recommender0The fall semester is in the books.  I am now about two-thirds thru the required credits for a master’s degree in computer science.  With chipping away at the degree in a part-time manner, when complete, it will have taken me around four and a half years to finish an otherwise two-year degree.

This year, the courses I took involved HCI – Human Computer Interaction.  For those who did not click on that Wikipedia link, HCI is an area of computer science that looks at (observes) how people use computers and associated technologies, as well as the creation (design) of technologies that let people computers in interesting ways.

For the spring semester, the course I took was titled, Collaborative & Social Computing.  It explored, from a fairly high-level, the many aspects of HCI.  We looked at Wikipedia, Zooniverse, Mechanical Turk, a host of dating sites, as well as Chris McKinlay’s gaming of OkCupid (there’s also a book on this, too).  The class ended with a two person project – my partner and I implemented a very crude Wikipedia-of-CompSci-course-work.  Think of this as a free and open platform to obtain questions and their answers for computer science coursework.  This was to be an instructor-centric platform where instructors could share with other instructors their courses’ questions.  We called it AssignmentHub.

This course was a bit of a gateway-drug for HCI.  Little samples – gets you hooked, gets you interested – convinces you that the next level, HCI & UI Technology, should be a great course.

The name, HCI & UI Technology, is a bit of a catch-all and does not clearly state what my fall semester’s primary course was about: research methods within the context of human-computer interaction.  What’s that I just said?  The gist of the course was look at a research paper from the HCI-world and look at the methods of research used.  Grounded theory method, surveying of individuals, was there a statistical process applied, and so on.  We read a lot.  Thirty-eight papers or chapters, likely many hundreds of pages.

Many of the papers and chapters have blended together in my mind.  Which ones were on Facebook?  Which ones used mturk?  Which ones were about designing technologies and which ones were about evaluating perceptions of technologies?

There is one paper that stands out a bit in my mind.  It is likely that it stands out because I had to co-present it to class.  The paper was Project Ernestine: Validating GOMS for predicting and explaining real-world task performance.  

It’s a 74-page paper, published in 1993, that chronicles the scientific effort to compare work-times of telephone operators using two different workstations at NYNEX.  Those with a keen mind for remembering late 1960s television might realize that Ernestine was the name of one of Lily Tomlin’s characters on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.  Ernestine was a sarcastic telephone operator.

The paper also draws on work from Frank and Lillian Gilbreth and their efforts to measure worker performance and study motion in a more scientific manner.

After all the readings, the term was rounded out with co-authoring a research paper.  The paper was modeled after Understanding User Beliefs About Algorithmic Curation in the Facebook Newsfeed. Instead of Facebook, we looked at Reddit and people’s perceptions of Reddit’s Best algorithm.

And, that’s it.  Lots of reading, three research projects (including the research paper).  Social and Collaborative Computing was certainly gateway-drug to the more hardcore HCI & UI Technology (HCI Research Methods in disguise).  It was interesting to learn more about the inner-workings of a sub-area of computer science, but I have definitely had my fill for a while.

Below is a table of nearly all that we read this term.  Enjoy.

Paper or Chapter Name Author(s)
Curiosity, Creativity, and Surprise as Analytic Tools: Grounded Theory Method Michael Muller
An older version of the Wikipedia talk page for Edina, MN
Excerpts from Old Edina, MN Wikipedia Talk Page
Is it really about me?: message content in social awareness streams. Naaman, Mor, Jeffrey Boase, and Chih-Hui Lai.
Hustling online: understanding consolidated facebook use in an informal settlement in Nairobi. Susan P. Wyche, Andrea Forte, and Sarita Yardi Schoenebeck
Understanding User Beliefs About Algorithmic Curation in the Facebook News Feed. Rader, Emilee, and Rebecca Gray
Mediated parent-child contact in work-separated families. Yarosh, Svetlana, and Gregory D. Abowd
Experimental Research in HCI Gergle and Tan
Understanding User Behavior Through Log Data and Analysis Susan Dumais, Robin Jeffries, Daniel M. Russell, Diane Tang, Jaime Teevan
Research Ethics and HCI Amy Bruckman
Effectiveness of shared leadership in online communities. Zhu, Haiyi, Robert Kraut, and Aniket Kittur
To stay or leave?: the relationship of emotional and informational support to commitment in online health support groups Yi-Chia Wang, Robert Kraut, and John M. Levine
Practical Statistics for Human-Computer Interaction Jacob O. Wobbrock
Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Kramer, Adam DI, Jamie E. Guillory, and Jeffrey T. Hancock
Predicting tie strength with social media Eric Gilbert and Karrie Karahalios
Survey Research in HCI Muller et al.
Concepts, Values, and Methods for Technical Human-Computer Interaction Research Hudson and Mankoff
Research Through Design in HCI Zimmerman and Forlizzi
Skinput: appropriating the body as an input surface Chris Harrison, Desney Tan, and Dan Morris
The bubble cursor: enhancing target acquisition by dynamic resizing of the cursor’s activation area Tovi Grossman and Ravin Balakrishnan
Field trial of Tiramisu: crowd-sourcing bus arrival times to spur co-design John Zimmerman, Anthony Tomasic, Charles Garrod, Daisy Yoo, Chaya Hiruncharoenvate, Rafae Aziz, Nikhil Ravi Thiruvengadam, Yun Huang, and Aaron Steinfeld
Performance and User Experience of Touchscreen and Gesture Keyboards in a Lab Setting and in the Wild Shyam Reyal, Shumin Zhai, and Per Ola Kristensson
The drift table: designing for ludic engagement William W. Gaver, John Bowers, Andrew Boucher, Hans Gellerson, Sarah Pennington, Albrecht Schmidt, Anthony Steed, Nicholas Villars, and Brendan Walker
Predicting human interruptibility with sensors: a Wizard of Oz feasibility study Scott Hudson, James Fogarty, Christopher Atkeson, Daniel Avrahami, Jodi Forlizzi, Sara Kiesler, Johnny Lee, and Jie Yang
Zensors: Adaptive, Rapidly Deployable, Human-Intelligent Sensor Feeds. Laput, Gierad, et al.
Beyond the Belmont Principles: Ethical challenges, practices, and beliefs in the online data research community Vitak, J., Shilton, K., & Ashktorab
Unequal Representation and Gender Stereotypes in Image Search Results for Occupations Kay, Matthew, Cynthia Matuszek, and Sean A. Munson
y do tngrs luv 2 txt msg? Grinter, Rebecca E., and Margery A. Eldridge
Becoming Wikipedian: transformation of participation in a collaborative online encyclopedia. Bryant, Susan L., Andrea Forte, and Amy Bruckman
Wikipedians are born, not made: a study of power editors on Wikipedia. Panciera, Katherine, Aaron Halfaker, and Loren Terveen
Agent-based Modeling to Inform the Design of Multi-User Systems Ren and Kraut
Project Ernestine: Validating a GOMS analysis for predicting and explaining real-world task performance. Gray, Wayne D., Bonnie E. John, and Michael E. Atwood
Cooperative inquiry: developing new technologies for children with children. Druin, Allison
Sabbath day home automation: it’s like mixing technology and religion. Woodruff, Allison, Sally Augustin, and Brooke Foucault
SpeechSkimmer: interactively skimming recorded speech. Arons, Barry
Sensing techniques for mobile interaction. Hinckley, Ken, et al.
A touring machine: Prototyping 3D mobile augmented reality systems for exploring the urban environment. Feiner, Steven, et al.
"I regretted the minute I pressed share":
A Qualitative Study of Regrets on Facebook
Wang, Yang, et al.