In my two latest blog posts I have written about conference papers that were presented at the Medical Informatics Europe (MIE) 2022 and subsequently published. MIE is not the only conference I have submitted papers to this year – three papers were also submitted to Frontiers In Education 2022 which will be held in Uppsala in October 8-11 this year. Two papers were accepted for presentation and publication and those will be published after the conference.
One of the papers, which I wrote together with my colleague Shang Gao, is titled “Awarding Bonus Points as a Motivator for Increased Engagement in Course Activities in a Theoretical System Development Course”. I led the work on this paper. It focuses on our efforts with implementing a gamification approach (bonus point awarding system) in the course “System development theory” which we have taught together during spring 2020 and spring 2021. When published, this will be my very first pedagogic article that focuses on gamification, but it will surely not be the last!
The other paper, which I wrote together with my colleague Ann-Sofie Hellberg is titled “An effective online learning for complex theoretical content: experience of Community of Inquiry”. Ann-Sofie led the work on this paper. It focuses on experiences with implementing a new theoretical course component, based on the Community of Inquiry, in a course in interaction design that we have been teaching on since spring 2020.
I’m really looking forward to come back to Uppsala to take part in the conference, and also to meet some colleagues from my time as a postdoc at Uppsala University. There is an “early bird” registration deadline on September 12 according to the web page, so it is still possible to register for a reduced fee in case you want to participate in the conference. I will write more about the conference and the above mentioned papers later on during the autumn.
I have always been interested in conducting research based on my own teaching experiences – it forces me to reflect thoroughly on how I conduct my teaching, and it also enables me to make theoretically grounded improvements to my teaching. I have mainly conducted pedagogical research within three different areas during my time at Örebro University:
Scientific writing in higher education
Virtual teams in interaction design
The effects of the Covid-19 on teaching
Scientific writing in higher education
Before I started to work at Örebro University, I led a communication course for first year computer science students at the Royal Institute of Technology for several years. One of the main aims of the course was to improve the students’ writing skills especially when it comes to scientific writing. The dedicated communication course was meant to prepare the students for upcoming writing tasks and especially the bachelor and master thesis reports. The main reason for developing the course in the first place was that the quality of the students’ writing was generally low and the students were never really taught how to write scientifically sound reports and essays. Giving a communication course in the beginning of the study program is not the only solution to this kind of problem, it is also possible to incorporate writing instruction and increasingly complex tasks in already existing courses. This solution, also commonly called Writing Across the Curriculum, was implemented at my current department at Örebro University just before I started working here. After realizing that we had two different solutions to a very similar problem – we need to find means of helping our students to be better writers – I started up a new research collaboration with my colleagues Kai Wistrand, Annika Andersson and Mathias Hatakka who were very much involved in the WAC initiative at Örebro University. We used constructive alignment and curriculum theory to compare our two different cases (dedicated course and WAC) and developed a set of guidelines that other universities can get inspiration from. I will link to the resulting conference paper in my next blog post, which collects all publications that I have worked on during these last two years.
During spring 2021, I continued working with Kai in this area. We are now conducting a literature review where we, among other things, look deeper into theoretical concepts related to scientific writing (like e.g. critical thinking and lifelong learning) and models for pedagogical development in the area. It is super interesting to delve into this area and I have already learned a lot. Empirical material from e.g. interviews and texts will also be collected further on. One of the main aims of this research is to increase our understanding of what factors that contribute to high proficiency in scientific writing in higher education. The work will of course lead to scientific publications in the area, but hopefully also to concrete pedagogical development initiatives. I will of course write more about this interesting research when we have reached further in the process.
Virtual teams in interaction design
Yet another pedagogical research initiative was initiated during spring 2021. This time the research is mainly based on experiences from a course in interaction design that I have held online the last two spring terms. The course’s examiner Ann-Sofie Hellberg and I are investigating, among other things, how virtual teams can be used to successfully implement online versions of project based courses in which communication and collaboration in student groups are key components. We are currently analyzing a large sample of scientific articles that were gathered during an initial literature review. The material will be used as a theoretical ground for future publications in the area. I will get back to this when we have some clear results.
The idea to start studying virtual teams in depth actually came from a popular science book chapter that Ann-Sofie and I wrote last year. The book chapter was partly based on results from a survey that we handed out to students that took the 2020 version of the interaction design course, and we used the concept of virtual teams as a theoretical base when discussing own experiences from the course and the results from the survey. I will write more about the survey and the book chapter later on.
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on teaching
During spring 2020 I took the lead on a department-wide initiative to study the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on our teaching at all levels. We collected several proposals for possible research angles regarding for example examinations and online seminars. Some articles, and even book chapters, have already been written and published and soon work will commence on journal articles looking back at the whole period of distance education from different angles. I’m really looking forward to our continued work in this area!
In my last blog post I provided a short summary of research activities I have been involved in during my first year as assistant professor in informatics at Örebro University. I will now follow up on that post with a summary of the publications I have been working on during the same period. When I started my work around a year ago I decided to try out a new way of planning my time. I present the approach I tried out in this blog post (I’m still following the approach). When it comes to research, the approach I have been following (with a few exceptions) is to conduct research in the afternoons (grant application writing, data collection/analysis, etc.) and to work on manuscripts (can be both scientific and popular science) before lunch during at least three days a week. The number of days I devote to research/manuscripts of course depend on my current teaching duties. This approach has resulted in many research contributions being submitted and accepted/published during this past year. Thus, the scheduling approach followed has worked very well.
During this past year two new journal articles, where I am one of the authors, have been published and another one will be published within a few weeks. These are the published publications (both are open access and can be found by clicking on the title link):
Initial versions of both these articles were submitted before I started working at Örebro University, so the work on these articles mainly consisted of handling revisions and the work required after acceptance of the manuscripts. The first article above is more thoroughly presented in this blog post and I will write a separate post about the second paper later on this autumn. Moll and Cajander (2020) was published online already in 2019.
The following paper has been accepted for publication in Health Informatics Journal:
Rexhepi, H., Moll, J., and Huvila, I. (forthcoming). Online electronic healthcare records: comparing the views of cancer patients and others. Health Informatics Journal.
This is a paper that I have worked on quite a lot during this past year and the first version was submitted a few months after I had started working at Örebro University. You can expect a blog post and a press release when it has been published online! 🙂
Aside from working on the above mentioned papers I have also worked on other journal manuscripts focusing on eHealth, multimodal interaction and social media in higher education. One paper related to eHealth is already submitted and another one is soon ready to be submitted. In total, work has been done on nine journal manuscripts (including the ones already published/accepted that are listed above).
Quite a few conference papers have also been published/accepted during the last year. These three have already been published (follow the links to reach the open access publications):
Moll, J., and Josefsson, P. (2020). Communication patterns among students and teachers when using Facebook in a university course. Proceedings of the 14th annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference (INTED 2020) (Valencia, Spain, March 2020).
I have covered the first paper in this blog post. The other two were published during the summer, so I haven’t found the time to write posts about them yet – posts about these will be published soon. I had really looked forward to actually going to the conferences with my co-authors to present the work performed but Covid-19 destroyed those plans. 😦
Aside from the above mentioned conference papers I also worked on some contributions that have been accepted but not yet published. Those are the following:
Rexhepi, H., Moll, J., Huvila, I., and Åhlfeldt, R-M. (forthcoming). Do you want to receive bad news through your patient accessible electronic health record? A national survey on receiving bad news in an era of digital health. The International Symposium for Health Information Management Research (ISHIMR) 2020.
Wistrand, K., Moll, J., Hatakka, M., and Andersson, A. (forthcoming). Improving Writing Skills Among Information Systems Students: Guidelines for Incorporating Communication Components in Higher Education. Frontiers In Education (FIE) 2020.
As before, I will present the contributions more thoroughly in separate posts when they have been published.
One popular science conference contribution has also been accepted:
Moll, J., Josefsson, P. (2020). Sociala media som komplementär kommunikationskanal i högre utbildning – vilka möjligheter och utmaningar finns det? [Social media as complementary communication channels in higher education – which opportunities and challenges are there?] Discussion session accepted to Nätverk och Utveckling (NU) 2020.
I will write about this one in more depth when we are approaching the (online) conference in October.
I started my work as an assistant professor in Informatics at Örebro University August 1st 2019, and I’m now taking this opportunity to shortly summarize the first year. Usually, I link to earlier blog posts when I write summaries, but this very special spring term with online teaching and 100% distance work actually made me forget to use the blog. 😦
This post will be about research activities (excluding publications, which will be covered in the next summary post).
When it comes to research, quite a lot has happened during this first year. Those who have been following this blog for a while have probably seen that I have been trying to get research funding from different sources, sometimes as main applicant and sometimes as co-applicant, since I started as a postdoc at Uppsala University. After several rejects during the period 2015-2019 I finally managed to get some external funding from Vinnova! I write about the project, which focuses on developing digital learning tools for collaboration between visually impaired and sighted pupils in school, in this and this blog post. My next blog post after the summary posts will also be about this project (I know I haven’t written that much about it yet).
As it turned out, the Vinnova application was not the only project grant application (where I was one of the co-applicants) that got funded during this last year! Together with several of my colleagues in the DOME consortium, as well as partners focusing on eHealth in Norway, Finland, Estonia and the USA, I worked on a NordForsk application during Autumn 2019 and early spring 2020. One of my colleagues from Uppsala University, Maria Hägglund led the work. In May we got a confirmation from NordForsk that the project will be funded. The project title is “Nordic eHealth for Patients: Benchmarking and Developing for the Future” and it will start in January 2021. I’m really looking forward to this important research which will go on for three years!
I have also worked on some applications that came to be rejected. One of them (a draft) was submitted to Forte (Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare) and one was submitted to AFA Försäkringar. Both focused on eHealth solutions for patients. Actually, two drafts were submitted to Forte and one of them, for which Maria Hägglund led the work, was accepted. Since this means that a complete application could be submitted just before summer we don’t know yet if we will get funding or not.
Aside from working with grant applications and the above mentioned Vinnova-funded project, I have also worked on some internal projects at the Informatics department. One of those projects focuses on eHealth and more specifically the introduction of video visits in primary care in Region Örebro. My colleague Gunnar Klein leads the research which is currently not funded (although, we will try to fix that issue soon). A first research task – a survey distributed to healthcare professionals – has already been carried out and several other activities, involving both patients and healthcare professionals, have also been planned.
The other internal project I am involved in focuses on education and more specifically on the changes made in our courses in Informatics as a consequence of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. In March it was decided that all teaching should move online (including all examinations) – a transition that was far from easy. I was lucky enough to get around 1.5 months to prepare for my course in interaction design, but some of my colleagues had to transform ongoing courses from campus based to online! I will write more about my course in interaction design in a later summary post. This internal project, which will focus on e.g. different courses, examination types and levels of educations, and where both teachers and students will be involved, is coordinated by me (although I must say that it has been extremely complicated to coordinate this when we can only meet online!).
The activities mentioned above are the main research activities I have been involved in since I started working at Örebro University. In the next summary post I will write about the publications that have been published and accepted during the last year.
(I took the blog picture above at my countryside a while ago)
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:
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.
As I have mentioned in several earlier blog posts, I have been working on a book chapter, together with Pernilla Josefsson, about the use of Twitter as a complementary communication channel in higher education courses. The chapter is one of many chapters included in the book “Digitalisering av högre utbildning” [Digitalization of higher education], edited by professor Stefan Hrastinski (see picture above), which was published in August. This is the first time I have been working with a text that is meant to be used in teacher education!
The book covers a wide range of topics connected to the use of digital technology in higher education. Most of the chapters are written by University teachers from all over Sweden and include popular science descriptions of personal experiences with the use of digital technologies in their own courses. All chapters are written in Swedish. The chapter that I wrote with Pernilla presents my experiences with using Twitter in one of the courses in communication that I was responsible for at KTH. We present the implementation and results as well as lessons learned. We also introduce our scientific study, based on the Twitter communication, which was carried out during the same course round.
I really enjoyed working with the chapter and I hope other teachers who want to implement Twitter in their courses will find it useful! The scientific study about the use of Twitter in higher education courses is, for the moment, only published in Pernilla’s doctoral thesis. I link to her thesis in this blog post, where I also write about the defense.
A few weeks ago, Pernilla Josefsson and I got an abstract for a poster accepted to an annual pedagogical conference at Uppsala University (TUK 2018) and today I presented that poster at the conference. The poster is based on work performed within the 3hp pedagogical course which I’m currently taking at the university. I introduced the course last autumn in this blog post.
The basic idea with the project is to study how a Facebook group affects student and teacher roles as well as the communication both between students and between students and teachers. As in several earlier courses I have been responsible for, I invited all teachers and students to join a Facebook group in the beginning of the course. The only difference this time is that I conduct research on the communication. The poster, shown in the picture above, presents some basic facts about the setup, which methods were used and also some preliminary results. A lot more can be done in terms of analysis, so this is certainly not the last research contribution that will come out of this study!
Here is the abstract we submitted in order to get the poster accepted:
A Facebook group was used as a complementary communication channel during a course in human-computer interaction, autumn 2017. All 63 students and three involved teachers were invited to the group right before the course started. This was done within the scope of a pedagogical study aiming at investigating how a teacher administrated Facebook group affects student and teacher roles and communication between students as well as between students and teachers. The study included a pre-survey on social media literacy, collection of posts and user reactions, and a post-survey eliciting student attitudes towards Facebook as well as opinions about the use of Facebook during the course. Posts and comments were analyzed using a content analysis approach. 48/63 students chose to join the group and of these 40 were active participants. Most student posts and comments concerned the ongoing project work and logistics.
I really enjoyed attending the very well arranged conference, and in the next blog post (or maybe two posts), I will discuss some of the points brought up in the keynotes, paper sessions and plenary talks. Both some of my colleagues in the HTO group at Uppsala University and I will also write about the conference – and especially our own contributions – on our HTO blog in the near future. So, if you want to know more about what we are involved in regarding pedagogical development (or other research) you should also check out that blog.
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!
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 interaction – I 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 researcher – I 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 researcher – A 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.
Teacher – Another 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 developer – I 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 council – This 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 member – I 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.
Patient – I 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!
Blogger – No 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!
Late last week it was confirmed that a conference paper I was co-authoring has been accepted for publication and presentation at the 2017 FIE (Frontiers in Education) conference! Åsa Cajander (lead author), Diane Golay, Mats Daniels, Aletta Nylén, Arnold Pears, Anne-Kathrin Peters from the IT department at Uppsala University and Roger McDermott from the School of Computer Science and Digital Media at Robert Gordon University are the other authors on the paper. The title of the paper is “Unexpected Student Behaviour and Learning Opportunities: Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour to Analyse a Critical Incident”.
In the paper we are using the Theory of Planned Behaviour to analyze a critical incident that occurred at the end of a course at Uppsala University. The incident relates to students refusing to present at and participate in a voluntary “design final” at the end of the course, where an external jury should choose the best project. During the course, project groups presented their work a couple of times in seminar groups and after each presentation the groups were awarded points by both the peers and the teachers. After the last presentation, the project groups with the highest number of points in the respective seminar group (three in total) were given the opportunity to present during the final.
The main idea with introducing the point system and design final was to add an engaging gamification component, providing an extra incentive for performing well during the entire course. The reactions from students, however, were unexpected in that some groups refused to take part in the design final and quite a few students did not see the point of the gamification related components.
Here is the paper abstract, outlining our main approach in analyzing the critical incident (I will come back to this topic and write more about the results and outcomes when the paper has been published in the conference proceedings):
One of the challenges in being a teacher is to set up an educational setting where the students receive relevant learning opportunities for the specific course, the students’ education in general, and for their future. However, efforts to create such educational settings do not always work in the way that faculty has intended. In this paper we investigate one such effort seen from a critical incident perspective. Central to the analysis in this paper is how the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) can provide explanations for the incident. The critical incident can be summarised as students refusing to take part in a non-compulsory, but from the faculty perspective highly educational, activity. We describe the incident in depth, give thebackground for the educational intervention, and analyse the incident from the perspective of TPB. This paper makes two major contributions to engineering education research. The first is the development of a method for analysing critical teaching and learning incidents using the TPB. The critical incident analysisillustrates how the method is used to analyse and reason about the students’ behaviour. Another contribution is the development of a range of insights which deal with challenges raised by Learning interventions, especially those involved with acquiring hidden or ”invisible skills” not usually seen or acknowledged by students to belong to core subject area of a degree program.
The tension between the teachers’ expectations and the students’ reactions is very interesting from a pedagogical point of view. In this particular paper we analyze a critical incident using a specific method (Theory of Planned Behaviour), but we are planning broader articles on this subject as well. One interesting aspect to delve deeper into is the difference between universities – one of the main reasons why gamification was tested at Uppsala University was that it had been extremely well received by students at another university taking a very similar course with similar gamification components!