University of Maryland

BBL Series Test

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.

If you would like to give (or suggest) a future BBL talk, send email to HCIL Director Jessica Vitak ( with your proposed talk title, a brief abstract, and your bio.

Talks are held in the HCIL (HBK2105), but if you can’t make it in person, register for Zoom here.

2024 Upcoming Events

  • BBL Speaker Series: The Road Less Taken: Pathways to Ethical and Responsible Technologies
    Date: Sep 7th, 2024 12:30 PM

    Speaker: Dr. Susan Winter, Associate Dean for Research, College of Information Studies, the University of Maryland

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom Watch Here!

    Abstract: Technology is no longer just about technology – now it is about living. So, how do we have ethical technology that creates a better life and a better society? Technology must become truly “human-centered,” not just “human-aware” or “human-adjacent”. Diverse users and advocacy groups must become equal partners in initial co-design and in continual assessment and management of information systems with human, social, physical, and technical components. But we cannot get there without radically transforming how we think about, develop, and use technologies. In this chapter, we explore new models for digital humanism and discuss effective tools and techniques for designing, building, and maintaining sociotechnical systems that are built to be, and remain continuously ethical, responsible, and human-centered.

    Bio: Dr. Susan Winter, Associate Dean for Research, College of Information Studies, the University of Maryland. Dr. Winter studies the co-evolution of technology and work practices, and the organization of work. She has recently focused on ethical issues surrounding civic technologies and smart cities, the social and organizational challenges of data reuse, and collaboration among information workers and scientists acting within highly institutionalized sociotechnical systems. Her work has been supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. She was previously a Science Advisor in the Directorate for Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences, a Program Director, and Acting Deputy Director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure at the National Science Foundation supporting distributed, interdisciplinary scientific collaboration for complex data-driven and computational science. She received her PhD from the University of Arizona, her MA from the Claremont Graduate University, and her BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

    !! There are hundreds of productivity apps and tools to help you get work done--far too many for any one person to go through and figure out what works best for them. In this week's BBL, we want you to share the tools, apps, and tips you use to help you in your research, classwork, and writing. How do you stay organized? What helps you be productive? What are things that didn't work for you? We'll talk about what people like and don't and run some quick demos during this BBL.

    Fill out this form to share what you use.

    Join us in the lab (HBK-2105) or on Zoom to hear about cool tools and to share the ones you use!

  • BBL Speaker Series: Storytelling Health Informatics: Supporting Collective Efforts Towards Health Equity
    Date: Nov 9th, 2024 12:30 PM

    Speaker: Dr. Herman Saksono, Assistant Professor, Health Sciences & CS, Northeastern University

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Watch Here!

    Abstract: We live in a storied life. Stories from people at present and in the past are guiding our actions in the future. Although this narrative mode of knowing complements the pragmatic mode, the pragmatic mode of knowing is the only ubiquitously supported mode in personal health informatics systems. In this talk, I will present my research on personal health informatics that uses storytelling to support health behavior in marginalized communities. These studies examined how storytelling technologies can amplify social connections and knowledge within the family and neighbors. The use of stories socially is a departure from health technologies that are often individually focused. Technologies that portray health solely as an individual’s responsibility could widen health disparities because marginalized communities face numerous health barriers due to systemic inequities. Storytelling health informatics could lessen this burden by supporting health behaviors as collective community efforts.

    Bio: Dr. Herman Saksono is an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University with a joint appointment at the Bouvé College of Health Sciences and the Khoury College of Computer Sciences. Previously, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Research on Computation and Society at Harvard University. He completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Northeastern University and a Fulbright scholarship recipient.

    Herman’s interdisciplinary research contributions are in Personal Health Informatics, Human-Computer Interaction, and Digital Health Equity. His research investigates how digital tools can catalyze social interactions that encourage positive health behaviors, thus facilitating collective efforts toward health equity. He conducts the entire human-centered design process by designing, building, and evaluating innovative health technologies in collaboration with local community partners. Herman published his work in ACM CHI and CSCW where he received honorable mentions for Best Paper awards.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Fostering Digital Inclusion: Co-Design with Racial Minority, Low-Income Older Adults for Smart Speaker Applications to Enhance Social Connections and Well-being
    Date: Nov 30th, 2024 12:30 PM

    Speaker: Dr. Jane Chung, Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom Watch Here!

    Abstract: Older adult residents of low-income housing are at a high risk of unmanaged health conditions, loneliness, and limited healthcare access. Smart speakers have the potential to improve social connections and well-being among older adult residents. We conducted an iterative, user-centered design study with primarily African American older adults who lived alone in low-income housing to develop low-fidelity prototypes of smart speaker applications for wellness and social connections. Focus groups were held to elicit feedback about challenges with maintaining wellness and attitudes towards smart speakers. Through design workshops, they identified several smart speaker functionalities perceived as necessary for improving wellness and social connectedness. Then, several low-fidelity prototypes and use scenarios were developed in the following categories: wellness check-ins, befriending the virtual agent, community involvement, and mood detection. We demonstrate how smart speakers can provide a tool for their wellness and increase access to applications that provide a virtual space for social engagement. This presentation will also highlight strategies for addressing digital health inequities among socially vulnerable older adults. The goal is to enhance technology proficiency, reduce fear, and ultimately foster the acceptance of essential technologies.

    Bio: Dr. Jane Chung is an Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing. She is a nurse scientist with special emphasis on aging and technology research. Her research program has two foci: 1) advancing the methods for functional health monitoring and risk detection among older adults using innovative sensor technologies and 2) improving social connectedness and well-being in socially vulnerable older adults based on advances in data science and digital technologies including novel machine learning algorithms. She currently leads two NIH-funded studies – R01 project to identify digital biomarkers of mobility that are predictive of cognitive decline in community-dwelling older adults, and R21 project where her team is developing a smart speaker-based system for automatic loneliness assessment in older adults. Recently, she has been selected as a fellow for the Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators, and in this fellowship program, she is working on a smart speaker-based intervention designed to assist low-income older adults in managing chronic conditions and daily activities more effectively.

Previous Events

Fall 2023
  • BBL Speaker Series: Connecting Realities for Fluid Computer-Mediated Communication

    Date: Dec 7th, 2023 12:30 PM

    Speaker: Seongkook Heo, Assistant Professor, CS, University of Virginia

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom Slides Here!

    Abstract: Computers are more deeply integrated into our daily lives than ever before, and recent advancements in ML and AI technologies enable computers to comprehend the real world. However, using such capabilities for daily tasks still induces friction because of inefficient interactions with them.

    In this talk, I will share my group's research on how we can better connect the physical and virtual worlds through the design and development of interactive systems. First, I will discuss how we can bring objects and interactions of the physical world into the virtual world to make virtual communication rich and frictionless. In many computer-mediated meetings, we not only share our faces and voices but also physical objects. We developed a remote meeting system that supports the instant conversion of physical objects into virtual objects to allow efficient sharing and manipulation of objects during the conversation.

    Second, I will share how we can physicalize computation results into physical actions. Many projects and applications have demonstrated the use of AI in assisting users with visual impairments. However, computers usually only provide guidance feedback to the user and leave the interpretation of the feedback and the execution to the user, which can be cognitively heavy tasks. We suggested automated hand-based spatial guidance to bridge the gap between guidance and execution, allowing visually impaired users to move their hands between two points automatically. Finally, I will discuss the implications and remaining challenges in bridging the two realities.

    Bio: Seongkook Heo is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia. He has been working on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research, focusing on bridging the gap between physical and virtual worlds to make computers better support rich and nuanced human interactions by designing novel interactive systems and developing sensing and feedback technologies. His research has been published at top HCI venues, including CHI, UIST, and CSCW, and recognized by Best Paper and Poster Awards at CHI, MobileHCI, and IEEE VR. He is also the recipient of the Engineering Research Innovation Award at the University of Virginia and the Meta Research Award. He received his Ph.D. at KAIST and worked at the University of Toronto as a postdoctoral researcher before joining the University of Virginia.

  • Brown Bag Speaker Series: Student Lightning Talks

    Date: Nov 16th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Date: Thursday, November 16, 2023 Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET Talk Title: Student Lightning Talks Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom This BBL will be dedicated to four student lightning talks. We are excited to hear what they are working on! How do lightning talks work? Typically, people give a 4-5 minute “presentation” — this can be very informal or involve slides. The presentation gives some background on your project and then introduces a specific question or “ask” that you want feedback on. Then we have ~15 minutes of conversation with attendees about your question/topic. This is a great opportunity for students to get feedback on research ideas or projects in various stages. Talks are held in the HCIL (HBK2105), but if you can’t make it in person, register for Zoom here.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Student Lightning Talks

    Date: Nov 16th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom This BBL will be dedicated to four student lightning talks. We are excited to hear what they are working on! How do lightning talks work? Typically, people give a 4-5 minute “presentation” — this can be very informal or involve slides. The presentation gives some background on your project and then introduces a specific question or “ask” that you want feedback on. Then we have ~15 minutes of conversation with attendees about your question/topic. This is a great opportunity for students to get feedback on research ideas or projects in various stages.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Community-based Participatory Design Investigating Emerging Technologies

    Date: Nov 2nd, 2023 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Foad Hamidi, Assistant Professor in Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom Watch Here!

    Abstract: Community-based participatory design (PD) offers inclusive and exciting principles and methods for enabling mutual learning among diverse interested parties. As PD moves from the workplace to other domains, such as Do-it-Yourself (DIY) design spaces, informal learning contexts, and domestic and home settings, we need to rethink and redefine what it means to do PD and what outcomes can move us towards desired futures. In this talk, I draw on several of my recent projects where I use PD to investigate and interrogate emerging technologies, such as DIY assistive technologies and living media interfaces (LMIs).

    Bio: Foad Hamidi is an Assistant Professor in Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). His research focuses on several areas within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), including Living Media Interfaces, ParticipatoryDesign, and DIY assistive technology. He conducts transdisciplinary community-engaged research and regularly collaborates with community partners. At UMBC, he directs the DesigningpARticipatoryfuturEs (DARE) lab and the Interactive Systems Research Center (ISRC). He has a PhD in Computer Science from York University, Toronto.

  • BBL Speaker Series: I to Support Everyday Life for People with Dementia

    Date: Oct 26th, 2023 12:30 PM

    Speaker: Dr. Emma Dixon, Assistant Professor, Clemson University

    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom Watch Here! | Slides Here!

    Abstract: We are seeing new AI systems for people with dementia, such as brain games which detect and diagnose cognitive impairment and smart-home systems to monitor the daily activities of people with dementia while caregivers are away. Although these are important areas of research, there are open opportunities to extend the use of AI to support individuals with dementia in a variety of different aspects of everyday life outside of diagnosis and monitoring. In this talk, Emma Dixon will briefly discuss her work in the area of AI for people experiencing age-related cognitive changes. The first study examines the technology accessibility needs of individuals with dementia, uncovering ways AI may be used to provide personalized solutions. The second study explores the ways tech-savvy people with dementia configure commercially available AI systems to support their everyday activities. Finally, the third study focuses on the design of future applications of AI to support the everyday life of people with dementia.

    Bio: Dr. Emma Dixon is an Assistant Professor in Human-Computer Computing with a joint appointment in Industrial Engineering at Clemson University. Her research investigates technology use by neurodivergent individuals and people living with neurodegenerative conditions. In doing so, her research agenda is situated at the intersection of health information technology and cognitive accessibility research. Due to the complexity of this space, she takes a mixed methods approach, using qualitative methods to ground her work deeply in situated understanding of people’s experiences and quantitative methods to test the usability of emerging technologies. She earned her undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering at Clemson University and her PhD in Information Studies at University of Maryland, College Park. Her research has received a Dean’s Award for Outstanding iSchool Doctoral Paper, as well as a Best Paper Nomination and Honorable Mention awards at ASSETS and CSCW conferences. She has published her work in CHI, CSCW, ASSETS, JMIR Mental Health, Applied Ergonomics, and TACCESS. Her dissertation work was supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Navigating the New Normal: An Exploration of Face-to -Face Design Meetings in the Era of Remote Work

    Date: Oct 19th, 2023 12:30 PM

    Speaker: Karen Holtzblatt Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom Watch Here!

    Abstract: Advancements in technology, the globalization of companies, and a growing awareness of environmental issues have catalyzed a shift in work cultures, transforming traditional face-to-face meetings into online ones. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated this transition, establishing videoconferencing as the prevailing mode of professional interaction. But now companies are asking workers to come back to the office at least some of the time. They cite better collaboration, information sharing, and coaching for early career folks. But is that true and what does it really mean? To find out, we 11 conducted deep dive interviews primarily with HCI professionals to understand their experience of working in person vs remotely or hybrid. HCI professionals often find themselves organizing, leading, facilitating, and participating in complex interactive meetings of various kinds: data synthesis, ideation, brainstorming, design review with whiteboarding, roadmapping, and project kickoffs. Our work complements recent research on Return-to-Work that has been conducted by surveys and gives a deeper understanding of what is going on. We sought to gain insights into these types of meetings and interactions to understand participants’ experiences and what works and what doesn’t. We hope these findings will helpguide both HCI professionals and companies as they choose when to be in-person and how to best run hybrid and remote meetings. We spoke with both senior people and early career professionals. Our insights are also against the backdrop of last year’s research into the experience of remote working during the pandemic and related literature. The presentation will tell stories of our experiences and explicate what drives people to bring people together for these complex meetings and what impacts the success of these meetings in any context. We will also describe the impact of the social dimension of working together. We discuss the need for a shared understanding, ensuring engagement, managing the meeting, and the powerful role of nonverbal communication as well as the need and desire for connection both for its own sake and for the sake of the work and career.

    Bio: Karen Holtzblatt is a thought leader, industry speaker, and author. A recognized innovator in requirements and design, Karen has developed transformative design approaches throughout her career. She introduced Contextual Inquire and Contextual Design, 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. Karen co-founded InContext Design in 1992 with Hugh Beyer to use Contextual Design techniques to coach product teams and deliver market data and design solutions to businesses across scores of industries in many countries. As CEO of InContext, Karen has worked with product, application, and design teams for over 30 years. Karen is also the driving force behind the Women in Tech Retention Project housed at WITops research explores why women in technology professions leave the field and creates tested interventions to help women thrive and succeed. Her new book with Nicola Marsden, Retaining Women in Tech: Shifting the Paradigm shares the work. Karen consults with companies to help them understand their diverse teams and improve retention, team cohesion, and equal participation by all. As a member of ACM SIGCHI (The Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) Karen was awarded membership to the CHI Academy a gathering of significant contributors and received the first Lifetime Award for Practice for her impact on the field. Karen has also been an Adjunct Research Scientist at the University of Maryland’s iSchool (College of Information Studies). Karen has worked with many universities to help design curriculum for training user experience professionals. Karen has more than 30 years of teaching experience professionally, at conferences and university settings. She holds a doctorate in applied psychology from the University of Toronto.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Towards a Science of Human-AI Decision Making: Empirical Understandings, Computational Models, and Intervention Designs

    Date: Oct 12th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Speaker: Ming Yin, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Purdue University Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom < Watch Here!

    Abstract: Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have been increasingly integrated into human workflows. For example, the usage of AI-based decision aids in human decision-making processes has resulted in a new paradigm of human-AI decision making—that is, the AI-based decision aid provides a decision recommendation to the human decision makers, while humans make the final decision. The increasing prevalence of human-AI collaborative decision making highlights the need to understand how humans and AI collaborate with each other in these decision-making processes, and how to promote the effectiveness of these collaborations. In this talk, I'll discuss a few research projects that my group carries out on empirically understanding how humans trust the AI model via human-subject experiments, quantitatively modeling humans' adoption of AI recommendations, and designing interventions to influence the human-AI collaboration outcomes (e.g., improve human-AI joint decision-making performance).

    Bio: Ming Yin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Purdue University. Her current research interests include human-AI interaction, crowdsourcing and human computation, and computational social sciences. She completed her Ph.D. in Computer Science at Harvard University and received her bachelor's degree from Tsinghua University. Ming was the Conference Co-Chair of AAAI HCOMP 2022. Her work was recognized with multiple best paper (CHI 2022, CSCW 2022, HCOMP 2020) and best paper honorable mention awards (CHI 2019, CHI 2016).

  • BBL Series: Mastering the Paper Review Process

    Date: Oct 5th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Abstract: Even if you didn’t submit a paper to this year’s CHI conference, if you’re doing research, you probably know something about the review process. For most journals and conferences, submitted papers are read by 2-4 anonymous reviewers, who provide written feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the paper and decide whether a paper should be accepted, rejected, or revised. But what should go into the review process? And how should you respond to reviews? In this session, we’ll discuss tips and tricks for being an effective reviewer, how to provide constructive criticism, and how to respond to reviewer comments. Bring your questions and experiences with reviewing, and learn more about the ups and downs of academic publishing.

  • BBL Series: Mastering the Paper Review Process

    Date: Oct 5th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Abstract: Even if you didn’t submit a paper to this year’s CHI conference, if you’re doing research, you probably know something about the review process. For most journals and conferences, submitted papers are read by 2-4 anonymous reviewers, who provide written feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the paper and decide whether a paper should be accepted, rejected, or revised. But what should go into the review process? And how should you respond to reviews? In this session, we’ll discuss tips and tricks for being an effective reviewer, how to provide constructive criticism, and how to respond to reviewer comments. Bring your questions and experiences with reviewing, and learn more about the ups and downs of academic publishing.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Successful Aging in Digital Era

    Date: Sep 28th, 2023 12:30 PM

    Speaker: Dr. Madina Khamzina, postdoctoral associate, Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

    Watch Here! | Slides Here!

    Abstract: This talk discusses the opportunities and challenges of technology to support successful aging. The population of people aged 65 and older is growing faster than any other age group worldwide. While people are living longer, it's crucial to ask whether those additional years are being lived healthier and happier. Successful aging has become a central priority at both societal and individual health levels. Technology holds the promise to significantly contribute to successful aging in various ways. For example, keeping people physically active, enabling independent living through fall detection and smart home technology, aiding in the early detection and management of diseases, as well as helping maintain social connections to reduce isolation. Keeping in mind that aging in the digital era presents its own set of challenges, we need to ensure that technologies are inclusive and accessible to everyone regardless of age. Addressing the specific needs and older adults’ factors is crucial in the endeavor to reap the benefits of technology for successful aging.

    Bio: Madina earned her Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in December 2022. She is currently a postdoctoral associate at the School of Public Health and is primarily focused on work with the University of Maryland Extension Services. While working in the Human Factors and Aging Lab in Illinois, she became passionate about the role of technology in supporting successful aging. She is a principal investigator for a research project the University of Maryland Extension that is aimed to assess the needs and challenges of broadband internet and technology adoption among older adults in Maryland.

  • BBL Speaker Series: Research Speed Dating

    Date: Sep 21st, 2023 12:30 PM
    Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET Location: HBK 2105 This week we’ll do another round of our experimenting with “research speed dating”! If it’s anything like the last iteration of this in the Spring, it’ll be a fun time to hear from each other about what we’re brainstorming/working on, and give feedback in a lightweight, informal, low-stakes setup!

  • BBL Talk: Dr. Deokgun Park, “Cognitive Architecture for Operant Conditioning

    Date: May 11th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Deokgun ParkCognitive Architecture for Operant Conditioning Abstract: In this talk, I will present my research on cognitive architecture for operant conditioning.  To lay the foundation for the discussion, I will start by reviewing the definitions and tests for AI and propose a new definition and the test for human-level artificial intelligence (HLAI).  I claim that the essence of HLAI to be the capability to learn from others' experiences via language.  Based on the definition, a test based on the language acquisition task will be proposed with the simulated environment to run the test practically.  A next milestone toward programming HLAI would be enabling operant conditioning inspired by the ‘Skinner box’ experiment.  To achieve this goal, I will explain two lessons that we can learn from the biological brain.  First, the working principle of neocortex can be modeled as Modulated Heterarchical Prediction Memory (mHPM). In mHPM, autoregressive universal modules in sparse distributed memory (SDM) representations are connected in a heterarchical network, and they are update in a local and distributed way instead of current deep learning trend of end-to-end optimization based on the single objective function. mHPM stores the multi-modal world model.  Second lesson is that we need non-homogeneous cognitive architecture for innate and learned behaviors instead of current homogeneous architecture.  I will explain the role of innate components such as hippocampus, reward system, hypothalamus, and amygdala.  Those innate components use the world model in mHPM enabling episodic memory formation and rapid adaptation. Bio: Dr. Deokgun Park is an assistant professor of the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). He leads the Human Data Interaction Lab at UTA, which studies the Human-Level Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Park earned his doctoral degree from the University of Maryland in 2018. He completed M.S. in Interdisciplinary Engineering at Purdue University and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Seoul National University, where he also obtained a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering. He worked at the Government and industry research labs, and startups. And his patents have been licensed to companies, including Samsung Electronics. Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • BBL Talk: Yi Ting Huang, “Technology and the future of clinical services: Language, communication, and disabilities”

    Date: May 4th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Yi Ting Huang, Associate Professor, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Maryland Title: Technology and the future of clinical services: Language, communication, and disabilities Abstract: Speech-language pathologists and audiologists are at the front lines of improving functional language and communication across the lifespan. These include treating wide-ranging disabilities such as language disorders, autism, stuttering, hearing loss, traumatic brain injury, stroke, dementia, etc. The success of early diagnosis paired with rapidly changing US demographics have introduced two broad challenges. First, clinicians are faced with massively increasing caseloads, and new populations that were unseen decades ago. Second, clinicians are a 93% white workforce and 56% of clients identify as people of color, and this raises a host of challenges related to cultural and linguistic diversity. While existing technology has focused on specific client needs (e.g., hearing aids, AAC devices), developing tools that can increase the efficiency and efficacy of service delivery in a heavily labor-intensive industry will improve quality of life for individuals with disabilities at scale. To do so, I will introduce three on-going projects that leverage 1) telehealth to provide language therapy for children with Developmental Language Disorder, 2) automated methods for multilingual transcription to accurately assess language knowledge in bilingual children, 3) video-calling platforms for create augmented spaces for communication for autistic and neurotypical adults. These examples demonstrate how technology can reach clients that are geographically inaccessible, offer services that typically take substantial time and expertise, and alter environments that provide communicatively relevant information. I will close by considering the wealth of opportunities at the intersection of language, communication, and disabilities, and invite others to brainstorm technology applications to address urgent needs in health care access, disproportionality in diagnosis, and diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

    Bio: Yi Ting Huang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at Harvard University and trained as a post-doctoral fellow in Cognitive Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Huang’s research focuses on how young language learners acquire the ability to coordinate linguistic representations during real-time comprehension. She explores this question by using eye-tracking methods to examine how the moment-to-moment changes that occur during processing influence the year-to-year changes that emerge during development. She has applied this approach to examine a variety of topics including word recognition, application of grammatical knowledge, and the generation of pragmatic inferences. Other interests include the relationship between language and concepts, language comprehension and production, and language development and literacy.  She is currently a member of the Maryland Language Science Center and the Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science.
    Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • BBL Talk: Affective Polarization and Support for Democratic Institutions

    Date: Apr 27th, 2023 12:30 PM
    [caption id="attachment_10390" align="alignleft" width="379"] Carolina Batista (left) and Flávia Batista (right)[/caption] Flavia Batista, Carolina F.T. Batista, and Ernesto Calvo Title: Affective Polarization and Support for Democratic Institutions: Evidence from Survey Experiments in Brazil, Chile, and Colombia Abstract: We examine the relationship between partisan social media messages and voters' support for democratic institutions. The experiments test whether partisan voters favor dissolving Congress or impeaching the president to advance in-group goals, considering a range of messages on consensual and wedge issues. We hypothesize that incumbent voters and opposition voters are more likely to reduce their support for democratic institutions controlled by out-group members, with opposition respondents more supportive of impeaching the president and government respondents more supportive of dissolving Congress. Partisan messages are expected to increase these effects, weakening those institutions controlled by the out-group party. We implement survey experiments in Chile, Brazil, and Colombia between October 2022 and March 2023. The experiments randomly expose respondents to partisan messages on issues such as inflation, abortion, crime, and protests. Inter-party differences conform to expectations, with opposition voters reporting higher preferences for impeaching the president and government supporters reporting higher preferences for dissolving Congress. However, we find no consistent social media effect. Incumbent and opposition voters support undemocratic policies that align with in-group goals, yet the effect does not increase with exposure to partisan social media messages on wedge issues. Bios: Carolina Batista is a Ph.D. student in Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. She holds a Masters’ degree in International Policy Analysis from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At UMD, Carolina is a member of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Computational Social Science (iLCSS) and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center (LACS). Her main research interests rely on computational methods, as well as political behavior, democracy, polarization, and social justice in Latin America. Flávia Batista is a second-year Ph.D. student at the Government and Politics department at the University of Maryland, College Park, majoring in Comparative Politics and Political Methodology. At UMD, Flavia is a member of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Computational Social Science (iLCSS) and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center (LASC). She holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Brasilia, Brazil, and an M.A. in Brazilian Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Flávia's primary research interests include elections, electoral campaigns, disinformation, and democratic backsliding. Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • BBL: CHI practice talks!

    Date: Apr 20th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Students and faculty prepare for upcoming ACM CHI conference talks.   Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • Brown Bag Talk: Arvind Satyanarayan presents, “Intelligence Augmentation through the Lens of Interactive Data Visualization”

    Date: Apr 13th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Arvind Satyanarayan, Associate Professor, MIT Title: Intelligence Augmentation through the Lens of Interactive Data Visualization Abstract: Recent rapid advances in machine learning have brought new energy to the future of human + machine partnerships. In this talk, I will use three research threads on interactive data visualization to better understand the balance between automation and augmentation. First, I will describe how new specifications of visual and non-visual data representations allow us to reason about visual perception and cognition. Second, I will explore how visualization can be used to bridge human mental models and machine-learned representations. And, finally, I will discuss how data visualization already exhibits an epistemological crisis of truth—one that generative models threaten to further widen. Bio: Arvind Satyanarayan is Associate Professor of Computer Science at MIT, and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He leads the MIT Visualization Group, which uses visualization as a lens to explore how software systems can enhance our creativity and cognition, while respecting our agency. Arvind's work has been recognized with an IEEE VGTC Significant New Researcher award, an NSF CAREER and Google Research Scholar award, a Kavli fellowship, best paper awards at academic venues (e.g., ACM CHI and IEEE VIS), and honorable mentions amongst practitioners (e.g., Kantar's Information is Beautiful Awards). Visualization systems he has helped develop are widely used in industry (including at Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Netflix), on Wikipedia, and by the Jupyter/Python data science communities. Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • Brown Bag Talk: Andy Stefik shares “Evidence Standards and Data Science for All”

    Date: Apr 6th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Talk Title: Evidence Standards and Data Science for All Abstract: Scientific fields often believe that they hold a strong basis of evidence for claims made by their own community. In practice, however, exactly what evidence is expected for a paper to be published or for a hypothesis to become an accepted theory is complex and historically bizarre. In this talk, we will discuss a snippet of the history of evidence and how these lessons are morphing into what some scholars are calling data science. In the process, we will discuss barriers and problems in data science that need resolution for it to become accessible to the general public, scholars, and notably people with disabilities. Bio: Andreas Stefik is a professor of computer science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. For more than a decade, he has been creating technologies that make it easier for people, including those with disabilities, to write computer software. He helped establish the first national educational infrastructure for blind or visually impaired students to learn computer science and invented the first evidence-based programming language, Quorum. The design of Quorum is created from data derived through methodologies similar to those used in the medical community. He has been a principal investigator on 8 NSF-funded grants, many of which related to accessible graphics and computer science education. Finally, he was honored with the 2016 White House Champions of Change award and the Expanding CS Opportunities award from and the Computer Science Teachers Association.  

  • Brown Bag Talk: Dr. Andrea Parker presents “Transforming the Health of Communities through Innovations in Social Computing”

    Date: Mar 30th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Dr. Andrea Parker Transforming the Health of Communities through Innovations in Social Computing March 30, 2023, 12:30pm ET Abstract: Digital health research—the investigation of how technology can be designed to support wellbeing—has exploded in recent years. Much of this innovation has stemmed from advances in the fields of human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence. A growing segment of this work is examining how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be used to achieve health equity, that is, fair opportunities for all people to live a healthy life. Such advances are sorely needed, as there exist large disparities in morbidity and mortality across population groups. These disparities are due in large part to social determinants of health, that is, social, physical, and economic conditions that disproportionately inhibit wellbeing in populations such as low-socioeconomic status and racial and ethnic minority groups. Despite years of digital health research and commercial innovation, profound health disparities persist. In this talk, I will argue that to reduce health disparities, ICTs must address social determinants of health. Intelligent interfaces have much to offer in this regard, and yet their affordances—such as the ability to deliver personalized health interventions—can also act as pitfalls. For example, a focus on personalized health interventions can lead to the design of interfaces that help individuals engage in behavioral change. While such innovations are important, to achieve health equity there is also a need for complimentary systems that address social relationships. Social ties are a crucial point of focus for digital health research as they can provide meaningful supports for positive health, especially in populations that disproportionately experience barriers to wellbeing.  I will offer a vision for digital health equity research in which interactive and intelligent systems are designed to help people build, enrich, and engage social relationships that support wellbeing. By expanding the focus from individual to social change, there is tremendous opportunity to create disruptive interventions that catalyze and sustain population health improvements. Bio: Andrea Grimes Parker is an Associate Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and at Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Parker holds a Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech and a B.S. in Computer Science from Northeastern University. She is the founder and director of the Wellness Technology Lab at Georgia Tech. Her interdisciplinary research spans the domains of human-computer interaction and public health, as she examines how social and interactive computing systems can be designed to address health inequities. Dr. Parker has published widely in the space of digital health equity and received several best paper honorable mention awards for her research. Her research has been funded through awards from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Aetna Foundation, Google, and Johnson & Johnson. Additionally, she is a recipient of the 2020 Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance Team Science Award. Dr. Parker has held various leadership roles, including serving as co-chair for Workgroup on Interactive Systems in Healthcare (WISH) and as a member of the Johnson & Johnson / Morehouse School of Medicine Georgia Maternal Health Research for Action Steering Committee. Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • Brown Bag Talk: Dr. Katie Davis discusses her new book, “Technology’s Child”

    Date: Mar 16th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Abstract: What happens to the little ones, the tweens, and the teenagers, when technology, ubiquitous in the world they inhabit, becomes a critical part of their lives? Technology’s Child brings clarity to what we know about technology’s role in child development and provides guidance on how to help children of all ages make the most of their digital experiences. From toddlers who are exploring their immediate environment to twenty-somethings who are exploring their place in society, technology inevitably and profoundly affects their development. Drawing on her expertise in developmental science and design research, Dr. Katie Davis describes what happens when child development and technology design interact, and how this interaction is complicated by children’s individual characteristics as well as social and cultural contexts.  Critically, she explains how a self-directed experience of technology—one initiated, sustained, and ended voluntarily—supports healthy child development, especially when it takes place within the context of community support, and how an experience that lacks these qualities can have the opposite effect. Bio: Katie Davis is Associate Professor at the University of Washington (UW) Information School, Adjunct Associate Professor in the UW College of Education, and a founding member and Co-Director of the UW Digital Youth Lab. Katie investigates the impact of digital technologies on young people’s learning, development, and well-being, and co-designs positive technology experiences for youth and their families. Her work bridges the fields of human development, human-computer interaction, and the learning sciences. In addition to her academic papers, Katie is the author of three books exploring technology’s role in young people’s lives: Technology’s Child: Digital Media’s Role in the Ages and Stages of Growing Up (MIT Press, 2023), Writers in the Secret Garden: Fanfiction, Youth, and New Forms of Mentoring (with Cecilia Aragon, MIT Press, 2019), and The App Generation: How Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World (with Howard Gardner, Yale University Press, 2013).  Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Washington, Katie was a research scientist at Harvard Project Zero, where she worked on the research team that collaborated with Common Sense Media to develop the first iteration of their digital citizenship curriculum. She holds two master’s degrees and a doctorate in Human Development and Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • Brown Bag Talk: Aligning incentives with institutional values

    Date: Mar 9th, 2023 12:30 PM

    Abstract: In this talk, I will discuss key issues underlying the current incentive systems for research evaluation, summarize existing data on the relation between key indicators of research quality and traditional metrics, and highlight some of the challenges with reputation-based systems. I argue that real reform in research evaluation requires a fundamental rethinking of how we conceptualize research productivity, moving away from traditional incentive structures that heavily weigh quantity and toward a model in which the incentives align with our institutional and scientific values. I suggest that these reforms must be designed in a way to incentivize researchers to engage in pro-social behaviors.
    Bio: Dr. Dougherty received his PhD in 1999 from the University of Oklahoma and his BS from Kansas State University in 1993. Dr. Dougherty has received numerous research awards, including the Hillel Einhorn Early Investigator Award from the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, and the early investigator CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Dougherty was appointed chair of the Department of Psychology in 2017.
    Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • Brown Bag Talk: Human Spaceflight Risk from Decreasing Ground Support on Long-Duration Missions Beyond Low-Earth Orbit

    Date: Mar 2nd, 2023 12:30 PM
    Abstract: Human spaceflight over the past 60 years has been remarkably safe. This has been largely due to the fact that support from Earth, in the form of near-real-time communication, resupply, and evacuation options, has been a successful countermeasure to the significant hazards associated with in-space operations. Longer duration missions to the Lunar surface, and then to Mars, will quickly break this approach, requiring a paradigm shift in terms of on-board, in-mission capabilities for increased Earth-independence. Bio: Dr. Alonso Vera is Chief of the Human Systems Integration Division at NASA Ames Research Center. He has worked at NASA for over 20 years and has served as Division Chief since 2010. Dr. Vera has cross-disciplinary expertise 
in human performance, human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence. He has led the development and deployment of software systems across NASA robotic and human space flight missions including Mars Exploration Rovers, Phoenix Mars Lander, Mars Science Laboratory, Space Shuttle, International Space Station, and Exploration Systems. Dr. Vera received a Bachelor of Science from McGill University and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. He went on to a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here). This event is cosponsored with the Organizational Teams and Technology Research Society (OTTRS). Read more about this research group at

  • Computational Thinking and Creativity – Do they go together?

    Date: Feb 23rd, 2023 12:30 PM
    Abstract: In recent years, Computational thinking (CT) and creativity have been recognized as essential skills to acquire from a young age. Despite the rich and fruitful research efforts to understand these skills, the association between CT and creativity still needs to be fully understood. In this lecture, I will present our research on the connection between CT and creativity among middle school students through designed challenges in a game-based learning environment. I will discuss the impact of our intervention program to promote these skills and describe the practices for collecting and analyzing data from standard creativity tests and the learning environment logfiles. Bio: Rotem Israel-Fishelson is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Maryland. Her research explores ways to introduce learners to data science using engaging computational learning experiences. She is also interested in assessing computational thinking and creativity skills in game-based learning environments using learning analytics methods. Rotem holds a Ph.D. in Science Education from Tel Aviv University, an M.Sc. in Media Technology from Linnaeus University, and a B.A. in Instructional Design from the Holon Institute of Technology. Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • Developing an Approach to Support Instructors to Provide Emotional and Instructional Scaffolding for English Language Learners Through Biosensor-Based Feedback

    Date: Feb 16th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Abstract: In this talk, I'll present the potential of using biosensor-based feedback to support instructors in providing emotional and instructional scaffolding for English language learners (ELLs). This research includes classifying the intensity and characteristics of public speaking anxiety (PSA) and foreign language anxiety (FLA) among ELLs, with a view to providing tailored feedback to instructors. A focus group interview was conducted to identify instructors’ needs for solutions providing emotional and instructional support for ELLs. This was followed by an ideation and design session, where prototypes incorporating biosensing technology were designed to support teaching. I conclude this talk by discussing the feasibility of using electrodermal activity (EDA) to measure ELLs' emotional states, provide an algorithm for classifying speaking anxiety, and offer design guidance for an educational system using EDA data in an ESL/EFL environment as well as the instructors’ perspectives about using biosensor-based feedback in teaching. Bio: Heera Lee is a Lecturer in the Information Studies department at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her interest research area in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is educational technologies and affective computing for English language learners (ELLs) from diverse cultures. She has been focusing on investigating contributing factors to the public speaking anxiety (PSA) and foreign language speaking anxiety (FLA) among ELLs by analyzing their self-report questionnaire, individual interviews, non-verbal behaviors, and physiological data including electrodermal activity (EDA). These interests stem from her teaching experience as an instructor in English Language Institute (ELI), Teaching Assistant in undergraduate programs at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and Adjunct faculty at Towson University. Join us in the lab or on Zoom (register here).

  • Sharing the Productivity Tools & Tips That Help You Get Work Done

    Date: Feb 2nd, 2023 12:30 PM
    There are hundreds of productivity apps and tools to help you get work done--far too many for any one person to go through and figure out what works best for them. In this week's BBL, we want you to share the tools, apps, and tips you use to help you in your research, classwork, and writing. How do you stay organized? What helps you be productive? What are things that didn't work for you? We'll talk about what people like and don't and run some quick demos during this BBL. Fill out this form to share what you use. Join us in the lab (HBK-2105) or on Zoom to hear about cool tools and to share the ones you use!

  • “Celebrating Happy Memories” (or Catherine recounts some of the many reasons you should be proud of HCIL)

    Date: Jan 26th, 2023 12:30 PM
    Catherine Plaisant is a Research Scientist Emerita at UMIACS and HCIL member. Catherine earned a Doctorat d’Ingénieur degree in France and joined HCIL in 1988. She works with multidisciplinary teams on designing and evaluating new interface technologies that are useful and usable. In 2015 she was elected to the ACM SIGCHI Academy recognizing principal leaders in the field of Human-Computer Interaction.  In 2018 she was awarded an INRIA International Chair, and in 2020 she received the IEEE VIS Career Award and the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Service Award. She has published over 200 papers, on subjects as diverse as information visualization, medical informatics, universal access, decision making, digital humanities or technology for families. Her work spans the interface development lifecycle, with contributions to requirements gathering, interface design, and evaluation.

Fall 2022

Spring 2022

5/5 | Shiqing (Licia) He
Finding the Grammar of Generative Craft

Abstract: Art and craft design is challenging even with the assistance of computer-aided design tools. Despite the increasing availability and intelligence of software and hardware, artists continue to find gaps between their practices and tools. Through this presentation, I introduce Grammar-driven Craft Design Tools (GCDTs), which explicitly embed and utilized craft domain knowledge as their primary mechanisms and interfaces. Besides bridging the gap between design-aid tools and craft domain knowledge, GCDTs also have additional benefits such as supporting generative design, facilitating learning, and preserving domain knowledge. This talk discusses how the next generation of design-aid tools can help artists find their creative expressions.

Bio: Licia He is a generative artist and a human-computer interaction researcher. After receiving her Ph.D. from the School of Information, University of Michigan, Licia is currently an assistant professor at the Department of Visualization, Texas A&M University, where she leads the Generative Craft Lab. Passionate about programming and visual art, she explores ways to record and present information around her through her research and artworks.

4/28 | Pablo Paredes
Everyday stress management technology “in the wild” towards equitable wellbeing computing

Abstract: In this talk, I discuss my work in stress management sensing and intervention technologies for everyday use, i.e. that can be widely adopted by the entire population. I present stress as an example and introduction to equitable wellbeing computing focused on the design, building, and evaluation of affordable, engaging, and efficacious ubiquitous computing technology enabling the equal widespread of wellbeing. I delve in detail into examples of both sensors and interventions that can enable this vision.
First I discuss “sensorless” sensing as an approach to repurposing existing data and infrastructure to obtain continuous, longitudinal stress data that is informed by sound theory on biomechanics. Then I describe an intervention design approach that combines applied machine learning with human-centered design to repurpose engaging attention-grabbing technology (Internet apps, messaging) into personalized just-in-time stress management interventions. My talk finalizes with a future vision on how to take wellbeing computing research out of the lab and “in the wild”, how to manage “shared autonomy” challenges between humans and automated wellbeing systems, and how to focus on embedding ethical principles in the design of these modern systems.

Bio: Pablo Paredes earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2015 with Prof. John Canny. He is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department and the Epidemiology and Population Health Department (by courtesy) at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He leads the Pervasive Wellbeing Technology Lab, which houses a diverse group of students from multiple departments such as computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, anthropology, neuroscience, and linguistics. Before joining the School of Medicine, Dr. Paredes was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University with Prof. James Landay. During his Ph.D. career, he held internships on behavior change and affective computing at Microsoft Research and Google. He has been an active associate editor for the Interactive, Mobile, Wireless, and Ubiquitous Technology Journal (IMWUT) and a reviewer and editor for multiple top CS and medical journals. Before 2010, he was a senior strategic manager with Intel in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a lead product manager with Telefonica in Quito, Ecuador, and an entrepreneur in his native Ecuador and, more recently, in the US. In these roles, he has had the opportunity to hire and closely evaluate designers, engineers, business people, and researchers in telecommunications and product development. During his academic career, Dr. Paredes has advised close to 40 mentees, including postdocs, Ph.D., master’s, and undergraduate students, collaborated with colleagues from multiple departments across engineering, medicine, and the humanities, and raised funding from NSF, NIH, and large multidisciplinary intramural research projects.

4/21 | Laura Moradbakhti
Considering Users’ Basic Psychological Needs in Technology Design

Abstract: Users’ needs should be at the center of new technology design and development efforts. Nonetheless, there is a big gap in current research surrounding basic psychological need fulfillment. According to the Basic Psychological Needs Theory, the satisfaction of our basic psychological needs is necessary for autonomous motivation: if our needs, namely autonomy (desire to have control over our actions), competence (innate desire to experience mastery) and relatedness (desire to care for others and be cared for in return) are fulfilled, we are motivated to engage in a task. If the needs are not fulfilled, our well-being is negatively affected. In the past, basic psychological needs were measured to explain motivation for task engagement in the workplace, education and sport sector but there is little research drawing a link to technology usage and interaction. However, especially with the growing use of technologies in our daily lives, their increasing autonomy and competence in executing tasks, and their role in virtual communication, it is crucial to assess users’ need satisfaction to ensure their well-being when interacting with new technologies. My research focuses on design factors that positively influence users’ basic psychological needs. I will present several studies that address design factors, individual differences in need satisfaction, and the importance of basic psychological needs for technology acceptance.

4/14 | Stephen MacNeil
Digital Tools to Facilitate Participatory Design at Scale

Bio: Dr. Stephen MacNeil is an Assistant Professor at Temple University where he founded the Temple HCI Lab. Before that, he received his PhD from the College of Computing and Informatics at UNC Charlotte and his BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He was also a postdoctoral researcher in the Design Lab at UCSD. Although his background is highly technical, Dr. MacNeil’s research is rooted in human-computer interaction, participatory design, and learning sciences. These design sensibilities have led to his involvement in regional and global design initiatives as a lead organizer for Design for San Diego ( and as a US Representative for the Young Designers’ Circle at the World Design Organization.

4/7 | Jinjuan Heidi Feng
Understanding Social Media Usage related to Cognitive Disabilities in the Arabic World

Abstract: Social media has become a desirable means for spreading awareness, advocating for rights, establishing communities, acquiring information, and much more. Studies confirmed the substantial value of social support and community belonging for individuals with disabilities and their caregivers. Users in the Arabic world have shown an increasing interest in using social media in the past decade. However, there is limited research that investigated how social media was used in the Arabic world to support people with cognitive disabilities and advocate for their rights. We tried to start filling this gap through a two-stage project. In the first stage, we interviewed caregivers and teachers for children with cognitive disabilities from Saudi Arabia to examine their motivations and concerns around using social media in relation to their children or students’ conditions. We found that caregivers used social media with caution to seek information and emotional support, to spread awareness, and to communicate and build communities. In the second stage of the project, we applied text mining approaches, including sentiment and temporal analyses, on Arabic tweets related to cognitive disabilities during a nine year period. Content volume, temporal evolution, user accounts, sentiment, and topics of the tweets were analyzed. The results provide new insight into public perspectives, which may assist interested entities to form and distribute appropriate resources and information.

Bio: Dr. Jinjuan Heidi Feng, a visiting professor at the Trace Center of UMD, is a professor in the Computer and Information Sciences Department at Towson University. She received a Ph. D. in Information Sciences from UMBC in 2005. 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 the program co-chair for the 23rd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS21) and the general chair for ASSETS16. She is associate editor for the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies and the ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing.

3/31 | Christina Chung
Personal Informatics in the Changing, Social World

Abstract: Personal informatics refers to information individuals can collect about themselves, such as food intake, physical activity, sleep, and mood. Current personal informatics tools have been designed primarily for personal use, focusing on quantitative measurements that are easy to collect via sensors or manual input. These systems often overlook the changing nature of everyday life, the social contexts individuals live in, the variety of goals and values they have, and the constraints and preferences associated with these contexts and values. My research has examined the collaborative use of personal informatics data and co-constructed experience in various contexts. In this talk, I will share a few recent studies unpacking ways to rethink personal informatics technology that considers the changing contexts of health behavior, shifting values and priorities, as well as the social roles and relationships that often deeply intertwine with health decisions.

Bio: Christina Chung is an Assistant Professor in Informatics and the Luddy Faculty Fellow 2020/2021 at the Indiana University Bloomington. She is also the director of the Proactive Health lab. Her research focuses on how ubiquitous computing and personal informatics data can be designed and shared to support relationships, motivate health behavior, and support collaborative care. She has published in top HCI conferences and medical journals; receiving a Best Paper Award, Honorable Mentions, and an Impact Recognition Award. Her research has been featured in mainstream media, such as CNN and Geekwire, and is supported by the National Science Foundation, IU Luddy Faculty Fellowship, and IU Precision Health Initiative. Christina received her Ph.D. in Human Centered Design and Engineering from the University of Washington while she was a member of the Design. Use. Build (DUB) group. Previously, she was also a software engineer in IBM Research Collaboratory Taiwan conducting service innovation research in health and wellness. She holds an M.B.A and B.B.A in Information Management from the National Taiwan University.

3/17 | Karen Holtzblatt
Understanding Remote Working and Diverse Teams

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3/10 | Dr. Merijke Coenraad
Designing to Introduce Technological and Algorithmic Bias in Computing Lessons
<p”>Abstract: Technology is ubiquitous in modern society. It affects our daily activities and exists in every household and on every street corner. Yet, research has shown that both the process of creating technologies and the technologies themselves are biased. New technologies are based on datasets, algorithms, and designs that encode developer and data biases. As youth increasingly use technologies in their daily lives, experience the effects of technologies and algorithms, and learn to be technology creators, it is important for them to critically explore and understand the ways that technology introduces and perpetuates inequities. In this talk, I present a design study on the development and implementation of materials specifically designed to teach about Threats to Techquity. Threats to Techquity are aspects of computing and technologies that cause or could cause inequalities, especially inequalities based on marginalized identities (e.g., inequalities due to race, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, ability). To understand how to bring Techquity into the classroom, I partnered with youth and teachers using participatory design to develop the “Talking Techquity” curriculum for middle grades (5th through 8th grade) students. Findings from this work revealed: (1) youth initially named and identified examples of visible Threats to Techquity, but as they learned more about these threats, they uncovered and discussed invisible Threats to Techquity more frequently and identified these threats as important topics to be taught to peers; (2) youth and teacher designers had similar instructional priorities and utilized similar pedagogical strategies when designing and critiquing learning experiences about online data collection and data use, but had contrasting ways of discussing examples and different learning goals; and (3) when implementing “Talking Techquity,” teachers who helped co-design the curriculum made adaptations to content and project requirements to provide more scaffolding and ensure students experienced success based on teachers’ perceptions of student needs and other factors. This research encourages researchers, curriculum designers, educators, and students themselves to consider how to teach about the Threats to Techquity affecting youth’s daily lives and demonstrates how participatory design methods can help uncover key conceptualizations and instructional priorities that make this possible.

Bio: Merijke Coenraad is a Learning Experience Designer at Digital Promise. She recently defended her PhD dissertation in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on the intersections of educational technology and equity including the creation of materials, platforms, and experiences in partnership with teachers and youth through participatory design methods. Merijke has an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from Boston College and a B.S. in Elementary Education and Spanish and Hispanic Studies from Creighton University. She is a former middle school teacher.

3/3 | Ben Shneiderman
Human-Centered AI: Ensuring Human Control, Enhancing Human Performance

Abstract: A new synthesis is emerging that integrates AI technologies with Human-Computer Interaction to produce Human-Centered AI (HCAI). Advocates of this new synthesis seek to amplify, augment, and enhance human abilities, so as to empower people, build their self-efficacy, support creativity, recognize responsibility, and promote social connections. Researchers, developers, business leaders, policy makers and others are expanding the technology-centered scope of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to include Human-Centered AI (HCAI) ways of thinking. This expansion from an algorithm-focused view to embrace a human-centered perspective, can shape the future of technology so as to better serve human needs. Educators, designers, software engineers, product managers, evaluators, and government agency staffers can build on AI-driven technologies to design products and services that make life better for the users. These human-centered products and services will enable people to better care for each other, build sustainable communities, and restore the environment. The passionate advocates of HCAI are devoted to furthering human values, rights, justice, and dignity, by building reliable, safe, and trustworthy systems. The talk will include examples, references to further work, and discussion time for questions. These ideas are drawn from Ben Shneiderman’s new book Human-Centered AI (Oxford University Press, February 2022). Further information at:

Bio: BEN SHNEIDERMAN ( is an Emeritus Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (, 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, NAI, and the Visualization Academy and a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He has received six honorary doctorates 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 lead author 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. His new book on Human-Centered AI, was published by Oxford University Press in February 2022.

2/24 | Paul Bricman
Building customizable and collaborative AI assistants

Abstract: AI assistance is an increasingly widespread approach to improving knowledge work. However, most commercial AI assistants today offer users limited customization options, making them difficult to integrate in specific workflows. You might be able to change its voice or superficially integrate it with other apps, but what if you wanted to teach it complex new skills (e.g. formulating research questions, connecting ideas, putting together counterarguments, etc.)? In this talk, I will describe two prototypes which explore this question. Dual is an experimental AI assistant whose skills are entirely defined by users through a lightweight scripting language which extends prompt engineering with variables and nested calls. However, even if customizable skills are handy in tailoring an AI assistant’s skill set to the user’s needs, knowing when to use what skill remains challenging. You might only have a broad overarching goal (e.g. learning a concept, solving a problem, making a decision, etc.) whose translation to individual replies is non-trivial. As an early step in addressing this challenge, I will introduce Oneironomicon, a conversational sandbox for training AI assistants on “dreamed-up” user simulators using reinforcement learning before repurposing their know-how to help real users.

Bio: Paul is a Romanian-born Netherlands-based student exploring ways of augmenting human cognition using AI. On the surface, this happens by designing tiny new primitives, mechanics, and affordances which symbiotically bring together minds and machines. On a deeper level, this happens by putting together a cognitive infrastructure: a patchwork of building blocks which together enable a rich combinatorial space of thought patterns, both organic and artificial, both individual and collective.

2/17 | Dr. Niloufar Salehi
From content moderation to school assignment: What do theories of justice teach us about design?

Abstract: Computational systems have a complex relationship with justice: they may be designed with the intent to promote justice, tasked to resolve injustices, or actively contribute to injustice itself. In this talk I will take two theories of justice, restorative and distributive justice, as frameworks to analyze and imagine alternatives to two real-world systems. First, I will analyze online harms such as harassment and revenge porn and how they are currently addressed through content moderation. I will use restorative justice to discuss the shortcomings of content moderation to effectively address those harms and discuss what alternatives we might design. Second, I will analyze an attempt at using computational systems to promote distributive justice in public schools in San Francisco that ultimately failed to achieve its theoretical promises of transparency, equity, and efficiency. I will show how incorrect modeling assumptions about families’ priorities, constraints, and goals clashed with the real world causing the algorithm to fail. Through this work I argue for recognizing the limitations of algorithmic solutions, broadening how we evaluate computational socio-technical systems, and ongoing engagement with those affected by those systems.

Bio: Niloufar Salehi is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information at UC Berkeley, with an affiliated appointment in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Her research interests are in social computing, participatory and critical design, human-centered AI, and more broadly, human-computer-interaction (HCI). Her work has been published and received awards in premier venues in HCI including ACM CHI and CSCW. Through building computational social systems in collaboration with existing communities, controlled experiments, and ethnographic fieldwork, her research contributes the design of alternative social configurations online.

2/10 | Lightning Talks

Four lightning talks featuring HCIL student researchers. Students will share a research project or idea and facilitate a discussion among attendees.

2/3 | Mohammad Ali
Fake-News Network Model: A Conceptual Framework for Strategic Communication to Deal with Fake News

Abstract: This article analyzes the entire life span of a corporate fake-news report as a case study, proposing a conceptual framework for strategic fake-news communication. Using the confirmation-bias theoretical model, this qualitative textual analysis examines the most widely circulated tweets of a fake-news item about Nike, 603 replies to the tweets, users’ biographical profiles (e.g., political affiliations), the role of opinion leader(s), and relevant prior contexts. The findings provide in-depth insight into how people believe fake news and how their conversations about fake news (re)shape the victim brand’s social realities. Overall, the findings of this study illustrate a “Fake-News Network Model” that explains the underlying mechanisms of how a fake-news item functions together with other aspects (e.g., context, perception, opinion leaders, and cognitive processes), prompting certain people to believe particular fake-news reports and, discuss the victim brand (e.g., Nike) based on that perceived truth. The article discusses the implications of this network model for both fake-news researchers and strategic communication professionals.

Bio: Mohammad Ali is a doctoral student in the College of Information Studies (iSchool) at the University of Maryland (UMD) College Park. The areas of his research interest include strategic communication, fake news, health informatics, computational journalism, HCI, and computational social science. A former journalist, Ali has studied public administration and mass communication prior to joining the iSchool Ph.D. program. His scholarly works got published/accepted and presented in different journals and conferences, including International Journal of Strategic Communication, Visual Communication Quarterly, Media Practice and Education journal, Atlantic Journal of Communication, Cultivating Q Methodology (book chapter), Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference, International Communication Association (ICA) conference, National Communication Association (NCA) conference, and Australian & New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference.

1/27 | Xiaojun Bi
AI-powered Interaction: Principles, Models, and Applications

Abstract: How to leverage AI to enhance and augment users’ interaction with computers is a grand challenge. In this talk, I will use text-based communication in Post-PC computing as an example to demonstrate how to integrate AI into interactive systems. We have created multiple AI-powered writing systems that can (1) infer users’ communication intention from noisy input such as eye gaze, voice, and finger touch, and (2) adapt to individuals and support text input on invisible and imaginary keyboards, and (3) detect whether users develop early signs of Parkinson’s Disease. The secret ingredient behind these AI-powered interactive systems is probabilistic modeling: we have created probabilistic models to quantify uncertainty in interaction, and adapted Bayesian inference as a principle of resolving uncertainty in interaction and integrating multimodal input.

Bio: Xiaojun Bi is an Assistant Professor (2017 – present) in the Department of Computer Science at Stony Brook University. Prior to joining Stony Brook, he was a Research Scientist at Google LLC. Xiaojun’s research lies at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), with a primary focus on AI-powered Interaction. Xiaojun Bi has authored over 40 publications in the premier HCI publication venues such as CHI and UIST, and has won 10 Best Paper or Honorable Mention awards. He is a two-time Google Faculty Research Award winner and inventor of 33 US patents. Xiaojun Bi earned his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, and received his Master’s degree in Computer Science and Bachelor’s degree in Automation from Tsinghua University. Further information, including publications and videos demonstrating some of his research, can be obtained from

Spring 2021

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Fall 2016