CSCW 2020 Student Reflections

Sunday, November 15, 2020

CSCW 2020 logoThe ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW) is a premier venue for presenting research in the design and use of technologies that affect groups, organizations, and communities.  The annual conference brings together top researchers and practitioners from academia and industry who are interested in both the technical and social aspects of collaboration. Researchers from the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering regularly submit research papers, posters, and workshop proposals to the annual conference. 

In October 2020, several HCDE students received department grants to attend and present at the Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW). Students Michael Beach, Andrea Figueroa, and Sourojit Ghosh reflect on their experiences.

Departmental support for student travel funding is in part thanks to donations made to the Human Centered Design & Engineering Fund for Excellence. Please consider making a gift today!

I had the privilege of attending the 23st ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW) conference, virtually Co-located with UIST from October 17-21, 2020. This was my second CSCW conference experience so I only have one other data point to make any comparison. With all of the changes that have come with the pandemic I am sure it was a very different conference experience for everyone. But everyone was so nice and worked together to make it happen.

My co-authors (all in HCDE) and I published a paper this year that won an Honorable Mention award titled, “Data Integration as Coordination: The Articulation of Data Work in an Ocean Science Collaboration.” First-author Andrew Neang, presented on the morning of the last day. I was very excited to be there to show support to my co-authors and network with others in the field.

The following excerpt from the paper provides a good summary of the work we have done over the past 2.5 years: ”Our paper presents a qualitative study that describes and analyzes how multidisciplinary, geographically distributed ocean scientists are integrating highly diverse data as part of an effort to develop a new research infrastructure to advance science. This paper identifies different kinds of coordination that are necessary to align processes of data collection, production, and analysis. This work calls attention to the diversity of coordinative, social, and organizational practices and concerns that are needed to integrate data and also how, in highly innovative work, the process of integrating data also helps to define scientific problem spaces themselves.” (Neang, et al.; 2020) ← This is probably our first citation.

I enjoyed the Keynotes at the beginning and end of the conference. Both brought forward a resonance of social justice work that we have seen making big waves this past summer, tying in Black Lives Matter and the importance for our work with data to have meaning and make a positive difference in the world. It is nice to see this growth in CSCW. I am excited for the future of research as we are encouraging and incorporating more voices to join the discussion and work to build a more equitable future for all.

Our department was well represented at the conference. One of my co-authors, Will Sutherland, had another paper that he presented. And Caitlin Lustig won a Best Paper award. It was great to celebrate these successes with my community. I look forward to representing HCDE again at future conferences in the coming years.

I attended the Interrogating Data Science workshop with my paper "The Lineage of Human-Centered Data Science". It was a really good experience! We were divided into breakout groups with similar interests and after brief descriptions of everyone's paper, we had really good discussions. We discussed HCDS intersectionality, the data science mindset, and the lineage of the field. It was encouraging to see people interested in my paper and enjoying my work. I made a few connections and I'm really happy with the outcome.

The conference itself was virtual and that entails a lot of changes, bringing advantages and disadvantages. I liked that I was able to check the presentations I was interested in before the sessions. I was also able to easily jump between sessions. The issues with the conference being virtual were that it is really difficult to socialize and make connections. Zoom fatigue is real and going to every session it's exhausting. It was also hard to keep up with the program as every presentation was really short and not every session was synced with the others.

Overall, I really liked the experience and I'm happy I was able to attend. This is my first time attending a conference in the field and I'm sure it would have been so much better in person. Nonetheless, I was able to learn about amazing work being done in the field. I really hope to be able to attend next year, but this time presenting my own work.

Over the past few days, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the 23rd ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW) conference. Although the conference began on Saturday, October 17th, I could not register in any of the workshops held on the first two days of the conference. Therefore, I attended the paper presentations from Monday, October 19th to Wednesday, October 21, 20. This was both my first time attending CSCW and a virtual conference. I found this experience to be incredibly enriching as a first time attendee and look forward to attending future conferences to both learn from the outstanding work in the field and hopefully display some of my own work to the community. 

A past paper that I was one of the student authors on, titled Patterns of Patient and Caregiver Mutual Support Connections in an Online Health Community, was presented by the project lead and it was refreshing to interact with that work after so many months of having moved away from that direction. I also “met” a few people in the conference who attended the discussion of that paper and believe that their interests align well with my newer interests too. 

Finally, I was extremely interested in a presentation titled Moving Across Lands: Online Platform Migration in Fandom Communities by Casey Fiesler, a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her work was on understanding what led to migrations of writers/users from or to particular online platforms. I found this work very close to my current work with the website and took this opportunity to connect with her to discuss my interest in her work. She also mentioned herself a fan of Dr. Aragon’s work, and agreed that our interests align enough to merit maintaining contact in the future. This is a connection I could not have made if it were not for this conference and this presentation, so I’m incredibly grateful for it! 


Additionally at the 2020 CSCW, HCDE students Caitlin Lustig, Andrew Neang, Will Sutherland, Michael Beach, and Associate Professor Charlotte P. Lee were recognized with awards for research contributions at CSCW 2020. Learn more here.