Academic writing · conference · DOME · eHealth · Grant application · Human-Computer Interaction · Medical Records Online · National patient survey · Pedagogy · Social media in higher education

Looking back at my two years as a postdoc at Uppsala University, part 1: research

Gåsflock1

Since my two years as a postdoc at Uppsala University ended September 28, I will try to summarize my results and experiences in a few blog posts before this year ends. I will start today by writing about my research activities. I took the blog picture during my last birdwatching trip to Öland.

Even though most of my research activities during the postdoc period were focused on eHealth, I also did some work related to multimodal communication and pedagogy. Thus, I was active within all of my main research fields. In total, I got one journal article published, two journal articles accepted, one book chapter published and 11 conference papers published. I also attended nine conferences and submitted two research grant applications as main applicant.

Research within eHealth

Within this field I led two major studies related to patient accessible electronic health records (PAEHRs). The interview/observation/survey study at Uppsala University Hospital, which I introduce here, focuses on the effect of PAEHRs on physicians’ and nurses’ work environment. The survey part is completed and a journal manuscript, written by me and Åsa Cajander, was submitted to Health Informatics Journal slightly after my postdoc period had ended. The results are really interesting and I will of course get back to them when the article has been published. Due to some health issues and logistical difficulties, we have only conducted about half of the planned interviews with physicians and nurses, but we will hopefully get the majority of the remaining ones during the first months of the spring term. The analysis of the already performed physician interviews are still ongoing, and it’s very clear that the material that we already have will give many new insights into long-term effect of PAEHR on the work environment of healthcare professionals. This has really been an interesting study and it was also the first study for which I got the opportunity to write an ethical application. It has also been quite a challenge to coordinate the work with nine colleagues from five different universities.

The other major study I was leading was the national patient survey, which I introduce here. I have written about it many times on this blog since it has resulted in several scientific publications as well as presentations. Even in this case, one of the toughest challenges has been to coordinate the work in the distributed project team. This study has already resulted in one journal article and three conference papers and we are currently working with several journal article manuscripts which I will get back to later on. I really enjoy this study and I will keep working with it until everything is published. The study is very important since it’s the first major follow-up study on patients’ attitudes towards and experiences with PAEHRs.

During my time as a postdoc I also took part in the work with two research grant applications, as a co-applicant, within this research area. One of them was an EU grant application led by Meena Daivadanam at Karolinska University Hospital, with the title “The ENGAGE Trial: Improving and health societal outcomes for comorbid mental disorders associated with type 2 diabetes through an integrated support and engagement platform in Uganda and Sweden”. It was an interesting process with many Skype meetings (extremely early in the morning since one participant was in Australia) and a lot of interesting discussions. Unfortunately, we did not get the grant. As I understand it we were one point from getting it. The other research grant application concerned psychiatry records online. My DOME consortium colleague Gunilla Myreteg was the main applicant of this AFA insurances application focusing on implementation and short term effects of psychiatry records online in Region Uppsala. We did not get that grant either, but we are definitely not giving up!

I also attended several conferences related to eHealth during my postdoc period. I really enjoyed participating in and presenting at Vitalis 2017 and Vitalis/MIE (Medical Informatics Europe) 2018. There were so many interesting presentations and taking part in the 1.5 hours DOME arrangements was great! You can see my summary of the Vitalis 2017 version of the DOME session here. At Vitalis/MIE 2018 I was actually active with own presentations and a workshop during each of the three conference days, which was a little tiresome. You can read about that here. My very first conference experience during my postdoc was actually one of the most interesting ones, since I participated as a patient for the very first time! You can read about my contribution here. A few months later I actually got the opportunity to act as a patient once again – this time in a role play at the conference “EHealth in Norway Future Health”! That was a really interesting experience for me both from a patient’s and a researcher’s perspective. You can read about my experiences from this episode here. I really hope that I will get the chance to contribute to research from the patient’s perspective again!

 

Research within multimodal communication

My very few research activities within this subject area were mostly related to research grant applications. During spring 2017 I submitted a VR grant application, with five co-applicants from four universities in Sweden. The application focused on collaboration between deafblind and sighted pupils in a school setting, and more specifically on how multimodal learning environments can support this collaboration. Writing this grant application was a great learning experience! In the end, we did not get this grant but we still got good ratings (“Very good” on all aspects that related to the scientific content). You can read more about my experiences in this blog post. The other grant application was actually a draft which I submitted to Forte during spring 2018. It focused on multimodal learning environments for collaboration between sighted and visually impaired pupils. Unfortunately, the draft was not accepted. After the postdoc ended I wrote another application on this topic as main applicant, but I will cover that in another blog post.

I also got one journal article published in this research field, “Haptic feedback combined with movement sonification using a friction sound improves task performance in a virtual throwing task.” The article presents results from an experiment conducted at KTH right before my postdoc period began. The experiment was extensive and included eye-tracking and different combinations of haptic and audio feedback. I will write more about this study in a later blog post. A few conference papers on results from the eye-tracking analysis have also been published.

 

Research within pedagogy

I also conducted research related to pedagogy and more specifically on the effects of using social media as complementary communication channels in higher education courses. The most important thing I worked on was a short book chapter which was published in the book “Digitalisering av högre utbildning” [Digitalization of higher education] about a month before my postdoc ended. I really enjoyed working on this chapter, together with co-author Pernilla Josefsson, where I contribute with my experiences of using Twitter as one of the communication channels in a university course in engineering communication. This is my very first contribution to teacher education! You can read about the chapter, and find a link to the book, here.

We also contributed with a poster describing a later study on using a teacher-administrated Facebook-group as a complementary communication channel in a course in human-computer interaction. I will write more about this in my next blog post about my postdoc period, since the poster was based on work performed in a pedagogical course I took. Last, I collaborated with several authors when writing a conference paper about a critical incident from the 2017 version of a master course in human-computer interaction. You can read about the paper here.

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

Recently got my first ever book chapter published!

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.

You can find more information about the book here: https://www.studentlitteratur.se/#9789144119724/Digitalisering+av+högre+utbildning

I will write more about this book later on, when I have had the chance to implement some of the ideas from other chapters in my own teaching!

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

Presented a poster on the use of a teacher administrated Facebook group in a university course

TUK_Poster

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.

Pedagogy

Yet another great pedagogical course at Uppsala University

Blåsenhus

During spring 2017 I wrote blog posts about pedagogical courses I took on supervision of oral presentations and methods for activating students as well as a leadership course – all given by Uppsala University. This blog post is about the third pedagogical course I took during the spring term – assessment, grading and feedback. This was a 1.5hp course which included four scheduled days, which mostly focused on group work, and one day devoted to own work with developing a course of one’s own choice.

In the individual work I once again chose to focus on developing the communication course for first year computer science students at KTH – the course I worked with for almost a decade before I started my postdoc in Uppsala. The individual task was to go through everything related to assessment, grading and feedback, starting with refining the intended learning outcomes. I thought everything was already in place regarding the learning outcomes, but when considering the big picture I suddenly realized that one of the most important aspects covered in the grading criteria – the ability to adjust the content of the reports to a particular target audience – was not brought up in the intended learning outcomes. There was also an intended learning outcome about being able to use different text production tools, but the only tool used in the course is Latex. After adding a new learning outcome about target audiences and narrowing down the learning outcome about text production to focus only on Latex there was a much better constructive alignment – clearer connection between assessment tasks, learning activities and intended learning outcomes. Constructive alignment was one of the key principles in the course and I can really see why it’s important.

After considering the intended learning outcomes, the next step in the individual task was to look over the assessment tasks – in my case different versions of the report and a critical review of another student’s report draft. When it came to this part I came to the conclusion that everything should be kept. Almost an entire day of the course was devoted to discussing means of providing feedback and peer feedback and assessment was brought up several times as highly beneficial especially when handing in different versions of e.g. a text while working towards a final deliverable. This was exactly the way we did it in my communication course – the students handed in different versions of reports which were discussed in small groups.

The last part of the individual task was devoted to refining the grading criteria and making sure that they were relevant with regard to the intended learning outcomes. This was probably the part where I learned the most from this course. I started out with qualitative grading criteria, regarding several aspects (e.g. content, structure, language,…), for each grade A-E. In most cases, the only thing that differed between different steps was a single word (e.g. ok, good, very good, excellent,…) and hence I used continuous grading criteria. I learned from the course that continuous grading criteria are often hard to relate to actual achievements and they are also hard to measure. Due to this I tried to change to discrete criteria in as a large extent as possible. Thus, instead of just varying single adjectives I tried to describe what they should actually do for a certain grade (e.g. instead of just writing “very good” I made it more explicit what should be accomplished).

One part of the course which I especially enjoyed was that we, several times during each of the scheduled days, left our groups to have a discussion with our “critical friends”. Before the course I had never heard about this concept. A critical friend was in this case another course participant who worked at the same department (in my case IT). The reason why we should discuss with our critical friends was that we should get the chance to discuss different problems with someone who is teaching within the same subject area. Quite often after a new topic had been introduced by the teachers, we discussed with our critical friend how the topic related to our area and our respective courses. Most of the time these discussions focused on the course we had chosen to focus on (in my case the communication course discussed above) and I definitely got quite a few ideas which I continued to work with in my individual assignment. The concept with critical friends was great and I’m quite sure that it can be used in quite a few courses on different levels. I will definitely try to incorporate the idea in my own courses when relevant!

I really enjoyed this course and once again I learned a lot. I definitely think the communication course is better now, especially when it comes to the grading criteria. I also think that I’m now well equipped for defining course plans and designing courses from scratch. I can definitely recommend this course both to inexperienced and experienced teachers!

 

Leadership · Pedagogy

Recently cleared a course in group leadership!

As I have written in earlier blog posts, I took three pedagogical courses this spring to get closer to the associate professor goal (15hp). I wrote about the course on oral presentations here and the course on methods for activating students here. I will soon write about the third course on assessment, grading and feedback. Apart from pedagogical courses I also took a group leadership course, which ended Wednesday last week with a full-day session about how to detect and handle conflicts. 

During the scope of the course a small group of researchers/leaders, with varying backgrounds and positions at the University, met about once a month for full-day sessions on different themes related to group leadership. Lunch was included every time. Even though theory was provided through short lectures, the focus was on discussions, role play and other leadership exercises. Since quite a few of the discussions and exercises were based on the course participants’ own experiences, I will not give any concrete examples here. We decided at the first session that we should not talk about the issues discussed during the course with people outside the group. 

The course covered a wide range of topics and the common theme was active listening. The course covered establishment of norms, listening strategies, reflective teams, positive and negative feedback to colleagues and private talks, just to mention a few of the themes. 

One of the most challenging themes was the one about providing negative feedback. It is really hard to give someone negative feedback on their actions, while at the same time framing the feedback so that 1) it will lead to a change in behaviour and 2) it will not have a negative impact on the work relation between me as a leader and the co-worker. Another one of the more challenging topics was private talks initiated either by me as a leader or by a co-worker, with the focus of discussing some problem encountered at the workplace (often focused on someone’s behaviour). The most challenging part in this case is that the problem that gave rise to the meeting is often not the big issue. In these talks it is up to me as a leader to ask open questions and search for “free information” in order to get the whole picture and find possible underlying problems that are much more important to deal with. If you are not good at active listening techniques during these meetings you may end up focusing on a minor problem instead of a major one. 

I really enjoyed each and every session of the course and I can really recommend this or a similar leadership course to persons in any kind of leadership position! I really think that I will be able to approach my colleagues in the groups I’m leading in a better way now and I hope I will also be better at spotting potential problems early on and taking measures to handle them. 

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!

conference · Pedagogical development · Pedagogy

Paper on unexpected student behaviour and learning opportunities accepted to FIE 2017!

FIE_accept

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!