Author Archives: Åsa Cajander

About Åsa Cajander

Researcher in the area of Human Computer Interaction with research interest in eHealth, User Centred Design and HCI Education.

IT management is like walking in the jungle with a machete

This paper has taken us many years to write up. The data collection was extensive and broad, and we had troubles finding a focus. But now, finally, it is out!! Many thanks to Marta Larusdottir, Thomas Lind and Gerolf Nauwerck for their hard work with this!

You find the full paper here, open access:

Earlier research has confirmed that leaders in information and communication technology (ICT) are crucial for establishing a user-centred systems design perspective in ICT for work-related tasks.

Therefore, this paper reports the perspectives of 18 ICT leaders in three varieties of leadership roles (managers, project leaders and specialists) to understand their views of user-centred systems design concerning ICT. It uses the concept of technological frames of reference to analyse three domains: technology-in-use, technology strategy and nature of technology.

The results show that many specialists see user involvement as a critical factor in successfully establishing new information and communication technologies. These systems are currently built around the needs of management rather than end-users. Looking forward, all three groups are optimistic about how ICT will become more user-centred and more strategically aligned in the future.

However, ICT changes are extremely energy-consuming and challenging – akin to ‘walking in the jungle with a machete.

Finally, we discuss the relevance of technological frames and present some implications for establishing user-centred system design as a perspective in organisations.

PhD student position – Doktorandtjänst inom MDI och eHälsa

Vi rekryterar en doktorand till vårt Carer eSupport-projekt med Birgitta Johansson som projektledare! Inom projektet kommer vi att utveckla, testa och utvärdera ett internetbaserat stöd för närstående till personer som drabbas av huvud- och halscancer och undersöka om det leder till att de känner sig mer förberedda och säkra på sin förmåga att hjälpa den som är sjuk och därmed mår bättre själva, jämfört med närstående som inte får internetbaserat stöd.

Personen behöver vara svensktalande. Den sökande ska inneha magisterexamen, civilingenjörsexamen, masterexamen eller motsvarande examen och kunskaper i ett ämne som är relevant för doktorandtjänsten. Exempel på lämplig bakgrund är civilingenjörsexamen med socioteknisk profil, masterexamen i vårdvetenskap, psykologi eller människa-datorinteraktion. Kunskaper inom områdena e-hälsa, människa-datorinteraktion, design, studier av människor och teknik i samspel är särskilt viktiga.

Hjälp mig gärna att sprida annonsen till alla som kan vara intresserade!

Peer Learning and the Self-Flipped Classroom. Starting up Teaching in Complex IT systems in Large Organisations

My 5 ECTS course Complex IT systems in large organisations start next week. I teach the course with excellent Diane Golay, and we have spent a few hours planning and improving things.

The course is a campus-based course that needs to run online for the second time due to Covid-19. Last year I spent many hours figuring out how to do student-centred learning activities where the students are active but online instead of in the classroom. It worked OK, but there were, of course, areas of improvement.

This year, the department has provided all teachers with technology to improve the teaching work’s digital aspects. Now I have a great microphone on my table, a key light (which is a big lamp with fancy features) and a green screen. I am also very grateful that I have my own office at home and that it indeed is a better room than at work to do this in. My teenage son has promised to help me set this up in an excellent way. This has indeed given me some inspiration!

I constantly work to improve the learning in my course, and one way is to write research papers on the course ideas and evaluate the course. This course is relatively new, and we have only run it three times before. We have just published two papers so far together with Anna Vasilchenko. She does very inspirational research on computer science education. One more paper is written and is in the process of being resubmitted this spring.

You can read more about the course and the teaching in it here:

Vasilchenko, A., Cajander, Å., Daniels, M., & Balaam, M. (2018, October). The self-flipped classroom concept: Underlying ideas and experiences. In 2018 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) (pp. 1-9). IEEE. The paper can be found at this link.

Vasilchenko, A., Cajander, Å., & Daniels, M. (2020, October). Students as Prosumers: Learning from Peer-Produced Materials in a Computing Science Course. In 2020 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) (pp. 1-9). IEEE. The paper can be found at this link.

Gender Mainstreaming – What do we do?

Uppsala University’s plan for gender mainstreaming is valid for three years, 2020-2022, and aims at sustainable gender equality work and process development. It is based on the university’s goals and strategies. The plan sets out a strategic direction for the university’s work with gender mainstreaming.

The plan has three focus areas for the university’s activities to become more gender-equal:
1) Form and content of the education
2) Internal resource distribution
3) Recruitment and the supply of skills.

Below are some key points from the plan for the university that is found here (in Swedish):

1. Form and content of education

When relevant, our education shall be developed with a focus on equal opportunities and gender equality. Students and doctoral students must be able to play an active role in preparatory and decision-making bodies and are given the conditions to be able to influence and develop their education and educational situation.

Routines, guidelines and policies concerning students ‘and doctoral students’ educational situation should be continuously analyzed from gender equality and equality perspective. The work can be linked to evaluations and reviews of the quality assurance work regarding education at the undergraduate, advanced, and postgraduate levels. 

2. Recruitment and skills supply

Qualified teachers, researchers, and other employees are crucial to achieving the highest quality education and research. Therefore, the university must continue to work strategically and long-term with recruitment and working conditions for researchers and teachers from a gender equality and equal opportunities perspective.

Criteria for scientific and pedagogical quality and processes for assessing competence and development potential in recruitment and promotion need to be regularly reviewed. It is also essential to discuss and work to ensure equal terms and career paths. The academic work environment is a crucial factor that affects different individuals and groups’ capacity to stay in academia. 

3. Internal resource allocation

A gender equality perspective on internal resource allocation is about developing a system for analyzing funding distribution based on legal gender. Disproportionate and uneven outcomes must be followed up to eliminate any bias in the preparation processes that result to a decision on the distribution of appropriations.

Planning a PhD Course in Gender and IT in HealthCare

Minna Salminen Karlsson and I will organise a PhD course in gender and eHealth in fall 2021. The course is managed by the NordWit Centre of Excellence which Gabriele Griffin leads.

Gender and technology are new areas for the intended target group, so the introductory part, literature and lectures start from the basic level. After completing the course, the doctoral student should be able to describe fundamental theories used in research on gender and technology and apply them in e-health. We will also address research in eHealth can have better quality with a gender perspective.

The course is primarily aimed at doctoral students in e-health, caring science, medicine and health, but doctoral students from other disciplines are also welcome.

The course is given at Zoom and stretches over three weeks. During the course, own work, lectures and seminars will be alternated including 3-4 guest lectures.

More information will soon be available about the course, and you will have the possibility to apply!

LGBTIQA+ and Legal Aspects of the Use of Personal Pronouns

For long, my excellent colleagues in the equal opportunities team have worked with personal pronouns at our university. As an employe and education providers, we must work with active measures related to the Swedish seven discrimination grounds. The use of personal pronouns is related to discrimination about gender, gender identity and gender expression. My understanding is that students, and others, experience it problematic when addressed incorrectly. For example, if they identify themselves as a woman, or non-binary and their legal gender is male, they might experience problems. Some teachers will address them in mails etc. with the wrong personal pronoun which they find offensive and even discriminating. This experienced problem related to personal pronouns and their use became even more evident at the Gotland Pride festival, where we organised an LGBTIQA+ workshop with students, see this blog post. Hence, it might be discrimination if someone consciously uses the wrong personal pronoun when they know the correct personal pronoun.

However, my colleagues who have worked with this experience that it is quite complicated to get a clear answer from the authorities in charge of discrimination and storage of information regarding personal pronouns and possible solutions. One possible solution that the students at Gotland pride suggested would be to do a round of presentations with personal pronouns at the start of a course or meeting. When asked if it is OK to do a round of presentations with personal pronouns at the start of a student course, the legal experts answered that this is not recommended. A person has the right to provide confidential information about themselves (e.g. someone has told that they are binary). Consequently, if a student voluntarily wishes to specify the personal pronoun, it is up to that person. However, they think it is inappropriate for the university to organize a name and personal pronoun round because it can feel very compelling for a young person. It also opens up for mistreatment from classmates, the experts from the authorities claim.

Another possible measure would be to voluntary store a personal pronoun or similar in the study administration IT systems, which was also suggested at the Gotland Pride workshop. Teachers could then use this to know what personal pronouns to use. But that does not seem to be OK either from a legal perspective. Here you run into problems is the storage of sensitive personal information and data about people’s health and sexuality, which is generally covered by secrecy laws according to the authorities. Hence, storing personal pronouns in the IT systems is not a recommended option either.

The measures to promote the correct use of personal pronouns seems to be tricky to find, and we will continue working on this on a national level to get clear answers.

RFSL has worked with recommendations related to LGBTIQA+ that are very useful, they are found here. Also, some good news is that the equal opportunities people at the Student Affairs and Academic Registry Division have worked on recommendations and guidelines related to LGBTIQA+ for teachers. Here much broader issues are addressed than the use of personal pronouns. These are still working documents, but hopefully, they will be officially available soon and can be used as discussion grounds, information and in educations for teachers. More information will come related to this!

Preparing for a Hearing to Possibly Receive Funding for a Research Programme

We passed the first step towards receiving the funding for our Mistra programme proposal in their call Societal Transformations for Climate Action. Our programme is called: “Fast Forwarding for Fair Futures. Environmental Governance, Participation and Collaborative Learning for Societal Transformations”. I have spent the weekend preparing for the hearing this week. I think that we have a strong proposal, and I am very proud of the team behind the work, especially of Anne Peters, who have really worked hard with this and is such an excellent and impressive researcher. I really want to do a good job at the hearing, and I know that preparation for any presentation is key. So working this weekend was the only option when looking at my calendar for the week.

Building a fundamentally altered society is a challenging job. It requires disrupting existing practices and changing values, norms, and cultures. Any efforts to do so create moral dilemmas, political opposition, and conflicting ideas and interests.

Taking on such a task requires joined bands, creativity, and secure collaboration. In our Mistra programme, we bring together scholars from various disciplines, working in environmental governance, sustainability, civil society organisations, education and information technology. Together with civil society partners and local and regional authorities, we will endeavour to work towards carbon neutral and just societies.

The team comes from Uppsala University, the Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences (SLU), Luleå University of Technology (LTU), Ghent University and the University of Bristol. Civil society partners include the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Hela Sverige Ska Leva, Fridays For Future, Omställningsnätverk, and education associations Akademi Norr. Since last summer, we have worked on the proposal, and some of us at almost full-time speed.

Our research covers three regions of Sweden – Uppsala, Gotland, and Norrbotten. These regions provide different insights into civil society’s roles, the opportunities and hindrances connected to digitalisation and questions of justice reflecting the diversity of contexts in Sweden.

Central to our work is learning about different societal transformation processes and methodologies to work collaboratively and effectively toward climate transitions. Throughout this programme, the various actors will critically reflect on the different approaches to identify best practices for approaching action research for societal transformation. That way, we will achieve climate action in various empirical contexts and transform how academic and non-academic partners collaborate for climate action, empowering all of us to continue striving for fair futures.

Working on a NordiCHI 2024 Conference Organisation Proposal

My colleague from the Department of Informatics and Media, professor Annika Waern and I decided to try to organise the NordiCHI conference in Uppsala in 2024. I think it is a great idea to try to make our two HCI departments work closer together and collaborate around such a thing. The NordiCHI conference has been running bi-annually for around 20 years, and I have been attending it more or less every time. Many of my academic friends also go, and I have also had a few publications on this conference. Last time when organised by Tallin University, I was one of the chairs for case study papers.

NordiCHI is the principal Nordic conference for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research. NordiCHI addresses the area broadly, and often I find many interesting papers presented related to user-centred design and eHealth. It is a meeting spot for researchers from academia and industry, artists, teachers and others working within HCI and associated areas.

Annika Waern and I have had meetings with Akademikonferens about the bid. Akademikonferens is a common full-service Professional Congress Organizer for Karolinska Institutet, SLU and Uppsala University. Their work is to focus our research areas, such as Human-Computer Interaction, by organising successful meetings and conferences. So far, they have helped us understand how you write a bid, decide locations, themes, and do much of the work behind the proposal. It has been a very positive experience. We will use the traditional atmosphere of Uppsala university with the conference in the main university building, and keynotes in the University Aula. We are also thinking about linking the theme of the meeting to culture and heritage.

We will continue this work in spring 2021, and submit before the end of May. The decision about who will organise the conference will be based on the venue’s attractiveness, the capacity to use current HCI communities within academy and industry, past expertise in organizing similar conferences, and the global recognition of people in charge of the meeting. Wish us luck!!!

Breddad rekrytering – ett mycket aktuellt och viktigt område!

I veckan har jag deltagit i Uppsala universitets arbete om breddad rekrytering. Med breddad rektytering menas bland annat studenters arbetsmiljö, gemomströmning och lika villkorsfrågor kopplat till studenter. Arbetet leds av Eva Söderman och Cecilia Edin som samordnar en grupp med cirka tio personer för att beskriva universitets arbete inom området. Rapporten kommer att skrivas och gå på remiss under våren. Det jag beskriver i denna bloggpost är bara en liten del av det som kartläggs.

Under workshopen i veckan var det en genomgång av kunskapsläget inom området, och deltagarna presenterade olika rapporter och kunskapssammanställningar för att få en fördjupad förståelse och en startpunkt.

Jag måste säga att det var mycket intressant, och ämnet är verkligen relevant för samhället i stort. Nedan följer några av de saker som nämndes, med länkar till de rapporter som vi diskuterade.

Studentens sociala bakgrund verkar inte ha någon betydelse för benägenheten att hoppa av en påbörjad högskoleutbildning. Social bakgrund påverkar inte avhopp, men betygen från gymnasieskolan har en viss påverkan

Studenters sociala bakgrund däremot påverkar examensfrekvensen. I den här rapporten kan man läsa att på “utbildningarna till civilingenjör, jurist, läkare och psykolog tar studenter med lågutbildade föräldrar inte ut sin examen i samma utsträckning som studenter med högutbildade föräldrar”.

Man kan också konstatera att den sociala snedrekryteringen till högskolan följer samma mönster sedan mycket lång tid. Det här verkar vara ett stabilt problem som är svårt att påverka. Desto högre utbildning föräldrarna har, desto vanligare är det att man börjar studera på högskolan eller universitetet. Det gäller både kvinnor och män. Läs mer i den här rapporten.

Man kan konstatera att många unga från studieovana miljöer och familjer inte studerar vidare trots höga betyg. Den här UKÄ-studien visar att en stor grupp unga, med föräldrar med låg utbildning, väljer bort universitet och högskola trots att de har höga betyg från gymnasieskolan.

Sverige har en segregerad arbetsmarknad, och under workshopen diskuterades också denna aspekt. UKÄ har i en rapport beskrivit kvinnor och män studerar olika ämnen, på alla nivåer: grundnivå, avancerad nivå och på forskarnivå. Detta leder till att den könsuppdelade arbetsmarknaden består. I de här ämnena hittar man kvinnorna bland nybörjarna 2014/5: juridik, samhällsvetenskap, humaniora, teologi, medicin, odontologi, vård och omsorg. Männen återfanns inom teknik och naturvetenskap. Endast i de konstnärliga områdena var könsfördelningen jämn.

Utvecklingen är positiv vad det gäller antalet studenter och doktorander med svensk och utländsk bakgrund. Andelen nybörjare med utländsk bakgrund fortsätter att öka. Läsåret 2018/19 hade 26 procent av högskolenybörjarna (inresande studenter oräknade) utländsk bakgrund. Föregående läsår var motsvarande andel 25 procent och tio läsår tidigare var andelen 17 procent. Det har också skett en ökning av andelen med utländsk bakgrund i befolkningen som helhet under den senaste tioårsperioden. Läs mer i den här rapporten.

Det ska bli spännande att lära sig mer om detta område, och också att jobba med frågorna framöver!

Välkomna på lunchsemiarium 19 februari.

Nu är det dags för forskarnätverket Swedish Collaboration on Digital Care Reserach att starta vår serie med lunchwebbinarier och först ut är professor Åsa Cajander från Uppsala Universitet som kommer att berätta om sin studie av hur en chattfunktion på 1177 har påverkat vårdpersonalens arbetsmiljön.

Under 2019 genomförde Region Uppsala ett pilotprojekt inom ramen för Nära Vård Online där man gav patienter möjligheter att efter säker inloggning och registrering av upplevda symtom skriftligen chatta med sjuksköterskor på 1177 Vårdguiden. Syftet var att genom denna digitalisering öka effektiviteten i att ge råd kring omvårdnad och vidare vård, och också att vid behov ge patienten möjligheten att chatta med en läkare. I den här studien ville forskarna studera hur digitaliseringen påverkar vårdpersonalens arbetsengagemang och om arbetsbördan ökar eller minskar i och med chattfunktionen. Observationer genomfördes på plats i fem timmar med sjuksköterskor som använde chatten och som i normala fall använder telefon för medicinsk rådgivning till patienter. Dessutom genomfördes halvstrukturerade intervjuer med nio sjuksköterskor som deltog i digitaliseringsprojektet för att samla kunskap om deras upplevelse av arbetssituationerna.

Cajander, Å., Larusdottir, M. & Hedström, G., The effects of automation of a patient-centric service in primary care on the work engagement and exhaustion of nurse.  Qual User Exp 5, 9 (2020). (open Access

Anmäl dig här så skickar vi en länk till Zoom-mötet några dagar innan webbinariet.