Category Archives: Uncategorised

Care for Cancer – Reflections on Uppsala Health Summit 2018

This summer I participate in and organised Uppsala Health summit together with lots of other people. For me the theme of the Health summit was indeed top priority as I have many friends and family with cancer. I have seen how cancer treatment work at close hand through my husband who was diagnosed and treated with cancer a few years ago. Since I have done studies on patients and health care professionals, this experience gave me another depth in my understanding of cancer. It is difficult to imagine living with the uncertainty of treating cancer, and also the change of adapting your whole life to cancer treatments. Luckily my husband has had few side effects from the cancer, and everything has gone very well so far.

As a part of organizing the Uppsala Health Summit we wrote a debate article that was published in Dagens Samhälle, found here. Some of the things we say in this debate article are:

  • We need to work with the infrastructure so that IT systems can share information and data. I have seen this at close hand, and the computer systems are sometimes like black holes in health care. The system at the different departments did not talk to each other, so there was little coordination between radiation and chemotherapeutic treatment for example.
  • Physical treatment needs to be an integrated part of all cancer treatment, and also a part of what is recommended as a part of life for cancer survivors. No one mentioned that physical activity was so crucual during my husband’s treatment and we didn’t understand that it was that important.
  • Cancer treatment needs to be more equal across the world. During the Uppsala Health Summit it was shocking to hear the circumstances in other parts of the world, and to listen to the presentations made about the understanding of cancer. This is an area that I would like to get involved more in and to try to help!

I hope that the Uppsala Health Summit has contributed to some steps being taken towards better cancer care.

Less Screen Time and More Family Time

Now it’s soon time for annual leave through a slow summer holiday. My plans are very few and include reading non-work related booked, having lots of barbeque dinners, watching kids swim in the pool and going jogging. I will avoid working and only do very little, and deadline driven things.

Spring 2018 was really good and the two large achievements was being promoted to Excellent teacher and Full Professor. Few semesters have that kind of happenings 👍🏼.

I will be back blogging when the semester starts again in the end of August. I hope that you will have some time off too!!

Attending Conferences and Bringing Kids Along

I have four kids, and I have frequently attended conferences when they have come along. Perhaps it is not always optional to bring them, but the alternative would be to stay at home – and I don’t want that. Then I think it is better for me to go and try to balance work-life as good as I can and I adapt the trip to the kid so that they get a nice experience too.

When my youngest son was one years old he had been to many countries (nine?), and one result from us travelling so much with him is that he speaks OK English at the age of six. This is many years before he starts English at school.

The picture below is from Gothenburg and ICSE 2018 where I did a key note, and my husband attended one of the workshops on computer science education. We also met our very good colleague Tony Clear who helped Sixten try the conference T-shirt.

Tony and Sixten

Some tips for making it work to bring kids: 

  • Perhaps grand-parents have the possibility to travel with you to the conference with you? It could be a nice experience for them and for the kid
  • If it doesn’t work 100% as expected that is quite normal. Having kids is often a bit like leaving the planning to someone else… 🙂
  • If you go to the conference as a couple you can share responsibility for the kid. We often try to share the responsibility
  • Plan something that the kid likes to do so that the trio becomes a positive experience for everyone
  • Be prepared to replan things, and make up a plan B if plan A fails.

Reflections from Uppsala Health Summit ”Care for Cancer”

I will spend a few very good days at Uppsala Health summit with the theme “Care for Cancer”. If you ever have the chance to participate in one of these summits, I strongly recommend it.

What is Uppsala Health Summit? Uppsala Health Summit is a policy arena for dialogue addressing challenges for health and health care. I helped organize a workshop on use of technology for preventing childhood obesity a few years ago, and this time I am organizing a workshop on using existing data for diagnosing and treating cancer.

Who are participating? The people who are at the summit are personally invited decision makers, opinion formers and experts from around 35 countries in the world. The health summit is initiated by Uppsala University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala County Council, Uppsala City Council and World Class Uppsala.

Sightseeing at the Scandion Clinic. Wednesday eventing we were invited to visit the Scandion clinic which is world class cancer clinic treating patients with proton therapy which makes it possible to treat cancer more efficiently and with fewer side effects. The building in itself ware really worth the visit, as it was designed with care and very appealing.

Before the visit it felt quite odd to do sightseeing in a cancer clinic, but it was really an inspiring experience. One of the reflections from visiting was that the nurses working there are actually doing a very technically oriented work with large computers. When I asked them about this they said that they have studied technical aspects of radiology as a part of their education to radiology nurses.

Christiane has written more about Uppsala Health Summit in this blog post if you want to know a bit more about our workshop on using existing data for treating and diagnosing cancer.

The Self-Flipped Classroom Concept: Underlying Ideas and Experiences – paper accepted for Frontiers in Education

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.

Five Rejected Papers in 48 hours

Sometimes academia is not so great, and now and then I run into periods of lots of failure. Impostor syndrome doesn’t help either and hits me straight away when things are not going my way: “Do I really belong?”

This past week I got five papers rejected in 48 hours. Gah!! This was really tough! A personal record indeed. I thought that the papers were really OK, and some of them well written – but reviewers (completely) disagreed.

So far, I haven’t really had the energy to read the reviews either so I can’t really proudly say that I failed and learned lots of things through the failures. So far I have just failed and felt like a failure.


Awarded the Title Excellent Teacher !!

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!



Presenting Pedagogic Development Work at the National Network and Development Conference 2018

In October I will go to Västerås to participate in the NU2018 conference. This is a conference for faculty at universites and in higher education. The idea is to be inspired and learn from others while networking with peers. I have been to NU a few times, and it is really a nice and welcoming conference.

This time I will be presenting a pedagogic development project that Mats Daniels and I have run together with Nanna Kjellin Lagerqvist and Elin Parsjö who were students when the project was running. Below is a Google translated abstract:


Educational challenges related to the development of professional skills – Experience from an educational development project



In addition to cognitive and technical skills, a number of professional skills are required, such as communication skills, creative thinking, reflection skills and intercultural skills, in order to successfully participate in the increasingly global labor market. The overall purpose of our development project was therefore to develop a framework for supporting the development of professional skills in project courses. The framework that the project resulted in consists of three parts. The first part is a structure for working with learning agreements [1]. Part two consists of a method called the Archetype Learning Method [2] and the third part of the framework is a first version of an ICT tool [1] where resources for working with the development of professional skills have been gathered.

The methods within the framework have proven to be promising to convey what it means to develop professional skills. However, they are not a universal method of setting up a functioning educational environment to develop competencies, but the tool meets some resistance from the students. One contributing factor is that education for developing skills is a complex area, where factors such as the students’ identity and expectations of what is important to learn is recording. Examples of such attitudes and expectations are that factual knowledge and technical knowledge in programming, databases and networks are seen as more central. Our analysis is that there are factors beyond a single course, in the learning environment of the education program, which limits the possibilities for the effective use of learning agreements in the form we used in this project [3].

How, then, can a better education environment be created so that students can achieve the professional skills they meet according to the goals our education programs actually have? We have observed a discrepancy between the students’ aspirations and behaviors, which according to our studies include depends on the attitude mentioned above [3-4], as well as an ovana and inability to handle the transparency of this learning [5]. Ability to handle openness, including in terms of being able to handle open problems is an important aspect of mastery of professional skills, since the practice of limiting and closing openness causes complex problems to be reduced to, possibly complicated, but, simplified problems, where most essential skills for most professional skills are lost. I [5] presents a categorization of openness that can be used to systematically introduce development of the ability to handle open issues and thus pave the way for the development of other professional skills.

Another observation is that students are unfamiliar in learning that is not clearly measurable. The use of learning contracts is a step towards creating a better understanding of how learning of something as complex as competencies can be “measured”. However, there is a general mistrust of what is not perceived as the core of an education, that is, what can be termed pure subject knowledge [6]. Progression in dealing with open problems is an important component for the development of professional skills and thus a better ability to utilize subject knowledge in complex situations in a future working life. This progression needs to be better integrated into our education!


[1] Clear, T., Daniels, M., Cajander, Å., Parsjö, E., Lagerqvist, N., and McDermott, R. (2016) A Framework for Writing Personal Learning Agreements, ASEE / IEEE Frontiers in Education , Eire, USA.

[2] Pears, A., Daniels, M., and Cajander, Å. (2017) The Archetype Learning Method – Scaffolding Teamwork Competences in the Engineering Classroom, ASEE / IEEE Frontiers in Education, Indianapolis, USA.

[3] Cajander, A., Daniels, M., Golay, D., McDermott, R., Moll, J., Nylén, A., Pears, A., and Peters, A. (2017) Unexpected Student Behavior and Learning Opportunities – Using Critical Incident Analysis and a Model for Understanding Students’ Behavior, ASEE / IEEE Frontiers in Education, Indianapolis, USA.

[4] Nylén, A., Cajander, Å., Daniels, M., Pears, A., and McDermott, R. (2017) Why are we here? Student Perspectives on the Goal of STEM Higher Education, ASEE / IEEE Frontiers in Education, Indianapolis, USA.

[5] Nylén, A., Daniels, M., and Isomottonen, V. (2017) Open-ended Projects Opened Up – Aspects of Openness, ASEE / IEEE Frontiers in Education, Indianapolis, USA.

[6] Peters, A-K. (2017). Learning Computing at University: Participation and Identity: A Longitudinal Study. (Doctoral dissertation, Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis).

Experiences from Reviewing of Scientific Papers

I often review scientific papers for journals and conferences in computer science. Sometimes when I am asked to do a review I ask my PhD students if they would like to read the paper and discuss reviewing it with me. If they want to join we set a date for discussing the paper, and what to write in a review. The PhD students get course credits from doing these reviews, and I also get a good chance to improve my reviewing skills.

Sometimes the papers we read are very poor, and need very much more work. Those papers are the trickiest ones to review. Often I still write quite a detailed review explaining what can be improved by the paper. In these situations I imagine that the paper is written by a colleague that I really respect, and I am careful with my phrasing of the critique so that it is clear what I mean but put in a way that it sounds polite and nice.

However, once I got such a poor paper that I simply did not write more than:

The ideas in the paper are interesting, but the paper need much more work before it can be published.

One can wonder if this was the correct thing to do???

The paper lacked most parts of a readable paper and it was not possible to understand even what they aimed at doing. A review of such a paper would have meant writing a “How to write a scientific paper for dummies” review. The advise would have been on what to include in an introduction, how to write an abstract etc.

I recommend all seniors to do reviews with their PhD students. It is an interesting way of learning more about papers, and getting a common groups of the area you are doing research in.

Excellent PhD Thesis by Hanife Rexhepi

Some people are as magic as the sky in the photo for this blog post. These people are more brilliant than the rest of us, and it is a joy to discuss with them and learn from them. One such person is Hanife Rexhepi from Högskolan i Skövde. Not only is she knowledgeable and professional, but she is also a good team player and has great communication skills. I have worked with Hanife Rexhepi in many studies the last years as a part of the DOME consortium.  And I am looking forward to more collaborations in the future.

Next week Hanife Rexhepi will defend her excellent thesis that includes TWO papers awarded “Best paper” which says something about the quality of her work. I am really looking forward to listening to her presentation and to the discussion. I am sure that I will get lots of new ideas and insights! I will bring my iPad and take notes 🙂

Hanife Rexhepi has done research related to information systems in health care. The eight papers in the thesis are from her extensive work in the area, and are based on several research projects. Among other things her thesis contains an interesting study on cancer patients and their use of medical records online. This study has been presented on several occasions, one of which is found here. The study has also been widely discussed in media such as in this well written blog post by Christiane Gruenloh.  Hanife Rexhepi is also very active on Twitter and you find her Twitter account here

See you in Skövde at Hanife Rexhepi’s PhD defence on Tuesday the 22 of May 2018.