HCI Night!

HCI Data Collection Night in the T.E.C.H. Playground

On October 22 the doctoral students in the Human-Computer Interaction course (EDTC 6333) spent an evening in the T.E.C.H. Playground exploring the research process and their HCI-related questions.  They had already worked in teams to develop research questions and sketch methods for collecting relevant data, using the equipment available in the playground. The October class meeting was their chance to try out their data collection procedures on real people (namely, their classmates and professor).

We had a great time doing cognitive tasks while walking on the treadmill, having our heart-rate and breathing monitored while exploring unfamiliar websites, having our gestures observed (via Kinect) while listening to a (deliberately) boring lecture, exploring the other technology in the room in our downtime, and answering various surveys about our experience.  All of this occurred in a genial atmosphere fueled by sugar (thanks, Tara!), collegiality, and a genuine excitement about research in the educational technology field.  When I asked students to give me quick email feedback on their experience, most of them wrote about how cool they thought their classmates’ projects were.

Over the next few weeks the groups will be reporting on their study and preliminary results.  While the data sets will be too small to draw any conclusions at this point, they will have the opportunity to reflect on the overall process and to redesign the data collection tasks if needed based on lessons learned.  All of these projects posed interesting questions that would be worthy of developing into full-scale studies in the future, if the students choose to do so.  I hope they do!

Penny

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