Category Archives: Equal Opportunities

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!

Design Guidelines for Educational Games Targeting Children,

Designing interfaces for children creates different challenges compared to designing for adults. Children, as they are in their developmental stage, have different cognitive, social, and physical needs and skills than adults, also when it comes to digital artifacts. Uppsala University has together with RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden, conducted a study within child-computer interaction and educational games. The study was conducted alongside a project where RISE are partners in the development of a healthcare educational game for children, through which, child patients can learn and prepare for MRI-scanning procedures.

The aim of the study was to develop a tool that easily can be used by designers for educational games targeting children. There exists a wide range of guidelines within the fields of game design, game-based learning/educational games and child computer interaction. All of these are useful when designing for these specific areas but from the literature study, we could see a lack of guidelines that combines these areas, especially game-based learning and child-computer interaction.

  • When designing educational games for children it is of interest to view guidelines from areas to ensure that the learning goals of an application are reached. Children have other skills and needs than adults which are important to acknowledge within the area of human-computer interaction and UX. It could for example concern which kind of symbols are suitable and understandable for children but also which kind of gestures (eg. zoom and pinch) are intuitive and manageable.

Educational or Pedagogical games refer to games with further goals than pure entertainment. An important aspect for these games to be effective is that they should be fun and motivating for the player which can be challenging when the app also needs to ensure that the pedagogical goals are reached.

  • The framework that has been developed through this study can be used before, during and after design and development. It is important to keep in mind that the framework should not be seen as a checklist but rather as a way in which to reflect and acknowledge important aspects within game-based learning and child-computer interaction.


A literature study was conducted within the areas of games, educational games, and child-computer interaction. From the publications, 42 guidelines within educational games and child-computer interaction were elicited. The guidelines were applied and tested on the current healthcare application. Findings from this walkthrough were compared to results and findings from user testing where children got to play the game. Formulations of the guidelines were updated and resulted in a new, more easily applicable compact version of the framework, named the Educational Games for Children (EGC) framework.


This work suggests that it could be beneficial to combine guidelines and theories from different areas. The walkthrough showed that it worked well to apply the framework of design guidelines in the development of an educational game for healthcare and that it was also possible to evaluate how well the game met the recommendations. The evaluation also gave indications of how to further improve and update the framework which resulted in a more compact and usable version with 24 guidelines.

By using the framework important insight can be reached when designing and developing educational games for children. Future research within the field of educational games for children can contribute to further recommendations but also widen the field with different aspects.

This study was based on a master thesis by Emma Nilsson. The paper is published at the international conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions, ACHI 2020.

Nilsson, E., Sjölinder, M., Cajander, Å., Ståhl, O. & Einebrant, E. (2020) Design Guidelines for Educational Games Targeting Children, ACHI 2020: The Thirteenth International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions, Valencia, 21-25 November(ISSN: 2308-4138)

For more information:

Emma Nilsson

phone: 0762 52 17 76


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!

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!!!

Interview about being the New Adviser of Equal Opportunities

I was interviewed for the internal web pages at the university, and below is a translation of the interview.

Åsa Cajander has recently taken up the position as Vice – Chancellor’s Council on equal opportunities. She is passionate about the work of creating an inclusive work environment where everyone has the same rights and opportunities and especially wants to emphasize gender mainstreaming and digital accessibility.

It feels great fun and challenging to work university-wide with equal conditions issues based on the experience I have from working as an equal conditions representative at the Department of Information Technology, she says.

In the short term, the most critical work now is about available digital teaching due to the pandemic situation that causes a large proportion of distance learning. In addition, the law on accessibility to digital public services will change later in September, which will be affecting the work of many information channels for some time now.

One of the university’s great strengths
Åsa Cajander’s predecessor in the position as Rector’s Council for Equal Opportunities, Cecilia Wejryd, has, among other things, emphasized the support for students with special needs as one of Uppsala University’s great strengths. Among other things, she has said that the university cannot be satisfied just because its environment is good for almost 100 percent of the students.

I completely agree that we at the university can be proud of our work for students with special needs, and we will continue to work long-term with these issues and in the same structured way as under Cecilia’s leadership, says Åsa Cajander.

One goal that existed in the previous action plan for equal conditions was that 48 percent of the newly recruited professors during the years 2017-2019 would be women. The outcome was eventually 38 percent. The significance of the concrete figures has previously been toned down somewhat, but at the same time it has been emphasized that the work needs to focus on the whole so that women want to become professors in Uppsala while ensuring that those who are already professors are retained.

Åsa Cajander believes that the work of increasing the proportion of women in the professorship within the university needs to be based on the work environment and the conditions for the professors in their everyday lives.

Uppsala University works long-term with these issues at different levels, and the work needs to take time to create sustainable change. Other starting points that we work with are recruitment and competence supply, where concrete plans, for example, are about ensuring that recruitment takes place on objective grounds and that there is an awareness of discrimination and bias through all steps in the recruitment process.

In a debate article in UNT recently, Uppsala University’s work was criticized in terms of gender equality and equal conditions for following a political agenda in practice.

How difficult is it to work with issues that can so easily be interpreted from different angles as an expression of an ideological opinion?

It is important that the university’s work is reviewed and criticized, and I welcome the fact that we constructively discussing equal conditions work. For me, an awareness of bias, norms and values is a central part of equal working conditions and we can all become better at reflecting on how they affect us and our actions. I look forward to further discussions on these issues, says Åsa Cajander.

Adviser to the Vice Chancellor on Equal Opportunities

Before summer holidays the Vice Chancellor of Uppsala University called me asking if I would like be her adviser on equal opportunities, and of course I accepted! The previous adviser had accepted a new management role, and I will succeed in doing this important work until March 2021 if it is not prolonged.

Equal opportunities at Uppsala university means to make sure that everyone working or studying here has equal rights and opportunities, regardless of their legal sex, gender identity or gender expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation, age or social background.

I will do this work with equal opportunities on part of my time, and continue with teaching and research in parallel. The work includes chairing The university’s Equal Opportunities Advisory Board, and also to work with gender mainstreaming at the university. The work that people at the university are doing is really impressive, and there are many true experts in their areas.