communication · Pedagogical development · Pedagogy · Social media in higher education

Overview of my pedagogical research

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In my last two blog posts I presented overviews about my research within the eHealth and multimodal interaction domains, respectively. Now, the time has come for an overview of my pedagogical research. This blog post will focus on research that has been presented at pedagogical conferences and in books – my research on multimodal learning environments, which has not been published at such venues, is covered in my previous blog post.

What have I done related to pedagogical research?

When it comes to research related to pedagogy, my focus has mainly been on the use of social media in higher education courses. I have conducted studies on both Twitter and teacher administrated Facebook groups in courses I have been responsible for at KTH and Uppsala University. In those studies, I have mainly looked at how social media can be used as complementary communication channels and how these kinds of media affect the interaction among students and between students and teachers. The blog image above illustrates one of the contributions from my research in this area – a book chapter about the use of Twitter in a large course in communication, which I wrote with my colleague Pernilla Josefsson. You can read more about the chapter here. The chapter describes the only study on social media that I performed at KTH. You can read about another study, based on a teacher-administrated Facebook-group, in this blog post.
In total, my pedagogical research has, up until today, resulted in the following three conference proceedings at pedagogical conferences:

and the following popular science contribution (in Swedish):

My ongoing pedagogical research

I’m currently not involved in any data collection activities related to this research area, but I’m still analyzing the data I have already collected from the study on Twitter in a higher education course that I mentioned above. A journal article about the study will soon be submitted to a journal focusing on educational research. I will of course write more about this later on.

Upcoming pedagogical research

There is still a lot that remains to be decided regarding my involvement in pedagogical research at Örebro University. I will of course continue trying to incorporate social media in different ways in courses that I teach and I will also continue to analyze the data from the Twitter study from different perspectives – there is a lot of interesting data there!

A few days ago I also found out about small grants that teachers and researchers at the university can apply for. These university specific grants should be used for pedagogical development projects. Similar funding opportunities were offered by Uppsala University, but I never applied during my years as a postdoc there. This year, however, I will take the chance to apply for some funding for a project related to pedagogical development. The deadline is in the second half of September and I will start writing on the project plan any day now. I will focus my application on haptic feedback in education and I will of course get back to this as work progresses. If the project is funded I will work on it during 2020.

communication · design · Group work · Haptics · Human-Computer Interaction · Multimodality · sonification

Overview of my research within multimodal interaction

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In my last blog post I presented an overview about my research within the eHealth domain. In this blog post I will do the same thing, but for my other main research field – multimodal interaction in virtual environments.

 

What have I done related to multimodal interaction?

Even though I have spent the last couple of years focusing mainly on eHealth, I have done a lot of research – especially as a Ph.D. student at the Royal Institute of Technology – related to multimodal interaction. Most of this research has been focused on multimodal learning environments for collaborative task solving between sighted and visually impaired persons. Haptic feedback has played a major part in the collaborative virtual environments that I have designed and evaluated both in lab settings and in the field in e.g. primary schools. Quite a while ago, I wrote a blog series on haptic feedback focusing on the work I performed within the scope of my doctoral studies. Here are the links to those posts:

During my time as a postdoc at Uppsala University, I also performed some activities related to multimodal interaction. Most of this time I devoted to research grant applications and I also wrote a few conference papers. You can read a short summary of these activities here.

In total, my research on multimodal interaction has, up until today, resulted in the following five journal publications (some links lead to open access publications or pre-prints):

and the following 11 conference papers (some links leads to open access publications or pre-prints):

 

My ongoing research within multimodal interaction

Currently, there is not much going on related to this research field (at least not in my own research). The only ongoing activity I’m engaged in is an extensive literature review related to communication in collaborative virtual environments which will lead to a theoretical research article where I will discuss different technical solutions for haptic communication in the light of the research I have performed within the area up until today. I’m collaborating with my former Ph.D. supervisor Eva-Lotta Sallnäs Pysander on this activity. I hope that this research activity will help me in my continued research on collaboration between visually impaired and sighted pupils based on different types of tasks and learning material.

Upcoming research on multimodal interaction

As I wrote in a recent blog post multimodal interaction, with a focus on haptic feedback, seems to be a new research area at the Centre for empirical research on information systems (CERIS) where I just stared my assistant professorship. Thus, this is the research area in which I can contribute with something new to the department. An area that is already represented at the department, however, is “Information Technology and Learning”, which seems to be a perfect fit in this case!

Last year, I also submitted a research grant application focusing on continued work with collaborative multimodal learning environments. Unfortunately, that one was rejected but no one is giving up. I will work somewhat on revising the application during the autumn and submit as soon as a suitable call pops up. Maybe I will also have additional co-applicants from the CERIS department by then.

communication · eHealth · Group work · Haptics · Human-Computer Interaction · Medical Records Online · Multimodality · Social media in higher education

Today I start working at Örebro University as an assistant professor!

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Today I can finally take the next step on the academic ladder, since I’m starting up my new job as assistant professor in Informatics at the centre for empirical research on information systems at Örebro University! In November 2018 I applied for the position and in the middle of the spring 2019 I was called to an interview. A few months later I was offered the position. I’m very excited about this great opportunity and I of course intend to make the most out of it. After a very long blog break (mostly due to health issues and the fact that my research efforts during the spring has been rather minor), this also seems like a good opportunity to start posting again.

The assistant professorship is the first step on the so called tenure track. It is an academic position limited to four years, but the intention is often (as in my case) to promote the assistant professor to an associate professor towards the end – a position which is not limited in time. My job includes 70% research and 30% teaching, which is quite common for assistant professorships. I’m not sure yet where e.g. service and communication (like administration, blogging and interviews) fits in.

The job as assistant professor in Informatics is a very good fit for me, since I will be able to continue to work with all my main research interests (the main theme is computer supported communication):

  • eHealth
    – I will continue looking at how patient accessible electronic health records (PAEHR) affect the communication between patients and care professionals. One thing I’m particularly curious about, and that is actually the focus of a project grant application currently in review, is how one can incorporate the PAEHR as a communication mediator curing doctor-patient meetings. Another application in review is about the effects and implementation of psychiatry records online.
  • Multimodal interaction
    – I will also continue looking at how multimodal feedback (especially haptics and sound) can be used to promote collaboration between sighted and visually impaired pupils/students in group work. Most of today’s assistive technologies that are used in school settings are not adapted for collaboration and this is highly problematic when it comes to inclusion of visually impaired pupils/students in group work settings.
  • Social media in higher education
    – My intention is also to continue investigating how social media like Twitter and Facebook can be used as supplementary communication channels in higher education courses.

When it comes to the areas of eHealth and social media in higher education, research is already being conducted by my new colleagues at Örebro University. Multimodal interaction would however be a new research theme for the department. I will elaborate on the different themes listed above in later blog posts as work is progressing. Other research themes from the department (like computer security and ICT for development) could also be added.

I have not heard anything yet regarding the teaching, but given the department’s focus I guess I could be involved in master’s thesis supervision, human-computer interaction project courses and programming courses. I will write more about the teaching part when I know more.

The blog image that I used for this post is one of my own – I took it a few weeks ago during a week I spent in Abisko in northern Sweden.

communication · DOME · eHealth · Medical Records Online · Popular science

On the importance of writing press releases about what we do in academia

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In my last blog post I wrote about an article on “threats and violence for staff and patient accessible electronic health records”, which was recently published in Cogent Psychology. Earlier this week a press release about the study was published on the Uppsala University media web. Since research on patient accessible electronic health records (PAEHRs) should be of interest to most of us, we thought it would be interesting and important to reach out with our results to the public in this way, and we were of course hoping that someone would pick up the news.

After less than one week, articles based on our press release have been published at the following places (at this point, all the articles we have found are in Swedish):

  • Forskning.se published an article, Nätjournaler ökar rädslan för hot och våld, which was a re-organized version of our original press release. Forskning.se is an online resource, where results from publicly funded research are communicated to the public.
  • Ciennce.se published an article with the same name, Nätjournaler ökar rädslan för hot och våld. The editor actually emailed me and asked me to write a summary of the study, so this particular popular science article is written by me and Åsa Cajander. Ciennce.se is a venue where scientists get the opportunity to write short, popular science, summaries about their published studies.
  • Dagens medicin published an article, Uppsala inför e-journal i psykiatrin, which actually took the results from our study a bit further. They connected our study to the current work with implementation of psychiatry records online in Region Uppsala! They interviewed both Åsa Cajander and the person in charge of the implementation process at Uppsala University Hospital, Åsa Törnkvist. As one of the researchers following this implementation process, I can without hesitation verify that the concerns of healthcare professionals has been taken seriously.
  • SVT Nyheter published an article, E-journaler ökar oron för hot och våld inom vården, which again took the results from our study a bit further. Even in this case they interviewed Åsa Cajander and they also interviewed a representative from the Swedish Association of Health Professionals in Uppsala! Once again, they also connected our results to the ongoing implementation of psychiatry records online in Region Uppsala.

I have never before seen this kind of interest in a study I have been working on! Not only did different media sites publish versions of our press release, but they also conducted new interviews and investigations based on the results we published. I think it’s safe to say that this would not have happened if we hadn’t published that initial press release last Tuesday. I think there is an important lesson to be learned here – it’s important to write both popular science and scientific version of our studies, especially when the research concerns as all as is the case with PAEHRs (we are all patients and/or relatives of patients, right?). We will definitely continue to write press releases about our studies and the next one, about the patients’ attitudes towards and experiences with PAEHRs, will be published very soon on the Uppsala University media web!

In summary, we can conclude that, yeah, someone picked up the news!  🙂

communication · design · DOME · eHealth · EIT · EIT Health · Grant application · Human-Computer Interaction · Medical Records Online · National patient survey · Social media in higher education

Looking back at 2017!

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A new year has just begun and before I start blogging about current activities, I will take this opportunity to look back at some of the important things that happened last year. If you have been following this blog regularly, you have probably already read about the last summer’s adventures at the ACM SIGCHI/EIT Health summer school in a number of different posts so I will not get into any detail about that school here. If you want to read about what went on during this eHealth/mHealth design summer school you should read this post and all the posts it links to. The same goes for the very successful DOME session about patient accessible electronic health records at Vitalis, which I describe here.  As in all other of my meta-posts, I have chosen one of the nature pictures I took myself during the year.

Selected research activities

There was quite a lot of research going on last year. The research activities related to all of my focus areas eHealth, multimodal communication and social media in higher education courses. Naturally, most of my activities were connected to eHealth. Primarily, I continued working with the national patient survey on patient accessible electronic health records in Sweden (introduced here) and the interview/observation/survey study with physicians and nurses (introduced here). Last year’s work with the national patient survey resulted in four submitted manuscripts (to one journal and two conferences) and there is a lot more we can do with that study! It became especially interesting when we started comparing responses from different disease groups during the end of 2017. I will tell you more about these results later on when we have some publications. In the other study we conducted several interviews with physicians, about the effects of patients accessible electronic health records on their work environment, during the autumn. Most of the surveys have also been handed in. I will not discuss the results before they get published but I can tell you that both the qualitative and quantitative data gathered this far show that this study was very much needed! During the autumn I also started to, with my DOME consortium colleague Gunilla Myreteg, follow the implementation of psychiatry records online in Region Uppsala. I will write more about that in later posts.

I also started on another track related to eHealth – how we can make use of data from different sources for better diagnoses and treatment of cancer. This topic is also connected to big data and happens to be one of the themes covered in the 2018 version of Uppsala Health Summit. I am one of the organizers behind a workshop there and I also submitted a workshop proposal to a conference on the same theme. It remains to be seen if this will become one of my main research focuses in the future. It’s definitely and interesting and very important topic.

My work on multimodal mediated communication during 2017 focused primarily on revising a journal manuscript (presenting a study I was a part of during my last year at KTH) and submitting two posters to the Swedish Cognitive Science Society conference which was held in Uppsala in October. The accepted submissions are more thoroughly presented here and here.

Teaching

During autumn I was, together with Mohammad Obaid, responsible for a master level introductory course in Human-Computer Interaction. I really enjoyed that and I think the changes made to the course before it started really made a positive difference. One of the new parts we introduced to the course was a very appreciated creative prototyping session which I describe here. The students presented their final results in the middle of December and those results were very good. I describe the final presentation sessions here and the four finalists (which will compete for the winning team award) in these four blog posts:

  1. HCI course finalist 1: enhancing and simplifying the biking experience through augmented reality!
  2. HCI course finalist 2: utilizing haptic feedback for alerts and navigation cues!
  3. HCI course finalist 3: a solution for finding bikes to rent at your destination!
  4. HCI course finalist 4: a device presenting real-time and easily read navigational cues!

My research on the use of social media in higher education courses was also combined with my teaching in this course. The focus of that research is a teacher administrated Facebook-group which has been used as a complementary communication channel during the course. I explain the basic idea here.

Some other activities

Other activities worth bringing up here are my participation in the EIT Health Alumni Connect and the INNOVEIT events in Budapest in October. It was a great experience being there and my blog posts about Connect and INNOVEIT as well as those about the summer school also resulted in me being asked if I wanted to work with the EIT Health Alumni communication manager! Of course I accepted, but it remains to be seen exactly how that work should be carried out and what the tasks will be.

In November, I also took part in the first meeting as a representative in the eHealth council at the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden. I wrote about some of my experiences from that meeting here. I think many interesting collaborations can be found here!

In April I also submitted my first ever VR (the Swedish Research Council) application, which focused on support for collaboration between sighted and deafblind pupils in school. I wrote about that here. Unfortunately, we did not get a grant this time, but we got a “Very good” ranking on all criteria related to the content and feasibility so we will definitely move on with our ideas!

communication · conference · EIT · EIT Health

About a rather unexpected impact of this blog…

When I started blogging a little more than a year ago I was, of course, hoping that some people would start following the blog, that I would get quite a few readers and that there would be some sharing going on via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (other than my own 🙂 ). At least up until today I have quite a few readers each day and most of my posts are shared at least a few times. I currently also have 8 followers. I kind of expected these results, but what I certainly didn’t expect, when it comes to impact, started happening after the first week of a summer school I participated in last summer.

As several of you probably already know, I blogged about the summer school activities on a daily basis. You can see posts from the first week here. About three weeks after the summer school week in Dublin I got a comment on the above mentioned post (the first comment I ever got) where a representative from EIT Health wanted to know if they could use material from my blog to show other interested students what goes on during the summer schools! A few days after I answered that it was ok, the blog was e.g. linked at this page and in a news letter with general information about EIT Health activities.

A similar thing happened after I had visited the events EIT Health Alumni Connect and INNOVEIT 2017 in Budapest. As was the case for the summer school I wrote about both events directly after they took place. While I was still in Budapest one of the organizers of EIT Health Alumni Connect asked if he could post material from this blog post in order to show what we did during the event. Some new pictures were added and some minor edits in the text was done before this was posted on the EIT Health Alumni news page. Later on the same post was also used by EIT Alumni. I’m quite sure the use of these posts by EIT Health is one of the reasons why I was asked if I wanted to support the communications manager at EIT Health Alumni.

I have no idea if similar things will happen again, but I will definitely keep blogging about events I take part in and I’m really happy that EIT Health (Alumni) found my posts valuable enough to link to or reuse them! I also hope that I can support EIT Health Alumni in the future by e.g. reporting from other events. I really believe in that network and think that the work performed there is very important.

communication · conference · Group work · Haptics · Multimodality

Paper and poster about haptic communicative functions and their effects on communication in collaborative virtual environments

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Yesterday I blogged about a poster and a conference paper that Emma Frid and I developed for the SweCog conference in Uppsala. In this post I will focus on the second poster and paper that Eva-Lotta Sallnäs Pysander and I developed for the same conference.

The poster shown in the picture above, and even more so the paper, summarizes some of the main points made from my doctoral studies. My main focus during those years was collaboration in multimodal virtual environments with special emphasis on how haptic feedback can be used for communicative purposes. Mediated haptic communication has been studied for quite some time, but my specific contribution here has been to develop and test new functions for two-way haptic communication (see short descriptions of the functions on the poster) and also adapt some already developed ones in order to make them work better in a situation when a sighted person is collaborating with a severely visually impaired one in a collaborative virtual environment. There is a real potential in these kinds of functions when it comes to collaboration between sighted and visually impaired – the haptic feedback does not only enable establishment of a common ground about the interface but also effective two-way communication (see examples of results on the poster above). This is very important for the inclusion of visually impaired persons in group work. The example study is reported in much more depth in this article.

Even though the poster and paper include summaries of work already performed and reported, we are in this case even more explicit about the connection to other kinds of haptic communicative functions. This conclusion also takes the work to the next level:

We argue that for effective collaboration and communication to take place in virtual environments by means of haptic feedback the haptic functions need to be designed as to allow for reciprocal exchange of information. That is, both users need continuous feedback from each other during e.g. a guiding process or joint object handling.

The conference paper, on which the above poster is based, can be found here.