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Jennifer Turns' Research Group Archive

The following research group descriptions are archived because they are no longer offered, the faculty member is on sabbatical, or the group is taking a break. Please contact the faculty member or an advisor to learn more about these groups.

Spring 2023

Identifying signals on platforms that help identify problematic behaviors

Researchers have studied how misinformation propagates on Twitter and identified lessons that can help users mitigate the propagation. Such lessons include examining if the online account has a questionable purpose, or if that account shared any content from uncredible media sources etc. This DRG will take these lessons and explore how they need to be updated to other platforms. How can we generalize the learning objectives for safe discernment of misinformation beyond Twitter — like Tiktok and/or Whatsapp — to help users witness the socio-technical opacity of information on different platforms?

In this DRG, we will be conducting participatory design research to (1) identify how the lessons about identifying different problematic behaviors can be contextualized on platforms like Tiktok and/or Whatsapp; (2) associate platform-specific signals with these behaviors to promote accidental learning on these platforms.

The project will be led by Himanshu Zade and Sukrit Venkatagiri with guidance from Jennifer A. Turns

Winter 2023

Examining Engineering Student and Faculty Views of Power Dynamics

Power dynamics are normal parts of interpersonal interactions. Kenya Z. Mejia has been researching how students and faculty in engineering conceptualize and make sense of power dynamics as it relates to equity and inclusion in learning spaces. Join us as we do qualitative coding of data from one study.

In this DRG we will:

  • Reflect on our positionality as researchers
  • Complete training for Human Subjects Research
  • Delve into anonymized data from interviews and reflections. 
  • Qualitative data analysis
  • Potential for publishing outside of the DRG time

Autumn 2022

Qualitative Analysis of Design Practice in Wilderness Medicine

DRG led by Alainna Brennan Brown, co-led by Esther Sohn, and advised by Professor Jennifer Turns

This DRG will introduce students to qualitative research in medical spaces. We will go through the process of cleaning and analyzing data from a field site in Southeast Alaska related to wilderness medicine practice and education. In parallel, each contributor will have the opportunity to develop personal frameworks for articulating positionality and for communicating in interdisciplinary spaces about qualitative work. No specific research background is required. This project is open to students from any department who would benefit from exploring qualitative work with pre-existing data. This DRG will meet for approximately 2 hours each week on Zoom and will require 2-4 hours of outside work per week (depending on the week).

Note this DRG is at capacity for Autumn 2022 and no longer accepting applications. Please feel free to send questions to Alainna at or on the HCDE Slack. 

Spring 2022

Researching the Co-Design of Inclusive Practices for Engineering Education Settings

In Researching the Co-Design of Inclusive Practices for Engineering Education Settings, participants will develop and implement a data collection protocol. This study is in the implementation stage, therefore participants will spend the first couple of weeks familiarizing themselves with the project, the next couple of weeks developing a protocol, and the second half of the quarter, helping run the study and using the protocol to collect data. 

Study Background: 

As researchers, we are exploring how co-design can be used to explore the idea of what makes an inclusive environment, and used as a process intended to create change. The co-design sessions include both students and faculty and is intended to address creating more inclusive STEM, and more specifically, engineering, college level classrooms. The specific phenomena of interest is how power, a neither positive or negative thing, is exercised and challenges or reproduces the status quo. Other important themes we will look at are impact of racial/ethnic identities and impacts of gender identities in the co-design sessions. We will also explore our own positionalities within engineering education. 

This will be a 1-credit DRG. We will plan to meet for 1 hour each week and expect approximately 2 additional hours of engagement each week outside of our meeting times. Meeting Times are Fridays from 1-2 p.m.

Autumn 2021

Supporting critical capacities in data science through online interactions

In today's increasingly data-driven world, the ability to ask and answer questions with data is incredibly important. Effectively working with data requires both technical skills like programming and statistical knowledge as well as non-technical skills like the ability to ask good questions and form arguments. However, formal training programs and resources often emphasize technical skills but only rarely support the development of non-technical capacities. How can we design to help people learn these skills via informal, participatory, and creative online interactions? 

In this directed research group (DRG), we will study the practices and challenges in online data science hobbyist communities and explore design solutions to support question-asking, exploration, and communication with data. Over the course of the autumn quarter, we will: (1) conduct research interviews with members of online data science hobbyist communities, (2) analyze interview data and contribute our findings to HCI and learning science literatures, and (3) brainstorm design solutions. Although plans are not firm, we plan to continue the group in winter and spring quarters for those that are interested in continuing.

This DRG will be led by PhD student Regina Cheng with guidance from Dr. Jennifer Turns in HCDE and Dr. Benjamin Mako Hill in Communication. The group will be run for 3-6 dedicated masters or advanced undergraduate students. The course will provide UW 400 or 500-level course credit in either COM or HCDE. Participation in the group will provide 2-5 credits with the expectation that students will spend approximately 3 hours per week on the course per credit. We will meet at a time that is convenient for all the participants. This DRG will be completely virtual and the meeting link will be sent prior to the first meeting. Please contact Regina Cheng at if you have any questions. 

Spring 2021

Research through Design for Educators and Clinicians

Research through design (RtD) offers designers a way to learn from the process of conducting their own work. However, practitioners in fields not as directly associated with design may also undertake design-like activity. Recognition of and valuation of design-like activity may vary between fields. A lack of recognition of practitioners’ design-like work may contribute to missed opportunities to move fields forward through knowledge and governance; it also may invisiblize these practitioners’ work and hinder practitioners from advancing individually within their fields. Enhancing recognition of such activity, especially accounting for the knowledge of field and opportunity practitioners hold, may address these tensions. 

In this DRG, we aim to study two such practitioner populations, educators and clinicians, and explore how the lens of RtD may frame and potentially inform these practitioners’ work. Questions could include: 

Can we articulate RtD as a method for practitioners to create knowledge of design activity in their own fields using their own practice as RtD content?
Is practice within a field intrinsically RtD? Are humans intrinsically designers? How might we come to see practice within a field as RtD? 
Could RtD serve as a bridge between wicked problems and reflective practice?
Who advances self and field, and how does recognition of practice as RtD influence these types of politics?

This 2-credit DRG will be led by Alainna Brennan Brown with guidance from Dr. Jennifer Turns.

Spring 2021

Exploring Power Dynamics in Co-Design for Engineering Education Research Part II

In Exploring Power Dynamics in Co-Designing Engineering Education Part II, participants will use data from the previous quarter to develop a more refined research agenda.  Informed by readings that explore co-design as an inclusive process intended to create change and address power dynamics, participants will be involved in different parts of the research project, including data analysis, knowledge dissemination, and more study design and piloting. 

Participants are not required to have participated in the Winter DRG.

As researchers, we are exploring how power relations between college level educators, students, and researchers can be addressed when co-designing for more inclusive STEM, and more specifically, engineering, college level classrooms. 

We will think about questions such as:

How do power relations affect the co-design process?
How is power enacted?
How might we mediate power relations to produce more inclusive co-design sessions?

Spring 2021

Noticing Enactments of Equity 

There is no shortage of people who care about issues of equity in design, education, and HCI. As equity conversations permeate our lives, as human centered designers we might ask: 

How do conversations about equity translate to commitments in action? 
How do we notice equity in our moment-to-moment interactions? 
How might we document, reflect on, and analyze moments when we enact a commitment to equity?

In this DRG, we will collectively explore these questions to develop a praxis for engaging in equity oriented design approaches. Over the course of DRG, we will: (1) Create a shared understanding of equity through reading related work and reflecting on lived experience, (2) Analyze existing analytical memos of a researcher’s attempt to document her equity commitment across projects, and (3) Translate the process of documenting and noticing equity enactments to your own practice. 

This 2-credit DRG will be led by Wendy Roldan with guidance from Dr. Jennifer Turns. We will meet on Tuesdays from 2:30 - 4 p.m. PST on Zoom. 

We invite all levels of academic standing and background. To apply, please fill out this interest form by March 26. The google form will close on March 26th and decisions will be emailed by March 28. Decisions on participation will take into account the order in which applicants express interest and a desire to have diverse perspectives in the group.

Winter 2021

Exploring Power Dynamics in Co-Design for Engineering Education Research

In Exploring Power Dynamics in Co-Designing Engineering Education, participants will dig into readings that explore co-design as an inclusive process intended to create change. As researchers, we are exploring how power relations between college-level educators, students, and researchers can be addressed when co-designing for more inclusive STEM, and more specifically, engineering, college level classrooms. We will also explore our own understanding of power through reflection activities. In the second half of the quarter, we will put our learning into action by imagining different co-design scenarios between faculty and students. The final project includes piloting a co-design session between students and educators.

We will think about questions such as:

  • How do power relations affect the co-design process?
  • How is power enacted?
  • Are power relations different between students and faculty in STEM settings, compared to Arts and Humanities settings?
  • How might we mediate power relations to produce more inclusive co-design sessions?

This will be a 2-credit DRG. We will plan to meet for 1.5 hours each week via zoom and expect approximately 3-4 additional hours of engagement each week outside of our meeting times. Meeting Times are Wednesdays from 3:00-4:30 pm PST.

If interested, please fill out this google form. We are planning on having up to 4 DRG participants to facilitate virtual conversations. Decisions will be made by January 2. Decisions on participation will take into account the order in which applicants express interest and a desire to have diverse perspectives in the group. 


Autumn 2020

Designing to Support Reflection on the Identities We Hold

Identities are complex. Some identities are interlinked, some grant us more opportunities and power than others, and some are fixed while others can transform over time. Reflection on identity is important for everyone to do and we all have different journeys and relationships with our identities.

We envision this group brings together people from dominant identities (e.g. white, upper class, men) and people from marginalized identities (e.g. black, women, lgbtq+). We want to provide a space for affinity groups while connecting with those who hold different identities. With this in mind, we commit to creating an intentional space that does not place additional responsibility for people with minority identities to have to educate others. However, we do believe that there is value in engaging in dialogue across differences. As a group, we’ll commit to an environment in which we’re open to (and expect to) make mistakes, accept that we might be wrong, and be willing to change. We hope as a group we take responsibility for approaching each other and each conversation with care.

In this DRG, we will bring people together who are interested in reflecting on their identities. We invite people with a range of experiences, including people with little prior experience and people with extensive experience. Our expectation is that those who sign up for this DRG are committed to learning and growing through challenging conversations about identity.

Collectively, we will reflect on the identities we hold and explore ways to design support for reflection on identities. We will also explore the role reflecting on identity can play in our lives, including how our identities shape our relationships with people, communities, and organizations.

Questions we will explore:

  1. What identities do you hold? How do these identities connect you with other people, communities, and organizations?
  2. What role does reflection on identity play in your life? What role(s) could it play? What role do you want it to play?
  3. What forms of support for reflection on identity exist (e.g., activities, applications, support groups) (e.g., activities, applications, support groups)? How well do these forms of support work for you? How might we rework, extend, or replace these to better support reflection on identity?

This DRG will be led by Wendy Roldan, Burren Peil, Calvin Liang, and Andrew Berry, with guidance from Dr. Jennifer Turns. We will meet on Tuesdays from 1:00-3:00 p.m. PST through Zoom.

Winter 2020

A Mixed-Methods Understanding of Student Reflection in Engineering Education

Our ongoing research explores how to support student reflection in higher education, particularly in technical education contexts. We are looking for a small group of students to help with the work of a current NSF grant as well as our broader research effort. Within the research group, students would be expected to engage in activities such as:

Engage in personal reflection activities and evaluate their reflection using our survey tool
Use previous research to understand the “state of the art” of reflection in engineering education
Support quantitative analysis and processing of large data sets from student reflections
Design practical visualizations from the data to help educators understand students' experiences
Conduct questionnaire validation with users  

Undergraduates are expected to sign up for 2 credits; masters students for 1 credit. Meeting times will be 1.5 hour sessions. Please email Jennifer Turns ( and Kenya Mejia ( if you are interested with a small blurb of your motivation to be in the DRG. Preference will be given to those who express interest by 12/15.

Autumn 2019

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Application Writing Support Group

This research group is for graduate and undergraduate students who will be applying for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in Fall 2019. In this group, we will discuss how to write personal statements and research proposals, review successful application examples, discuss tips for making applications stronger and who to ask for letters of recommendation, and conduct peer review of each other’s writing.

To learn more about who is eligible to apply for the NSF graduate fellowship (undergrads, first and second year grad students who want to pursue a PhD, US citizens or permanent residents), please see the NSF website.

Because of the NSF deadline being in mid-October, this DRG will be front-loaded in the quarter and be more work for the first 4 weeks and will not meet after the deadline (except for 1 brief meeting after submitting to debrief about the process). Likewise, depending on people’s availability, we may start meeting a few weeks before the quarter begins to get a head start on things. If you’re not around in person this summer, we could allow people to join via Google Hangouts for the first few meetings. 

Talking about teaching (in HCDE)

Spring 2019

This DRG is intended as a forum for raising and discussing issues related to teaching in the HCDE department. Each week, we will support each other through discussions that stem from participants’ experiences with teaching. For example, in a given week (based on what I’ve heard from existing TAs) we might discuss the challenges of supporting differentially prepared students in a particular class, giving effective feedback to student teams, framing office hours so students attend, and/or figuring out how to bring a particular personal stance (a feminist perspective, a technical orientation) to one’s work as an educator. To support activities beyond the spring quarter, we will also work as a group to create a synthesis of key issues that come up. 

This DRG is targeted to those interested in teaching HCDE-related topics and/or using HCDE-related pedagogical approaches. Ideal candidates will be those who are concurrently engaged in some form of teaching (i.e., teaching assistants, course assistants, instructor of record, etc). The DRG may also be valuable for those who have recently had teaching experiences or are preparing for an upcoming teaching experience.  

Meetings will be on Wednesdays from 4-5:30 p.m., and participants can register for 1 or 2 credits (those who register for 2 credits will be asked to help lead the synthesizing of key issues).

Critical Design of HCI Ethical Guidelines, Tools, and Methods

Spring 2019

PhD Students: Raina Langevin, Kenya Mejia, & Michael Beach
Advising Support: Jennifer Turns, Scott Mainwaring

In this DRG, we will develop a set of ethical guidelines for the field of HCI using design methodologies such as critical design and design sprints. By reflecting on existing guidelines and tools, we hope to understand how ethics have been reoriented in the past and to address the gaps in this area. We will examine ethical guidelines in HCI venues, other disciplines, and industry such as AI Ethics and Business Ethics through relevant literature. Using this knowledge as a foundation, each week we will explore an ethical tool/method (e.g. value sensitive design, “in-action ethics”, discourse analysis, Artefact’s Tarot Cards of Tech) to discuss their advantages and disadvantages and identify potential gaps/design opportunities to pursue. Throughout the process, we will work as a team to explore, ideate, discover, plan, design (sketches, wireframes), prototype, evaluate, and iterate on a final deliverable -- a new guideline, tool, and/or method that addresses a gap in this area. The approximate schedule for the focus of each week is as follows:

Weeks 1 - 6 : Explore Ethical Guidelines, Tools, and Methods / Apply critical design and
reflection practices
Weeks 7 - 10 : Design/Develop new set(s) of guidelines, tools, and/or methods to address gaps 

Our research group is looking for four to six highly motivated group members to join us for Spring 2019 quarter. BS, MS, and Ph.D. students are all welcome. Participants in this research group will enroll (CR/NC) through HCDE 596/HCDE 496. We will meet for two hours once per week. Meeting time is TBD and will be scheduled for the convenience of all participants. 

Please note that space is limited. We ask that applicants submit a short statement of interest by Monday, March 25, 2019, using the following form:

Exploring the Shadow

Spring 2019

Led by Burren Peil, HCDE PhD student

This quarter-long directed research group seeks to explore how we might design praxes for Jungian shadow work. Shadow work was theorized by Carl Jung as a method for achieving individuation. Jung theorized we are all born as our full Self and that, through socialization, we then learn to split this Self into fragments. The public-facing fragment becomes the Ego; it is said to be comprised of the characteristics of the full Self that are reinforced positively by others. The Shadow then is comprised of our other characteristics, which are less positively received by others. This is how Jung explains the split of the human psyche. Worth noting is that the Shadow is also home to our underdeveloped talents and creativities, which Jung theorized we can access once we (re)become our full Self by healing this split between the Ego and Shadow. The process of individuation through shadow work is posed as showing high promise for this reconciliation. Our research group will critically explore the Jungian Shadow and how we might design praxes for shadow work using multiple modes of exploration including movement, music, video, written reflection, and affective journey mapping.

Theoretical Influences
The theoretical influences for this exploration are interdisciplinary, drawing from psychology, sociology, feminist studies, queer studies, and critical race studies; we will be connecting these influences to our discipline of human centered design and engineering and the field of HCI.

The methodology we will practice is collaborative autoethnography/autotheory, which is a combination of autobiography, ethnography, and theory. Autobiography tends to focus on making sense of an individual's transformative experiences, while ethnography tends to focus on gaining a better understanding of culture through studying interactive practices, values, beliefs, and shared experiences. Our practice could also be considered autotheory, which is an emerging feminist method for writing the self, asking how theory might be incorporated with real life, as opposed to primarily being used as a tool for defining, measuring, or describing life. Some of our more specific practices will include the following:

thinking collaboratively with Meeting the Shadow, a collection of articles about the shadow by Jungian writers;
reflective movement journals; and
live affective journey mapping.

Expected products are working frameworks of the Shadow and shadow work, a collection of reflective movement journals and individual journey maps, and a collective affective journey map.​

Exploring visual notetaking

Winter 2019

Jennifer Turns, Wendy Roldan, Andrea Sequeira

For this DRG we will explore visual notetaking as a student skill. Visual note taking is a method of recording ideas without relying on words.

We are interested in learning how to do visual notetaking and practicing it. We envision having 10 students join our DRG. There are no requirements to join the DRG - just an interest in practicing visual notetaking and a willingness to try. This will be a 1-credit DRG where you will go to your regularly scheduled classes and activities, practice taking visual notes, and then come back and share with the group how that week went. We will share our process and our strategies to learn and iterate together. At the end of this DRG our aim is that you feel more confident taking notes visually in a way that is productive for you.

Making visible student experience with reflection

Winter 2019

Our ongoing research explores how to support student reflection in higher education, particularly in technical education contexts. We are looking for a small group of students to help with the work of a current NSF grant as well as our broader research effort. Within the research group, students would be expected to engage in activities such as:

Analyzing interview transcripts thematically for a research paper
Using a critical design mentality to transform interview data into “impractical, practical products” that help educators better understand student reactions to reflection activities
Developing questions for a research survey to capture student reactions to reflection activities
Discussing related reflection research and models to support student reflection

A Human Centered Design Approach to Reflection in Engineering Education

Spring 2018

Reflection can be understood as a kind of thinking that involves stepping outside of a personal situation in order to gain deeper understanding and prepare for future action. Because reflection can result in deeper understanding and preparation for future action, supporting student reflection is an important element of education. Because supporting student reflection can be tricky, we’ve been working with students to understand what it’s like to engage in reflection (the NSF grant Reflection in engineering education: Advancing conversations) and working with educators to design and evaluate activities intended to support student reflection (through the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education).  

We are seeking a small number of people to help us with this work during the Spring 2018 academic term. Those who join the research group will engage in (a) creating representations of the reflective engagements present in student interviews and (b) testing resources that offer guidance on the design of reflection activities. This work might be interesting to you if you have strong opinions about support reflection, you are interested in teaching and learning, and/or you are curious about designing to support reflection.

Intersectional Theory and Applications in Human-Centered Work

Spring 2018

In this DRG, we will investigate intersectional feminist theory and have conversations about how we can apply the theoretical principles to our everyday life in research and practice. We will meet on Wednesdays from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in Sieg 128.

We are looking for up to eight students to sign up for 2-credits. Given the nature of the work we are discussing, we are looking for students who will contribute to our discussion about identity topics such as gender, race, disability, sexuality and class with a respectful attitude towards difference.

If you are interested in participating please fill out this google Form by March 15 with a brief 100-word statement outlining why this DRG interests you and what perspectives and experiences you would bring to the course.

If you have any question, please feel free to contact one of the following individuals who are working to coordinate this research group:

Jennifer Turns <>, Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering, Co-director, Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education
Wendy Roldan <>, Graduate Student, Human Centered Design & Engineering
Oliver Keyes <>, Graduate Student, Human Centered Design & Engineering

Fast & Fun “Research Through Design” Studio 

Summer 2017

Have you ever wished it was easier - or fun - to find relevant material? Interested in working on the ideation & prototyping portion of a rapid design sprint?  

Join us during Summer Session "A" for a fast and fun exploration of a design solution for college educators. We’ll look at existing research findings, articulate research gaps for future inquiry, and ideate a collection of possible solutions. 

Our approach will be based on a combination of the principles of "research through design" and the more common UCD process. We will be reading, brainstorming, designing and reflecting. Students will be asked to keep some kind of weekly reflective journal.  Creativity, critical thinking, and reflective engagement will be key components of our work in this DRG. 

Time commitment per week:

2 hour design studio session
4 hours individual work/reading 

To indicate interest, please email and In your email, include 2-3 sentences describing your interest in this DRG & your HCDE class standing and/or UX experience. Possible weekly meeting times include: Thursdays between 10a-2pm, Wednesday mornings, or Wednesday afternoons. In your email, please also indicate all of the meeting times that would work for you.

Sketching notebooks will be provided! 

Reflective Practice in HCDE and Engineering Education

This graduate-student focused research group might be of interest to you if one or more of the following questions appeal to you:

  • Have you heard of “reflective practice” and wondered what it is about?
  • Are you interested in “reflective practice” and specifically exploring resources that support reflective practice?
  • Are you curious about how reflective practice fits with the domain specifics of human-centered design and/or engineering education?
  • Are you wondering how “reflective practice” compares to other visions of practice, such as capable practice, technical practice, activist practice, and ethical practice?
  • Would you like to be involved in shaping the development of resources that help HCDE practitioners and/or engineering education practitioners be move reflective?

In the Reflective Practitioner, Donald Schon reported on his efforts to understand the epistemology of practice that underlies professional expertise.  His findings brought “reflective practice” into the foreground for a variety of professional fields. Many strategies have been used to help professionals and emerging professionals in a variety of fields to move toward a reflective practice ideal. For example, the book “Reflective Practice" represents a handbook for professionals in the health and social care professions. What might such a handbook look like for professionals in human centered design or engineering education—two professional areas where working with people is key but the focus on reflective practice has been less central?

In this research group, participants will engage in the question:  To what extent does the book Reflective Practice represent a valuable starting point for supporting professionals in moving toward the reflective practice ideal?  We will answer this question by (a) engaging in the reflection activities described in the book and (b) having subsequent discussions of how the exercises align with, or could better align with, the scholarly fields of HCDE and engineering education.

This research group is open to graduate students interested in reflective practice for HCDE and graduate students interested in engineering education.  If the group does not fill with graduate students, there may be a small number of spots for advanced undergraduate students.

All participants will be asked to sign up for 2 credits.  To participate, applicants need to...

  • be available for the weekly meeting (Tuesday, 4:00-5:30)
  • have access to the book Reflective Practice by Janet Hargreaves and Louise Page (an online version is available through the UW library)
  • be willing to complete reflection activities as described in the book
  • be willing to share their reflections and thoughts in a larger group
  • be interested in how to help others engage in reflective practice

To apply, send an email to describing your interest in the work and how you could help the group move the work forward.

Process blogging as professional/reflective practice: Challenges and opportunities

  • What are process blogs and why create them? What is process blogging and why do it?
  • How are process blogs used by professionals?
  • What’s hard about process blogging, and how can we help individuals be more effective?
  • How might different perspectives on reflection be used to frame supports for process blogging?
  • How is process blogging experienced by emerging professionals?

Description: In the context of this research group, a process blog will be understood a blog where designers document and reflect on their design processes, insights, thoughts; and process blogging will be understood as a reflective activity.  The goal of the research group will be to start a conversation about process blogging as a professional and reflective practice, with a specific focus on process blogging as used in a large-scale, explorations course targeted at freshman and sophomore students.

Participants in the research group will be invited to engage in project ideation (i.e., what types of research questions might be interesting, with the questions above illustrating some possibilities), project piloting (i.e., engaging in pilot versions of answering select research questions), and project report-out (i.e., sharing results with those making instructional decisions related to process blogs and those engaged in research on reflection).  The specific activities of the group will emerge over the term.  

This research group is open to (a) HCDE students and (b) students who have taken HCDE 210 but are not yet HCDE students.  Students who have taken HCDE 210 can speak to the student experience of creating process blogs.  In addition, HCDE students with interest in process blogging as a professional practice and/or process blogging as a reflective practice are invited to apply.

All participants will be asked to sign up for 2 credits.  To participate, applicants need to be available for the weekly meeting (Thursday, 4:00-5;30) and also expect to work 4-5 hours per week.

Participants will have a chance to

  • Learn more about process blogging, reflection, and reflective practice
  • Practice using a design thinking approach applied to research (i.e., by ideating on questions, prototyping research designs, and using preliminary work to elicit “user” feedback)
  • Have impact--by generating information that can be used to refine processing blogging assignments used in HCDE classes.

If you are interested, you should send an email to describing your interest in the work and how you could help the group move the work forward.

Slow technology and reflection: A reading group

This reading group will bring together students and faculty to read and discuss a broad range of papers and studies relevant to the design, evaluation, and theory of technologies that slow down the pace of information consumption for their users or otherwise promote reflection in some manner. Each week, there will be two students assigned to choose and lead the group on a discussion on a single paper they select. This will be a 2-credit hour course for HCDE 596, with 4 hours per week of reading and reading-related activity, and 2 hour per week of group discussion. 

Technology Use during Solo and Nomadic Travel

Pre-requisites: HCDE 210/other prototyping courses or equivalent experience, familiarity with UCD. 
Level: Junior, senior, and master’s level students with a strong design background; Master’s and PhD students with backgrounds in computer science, social science, and design

Are you interested in travel? Would you like to learn about solo and nomadic travelers’ use of technology while supporting their adventures through design? In this fun and challenging DRG, we will draw on theory to explore the design space for solo and nomadic travelers. We will learn about qualitative research, in-depth interviews, emotional design, and prototyping wearable technologies, and share our designs with solo travelers who visit our class.

While we will not be tackling Everest (or Mount Rainier) to evaluate our designs, we will have stimulating and inspiring conversations throughout the design process.
All students from BS to PhD who meet the requirements are welcomed to apply, but we are keeping this DRG relatively small (around 10) and are looking for a diverse group of dedicated and enthusiastic students who are interested in participating for 2 credits. To join the group or for questions, please email Mania Orand ( and include your relevant experience (preferably your portfolio) and a brief statement expressing your goals for participating.

Investigating the socio systems side of HCDE

The newly designed/named HCDE program is still young and fluid in the formation process of defining it's unique identity. While HCI and the computer interactive lens of HCDE seems to have established it's place and opportunities more widely within the core requirements, the socio interactive lens of our program remains less so. We would like to make space to investigate, discuss what this aspect of HCDE is/could be; how it plays a role in our program; and ways we might consider encouraging/creating/fencing/balancing the necessary space for theory and investigation of the socio side of HCDE and the socio systems that are central to our program. This may include reading/research on theories, how other programs incorporate socio-systems, or reflections on our department's current areas of research.

Life-logging, Quantified-self, and Reflection

Are you intrigued with the proliferation of technologies designed to help you keep track of your life?  Are you curious about people's commitments to tracking their activities?  Are you wondering what to do with the daily pictures you have taken of yourself, the trace of your exercise, or the log of your search behavior?  Are you interested in how to help people make sense of their personal data, or even how to design technologies to better support such sense-making and reflective activities? 
In this research group, we will explore such questions.  Based on a observation that current tools are good at collecting data but may be less than successful at helping participants effectively reflect on their data, our goal will be to imagine how to extend the design of tools so that they may more effectively support reflection.  We will start by developing a list of technologies in the life-logging/quantified-self arena, discussing theories of reflection that can be used to frame what people might do with their life-logs/quantified self data, and reading 2-3 existing studies of such tools.  Given this starting point, we will work as a group to find ways to move toward our redesign goals.  If interested in participating, please email Professor Jennifer Turns with brief description of your research interests.

So what? Exploring the ideas of "implications for design" and "translation of research into practice"
Introduction: For disciplines like HCDE in which research is conducted in order to support improved practice, a common concern is the rate with which research findings influence change in practice. But what does it mean for research to inform practice? What are the mechanisms by which research informs practice? What are the roles of researchers in this process? Of practitioners? What could be done to accelerate the rate at which research is used to inform practice? There are the types of questions we will explore in this research group.
Main activity: In terms of activity, this research group will build on the work of two previous research groups (summer 2011, winter 2012). In particular, we will be looking analyzing research publications in order to understand the way in which implications for practice are represented in the publications. Part of the team will be focusing on the last steps of an analysis of the Journal of Engineering Education. The rest of the group will be using the same methodology to explore other prominent journals in the HCDE field.
What you will get out of this activity: Students who participate in this research group can expect to benefit in one or more of the following ways: (a) gaining a better appreciation of what is involved in translating research into practice, (b) gaining a better appreciation for how research articles in particular journals are framed/written, (c) learning new ways to read journal articles, and (d) gaining experience in content/discourse analysis. Since the research group will be looking at connections between research and practice, both research-oriented and practically-oriented students stand to benefit from the activity. Students in the previous two research groups came from very different perspectives (practitioner as well as academic) and previous participants found the activities eye-opening.
Logistics: Participants will register for 2 credits. We will schedule a time based on who is interested. Depending on who is interested, we may choose to meet later in the day (say 3:30–5:20 or 4:00–6:00) in order to make this open to more students.

What does it mean to keep the user in mind when designing?
If you are interested in user-centered design (UCD), particularly the issue of what it means to keep the user in mind when designing, then the research group I am running in the fall 2008 quarter might be of interest to you. Below I address 1) what you will do in the research group, 2) the anticipated logistics, 3) what you can expect to learn, 4) the underlying research, and 5) how to get more information.
What you will do:  As a participant in the research group, you will help us analyzed already collected interview data in which engineering educators report on teaching decisions.  In particular, you will help us analyze how the educators take learners into account in these decisions.  Linking back to UCD, in this research group, we will be framing the teacher as the “designer” and the learner as the “user of the designs,” and thus asking how the teacher takes the learner into account is similar to asking how a user-centered designer takes users into account.
Logistics: We plan to meet between 10 and 12 on either Tuesday or Thursday (to be decided). We will announce the location once we know how many people will be participating. It is also possible/likely that the research group will continue into the winter quarter in order to pursue publication opportunities.
What you can expect to learn: As a participant in this research group, you can expect to gain insights into a) what it means for a designer to stay focused on a user, (through the data analysis activities, and through conversations with other group participants) and b) how to rigorously analyze interview data (through the data analysis activities and conversations about how to do these analyses rigorously). You may also have a chance to reflect on your own teaching as a result of this research group.
The underlying research: The NSF-funded research has been guided by the several broad questions: How do engineering educators make teaching decisions? How much agency do engineering educators have and what types of structures constrain or enable this agency? And (the above question), How do engineering educators take learners into account in their teaching decisions? The dataset consist of transcripts of interviews from thirty-one engineering educators representing all academic ranks and a wide variety of engineering disciplines. Several previous analyses of this data have already been published and will be available to participants.

Understanding User Experience through Open-ended Survey Data
If you are interested in user experience research, techniques for analyzing open ended survey data, and/or the educational significance of experiences provided to students, then the research group I am running in the Fall 2008 quarter might be of interest to you. Below I address 1) what you will do in the research group, 2) the anticipated logistics, 3) what you can expect to learn, 4) the underlying research, and 5) how to get more information.
What participants will do: Participants in the research group will help us analyzed already collected survey data in which research participants reported on their experience of constructing one of two types of professional portfolios. The survey consisted mainly of open-ended questions designed to elicit information about their process, the meaning they ascribed to the process, and their takeaways.
Logistics: We plan to meet between 10 and 12 on either Tuesday or Thursday (to be decided). We will announce the location once we know how many people will be participating. It is also possible/likely that the research group will continue into the winter quarter in order to pursue publication opportunities.
What you can expect to learn: Participants in this research group can expect to gain insights into a) how to conduct user experience research generally (through the data analysis activities, and through conversations with other group participants), b) how to analyze open-ended survey data (through the data analysis activities and conversations about how to do these analyses rigorously), and c) the educational significance of constructing professional portfolios (through discussions of how to interpret the different ways that students experienced the portfolio activity).
The underlying research: The NSF-funded research has been guided by the following broad questions: How do students experience the construction of different types of professional portfolios and how does the design of the portfolio assignment affect their experience? What is the educational significance of constructing professional portfolios and how does the educational significance very depending on what type of portfolio students are asked to construct? In particular, the research has been exploring how construction of portfolios help students engage in identity development, make sense of their classes and educational activities, improve their metacognitive awareness of what they know, enhance their understanding of the importance and significance of their knowledge, and engage in critical reflection on their own assumptions. The study that gave rise to this data was conducted during the winter 2008 and spring 2008 academic terms, and built on studies conducted during the previous 4 years. A total of 69 students constructed portfolios and responded to the final survey.

Design Studies Research Group
During the Spring 2008 quarter, members of the Design Studies Research Group will have the opportunity to read and discuss research papers that (1) address empirical approaches for understanding how designers engage in the practice of design and (2) describe theoretical frameworks of design. Readings will approach design activities and designers across different disciplines (e.g., information design, engineering, architecture & urban planning, writing as design, software design, etc.). During the quarter, members of this research group will synthesize larger themes across the readings and discuss how current research in design studies apply to emerging trends across design practices. Additionally, research group members will have the opportunity to think about how current trends in the science of design can be applied to design education here at the University of Washington and beyond. Weekly activities in the research group will be structured around a set of readings that are chosen during the first week of the quarter. During the quarter, the research group will accomplish some or all of the following:
  • Critically discuss one research paper per week as a group (sometimes two if short).
  • Identify cross-discipline commonalities and differences in the practice of design.
  • Relate design research to current and emerging issues in design practice (issues may include user-centeredness, globalization of practice, designing for sustainability, etc.).
  • Develop theoretical representations (e.g., concept maps, taxonomies, etc.) of the overall space of the science of design.
  • Consider how this knowledge can be applied to design curriculum at the university level.
  • Begin the development of an online information knowledge base on design research that can be used within design education.
The research group will meet for 1.5 hours each week during the Spring 2008 quarter. During the meetings we will discuss weekly readings and update each other on our progress in identifying larger themes and structuring our findings for electronic distribution. The size of the research group is limited.

Data Analysis
Participants in this research group will have the opportunity to learn more about a) how to conduct qualitative research, b) the impact of one technology on one type of learning, and c) how students prepare for professional practice and develop professional identity. In addition, participants in the research group will have an opportunity to reflect on their own preparation for professional practice. This NSF funded research focuses on the impact of one learning technology (electronic portfolios) on professional identity and professional preparation of engineering students. Subjects in the current study will be constructing professional portfolios and providing data about how this activity impacts their sense of professional identity and their preparedness for professional engineering practice. Data collection will involve surveys of all participants, interviews of a select set of participants, and observation notes collected during portfolio building sessions. Members of the TC496/596 research group will analyze survey data (and possibly observation and interview data) that will be being collected during Winter 2008 (concurrent with the research group). Because the survey data was designed to support a number of different analyses, participants will have the opportunity to select an analysis consistent with their interest area (e.g., what do participants say about professional identity?, what do they say about the meaning of their past experiences?, do the participants experience the portfolio task as a rhetorical event?, as a learning event?).

Laboratory for User-Centered Engineering Education (LUCEE)
In the Laboratory for User-Centered Engineering Education (LUCEE), we are devoted to applying the methods of user-centered design to the challenges of engineering education. In our work, we focus on two classes of users in engineering education: students and educators. We use qualitative and quantitative research techniques to better understand these user populations and to design products to help these users accomplish their goals more effectively. The Laboratory for User-Centered Engineering Education is seeking students interested in directed research group credit. In the Fall of 2005, we are offering the following two opportunities:
  • Study of Engineering Educators' Decision Making: Students joining this project will use a subset of previously collected interview transcripts as a springboard to explore qualitative coding methods. Qualitative coding is a process by which researchers analyze data (transcripts in our case) to discover the study participants' subjective meanings and interpretations. Activities will include: reviewing decision-making models, building a coding structure, coding transcripts, and aggregating the coding results into larger themes. Our end-point will be a rich description of engineering faculty's decision-making processes in the context of teaching.
  • Case Studies of Participant Experiences in the Engineering Teaching Portfolio Program: The Engineering Teaching Portfolio Program is an eight-week seminar in which graduate students and post-docs prepare a teaching portfolio in a peer-intensive environment. During the summer of 2005, researchers collected interview, video, concept map, and survey data in order to capture information relating to the impacts of the program on participant and the processes leading to these impacts. TC 496/596 students joining this research project in the fall will develop case studies of individual participants' experiences and subsequently prepare a cross-case analysis focused on commonalities and differences in the participants' experiences.' ); information.
  • Students joining either of these projects are invited to attend weekly LUCEE research group meetings. These meetings are devoted to research issues spanning the entire collection of LUCEE projects and the entire range of research issues. In the past we have used these meetings for activities such as (a) reviewing drafts of conference papers, journal papers, and proposals, (b) discussing readings of common interest to the group, (c) providing guidance on the research projects of team members, (d) brainstorming dissemination strategies for specific projects, and (e) discussing ethical issues in research.

Lifelong Learning Reading Seminar
We will start with Pedagogy of the Oppressed and then read an additional book of the group's choosing.
At UW, 1 credit = 3 hours of activity. For our seminar, I expect that this will translate to 2 hours of reading and 1 hour of discussion. The only other thing that will be required is a final statement about your learning in this seminar and how that learning prepares you for your future.
Prep for Day 1: In order for us to make a solid start, I would like each of you to find a nugget of information that is related to our proposed activity (i.e., related to the author, the actual book, the topic of lifelong learning, etc) and something you think will help stimulate our conversation. Please bring your nugget on a piece of paper.
Day 1 activity: During the first session, I will share my motivations for choosing this book and each of you will have the opportunity to share your motivations for enrolling in the seminar. We will also use the information nuggets to start talking about the book, the author, and the topic. Finally we will go over the plan for the term and set up a shared understanding of how we can have the most effective discussions together.

Coding Survey Data
I am interested in forming a research group to help me analyze survey data collected from students who constructed portfolios as part of a research study. The survey data contains both closed-ended and open-ended items. We will base our analysis on an already completed analysis of a subset of the data. That analysis was presented at a conference in July. As a result of that analysis, we have already committed to a theoretical framework for analyzing the data and developed some initial expectations about what we might see in the rest of the data analysis.
Participation in upcoming research group should be a good opportunity to:
  • experience how theory is used to guide analysis of data
  • see how collaborative analysis of data can be organized
  • learn about a new set of theories (theories of identity/becoming, reflection)
  • learn about publication venues (we are currently considering
  • Teaching in Higher Education as a venue for the paper), and even
  • gain insight into what students are thinking about when they engage in educational activities
Because so much work has already been done on this project, it is not anticipated that participation in this research group would result in authorship on the article the analysis will support. However, participation in the group could definitely lay the foundation for future collaborations leading to publication.
We are looking for a relatively small group of people who are each interested in between 2 and 5 credits. The actual organization of the work will be based on the number of people interested. If you are interested, let me a) what interests you about the project and b) how many credits you would be seeking. I will then figure out our next step.