limited Mobility
Abstract. Virtual reality (VR) offers new and compelling ways for people to interact with digital content. VR provides immersive experiences that can be beneficial in various domains, such as gaming, training simulations, education, communication, and design. As VR technologies continue to mature, and as commercial VR systems continue to grow in popularity, an opportunity exist to understand how to incorporate accessibility as a fundamental component in the design of VR systems and applications. This talk will describe ongoing research to understand and eliminate accessibility barriers that prevent people with limited mobility from engaging with VR.
Bio. Martez Mott is a Senior Researcher in the Ability Group at Microsoft Research. His research is focused on designing, implementing, and evaluating intelligent interaction techniques that improve the accessibility of computing devices for people with diverse motor and sensory abilities. His current research focuses on identifying and overcoming accessibility barriers embedded in the design of virtual and augmented reality systems. Martez is passionate about improving diversity in the CS and HCI communities. He co-chaired the 2020 CHIMe Workshop, is serving on the steering committee for CHIMe 2021, and co-founded the Black Researchers @ MSR group. Martez received his Ph.D. in Information Science from the Information School at the University of Washington. Prior to attending UW, he received his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from Bowling Green State University.
4/22 | Thijs Roumen
— Portable Laser-Cutting: Transitioning From 1000s of Users to Millions of Users
Abstract. Laser-cut 3D models shared online tend to be basic and trivial—models build over long periods of time and by multiple designers are few/nonexistent. I argue that this is caused by a lack of an exchange format that would allow continuing the work. At first glance, it may seem like such a format already exist, as laser cut models are already widely shared in the form of 2D cutting plans. However, such files are susceptible to variations in cutter properties (aka kerf) and do not allow modifying the model in any meaningful way. I consider this format machine specific. I tackled the challenge by writing software tools to modify 2D cutting plans, replacing non-portable elements with portable counterparts. This makes the models portable, but it is still hard to modify them. I thustook a more radical approach, which is to move to a 3D exchange format (kyub). This guarantees portability by generating a new machine-specific 2D-cutting plan for the local machine when exported.And the models inherently allow for parametric modifications. Instead, it raises the question of compatibility: Files already exist in 2D—how to get them into 3D? I demonstrate a software tool to reconstruct the 3D geometry of the model encoded in a 2D cutting plan, allows modifying it using a 3D editor, and re-encodes it to a 2D cutting plan. I demonstrate how this approach allows me to make a much wider range of modifications, including scaling, changing material thickness, and even remixing models. The transition from sharing machine-oriented 2D cutting files, to 3D files, enables users worldwide to collaborate, share, and reuse. And thus, to move on from users creating thousands of trivial models from scratch to collaborating on big complex projects.
Bio. Thijs Roumen is a PhD candidate in Human-Computer Interaction in the lab of Patrick Baudisch, Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany. He received his MSc from the University of Southern Denmark, Sønderborg in 2013 and BSc from the Technical University of Eindhoven, Netherlands in 2011. Between the PhD and master he worked at the National University of Singapore as a Research Assistant with Shengdong Zhao. His research interests are in personal fabrication, digital collaboration and enabling increased complexity for laser cutting. His papers are published as full papers in top-tier ACM conferences CHI and UIST. He serves on several ACM program committees including ACM UIST.
4/29 | Alex Leitch
— Glitch As Interface
Abstract. When designing interfaces, there is an inherent tension between usability and learnability. Come and consider how style and breakage play into this tension by encouraging and then undermining user trust, and how expert users may take greater ownership over devices by working with breakage to make unique interactions. We will explore the promises of the most common interaction design grammars and contrast them with familiar grammars of other types of screen-based interaction, examining the role played by game feel, and how a play-oriented perspective can decompose a skilled, planned experience into alternate, client-driven use cases. TL:DR; people find their own uses for things, let’s see how that works with screen-based experiences.
Bio. Alex Leitch is a technology consultant and artist whose work focuses on interaction design. As an artist, they have exhibited at the Toronto International Film Festival, multiple galleries, and installation festivals such as Gladstone Hotel’s Come Up To My Room, Ontario Place’s Winter Lights, and the Burning Man festival. In their developer role, Leitch has served as a technical lead or senior software developer on many web-based projects. They cofounded Site 3 Colaboratory, an art and technology makerspace in Toronto, Dames Making Games Toronto, and have been involved in a variety of Canadian not-for-profit arts and entertainment organizations. Alex teaches how to approach technology from a creative perspective.
5/6 | No BBL (End of the Spring 2021 public BBL series)
Fall 2020 Semester
9/10 | Niklas Elmqvist
— Meet & Greet
9/17 | Megan Boddum
— Best Practices For Designing and Implementing Kids User Research
Abstract. How to better take into consideration and implement children’s feedback when it comes to product development
With the ongoing emergence of kids tech and media, it is important to understand how kids’ feedback and participation in the co-design process can be pivotal in the creative development and, ultimately, the success of products. How can companies better incorporate children’s feedback in the creative process to best design products that resonate and reach a wider audience?
For this session Megan will give an overview of kids user research and best practices. She will present on designing effective kids’ research for various media types, followed by a review of a few case studies.
Bio. Megan Boddum has over ten years of diverse experience working in different facets of children’s technology ranging from research to outreach, program management, curriculum design and production. Megan specializes in qualitative research that helps teams build innovative and positive digital experiences for kids and families. Megan has worked in research for Leapfrog, WestEd, YouTube Kids and other various Bay Area startups. Currently Megan is working as an independent consultant focusing on helping companies and individuals with various children’s technology, media, education and research initiatives. With her own practice Megan has designed and developed a set of creative methodologies to meet the unique needs of the products and industries served.
9/24 | Kathy Weaver, Emmett Ryan, Donal Heidenblad, Nathan Bos
— UMD Data Challenge Panel
Abstract. UMD Data Challenge is a week-long data exploration event at the University of Maryland hosted by The College of Information Studies. During the week, students will gain analytical experience by solving challenging problems exploring datasets provided by professional organizations, build technical aptitude integrating datasets to create multidisciplinary knowledge, and obtain real-world team-building experience. This week long distributed format allows for sufficient time to evaluate, formulate a question about the dataset, and conduct dataset integration, analysis, and results preparation.
Kathy Bio. Dr. Kathy Weaver is a Senior Lecturer in the College of Information Studies at UMD. In addition to teaching both InfoSci and graduate courses, she has hosted the information challenges for the iSchool during the past 6 years. Dr. Weaver has taught and worked in education in a variety of settings for over 30 years, including industry, higher education, and elementary schools. Her extensive experience in Information Management, has included 6 implementations of SAP focused on Information Assurance, Quality Assurance, and User Management, redesigning and managing an Intellectual Property website at the Boeing Corporation, and working with the King County Libraries in Washington.
Emmet Bio. Emmet Ryan is a junior at UMD. He is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in information science with a minor in sustainability, and has taken part in the Data Challenge for the past two years. Emmet’s team received the Best Presentation of Results award from the 2020 Challenge. Most recently, Emmet was an IT analyst intern at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) where he worked with two teams on privacy and cybersecurity audits of the 2020 Census. After graduation, Emmet plans to apply his data science knowledge to his interest in policy, possibly through a full-time analyst position at GAO.
Donal Bio. Donal Heidenblad is a lecturer at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland where he teaches information technology, programming, and data courses. Donal is interested in how to effectively incorporate ethics instruction into STEM courses. Donal earned his M.S. in Information Systems from UMBC. Before coming to the iSchool, Donal worked in a variety of roles including training engineer, project manager, and software developer.
Nathan Bio. Dr. Nathan Bos is a senior research associate at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory with more than 20 years of experience working in the applied behavioral sciences. Nathan’s research is in human-computer interaction, behavioral modeling, and advanced analytics. He has also worked in the area of applied data science for nonprofits. His recent work includes research in counterfactual forecasting, explainable AI and causal reasoning. Nathan has more than 50 publications in peer-reviewed conferences and journals in information science, psychology, education and engineering. He has served as a judge for two Data Challenges.
10/1 | Joel Chan, Caro Williams-Pierce
— “What does a successful process for an HCI researcher look like? In terms of personal development, week to week / day to day, moving ideas forward, etc.? Special Pandemic Edition“
Joel Bio: Joel Chan is an Assistant Professor in the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies (iSchool) and Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL), and Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study of Communities and Information (CASCI). Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Project Scientist in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at Carnegie Mellon University, and received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. His research investigates how to build systems for innovation that are open and sustainable. His long-term goal is to help create a future where any person or community can design the future(s) they want to live in. His research has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences, and received Best Paper awards from the ASME Conference for Design Theory and Methodology, the journal of Design Studies, and the ACM SIGKDD Conference On Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD).
Caro Bio: Caro Williams-Pierce is an Assistant Professor at University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies (iSchool), a member of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) and the Youth eXperience (YX) Lab. She received her joint masters degree in Mathematics and Mathematics Education, and her PhD in Mathematics Education, from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her research focuses on designing for mathematical play and learning in a variety of informal contexts, but she also researches mathematics learning, embodied cognition, and games and learning more broadly. She has published in the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Information & Learning Sciences, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Frontiers in Education, and Science, among others.
10/8 | Sarah McGrew
— Who is Behind This? Teaching Students to Evaluate Online Information
Abstract. Young people often turn to the Internet for information, where they face nearly constant questions about what to trust. In this talk, I will argue that educational innovations are a necessary component of efforts to combat the spread of online mis- and disinformation. However, few research-based resources exist to support teachers and students to learn to effectively evaluate online information. I will outline a curricular approach designed to teach strategies that professional fact checkers use to evaluate online sources and explore students’ progress in learning these strategies with findings from a series of intervention studies in high school and college classrooms. I’ll discuss possibilities and hurdles for teaching evaluation strategies and consider how technological solutions might accompany educational innovations.
Bio. Sarah McGrew is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focuses on young people’s civic online reasoning—how they search for and evaluate online information on contentious social and political topics—and how schools can better support students to learn effective evaluation strategies. Dr. McGrew has developed assessments of students’ online reasoning, conducted research on fact checkers’ strategies for evaluating digital content, and tested curriculum designed to teach these strategies to secondary and college students. In addition to investigating online reasoning curricula in secondary and college classrooms, Dr. McGrew’s current research focuses on how best to support teachers to learn online reasoning themselves and how to design lessons in online reasoning that are rooted in civic and community issues that students know and care about. She has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teacher Education from Stanford University and previously taught high school history in Washington, DC.
10/15 | Karen Holtzblatt
— The Jerk Project
Abstract. The Valuing and Jerk Project.
For the last 40 years we’ve been encouraging women to choose technology careers. But today the quit rate for women in tech is 41% compared to 17% for men. The number of WIT has fallen from 31% in 1990 to 25% in 2014. Research points to cultural dimensions of tech companies that create a work environment of bias, hostility and devalue. Overall women and people of color report a significantly more negative workplace experience. These interpersonal dynamics create more stress and work against feelings of belonging and value. It is not surprising that our research finds that women “thinking of leaving their job” score lower on key factors necessary for women to thrive.
In this talk Karen shares the research and some of the interventions to identify the explicit behaviors which create or undermine the experience of connection and value in the workplace. Field research identified 15 key valuing and 15 key jerk behaviors. A subsequent survey helped to determine the relative value of each behavior for men and women. We share our data and unveil our interventions including fun awareness posters, a self-assessment checklist, and workshop ideas. All work was done by world-wide professional and student volunteers, including many from UMD.
Bio. Karen Holtzblatt is CEO of InContext Design, a thought leader, industry speaker, and author. As a recognized leader in requirements and design, Karen has developed transformative design approaches throughout her career. Contextual Design, co-developed with Hugh Beyer, is the industry standard for understanding the customer and organizing that data to drive innovative product and service concepts. Her newest book Contextual Design 2nd Edition Design for Life is used by companies and universities worldwide. In recognition of her impact on the field, Karen was awarded the first Lifetime Award for Practice by ACM SIGCHI. In 2018 she founded the non-profit WITops to focus on the challenges of retaining women in high tech companies.
10/22 | Jinjuan Heidi Feng
— ARMStrokes: using mobile technology to support everyday stroke rehabilitation
Abstract. Stroke is a major contributor to adult disability in many countries. Stroke often causes long-term disabilities that affect cognitive, physical, and speech functions. Intensive rehabilitation exercise is critical for stroke recovery during the early stage of a stroke. However, only 31 percent of stroke survivors actually complete the recommended exercises due to a variety of factors including lack of motivation. Working closely with stroke survivors and therapists, we investigated the use of mainstream smart phone-based technology in supporting everyday stroke rehabilitation under the supervision of medical professionals. Rather than using specialized sensors to track user movements, we focused on developing an approach without the need for any additional hardware. ARMStrokes supports customized exercise plans to fit each stroke survivor’s specific functionalities in different recovery stages. Longitudinal evaluations with stroke survivors and therapists suggested the application played positive roles in motivating the patients to complete rehabilitation exercises. Design challenges were also identified through the evaluation studies.
Bio. Dr. Jinjuan Heidi Feng is a professor at the Computer and Information Sciences Department at Towson University. She conducts research in the area of Human-Computer Interaction, accessible computing and Health-informatics. She works with national and local communities to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities through information technology. Her current research projects focus on assistive technologies for people with cognitive disabilities, mobile applications for healthcare related services, and accessible security techniques for individuals with visual or cognitive disabilities. Dr. Feng has served as treasurer/secretary for the ACM Special Interest Group on Accessible Computing (SIGACCESS) since 2015. She is associate editor for the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies and the ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing. As the Director of the School of Emerging Technologies at Towson University, she promotes interdisciplinary research and curriculum development through collaboration both within and beyond Towson University.
10/29 | Leo Zhicheng Liu
— Towards a grammar for animated data graphics
Abstract. Animated data graphics are becoming popular for data-driven storytelling. However, creating such animated graphics remains challenging and time consuming. In this talk, I will present research results on understanding the design space and authoring paradigms of animated data graphics, and describe our first attempt at designing a tool for authoring animated transitions based on the keyframing paradigm. The ultimate goal of this line of research is to develop a visualization grammar that can power the creation of expressive animated narratives, and provide a foundation for developing authoring and design tools.
Bio. Zhicheng “Leo” Liu is an assistant professor in the department of computer science at University of Maryland. Prior to joining UMD in August 2020, he was a research scientist at the Creative Intelligence Lab, Adobe Research. Leo received his PhD in the Human-Centered Computing program from Georgia Tech and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Computer Science of Stanford University. His research focuses on developing effective and scalable tools to support data analysis and communication. His works have received multiple paper awards at IEEE InfoVis, IEEE VAST and ACM CHI.
11/5 | Ben Shneiderman
— Human-Centered AI: 15 Recommendations for Bridging from Ethics to Practice
Abstract. Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HCAI) is a growing theme that seeks to shift the focus from algorithms to the users and many stakeholders in modern information technology systems. This talk and related article (https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3419764) attempt to bridge the gap between widely discussed ethical principles of Human-Centered AI (HCAI) and practical steps for effective governance. I propose 15 recommendations at three levels of governance: team, organization, and industry. The recommendations are intended to increase the reliability, safety, and trustworthiness of HCAI systems: (1) reliable systems based on sound software engineering practices, (2) safety culture through business management strategies, and (3) trustworthy certification by independent oversight.
Bio. Ben Shneiderman (http://www.cs.umd.edu/~ben) is an Emeritus Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (http://hcil.umd.edu), and a Member of the UM Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) at the University of Maryland. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, IEEE, and NAI, and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, in recognition of his pioneering contributions to human-computer interaction and information visualization. His widely-used contributions include the clickable highlighted web-links, high-precision touchscreen keyboards for mobile devices, and tagging for photos. Shneiderman’s information visualization innovations include dynamic query sliders for Spotfire, development of treemaps for viewing hierarchical data, novel network visualizations for NodeXL, and event sequence analysis for electronic health records.
Ben is the co-author with Catherine Plaisant of Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (6th ed., 2016). He co-authored Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think (1999) and Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL (2nd edition, 2019). His book Leonardo’s Laptop (MIT Press) won the IEEE book award for Distinguished Literary Contribution. The New ABCs of Research: Achieving Breakthrough Collaborations (Oxford, 2016) describes how research can produce higher impacts.
11/12 | Sheena Erete
— Countering Structural Oppression through Co-design with Residents in Resource-Constrained Communities
Abstract. There has been a recent push in technology design to consider social implications of design — both historical, current, and future. In resource-constrained communities, there have been historical policies and practices (e.g., redlining, overpolicing) that have created concentrated poverty, increased unemployment, and lack of adequate and equitable educational, housing, and health opportunities. However, several local community-based organizations have taken the initiative to address their communities’ challenges regarding issues such as safety and education. In this talk, I will discuss two projects that illustrate how we design technologies, practices, and programs with community residents and organizations to support their efforts to counter social issues that are a result of long-term structural oppression. Specifically, I describe (1) our co-design and evaluation process of a mobile application to support violence prevention efforts by street outreach workers and (2) the evolution of Digital Youth Divas, our program that encourages middle school Black and Latina girls to engage and participate in STEAM experiences. The first project is an example of how to design with organizations that intentionally attempts to counter traditional policing practices by law enforcement by taking a community-led approach to public safety in neighborhoods that experience high violence. The second project illustrates how we can address policies and infrastructure that create barriers for Black and LatinX girls and their families to engage in informal learning opportunities. Insights lead to discussion regarding how we as designers can intentionally support community-based counter structures to make a long-term, sustainable impact on communities that have historically faced systemic oppression.
Bio. Dr. Sheena Erete is an associate professor in the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University. Her research explores the role of technology and design in addressing social issues such as violence, civic engagement, and STEM education in resource constrained communities in Chicago. She earned a Ph.D. in Technology and Social Behavior (a joint degree in Computer Science and Communication) from Northwestern University and a Masters of Computer Science from Georgia Tech. As an undergraduate, she attended Spelman College, where she studied Mathematics and Computer Science.
11/19 | Susan Campbell
— There’s no AI in Team: Evaluating Systems for Multiple-Human Interaction
Abstract. As AI systems become increasingly common, they will need to become more useful and usable as well. One way to make an AI more usable is to embed it into a team structure. Current research on AI-enabled teams generally focuses on functional requirements for the AI, such as task performance or levels of operator intervention required. However, AIs must be designed to optimize the outcomes of the entire sociotechnical system, or else gaps may lead to failures. Looking into the future, AI systems created to assist humans will need to be designed to work with humans, or within human teams. We do not argue that AI systems in human teams need to be human-like, but there are particular behaviors and non task-related requirements that are necessary for them to operate harmoniously as part of a team. This research effort uses a novel input-process-emergent state-output-input (IPEOI) model with four levels to describe what is needed for AI-enabled team performance. In this talk, I will describe the work our multidisciplinary team has done to define the problem of AI-human teaming and provide a preliminary look at our proposed model. This work has been done in collaboration with Breana Carter-Browne (ARLIS), Susannah Paletz (iSchool), Melissa Carraway (iSchool PhD student), Sarah Vahlkamp (iSchool PhD student), Jana Schwartz (ARLIS), and Polly O’Rourke (ARLIS).
Bio. Susan G. Campbell is an Assistant Research Scientist at the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) and a lecturer in the University of Maryland iSchool, focusing on cybersecurity. At ARLIS, she leads two research projects on assessing aptitude for cybersecurity jobs and a capacity building project for HCI assessment. Dr. Campbell has experience designing and evaluating assessments of cognitive abilities, skills, and knowledge, including assessments of cyber aptitude, risk tolerance, and English listening ability. Other project contributions range from designing interfaces for dictionary tool building to writing interview protocols to evaluate translation memory systems and analyzing complex language education data sets. Her current research focuses on understanding the cognitive underpinnings of performance in cybersecurity and using those frameworks to develop assessments and educational interventions. Dr. Campbell holds a PhD and MA in Psychology from the University of Maryland College Park and a BS in Cognitive Science from Carnegie Mellon University.
12/3 | Mols Sauter
— The Impact of Tool Design and Media Portrayals in the Success of Activist DDoS Attacks
Abstract. This talk explores the role of tool design and media coverage in the relative success of Operation Payback and earlier activist distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) actions. Through a close reading of changes in the tool’s interface and functionality across several iterations, the article considers the evolution of the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) DDOS tool, from one that appealed to a small, inwardly focused community to one that engaged with a larger population. The article further considers Anonymous’s contribution to the reframing of DDOS actions from a tool of direct action to a tool of media manipulation and identity construction as well as the news media’s role in encouraging individuals to participate in the Operation Payback actions.
Bio. M.R. Sauter is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies. They are the author of The Coming Swarm: DDoS Actions, Hacktivism, and Civil Disobedience on the Internet. They received their PhD from the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University in 2020, and they hold a masters degree in Comparative Media Studies from MI. They have held research fellowships at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society, and New America.