I think it is super difficult to teach human computer interaction in core computing programmes. I have tried different approaches and have tried to understand the problems for almost 20 years now. It feels like I fly over a landskapet of problems that i don’t really know how to address. I fly slowly with little possibility to really affect where I am going, like with the parachute in the blog post picture. Here are four of the problems that I have seen.
1) My experience is that students of IT programmes often come with a value system and interest closely connected to technology and the core programming area. With this I mean that they are more interested in the technology in itself, such as the specifics of databases, efficient coding and machine learning. They are less interested in how people use technology, how to introduce technology in organisations, or how technology affects the work environment. In short: Many of them are not particularly interested in the area that I work in and in my teaching. Still they need to take classes of human computer interaction in their programme, and these are really another kind of courses.
2) The problems that they have encountered so far in their education are often of the kind that there are many possible solutions, but there is a definite way of saying what is right and wrong with different solutions. This is also the kind of problems that you address in many Science research projects. In my courses, where I teach about how to deal with the management of numerous IT systems in an organisation, such as in the Complex IT systems in Organisations course, there is no correct answer. The problems I teach about are so called wicked problems and they are not used to these. This results in them not understanding me when I explore and reflect on different approaches to solve the problem. They think that I don’t really know what I talk about since I don’t give a definite answer.
3) The kind of Human Computer Interaction problems that I teach are very closely connected to student’s development of professional competencies. A professional competency can be seen as consisting of three different parts 1) theoretical knowledge about the problem 2) skills to deal with the problem in practice and 3) attitude or disposition to see the problem as important and interesting. The professional competency that I want the students to develop is however not easy to incorporate into traditional teaching.
4) One of the problems connected to all the other problems is that when students meet me in the classroom I am not perceived as a computer scientist. This is due to a combination of all the other problems with the area that I teach. But it is also due to me being one of the very few women they meet as teachers. Sometimes I am the first one they encounter in their university education, and I teach something that they don’t find interesting, don’t have the same kinds of problems and is based in a wider view of what they need to learn (professional competencies).
If you are interested reading more about this I have written a paper about students and unexpected behaviour in teaching. The paper is called Unexpected Student Behaviour and learning opportunites.
Since this fall I am a member of the technical educational board at our faculty. This job will be super interesting and I probably will learn lots of new and good things. The first meetings will be related to new master programmes, and I am looking forward to an interesting discussion 🙂
- formulate overall visions and strategies as well as implement the decision of the council board / faculty board for the long-term development of education programs and independent courses
- structuring and renewing the courses with regard to ongoing internationalization, research and the needs of society and working life
- take strategic initiatives on issues related to national and international education cooperation
- take strategic initiatives on renewal of teaching and examination, throughput and study results, as well as recruitment and marketing
- follow up on various aspects of quality in education and individual programs, decide on quality improvement measures and routines, as well as report to the area board / faculty board
- formulate and revise the objectives of the respective programs and follow up the objectives
- follow and support the work of the program manager and program council and, if necessary, decide on assignments for these
- annually establish training plans and new syllabi for all programs and independent courses within the respective education board
- appoint examiners based on proposals from the department responsible for the course
- collaborate with other education committees
We got some funding for pedagogical development work from the Faculty of Science and Technology at our university. This will give us the possibility to explore the self-flipped classroom concept in two different courses, and to evaluate the effects of the approach. The idea that we have used so far is that students make films that other students learn from. The films are discussed in workshops to get a thorough understanding of them.
I will collaborate with Mats Daniels and Anne Peters in this project, and hopefully we will also get some help from Anna Vasilchenko from NewCastle University.
Here is the abstract of the application:
Learning by making, as pointed out by for instance Seymour Papert, is a well known strategy for efficient learning. However, the ideas are rarely used in practice. The self-flipped classroom (SFC) concept is a promising idea for using the learning by making approach with a reasonable time cost for students. It is also a student contributing pedagogy, which is one of the focus areas in our faculty. We will adopt, implement and evaluate the SFC concept for two different courses, where we will have a focus on making videos. The overarching aim for this project is to develop pedagogically anchored strategies for using the SFC concept that will help teachers who want to use this concept in a scholarly manner. This work will include tailoring the SFC concept to two different course contexts, studying how the pedagogical interventions are received by the students, including effects on their learning, and working on dissemination of findings and observations.
I am one of the faculty scaffolding students in the course “IT in Society”. I work together with Cary Laxer, Anne Peters and Mats Daniels on the course. This is a course where students work on a joint project together with Region Uppsala. Region Uppsala is a politically managed organization responsible for health, public transport, culture, and regional development issues. According to their web they work with the county’s municipalities, colleges, business and other actors to create the best conditions for us as residents. The Region comes up with a burning hot topic for the students to investigate, and this year they have chosen primary care.
Primary care in Sweden has quite an awful situation, and there are lots of people who quit their jobs and move to other part of health care. This results in an even worse situation for those who stay in primary care who for example get more patients, and the costs for hiring temporary staff is alarming. The number of patients increase every year due to an ageing population that live longer with multiple kinds of deceases. Turnaround of staff in primary care makes patients meet different doctors more often than the same doctor when needing care. Also they experience that primary care cannot offer an appointment quick enough when you are ill. This also results in a new market for digital doctors where patients can get an appointment using for example their iPad and a video meeting. These appointments are easy to get, and often within 30-45 min you get to meet a doctor and at the same cost as going to a primary care unit. However, studies have shown that the digital doctors get to meet patients that want advise of a kind that you traditionally in Sweden do not see a doctor for getting. This Has lead to enormous costs for society, but at the same time to patients thinking that they get good service.
My team in the IT in Society course this year are looking into the situation for frequent patients and primary care. This means people who frequently have the role to be patients and who have for example a chronicle condition such as diabetes. Often these people are older, as in the picture in the blog post, and many are not very prone to use technology but prefer people. In this they are investigating connected health as a phenomenon, and clinical support systems from the perspective of shared decision making. I am really enjoying the project this year, and most of the students are really brilliant and work hard.
Being interviewed is always a learning experience, as you get questions that you seldom ask yourself. The interview for the “Research Profile of the Month at the Faculty of Science of Technology” took several hours (3?), and the questions were related to all my areas of research. The person who interviewed was really a good listener, and had planned the interview carefully.
For me the interview created lots of reflection, and I will make use of it while thinking about where I want to go in my work life. Perhaps I will take a few minutes and relax in the grass, as illustrated in this blog post picture, during summer holidays.
Some of the questions were:
- Why have I chosen the research questions that I am studying?
- What are my plans forward?
- How is it to do research on areas that have no clear and simple answers?
- How is it to combins family and research?
- What is my strongest personality trait?
In the link below my research is presented at Uppsala University’s web page.
Anna Vasilchenko, Mats Daniels and I had a paper accepted for Frontiers in Education very much based on Anna’s excellent work!!
The paper is a conceptual paper on self-flipped classrooms and we will continue working on research in the area in the fall. We will make use of experiences from the new course that I am teaching with Diane Golay.
Anna, Mats and I have also done one application for funding of this research and I really hope that we will get that!!
Here is the abstract:
In the modern fast changing world no formal education is able to provide learners with a complete set of knowledge, skills and competences that they would need to successfully compete on tomorrow’s job market. Therefore, the role of universities is increasingly shifting towards provision of an environment where students have a chance to acquire lifelong learning skills. This paper presents underlying ideas of, and practical experiences with, an innovative pedagogy that addresses the lifelong learning skills acquisition along with additional benefits for science and technology students. The proposed approach is called Self-Flipped Classroom (SFC) and it is built on a synergy of two pedagogies: learning through making (“self” part of the name) and Flipped Classroom (“flip” part of the name). To unveil the construct of the SFC concept, we discuss each of its components individually presenting appropriate theoretical grounding. We also report on our experiences from Self-Flipped Classroom implementations in two countries, CountryA and CountryB, and in three different educational settings. From our work with the SFC concept we have identified four different roles the students can assume in a SFC scenario: creators, collaborators, communicators, and learners. We present our observations regarding challenges and opportunities related to the identified roles that have been found in the studied settings. We also outline future research directions in this space.
At Uppsala university faculty with a teaching position can be apply to be awarded the title Excellent Teacher. The title is also connected to a salary raise just as associate professor and full professor.
I applied a few years back, but was rejected, which I wrote about in this blog post “Never Give up – Never Surrender”. I was very nervous whey I submitted the second time. It is not fun to fail!
This time I was called for an interview, which is one step on the way. I must say that the questions were very difficult to answer. Many of them were hade many layers of answers, and I had no idea if I would fail or pass after having done the interview.
However, this time I was assessed as having competence enough to be awarded the title and I celebrated with champagne Friday night!
I have been invited to be a member of a panel on Software Engineering. The area to discuss is how the field has advanced and whether its education addresses the main problems and industry needs. I have several ideas of what to bring up at the workshop, and I haven’t really decided which one to choose yet. The ideas are:
- Generellt software engineering at the university has too little focus on addressing wicked problems. There are far too many IT projects that fail.
- Too little focus on professional competencies and the development of those.
- Too little focus on user involvement and user needs.
- We need to prepare students for working in an automateld software engineering profession. And we need to engage in the creation of this profession.
- We need to see to it that computing becomes an inclusive profession and address the gender equality issue. Now!
I’ll write another blog post when I have decided which direction to go in… This will be fun!
Mats Daniels and I will present a poster at the local development conference TUK. This is an event where pedagogic development is presented and discussed. I enjoy these kinds of discussions and participate as often as I can.
The poster was designad by Gerolf Nauwerck, see below.
I will be attending a working group at ITiCS for the first time ever. A working group is a way to collaborate around an issue related to computing education,and I have heard many good things about working group. The theme for the working group is “Modeling Global Competencies for Computing Education”, se abstract below and more info at https://iticse.acm.org/WorkingGroups.html. The conference ITiCSE 2018 will be held on Cyprus this summer, and I am so looking forward to it! I try to participate in ITiCSE as many years as possible. It is a good, not so big international conference with lots of nice people to be inspired by. Want to join us? Please mail Steve Frezza FREZZA001@gannon.edu before the 28 of March 2018. Abstract: This working group aims to formulate a framework for modeling competencies in the current and future disciplines that contribute towards computing education. The Working Group will draw upon a pioneering curricular document for information technology (IT2017), curricular competency frameworks, other related documents such as the software engineering competency model (SWECOM), the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA), current research in competency models, and elicitation workshop results from other computing conferences.This work will contribute to the Computing Curricula 2020 (CC2020) project, and includes reviewing and formulating sets of disciplinary-relevant competencies used in computing education. The goal is to develop a comprehensive competency framework, as well as guidelines for modeling competencies in computing education suitable for comparing programs across nationalities and disciplines by enabling comparisons of the competencies intended in each program. Through the working group activities, participants will engage in brainstorming activities to formulate competencies, develop competing frameworks and their scholarly basis, and integrate models and guidelines for enabling the comparison of computing programs.This work will directly inform the ongoing CC2020 project, an endeavor supported by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the IEEE Computer Society.