Kick-off for a series of posts on teaching and learning

In addition to the research that we do, many of the members of HTO are involved in lots of teaching activities at the department of IT in Uppsala. Some of the courses we teach are in the area of health care, and here we have a very good collaboration with Region Uppsala. The setup of this collaboration is to aim for a win-win between students learning and the Region’s goals and visions. We have collaborated with the Region since around 2004, and it has resulted in many new learning opportunities as well as input to innovations in health care both for the Region and for the nation.

We also work with innovation and development of learning opportunities in our teaching. Åsa Cajander is a member of the Uppsala Computing Education Research Group, and this community gives lots of input and ideas for improvements of courses.

This semester we collaborate with Region Uppsala through our course on Medical Informatics and the course IT in Society. We also collaborate through joint master theses on topics of interest to the Region. We have asked a couple of our current students to write blog posts about their experiences during their thesis work, and this fall the HTO blog will contain a series of blog posts on teaching and learning activities related to the HTO group.

Another Excellent Teacher in the HTO group!!

Now the HTO group has two excellent teachers as Åsa Cajander was awarded the title last week joining Lars Oestreicher who was awarded the title several years ago.

Uppsala University has a formal process for awarding skilled teachers the title “Excellent teacher”, and the title is connected to a salary raise. There is a board that appoints excellent teachers at each faculty, and the faculty of science and technology has one Board for Appointment of Excellent Teachers that meet every semester.

The curious reader find the guidelines for admittance of excellent teachers online in this pdf document. 

Presentation on “Individualizing Without Excluding”

Anna Normark and Rebecca Oskarsson presented their interesting master thesis on filter bubbles today. In their work they answer several research questions through the use of an experiment with bots on a social media platform, and a qualitative literature study on filter bubbles.

In their presentation they concluded that filter bubbles can be a threat to society, and that our awareness of filter bubbles need to be raised. However, interestingly enough they did not find clear evidence of filter bubbles in the experiment that they did on one of the existing social media platform. Though this does not mean that they do not exist elsewhere.

Anna Normark and Rebecca has previously presented their work twice in the blog, and you can read these blog posts here and here. I also hope that they will do one last blog post presenting some highlights from their resuls. 🙂

I was one of the supervisors of this master thesis work and I am very impressed. These students combine technical skills with an interest in society and ethics which is needed in our digital society. And today they also proved that they have  excellent presentation skills!

Ongoing Pedagogic Development Work and Attending Pedagogic Development Conferences

The HTO team not only works with research, but also quite a lot with teaching and pedagogic development. The Phd students in the group usually teach around 20% of their time, whereas seniors teach around 40-60%.

Some examples from our teaching are: 

Diane Golay works with pedagogic development of an online HCI course and has substantial work in redesigning and improving the learning experience of the students. She has presented this development work at a well received seminar at the department, and submitted an abstract to a Uppsala University pedagogic development conference (TUK). Diane has written an interesting blog post about the learning experience from redesigning here. 

Lars Oestreicher from HTO is one of the departments most appreciated lecturers, and he teaches in many different areas. One example is inclusive design where he has also written a course book and has world leading expertice. Lars has been awarded the title Excellent teacher, and is indeed an inspiration related to teaching.

Åsa Cajander and Diane Golay are currently working with the development of our new course: Complex IT systems in large organisations, see this blog post.

Attending Pedagogic Development Conferences. 

In 2018 HTO are planning to attend at the following conferences in teaching and learning:

  • NU 2018.  NU stands for Network and Development (in Swedish nätverk och utveckling), is a national conference organized annually for all those involved in Swedish higher education. The main purpose of the conference is to promote pedagogical development work by offering a meeting place for dissemination, dialogue and debate. NU2018 is the sixth NU conference in the scheme.
  • TUK 2018. The Faculty of Science and Technology at Uppsala University organise this conferenec which gives possibilities for meetings, discussions and presentations for the educational development and educational projects at our faculty. At the conference, we discuss with colleagues in pleasant forms, maybe around your own project (as you can present) and / or around other projects. The conference is also a great forum for discussing new projects and project ideas, or linking contacts with future partners about pedagogically relevant issues.
  • Frontiers in Education 2018. This is an annual conference in the area of Computer Science Education, and this time it has the theme “Fostering Innovation Through Diversity”. This is a meeting place to be inspired in your research based innovation work. This conference will be organised in Uppsala 2020.
  • ITiCSE 2018. This is the 23rd Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, will take place in Larnaca, Cyprus, hosted by University of Central Lancashire, Cyprus. This conference was organised in Uppsala in 2014 with Mats Daniels and Åsa Cajander as conference chairs.

 

 

Announcing new course ”Complex IT Systems in Large Organizations”

This term, Åsa and I are giving, for the very first time, a course titled “Complex IT Systems in Large Organizations”. The aim of this course is to familiarize Computer Science students with the real-life complexity of buying, designing, implementing and maintaining IT systems in large organizations. Our wish is above all to increase students’ awareness for the main issues specific to each one of these processes and to make them acquainted with some of the problem-solving strategies used by practitioners today in order to overcome them. We have chosen to expose them to three different professional domains: healthcare, administrative bodies and private companies.

Our course concept revolves around students’ interviewing practitioners from each domain working with one or several of the processes mentioned above. In addition to the interview itself, the students’ task will be to summarize their findings into a brief written report accompanied with a short film. This material will then be shared between course participants in order to enable each student to learn about all the different domains and processes covered by the course.

We are currently looking for practitioners within healthcare, administration and private companies willing to be interviewed by our students, and hope that our project will stir interest among those different communities. Better preparing students to the intricacies of IT management in large organizations through making them benefit from lessons learned by more experienced practitioners is crucial if we want to improve the way IT systems are being handled – at all levels – in those big and complex organizations.

Would you like to do your Master Thesis with the HTO Group?

We are always interested in working together with master students that are interested in our area of expertise. Have a look at our research projects presented in this blog, or read about them in the project page. Looks interesting?  Then contact us to know more.

We are especially interested in students who would like to look into Scrum and how to incorporate users, digital work environment studies, eHealth and studies related to medical records online.

IT and Society class: first try at a crash course in interviewing

Since the beginning of the term, I have been involved in a class called “IT and Society” as a teaching assistant. The class is the product of a collaboration between Åsa Cajander and Mats Daniels at Uppsala University and Cary Laxer at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in the United States (IN). It differs significantly from other courses at Uppsala University in that it revolves around a real-life issue provided by an external client (the EPJ department in Uppsala County) and, maybe most importantly, gives the lead to the students. (I invite you to check out this post by Åsa if you are interested in knowing more about what makes the course special. Mats Daniels has also been blogging about the class – you can find his latest post on the subject here.) Those are indeed expected to work together in an autonomous fashion throughout the whole course, from deciding on how to structure the project and distribute the work among them to delivering a formal project report to the client. The role of the teachers and mine as a teaching assistant is thus first and foremost to provide students with the means to work in such an autonomous way and offer them some guidance and support when and where they need it.

This year’s class is dedicated to investigating different aspects related to the tracking of people and equipment within and outside of the hospital, and is expected to result in a systems definition report. Next week, the students studying in Uppsala will be given the opportunity to go and interview different healthcare professionals at the University Hospital in Uppsala in order to gather additional information on the topic, as they now have been working on the project for several weeks. As a way to help them in tackling the challenge of conducting successful interviews, it was decided at the beginning of the course that I would hold a two-hour crash course in interviewing for the Uppsala students. Last Wednesday, the D-day had arrived.

As I attended an excellent daylong workshop on qualitative interviewing during a Summer school at Kingston University earlier this year, I decided to try and emulate some of this workshop’s activities with my students. I thus had them create a short interview schedule (about a fictional topic) and conduct a live interviewing experiment. Ida (Löscher, a fellow HTO group member) kindly accepted to come by and play the role of the interviewee, while one of the students volunteered to be the interviewer, and another slid into the shoes of the note-taker. The remaining students and I settled into the role of the observer. Once the mock interview was terminated by the interviewer, I asked both interviewee and interviewer to share their experience with the group: how did they think it had gone? How had they felt? What did they think was good, and what did they think could be improved? This opened a short debriefing session during which each participant came to word – either to make comment or to ask a question. I then wrapped up the course talking briefly about the analysis and reporting of interviews, a topic Åsa had wished for me to take up with the students.

It is of course hard to say whether this small crash course will be effective in helping students making the most of the interview opportunities they have been provided with (especially since everything did not go as smootly as I hoped…). However, I strongly believe that experiencing and reflecting on a real-life interview, even staged, can be very helpful in order to understand what interviewing is all about – what makes it so challenging, and what tips and tricks can help. In any case, I hope that the students have appreciated the experience and will enjoy conducting their upcoming interviews.