DOME conference on Medical Records Online in Skövde

We had a great Dome conference in Skövde about our research on medical records online. There were 12 reserachers present during this conference from a large number of universities. The first day there were some presentations of new and upcoming studies of the effects of patients reading their medical records online.

Erebouni Arakelian who has a PhD in medicine joined a Dome meeting for the first time and presented the plan for a study on the patient group that she is working with, and that she has done studies on before. She will do 30 interviews during the coming years, and has already gotten ethical approval for her study.

Bridget Kane who does reserch in HCI and in Computer Supported Collaborative Work also joined the meeting for the first time and she did a presentation of her previous studies and what she has done in her work. She has covered a very interesting, and large area related to eHealth.

It was interesting to hear about the plans for the upcoming studies, and to discuss what areas we should look more into based on previous findings. Here are some of the upcoming  studies:

  • Interview study with cancer patients by Ereboni Arakelian as a follow up to the national survey sent out in the fall of 2016 and the interviews made around 2013.
  • Interview and survey study with health care professionals at the Oncology department about the effects on the work environment. Jonas Moll it in charge of this study and bloggs about this study here if you want to know more. (this study is a part of the Disa project)
  • Interviews with patients in primary care about their use of medical records online (as a part of Maria Hägglund and Isabella Scandurra’s project Pacess)

There were some new members of the consortium present at the conference, and some old members have moved on to other research areas. I am however really glad to see that we have created an open and well functioning community where newcomers are very welcome.

Hello World! – Experiencing Usability Methods without Usability Expertise

During my PhD studies we did a very interesting study on how system developers understand and experience usability methods. The paper was written by Elina Eriksson, Jan Gulliksen and me and it gives some answers to interesting questions. 

This paper was one of the hardest papers to publish, mostly due to the use of several methods for data collection which is a bit non-traditional. However, after a few submissions and re-submissions it ended up being a paper well worth reading. You find the paper here:

The paper’s abstract: 

How do you do usability work when no usability expertise is available? What happens in an organization when system developers, with no previous HCI knowledge, after a 3-day course, start applying usability methods, and particularly field studies?

In order to answer these questions qualitative data were gathered through participatory observations, a feed back survey, field study documentation and interviews from 47 system developers from a public authority.

Our results suggest that field studies enhance the developer’s understanding of the user perspective, and provide a more holistic overview of the use situation, but that some developers were unable to interpret their observations and see solutions to the users’ problems. The field study method was very much appreciated and has now become standard operating procedure within the organization.

However, although field studies may be useful, it does not replace the need for usability pro fessionals, as their knowledge is essential for more complex observations, analysis and for keeping the focus on usability.

Visiting Seattle and the SIGCSE 2017 Conference

Last week I visited Seattle and the SICSCSE conference. This conference is one of the largest in the area of computer science education, and this year it had 1500 participants from all over the world (which is a new record).
My husband and colleague Mats Daniels got a prestigeous Gum wallaward at the conference: “ACM Lifetime Achivement Award” and did a much appreciated key note about the educators identity and learning. It was great to see that people were standing in line to ask questions after the key note, and many were very interested.

There was also time for some sightseeing to some parts of the city, such as the gum wall in the photo to the blog post. What you see in the photo is chewing gums that people have put on a wall. Really an amazing number! 😮



Apply NOW: The 2017 EIT Health/ACM SIGCHI Summer School on User-Centered Design of e-Health and m-Health Systems

Our summer school on user-centered design of e-Health and m-Health systems is now open for applications.

The school will bring together e-health researchers and innovators from Human-Computer Interaction, Technology, Health Sciences and Psychology. Students receive: grounding in qualitative and quantitative methods that can be used to design and validate e-health systems; practical experience in the refinement of application designs; an introduction to the technology transfer process, which should accompany the translation of research findings into medical practice; and instruction on how this process can operate in e-health.

You find more information here.  

It will involve a week in Dublin (TCD) and a week in Stockholm (KTH). 

We have a fantastic speaker line up already, and bursaries are available for students to help with travel costs.

Deadline is short so apply now!

See you in Dublin and at KTH!

Member of the Academic Senate at Uppsala University

After the summer 2017 I will be a member of the academic senate at Uppsala University as one of 16 senators from the Faculty of Science and Technology. This will be a great learning opportunity for me, and I am really glad that I was appointed to this position.

The Academic Senate consists of 48 faculty and 20 students from the different areas of the university. The term of office is three years for faculty and one year for students.

The academic senate has no real power to decide things, but discussion and express opinions about areas central for the university such as :  1) the objectives and strategies for the university’s activities and cooperation with the surrounding society, 2) on government proposals, 3) university organization and 4) research and educational policy issues of importance for Uppsala University.

This will be a great opportunity to learn about the university organisation and our visions for the future. I’ll tell you more as soon as the job has started 🙂

Collaboration with the Department of EMR in Region Uppsala

We have had a very good collaboration with the department of EMR in the Region Uppsala since a few years. We call this collaboration the Dive (Digital work enVIronment and Ehealth) project, and we are a group of 3-4 reserachers who participate.  This collaboration has been in the form of an action research project where researchers from our department worked togehter with people from the EMR department in designing a new IT system for surgical planning. We have also collaborated in doing some evaluations of usability aspects that has been used in the deployment of the system. We will also do follow up evaluations of usability. Now we have moved on to looking into decision support systems, and my collegues do vision seminars and will work on a design.

The department of EMR also collaborate with us around the IT in Society class  that has resulted in a report, a presentation and also visibiliy at Vitalis 2017.

The Disa project is also supported by the department of EMR, and we collaborate around this project too. This project includes around 10 reserachers who will look into the effects of digitaliczation in health care and the project will result in concepts and a eWorkenvironment framework possible to use when implementing IT in health care. The department of EMR has an excellent and very active representative on the advisory board of the project who has helped us a lot in understanding the organisation.

In these kinds of collaborations it is crucial to find a win-win situation, where both the reserachers and the organisations feels that they get energy and effect from the collaboration. In our case the collaboration in the  Dive project has given us much insight in eHealth development and in the complexities of working with IT in health care, which is crucial to be able to work in that area. And I know that the department of EMR are very pleased with the input regarding design that we have given hem. The Disa project has just started, and hopwfully that will result in a win-win too.

We are extremely happy about this colllaboration, and strongly recommend other reserach groups to try the same approach to collaboration!

Uppsala Computing Education Research Group (UpCERG)

Uppsala Computing Education Reserach Group (UpCERG) is lead by Professor Arnold Pears, and I have been a member of the group for around 15 years – even though I am not one of the group´s most active members. Today the UpCERG group consists of around ten senior researchers and five PhD students. You find the activity of the group on Facebook if you are curious 🙂

The UpCERG group has a very strong international network, and we host many visiting reserachers who spend their sabbatical with us at the department.This semester Steve Frezza from Gannon University is here visiting.

I would describe the group as world-leading and one of the largest groups in Euope in computer science education. The reserach group is also one of the most productive reserach groups we have a the department, and there are numerous publications coming out every year. Many of the publications are indeed very relevant for faculty teaching at the university, and they are a recommended read!

My work in computer science education is non-funded which makes it less burdened down by administration, and I can spend the time I want on writing papers and doing different studies. I am co-supervising one PhD student, Tina Vrieler, in the UpCERG group together with Aletta Nylén (excellent main supervisor) and Arnold Pears. Tina Vrieler started her PhD in October and will work in the area of gender and summer schools in IT. She has done her first data collection, and has submitted an abstract to Frontiers in Education.




Talking about Gender and Equal Opportunities with 12-year-olds

Last year I was invited to my 12 year-old-son’s school to talk about gender and equal opportunities. I am the gender equality officer at the department (see this blog post), and of course I could come and discuss gender with them. I asked my son Edvin very carefully before doing this if it would be OK with him. I know that my kids sometimes think that I am the most embarassing mother one can find :-P….

Last week I was asked if I could do another lecture on equal opportunities and gender in the same class. I managed not to say YES immediately since it takes some time to prepare a lecture for 12-year-olds, and I am practicing my NO saying just to get some space in my calendar. I really have very much to do this year with my new reserach project Disa, NordWit and  and my new HTO reserach group..

However, believe it or not: Last week my son asked me about this lecture (!) and he really wants me to come and talk about equal opportunities again so now I need to be planning another dicsussion with the class.

This time I think I will be focusing on what we expect from boys, and what we expect from girls in school and what these norms lead to. I will also do some repetition about what gender equality is, and where the norms come from. I can give them very good examples from their book in religion and how it portrays the world. The chapter on Buddism was a horrible one-eyed text with only men. Perhaps I can also give them some examples from films etc. to make them understand. What would you talk about if you were given an hour to talk about gender equality in schools?

Lesson learned from the last visit:

  • I talk too fast
  • I become too abstract
  • I have too many different things to say.
  • I need to better prepare how to activate the kids in the classroom so that they get to think for themselves.
  • And I need to make sure that the girls talk as much as the boys!

Uppsala University Psychosocial Care Programme: U-CARE

Since not so long I am connected to “the Uppsala University Psychosocial Care Programme: U-CARE” as a member of an advisory group for the programme (programberedning). 

U-CARE is one of the Swedish government’s strategic research programmes and started in 2010. U-CARE studies how people with physical illnesses and their families are affected psychosocially, and what help they need to deal with various psychological problems. U-care are developing self-help programs for these disorders. They are also working to develop and continuously improve an Internet platform (U-CARE portal) through which it is possible to offer and study the effect of psychosocial support and psychological treatment.

You can find a very informing YouTube film about U-care here:

A few weeks ago Helena Grönqvist visited our department to present their work with U-care and the how the programme has developed. You can find the seminar at the seminar series on “Current Challenges in Biomed-IT”



In this seminar Helena Grönqvist talks about that they forgot to include the users in a structured way when developing the U-care platform and that they ran into problems due to this mistake. She also talked of the problems they encountered using Scrum and Agile.

(Not including the users is really a very common mistake, and I have written a few papers on user are included in Scrum projects (You find some of them here at Reserach Gate). Such a common mistake!)

They have now changed their way of developing the U-care portal so they now have a cyclical process where the users are included and a part of the development.

Some of the challenges that U-care face in the future, according to Helena Grönqvist, are:

  • New technology changes what users want. Do they need to have the portal avaliable on different platforms?
  • Legislation and for example the professors’ privelege is a problem since they want U-care knowledge to be open access.
  • Implementation problems: It takes 17 years until their innovation is implemented in health care. How can we make things move faster?

I am really looking forward to continuing this work and I will keep you updated on the work. 🙂

Success, Having a Fighting Spirit and the Mindset of YET – and one of our research studies

There are researchers such as Angela Duckworth who argue that success is more about effort and a fighting spirit than it is about talent, genius or any other predictor such as health or looks. Her research shows that this particular fighting spirit called “grit” is more important to success than talent. She has done a very interesting Ted talk on the topic that can be found on her home page, here. Recommended! There was also a recent radio program in Swedish on the topic, and Angela Duckworth is interviewed on the show. You find the Swedish show here

One way of helping students, or yourself, attain more grit is to aim for the “Growth mindset” developed by Carol Dweck and others. A key word in this way of thinking is the word YET, and that even though you don’t know everything you have the possibility to learn. Carol Dweck has also done a very insipiring Ted Talk about this found here.

In short the Growth Mindset as presented by Carol Dweck includes the following key elements or ways of thinking:

  • We can all get smarter. Abilities can develop.
  • We know what efforts make us better, and we are aware of what we can do to practice.
  • We put in extra time and effort when we want to achieve things since we know this will pay off.
  • We focus on the learning process, and not the end results. Focus on the “I’m not there YET, but I will reach there”.

The opposite of having the growth mindset is a fixed mindset where you believe that basic qualities or skills such as intelligence or talent, are fixed traits. With this mindset you also believe that talend alone will create success and for those who are gifted success comes without any effort at all.  They’re wrong, and this mind set does not help you much. 

Note! In the context of the fixed mindset it should be noted that there is a gender issue with the fixed mind set. Studies by Ann-Sofie Nyström have investigated why boys have a tendency to believe that “Smart students get perfect scores without studying much” and there is a norm that the best boy should be an effortless achiever.

Our Study on Conscientiousness, Grit and Programming Achievement

In a study that was published at the 2015 ITiCSE conference we tried to find correlations between conscientiousness, grit and programming achievement. The study was driven by Roger McDermott, and Mats Daniels and I collaborted with Roger McDermott on  writing it up.  Our study did find weak but significant correlations between conscientiousness, grit and programming achievement and from the study one can draw the tentative conclusion that having a fighting spirit and not give up is a key success factor in computer science and that we need to provide learning opportunities for our students to practice.


We investigate the link between concepts of perseverance such as conscientiousness, tenacity, and grit, and the academic attainment of first year computing students. We give a review of the role that perseverance plays in learning models as well as describing the role of conscientiousness in the Five Factor Model of personality. We outline research that links this trait with academic success before focussing on recent, narrower conceptualisations of perseverance such as academic tenacity and grit. We describe one of the questionnaire tools that have been used to assess one such aspect of perseverance. We give details of an investigation that looked for correlations between student responses to Duckworth’s Grit Survey, the Big Five Inventory (BFI) Personality Survey and summative attainment scores in a first year programming course. The results suggest a weak but significant correlation between conscientiousness, grit and programming achievement. We discuss these results as well as the limitations of the method used. Finally, we make some observations about the importance of these concepts in Computer Science education and outline further work in this area.