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!

Färjeläget

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

HaptiCom

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.

communication · Pedagogical development · Social media in higher education

Time to start a new pedagogical project!

In earlier blog posts I have mentioned a pedagogical project I was involved in, related to the use of Twitter as a communication channel in higher education courses. I have been a little vague about it, since we are still waiting for an article to be published. Pernilla Josefsson, a Ph.D. student in Media Technology at KTH who lead the Twitter study, and I started to discuss the possibility of conducting a follow-up study based on Facebook more than a year ago but we could not find the time for a new study. 

Thanks to a pedagogical project course given at Uppsala University, which started September 1, we will now finally be able to start a one year pedagogical project on the use of Facebook as a communication medium in higher education! The idea behind the project course is to give teachers pedagogical course credits (= development time) to dig deep into a pedagogical development area of one’s own choice. Those who follow the course are expected to spend three weeks on the project during the period September 2017 – May 2018. 

When I came to the first meeting it turned out that I was the only course participant this year! I was also quite surprised by the fact that the course responsible, Amelie Hössjer, had research and teaching interests very similar to my own. During the first meeting we discussed the idea that Pernilla and I had prepared in advance as well as e.g. course goals. Questions discussed concerned what could be measured, benefits and risks of using teacher administrated Facebook groups as well as our role as researchers – should we be one of the teachers, or even the course leader, in the studied group or should we only act as passive observers? 

I have actually used Facebook groups (in which I have been the administrator) as a complement to other communication channels for several years in courses I have lead at KTH. I usually invite all involved teachers and all students directly after the first lecture. I have very positive experiences from using Facebook in this way, but I have never used the resulting communication in any research. 

The next steps are for Pernilla and me to discuss the input from the first course meeting and to choose a target course. I’m really looking forward to the new pedagogical project and to once again get the opportunity to collaborate with Pernilla! 

Academic writing · communication · Council · DOME · eHealth · Pedagogical development · Pedagogy

Recently applied for an associate professorship in implementation research

Last Sunday, I finally submitted an application for a position as associate professor in implementation research (didn’t have much of a choice since that was the last day to submit)! One positive outcome, apart from the obvious, is that I really had to think through what different roles I have and how I can make use of them. Since I have not written about all of them on this blog, I will list the different roles I came up with here (some of them will have follow-ups in more focused posts):

  • Researcher in multimodal communication and interactionI have already written about my thesis and quite a few other blog posts about haptics as an interaction modality. My main focus in this role has been to study how different modality combinations affect collaboration and communication in collaborative virtual environments
  • E-health researcherI have already written quite a lot about the studies I have been leading, regarding patient accessible electronic health records, since I stared my postdoc. What I have not yet written about is my earlier contact with healthcare – a quite intense collaboration with physicians at the Gastro department at Karolinska institutet during about two years of my doctoral studies. I will definitely write about that project later on.
  • Pedagogical development researcherA role I have not written that many posts about yet. During an extended period of time I e.g. took part in a study about Twitter use in a higher education course. I will come back to this when a paper has gone through the review process.
  • TeacherAnother role I haven’t written that much about. My teaching has focused on written and verbal communication in engineering sciences, haptics and human-computer interaction. I will definitely come back with blog posts on this topic, especially when it comes to master’s thesis supervision – my favorite teacher role.
  • Software developerI have not written that much about this role either, since it was quite a while ago that I actually developed an application. My focus in this case has been on haptic interfaces and haptic collaborative functions.
  • Member of eHealth councilThis is the newest role, which I wrote a blog post about a while ago – I represent “Education” and “patients” in the eHealth council at the The National Board of Health and Welfare.
  • Research network memberI have written about the DOME consortium several times, but I have not yet written about my participation in the “Nordic Network for ICT and Disabilities”, which specializes in assistive technology for people with deafblindness. I will introduce that network more thoroughly in its own blog post.
  • PatientI am a regular patient since more than a decade ago, and I have already used that in my own research on eHealth at e.g. conferences. This is why I add it as a “role” in this list. There will be plenty of blog posts from the patient’s perspective on this blog – that’s for sure!
  • BloggerNo comment…  🙂

I might have missed a few roles, but I think these are the big ones at least for the moment. As I said earlier, not all these are relevant for the position in implementation research but I started thinking about all of them as I was writing the quite extensive application. Writing this type of application forces you to really think about what you have done and what types of roles you have taken, and I really found it rewarding to reflect on this.

Earlier when I had written these kinds of applications I let them rest in peace and just waited for the decision, but this time I’m not going to leave what I wrote behind me and just hope for the best. This time, I will try to transform my sketched research ideas into funding applications as soon as possible. There will surely be more posts about that process!

communication · Group work · Haptics

More about my work with haptic communicative functions in collaborative virtual environments

img_1120

I’m currently in the process of writing a job application for an associate professorship and to make sure I don’t miss anything I recently browsed through my old conference folders to find the articles to append. When I came to EuroHaptics 2010 I was reminded about something I had completely forgotten – I was actually one of the organizers behind a workshop at that conference! I spent quite a lot of time preparing for the workshop, which focused on haptic communicative functions, but the weekend before the conference I got very sick and was forced to cancel my participation. I will take this opportunity to briefly introduce the workshop and discuss some of my work prior to it. My earlier blog posts on haptic feedback as an interaction modality were the following:

It was a shame that I could not attend the workshop/conference in Amsterdam, since it was based on my work on collaboration in multimodal environments up to that point. Thus, this was the perfect opportunity to discuss the work performed and get input regarding future work in the area. We described the focus of the workshop in the following way:

In this workshop, concrete examples will be presented and discussed in terms of how the touch modality can support communication and collaboration. Also, the technical challenges of distributed haptic feedback will be addressed. The target audience of the workshop is researchers and practitioners focusing on haptic feedback supporting people in settings where more than one user are involved. We invite other researchers and practitioners to share their research and experience from their different projects focussing specifically on the collaborative perspective. It might be that the collaborative aspects in your project have not yet been addressed. In that case, interesting collaborative aspects can be identified during the discussions in this workshop.

Quite a lot of work was performed by me and my “multimodal colleagues” 🙂 prior to the workshop. First of all, I had performed my master’s thesis work back in 2006 which focused on collaboration between visually impaired and sighted pupils in elementary school. Evaluations were performed in schools, where visually impaired and sighted pupils collaborated in dynamic collaborative environments where objects could be moved. During that work, and especially during a re-analyses performed during my first year as a Ph.D. student (2008) I realized that communicative functions based on haptic feedback had a real potential both when it came to supporting collaborative work and supporting inclusion of the visually impaired pupils in group work with sighted peers. It became especially clear that haptic functions for guiding (holding on to the same object or holding on to the peer’s proxy) can replace verbal guidance to a large extent.

Imagine a situation where you need to guide a visually impaired pupil to a particular place in a virtual environment. If you only have the visual feedback to rely on when establishing a common frame of reference, you need to talk a lot like  “go down, more down, …no, too much, go back…, now to the right…no, not down, up again… here it is!”. If you have haptic feedback available you can just grab the other person’s proxy and move the visually impaired peer to the right place and just say “here”. Needless to say, haptic feedback affects the dialogue between collaborators in this case. If you want to learn more about this explorative study you can read the journal article we finalized a few years after the study.

One problem that was evident from the evaluations with the visually impaired and sighted pupils was that the visually impaired pupil was not aware about what the sighted pupil did when haptic guiding was not utilized. This is why we performed a follow-up study where we added sound cues to the above mentioned dynamic interface to provide feedback on actions taken in the interface (e.g. grasping and putting down objects). We compared the new visual/haptic/audio version to the original visual/haptic one. We managed to show that the dialogue between the collaborators differed depending on which program version they worked in and it was also clear that the work was more effective (measured as time to complete task) in the visual/haptic/audio version. Once again, we could also clearly see how access to haptic feedback influenced the communication. You can read more about this study in this article.

These two studies resulted in a theoretical conference paper presented at HAID (Haptic and Audio Interaction Design) 2009, where we tried to develop a kind of conceptual model regarding haptic communicative functions’ effects on the dialogue between collaborators. This was my first attempt at a meta-analysis of the insights gained within this research area. The paper summarizes and discusses all the effects on the dialogue I had seen in my studies thus far. The paper made quite an impression – it is still the most referenced of all the papers I have produced up until today! At that point we were still quite unique when it came to haptic collaborative environments and I still think I’m one of the very few researchers who study the effect of haptic and audio feedback on the dialogue between collaborators.

The HAID conference paper laid the ground work for the workshop described in the beginning of this post and during the workshop the idea to study collaboration between two sighted persons was introduced and discussed. Next time I write about my earlier work I will introduce my latest study on collaborative multimodal interfaces, that showed that haptic and audio feedback indeed have effects on the dialogue between sighted persons as well!

 

communication · Pedagogical development · Pedagogy

About activating students at the university

Blåsenhus

About two weeks ago I wrote a blog post about a pedagogical course I took, which focused on supervising oral presentations. The fact is that I finished another pedagogical course the week after. That course, (held in the Blåsenhus building seen in the image above) focused on different methods used for activating students in the classroom as well as methods for making sure that the students really engage with all course material. The name of this 1.5hp course (given only in Swedish) is Aktiverande undervisningsformer and it included three whole course days filled with a mix of activities and lectures, and about two days of own work.

During our own work we should come up with a new way to activate students in one of our own courses. I will just provide a short version of my individual assignment solution here. In this case I chose the communications course, given to first year computer science students at KTH, since I have worked with it for almost 10 years and developed most of the content in it during the years 2008-2015. The students have always liked the practical exercises on oral presentations and Writing (the core parts of the course), but they have never really appreciated the more theoretical lectures. The course literature has never really been appreciated either and most students don’t by the course book. During my individual assignment in the pedagogical course I therefore focused on alternative ideas to present the theoretical material and I think the course inspired me to find a good solution (or at least a better one compared to lectures). My new idea is that some of the lectures should be transformed into literature seminars to which groups of students are given a chapter in the course book, and a scientific article related to the chapter, to present to the others. A few open-ended questions could be given to each group to help them prepare and to make sure that the most important aspects are covered in the respective presentations. Since students are already divided into exercise groups of about 25 students each, the same groupings could be used for the seminars. I also proposed a short quiz handed out at the end, with a few questions from each part covered during the respective seminars. This setup would force the students to read the course book and they would most probably engage more with the material. They would probably also learn more when being forced to explain the material to the others. The quiz at the end, which could add bonus points to the final grade, will hopefully make sure that everyone will listen actively to all presentations.

I’m not sure that the idea presented above is feasible and appropriate, but during a presentation at the end of the course, where all participants presented the main points of their individual work, both other course participants and the teachers thought that the idea was  good and should be tested in practice.  I’m not working with the communication course any more, but I will definitely forward my idea to those who are!

I thought I had tried the most when I entered the course, but even when it came to this course I left it with a lot of new insights. I especially enjoyed the parts about problem based learning (PBL) and flipped classroom, since I had never used those methods in practice. The course was very well structured and we were given a lot of time to practice quite a few methods while working in groups we were assigned to at the start of the course. The course really inspired me to rethink my own teaching practice and the transformation of lectures into literature seminars (where the students present theory and practice oral presentations at the same time) is an example of that. Now I just need to find a course where I can implement the flipped classroom approach, because I’m very curious about that method!  🙂