Brown Bag Lunch Schedule

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The HCIL has an open, semi-organized weekly "brown bag lunch (BBL)" every Thursdays from 12:30-1:30pm in HCIL (2105 Hornbake, South Wing). The topics range from someone's work, current interests in the HCIL, software demos/reviews, study design, proposed research topics, introductions to new people, etc. The BBL is the one hour a week where we all come together--thus, it’s a unique time for HCIL members with unique opportunities to help build collaborations, increase awareness of each other’s activities, and generally just have a bit of fun together with free food every week. There is no RSVP; simply show up!

If you would like to give or suggest a talk, presentation, workshop, etc., send an email to BBL student co-coordinators Deokgun Park ( or Rebecca Stone ( In the email, briefly describe the topic and preferred dates.

To be notified about upcoming events, please subscribe one of these mailing lists.

We thank YAHOO for its sponsorship of the HCIL Brown Bag Lunches Yahoo.jpg.

Fall 2016 Schedule

Date Leader Topic

Kickoff to a new Semester!

Come network, make introductions, and share what each of us is working on

Please come to our first BBL of the fall 2016-2017 academic year to introduce yourself and share what you're working on in the coming semester. The first BBL will be for us to network with each other and kickoff a great new semester.


CHI Papers Clinic Lunch

Abstract: TBD

Bio: TBD

09/15/2016 Karen Holtzblatt
InContext Design / University of Maryland, College Park

Contextual Design, Cool Concepts, and Women in Tech Project

Abstract: Karen has recently joined University of Maryland as a Research Scientist and will provide a brief overview of her work in user-centered design techniques and innovation as well as her new work understanding and creating intervention methods to help technology companies retain women.

Karen will share the new techniques described in her upcoming book Contextual Design V2: Design for life. Because of the revolution in how technology is now integrated into life with smartphones and tablets, designers and researchers must consider new ways of collecting and using user data. The Cool Project helped define the key aspects we must now consider; these led to changes in the Contextual Design Method.

Karen will also share the focus of her research on women in technology at the iSchool . Currently through collaborating with many in the industry The Women in Tech Project presents a framework for what keeps women satisfied and successful. They have also developed a measure which is being honed. More research will be occurring as well as the creation of intervention games and techniques.

Bio: Karen Holtzblatt is the inventor of Contextual Inquiry and co-founder of InContext Design, which began in 1992 to use Contextual Design techniques to work with product teams to deliver market data and design solutions to clients across multiple industries. Her books, Contextual Design: Defining Customer Centered Systems, and Rapid Contextual Design, are used by companies and universities all over the world.

Karen is a member of the CHI Academy (awarded to significant contributors in the Computer Human Interaction Association) and in 2010 received CHI’s first Life Time Award for Practice for her impact on the field. She holds a doctorate in applied psychology from the University of Toronto.

09/22/2016 Elissa Redmiles
HCIL, University of Maryland, College Park

How I Learned to be Secure: a Census-Representative Survey of Security Advice Sources and Behavior

Abstract: Few users have a single, authoritative, source from whom they can request digital-security advice. Rather, digital- security skills are often learned haphazardly, as users filter through an overwhelming quantity of security advice. By understanding the factors that contribute to users' advice sources, beliefs, and security behaviors, we can help to pare down the quantity and improve the quality of advice provided to users, streamlining the process of learning key behaviors. In this work we rigorously investigated how users' security beliefs, knowledge, and demographics correlate with their sources of security advice, and how all these factors influence security behaviors. Using a carefully pre-tested, U.S.-census-representative survey of 526 users, we present an overview of the prevalence of respondents' advice sources, reasons for accepting and rejecting advice from those sources, and the impact of these sources and demographic factors on security behavior. We find evidence of a "digital divide" in security: the advice sources of users with higher skill levels and socioeconomic status dier from those with fewer resources. This digital security divide may add to the vulnerability of already disadvantaged users. We conclude with recommendations for combating the digital divide and improving the efficacy of digital-security advice.

Bio: Elissa Redmiles is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on usable security - the intersection between Cyber-security and Human Computer Interaction. Elissa was a 2015 Eric and Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good Fellow at the University of Chicago. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., she held Marketing Management and Software Engineering roles at IBM and completed her B.S. in Computer Science, cum laude, at the University of Maryland.

09/29/2016 Gregg Vanderheiden
Director, Trace R&D Center, University of Maryland, College Park

UMD’s New Trace Center; Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Abstract: The Trace R&D Center just landed on campus in the iSchool. Founded at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1971, it has for 45 years been a leader in Technology and Disability research, development, and policy. Trace Center developments are found in every modern operating system, US Automated Postal Stations, Amtrak Kiosks, DHS Airport kiosks, and ICT of all types. Trace guidelines and work were used as the foundation for IBM, Microsoft, Apple and other companies' access guidelines as well as key parts of the W3C's WCAG 1 and 2, and US Access Board’s 508/255 guidelines. A brief history of the Trace Center will be provided followed by an overview of the current programs, partners, and potential future directions. Opportunities to get involved will also be explored.

Bio: Dr. Vanderheiden has been active in the area of Technology and Disability for over 45 years. His early work was in Augmentative Communication, a term taken from his writings in the late 70’s. Starting in 1979, his focus shifted to personal computers and he worked inside Apple, Microsoft and IBM on increasing the accessibility and usability of their products. Apple included features in Apple IIe, gs, and MacOS and iOS. IBM and Microsoft licensed 9 features from Dr. Vanderheiden’s group for inclusion in DOS, OS/2, and Windows. Dr. Vanderheiden co-chaired and co-authored the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 1.0 and 2.0), worked with the Access Board on 255 and 508, and lead the effort to develop the EZ-Access package of cross-disability access features that are now built into Amtrak ticket machines, Automated Postal Stations, Homeland Security Passport Kiosks, and many other ITMs across the country. His current focus is on the development of a Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII).

10/06/2016 John Wilbanks,
Sage Bionetworks

Using Human Centered Design to Make Informed Consent Actually Inform

Abstract: Mobile technologies have the potential to revolutionize both the way in which individuals monitor their health as well as the way researchers are able to collect frequent, yet sparse data on participants in clinical studies. In order for data from these devices to have maximal impact in a research setting however, the development of systems to collect, manage, and broadly share these data is essential. Possibly more important are the social constructs on which these systems need to be built to allow maximal utility to come from these data while minimizing adverse impact on individual participants. More specifically, the union of these systems and constructs must be an ecosystem build upon trust. We will present one such ecosystem focused on putting the participant at the center of the data collection: specifically by acknowledging possible risks to both individual participants as well as sub-populations of participants, providing opt-in settings for broad data sharing, and the development of an open research ecosystem built upon a social contract between researchers and research participants. A case study of one such mHealth study, leveraging Apple’s ResearchKit framework, will be presented and discussed.

Bio: John Wilbanks is the Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks. Previously, Wilbanks worked as a legislative aide to Congressman Fortney “Pete” Stark, served as the first assistant director at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, founded and led to acquisition the bioinformatics company Incellico, Inc., and was executive director of the Science Commons project at Creative Commons. In February 2013, in response to a We the People petition that was spearheaded by Wilbanks and signed by 65,000 people, the U.S. government announced a plan to open up taxpayer-funded research data and make it available for free. Wilbanks holds a B.A. in philosophy from Tulane University and also studied modern letters at the Sorbonne.

10/13/2016 Fan Du
HCIL, University of Maryland, College Park

EventAction: Visual Analytics for Temporal Event Sequence Recommendation

Abstract: Recommender systems are being widely used to assist people in making decisions, for example, recommending films to watch or books to buy. Despite its ubiquity, the problem of presenting the recommendations of temporal event sequences has not been studied. We propose EventAction, which to our knowledge, is the first attempt at a prescriptive analytics interface designed to present and explain recommendations of temporal event sequences. EventAction provides a visual analytics approach to (1) identify similar records, (2) explore potential outcomes, (3) review recommended temporal event sequences that might help achieve the users' goals, and (4) interactively assist users as they define a personalized action plan associated with a probability of success. Following the design study framework, we designed and deployed EventAction in the context of student advising and reported on the evaluation with a student review manager and three graduate students.

Bio: Fan Du is a computer science Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland, College Park. He works as a research assistant with Prof. Ben Shneiderman and Dr. Catherine Plaisant. His research focuses on data visualization and human-computer interaction, especially on analyzing healthcare data and user activity logs.

10/20/2016 Grant McKenzie,
University of Maryland, College Park

Exploring dimensions of 'place'

Abstract: Place is one of the foundational concepts on which the field of Geographical Sciences has been built. Traditionally, geographic information science research into place has been approached from a spatial perspective. While space is an integral feature of place, it represents only a single dimension (or a combination of three dimensions to be exact), in the complex, multidimensional concept that is place. With the increased availability of large, user-generated datasets, it has becoming increasingly apparent that the value of 'big data' lies not necessarily in its size, but in its heterogeneity. In my research, I exploit this heterogeneity to build computational, data-driven models of human behavior, taking a multi-dimensional approach to investigating place and the activities people carry out at those places. In this talk I introduce the concept of Semantic Signatures built from spatial, temporal and thematic dimensions extracted from user-contributed, and authoritative datasets. I show how these signatures can enhance existing geolocation methods, form the foundation of place-similarity models and contribute to visualizing the platial pulse of a city.

Bio: Grant McKenzie is an assistant professor in the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park, affiliate of the Center for Geospatial Information Science and director of the Place Time Analysis Lab. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara (2015) and a Master of Applied Science degree from the University of Melbourne (2008). Grant's research interests lie in spatio-temporal data analysis, geovisualization, place-based data analytics and the intersection of information technologies and society. More information on D. Grant McKenzie and his research can be found at and

10/27/2016 Greg Walsh,
University of Baltimore

Life in the Big City: A reflection of four years of HCI Education and Research in Baltimore

Abstract: For the last four years, I have been an assistant professor at the University of Baltimore. In those four years, I’ve developed 11 different courses, started a research lab and co-design team (KidsteamUB), and integrated community engagement into our graduate UX classes. In this talk, I will discuss how my research has morphed to be accommodating to the urban university experience, and how life in the HCIL prepared me for these challenges as well as some lessons learned that I can share.

Bio: Greg Walsh earned his PhD from the UMD iSchool in 2012 and has been an assistant professor at the University of Baltimore ever since. He is the graduate program director for the MS in Interaction Design and Information Architecture as well as the UX Design program. He is ruggedly handsome and a recipient of a Google 2015 Faculty Research Award.

11/03/2016 John Dickerson, Computer Science, University of Maryland, College Park

Better Matching Markets via Optimization

Abstract: The exchange of indivisible goods without money addresses a variety of constrained economic settings where a medium of exchange—such as money—is considered inappropriate. Participants are either matched directly with another participant or, in more complex domains, in barter cycles and chains with other participants before exchanging their endowed goods. We show that techniques from computer science and operations research, combined with the recent availability of massive data and inexpensive computing, can guide the design of such matching markets and enable the markets by running them in the real world.

A key application domain for our work is kidney exchange, an organized market where patients with end-stage renal failure swap willing but incompatible donors. We present new models that address three fundamental dimensions of kidney exchange: (i) uncertainty over the existence of possible trades, (ii) balancing efficiency and fairness, and (iii) inherent dynamism. For each dimension, we design scalable branch-and-price-based integer programming market clearing methods. Next, we combine these dimensions, along with high-level human-provided guidance, into a unified framework for learning to match in a general dynamic setting. This framework, which we coin FutureMatch, takes as input a high-level objective (e.g., “maximize graft survival of transplants over time”) decided on by experts, then automatically learns based on data how to make this objective concrete and learns the “means” to accomplish this goal—a task that, in our experience, humans handle poorly.

Bio: John Dickerson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. I'm the lead developer of the US nationwide kidney exchange program, and lead developer of a better way to deal with TV advertisements (currently in the pilot phase with two of the nation's largest MSOs). He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, and has been supported by a Facebook Fellowship, Siebel Scholarship, and an NDSEG Fellowship.

11/10/2016 Bill Kules, iSchool, University of Maryland, College Park

Teaching JavaScript as Social Justice: Interrogating Culture, Bias and Equity in an Introductory Programming Course

Abstract: When learning skills like computer programming, students need to develop an understanding of issues of culture, bias and equity at the same time that they learn the technical elements. As information professionals they will need to understand and navigate these issues. This presentation describes a course that integrates both social justice and technical elements, instead of separating them into different courses as is typical practice. I will describe the approach and structure and reflect on the experience and student feedback. I will invite all of us to discuss the creative tension in teaching both technical and ethical skills, and how we can embed these across the curriculum.

Bio: Dr. Bill Kules is Visiting Associate Professor at the iSchool. Prior to joining the iSchool, he was Chair of the Department of Library and Information Science (LIS) at The Catholic University of America. Dr. Kules seeks to improve educational practice and outcomes in LIS education through teaching, research and advocacy, with a particular interest in helping students understand how information technology is situated in and reflects broader social structures, constructs and issues such as race, class and gender. He has experience in blended curriculum development, faculty development and mentoring, and continuous program improvement through systematic planning and outcomes assessment.

Before joining academia, Dr. Kules spent 20 years designing and implementing information systems for a variety of applications, including wireless telephony, customer service, banking, and a multimedia web sites. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Maryland in 2006.

11/17/2016 Mohammed AlGhamdi,
McGill University

Usability of Three-dimensional Virtual Learning Environments: An Exploratory Study of the Think Aloud Approach

Abstract: A recent review examining 10 years of research between 1999 and 2009 and focusing on the application of virtual reality technology for educational purposes, has found that the majority of interest from the research community has centered on the learning outcomes of such applications (Mikropoulos & Natsis, 2011). Out of the 53 studies reviewed by Mikropoulos & Natsis, 50 have examined the learning outcomes of such environments. While the findings of this review have revealed that learning outcomes were overwhelmingly positive for such environments, the review has also identified other topics of great interest and importance to such applications that have received very little attention from the research community. One specific topic that has not received adequate attention from researchers examining 3D virtual learning environments is usability. This is of great concern as usability has been shown to influence the learning experiences of users of 3D virtual learning environments, which in turn affects their learning outcomes (Dede, Salzman, Loftin, & Sprague, 1999; Lee, Wong, & Fung, 2010; Merchant et al., 2012).

The few studies that have examined the usability of 3D virtual learning environments have predominately focused on the collection of users’ likes and dislikes through the utilization of inquiry-based usability evaluation approaches such as questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups (Dede et al., 1996; Di Blas et al., 2005; Lu, 2008; McArdle et al., 2010; Monahan et al., 2008; Perera et al., 2009; Roussos et al., 1999; Virvou & Katsionis, 2008). While this type of data is of value, it fails to provide usability information based on actual system use; rather, it provides subjective feelings reported by end users regarding system use.

In an effort to examine how other usability evalaution approaches can be utilized to provide valuable data stemming from actual system use, my PhD research focused on exploring the use of the think aloud approach for the usability evalaution of a three-dimensional virtual learning environment by end users. In this talk, I will present the research I conducted to explore the impact of the think aloud approach on the validity of various usability metrics collected during the usability evaluation of a specific three-dimensional virtual learning environment by early-teens between the ages of 14-15 years.

Bio: Mohammed J. Alghamdi is a faculty member at the School of Information Sciences at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah Saudi Arabia. He is currently a PhD student in the School of Information Studies in McGill University. He has recently submitted his PhD thesis dissertation titled “Usability of Three-dimensional Virtual Learning Environments: An Exploratory Study of the Think Aloud Approach” and is awaiting to defend it in December of 2016. Throughout his time at the School of Information Studies, he has been involved in research studies focusing on the information seeking process of early-teens engaged in inquiry-based learning as well as research focusing on intergenerational design teams. He has also conducted information literacy seminars for middle school students in the Montreal, Quebec area.

11/24/2016 No Brown Bag, Thanksgiving Break.
12/01/2016 HCIL

Discussion: Diversity in Tech

Abstract: Join us for a conversation about diversity in tech. We'll explore disparities in the field, consider the causes of this issue, and discuss what we as HCI educators, researchers, and professionals can do to close this gap. Before joining us on Thursday, please take a some time to read Vauhini Vara's Bloomberg Businessweek article Why Doesn't Silicon Valley Hire Black Coders? and look over some statistics from the Information is Beautiful and the Wall Street Journal on this topic. We'll use these resources as a starting point for our conversation.

12/08/2016 HCIL

HCIL Seasonal Cookie Exchange

Abstract: To celebrate the end-of-year holidays, the HCIL will have a cookie exchange/get-together in the lab during the last HCIL brown bag of the semester. Cookie exchanges work by individuals bringing in small bags of cookies (e.g., five bags of chocolate chip cookies) and then selecting that number of other types of cookies (e.g., a bag of sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin, peanut blossoms, etc.) We encourage people to bring cookies in bags (5-6 bags of 5-6 cookies). However, even if you can’t bring in cookies, please still join us for this festive event!
Sign up for the cookie exchange here:

Spring 2017 Schedule

Date Leader Topic

Kickoff to a new Semester!

Come network, make introductions, and share what each of us is working on

Please come to our first BBL of the spring 2017 semester to introduce yourself and share what you're working on in the coming semester. The first BBL will be for us to network with each other and kickoff a great new semester.


Bilge Mutlu,
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Human-Centered Principles and Methods for Designing Robotic Technologies

Abstract: The increasing emergence of robotic technologies that serve as automated tools, assistants, and collaborators promises tremendous benefits in everyday settings from the home to manufacturing facilities. While these technologies promise interactions that can be highly complex and beneficial, their successful integration into the human environment ultimately requires these interactions to also be natural and intuitive. To achieve complex but intuitive interactions, designers and developers must simultaneously understand and address human and computational challenges. In this talk, I will present my group’s work on building human-centered guidelines, methods, and tools to address these challenges in order to facilitate the design of robotic technologies that are more effective, intuitive, acceptable, and even enjoyable through successful integration into the human environment. The first part of the talk will review a series of projects that will demonstrate how the marrying of knowledge about people and computational methods through a systematic design process can enable effective user interactions with social, assistive, and telepresence robots. The second part of the talk will cover ongoing work that provides designers and developers with tools to apply these guidelines to the development of real-world robotic technologies and that utilizes partnerships with domain experts and end users to ensure the successful integration of these technologies into everyday settings. The talk will conclude with a discussion of high-level design guidelines that can be drawn from this body of work.

Bio: Bilge Mutlu is an associate professor of computer science, psychology, and industrial engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He received his Ph.D. degree from Carnegie Mellon University's Human-Computer Interaction Institute in 2009. His background combines training in interaction design, human-computer interaction, and robotics with industry experience in product design and development. Dr. Mutlu is a former Fulbright Scholar and the recipient of the NSF CAREER award as well as several best paper awards and nominations, including HRI 2008, HRI 2009, HRI 2011, UbiComp 2013, IVA 2013, RSS 2013, HRI 2014, CHI 2015, and ASHA 2015. His research has been covered by national and international press including the NewScientist, MIT Technology Review, Discovery News, Science Nation, and Voice of America. He has served in the Steering Committee of the HRI Conference and the Editorial Board of IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, co-chairing the Program Committees for ROMAN 2016, HRI 2015, ROMAN 2015, and ICSR 2011, the Program Sub-committees on Design for CHI 2013 and CHI 2014, and the organizing committee for HRI 2017. More information on Dr. Mutlu and his research can be found at and


Susan Winter,
University of Maryland, College Park



















03/23/2017 No Brown Bag, Spring Break.













Rebecca Stone
University of Maryland, College Park

Cultural understanding (or impact), proof of concept and Agile teams










Past Brown Bags

View the Past Brown Bag Lunch Schedules to learn more about prior talks.