My research vision is to lead the emergence of the notification systems research field to a position marked by cohesive community effort, scientific method, and focus on relevant, real-world problems--providing improved system interfaces and engineering processes. Notification systems are intended to draw your attention away from a primary task, so designing such systems requires understanding the costs and benefits to interruption, reaction, and comprehension. I work on both the process and application side in advancing this emerging domain. My process side work focuses on ways to capture, share, and reuse interface design knowledge. My applications, generally developed for mobile devices (tablets, smartwatches, handhelds, and mobile phones), focus on fields in which appropriate notifications have great potential value--health and wellness, assistive technologies, hiking and biking, work-order systems, and educational situations.
I lead Virginia Tech's Technology on the Trail initiative, that is investigating ways that technology is used in hiking, biking, walking, and other outdoor travel-related settings. We seek to balance the benefits of inserting technology into hiking and outdoor settings with the impact on individuals and their relationships with others. Much of our work has examined existing technologies and how they have impacted our experiences and relationships in the outdoors. We also seek partnerships with scientists and outdoor enthusiasts who are interested in ways that technology can help them; current partnerships are investigating poison ivy emergence and spread, water quality monitoring, campsite sustainability, and birding.
Potential collaborators are encouraged to send me email or, if you are local, come by during my office hours which I hold as part of our weekly Hack and Snack gathering. I'm always interested in working on research projects with motivated students at all levels: undergrad, Masters, Ph.D. I co-founded and co-direct the VTURCS endergraduate research program to encourage undergrads to become involved in research, and, for undergraduate students wanting to work with me, I sponsor several projects through the program. I also teach Senior Capstone classes and grad special topics classes on a rotating set of themes.
Visit my research group page for more details about the research directions of my students and me, and view a list of my publications (most can be downloaded) that have emerged from my research and teaching efforts. You can also visit my Google Scholar page for a view of high-impact papers and collaborators.
I teach classes that explore the role of humans in designing and using technology. My classes tend to be highly interactive, with a mix of teaching styles that seeks to engage people of varying skills, interests, and abilities. I greatly enjoy developing in-class activities that ask students to apply the skills they are learning to problems that are relevant to the region, state, country, and world. Most recently I have been developing activities around the theme "Technology on the Trail", that looks at ways that technology can help inform and engage users on extended journeys without interfering negatively in their experience. I am happy to share teaching materials for courses listed below.
I also seek out interesting and engaging teaching experiences, and I am open to offers to teach elsewhere! I spent a semester in Egypt (Alexandria and Cairo) teaching classes on human-computer interaction, interface design, and information visualization. I also taught during two abbreviated summer programs at the University of Colorado, Boulder. And I led a multi-university undergraduate course partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities focused on research methods for undergrads.
Spring 2018 Teaching Schedule:
These classes are ordered based (roughly) on the frequency with which I teach them. The lead number describes the intended course audience; i.e., 1000-level courses are for freshmen, 2000 for sophomores, 5000 for first-year grad students.
The focus of my outreach efforts is on inclusion of a diverse set of perspectives into the fields of human-computer interaction and computer science. Much of my outreach work has centered on inclusion of women, minorities, people with disabilities, and people in other underrepresented groups. My philosophy is that there are a great many excellent people who do not feel welcome or comfortable in computing and technology-related fields, and it is worthwhile and productive for the discipline and the individuals that we together instantiate progress toward inclusion. I'm active on several fronts for the NCWIT organization, and I'm honored to have received the NCWIT Research Mentoring Award in 2012 for my work with women and minority undergraduate students in research-related activities. I was part of our departmental team that received the NCWIT Extension Services Transformation Award in 2016 in recognition of our commitment to and proven results in recruiting and retaining women into undergraduate computing programs. I was the founding chair of the CS@VT Diversity Committee and continue to organize a lot of outreach activities, and I am the faculty adviser to our Computer Science Community Service (CS Squared) organization that coordinates volunteers in schools and community centers in our region.
Prior diversity activities include serving as director for the Center for HCI's summer REU Site program, with a number of minority and women's colleges acting as partners. I served as co-PI of A4RC, an NSF Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) Alliance led by North Carolina A&T State University that helped establish an alliance between minority universities and research universities for collaborative education and research. I've also worked with the NSF Advance program on online dissemination of materials related to the participation of women in science and engineering in graduate education through VT Advance.
I'm also actively working to promote research within the CHI community. In 2014, I was the ACM CSCW Videos co-chair with Katie Derthick. In 2012 I organized an ACM DIS workshop on Designing for Cognitive Limitations with Clayton Lewis. In 2010 I organized an ACM SIGCHI workshop on Artifacts in Design with Michael Atwood, Gayle Curtis, Steve Harrison, Jon Kolko, Erik Stolterman, and Shahtab Wahid. I also served on the CHI Program Committee in 2010. In 2007 I was the ACM SIGCHI Work-in-Progress co-chair with Catalina Danis. Together with JJ Cadiz, Mary Czerwinski, and John Stasko I organized a workshop at the 2003 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Providing Elegant Peripheral Awareness. Also, I was a guest editor with Mary Czerwinski and Lyn Bartram for an IJHCS special issue on the Design and Evaluation of Notification User Interfaces that appeared in May 2003.