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. 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 Sriram Karthik Badam ( or Pavithra Ramasamy ( In the email, briefly describe the topic and preferred dates.

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

Fall 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 Fall 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.


David Weintrop, University of Maryland, College Park

To block or not to block: Understanding the effects of programming language representation in high school computer science classrooms.

Abstract: In the last few years, Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco have all announced major initiatives to bring computer science classes and computational thinking into every high school in their cities - with countless other smaller school districts following suit. Having made these commitments, attention now shifts towards how best to teach computer science to diverse populations of high school students who grew up in the age of smart phones, iPads, and Facebook. An increasingly popular strategy being employed is the use of graphical, block-based programming environments like Scratch, Blockly, and Alice. While these environments have been found to be effective at broadening participation with younger learners, open questions remain about their suitability in high school contexts. In this talk, I will present findings from a two-year classroom study looking at how the design of introductory programming environments affects learners' emerging understandings of computer science concepts and their perceptions of the field of computer science. I will also discuss the affordances of block-based programming environments relative to more conventional text-based alternatives.

Bio:David Weintrop is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership in the College of Education with a joint appointment in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of accessible and engaging computational learning environments. He is also interested in the use of technological tools in supporting exploration and expression across diverse contexts including STEM classrooms and informal spaces. His work lies at the intersection of human-computer interaction, design, and the Learning Sciences. David has a Ph.D. in the Learning Sciences from Northwestern University and a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. He spent one year as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago studying computer science learning in elementary classrooms prior to joining the faculty at the University of Maryland. Before starting his academic career, he spent five years working as a software developer at a pair of start-ups in Chicago.


Stacy Branham,
University of Maryland Baltimore-County

From Independence to Interdependence: A Social Narrative of Assistive Technology

Abstract: In the Assistive Technology and greater disabilities community, “independence” has been a core goal and frame for making progress toward equality. This dominant narrative is often interpreted to mean that disabled people can and should live independently without help from others, and that assistive devices exist to displace reliance on helpers. For example, a wearable device that gives a blind person turn-by-turn directions through an airport displaces a sighted human guide. However, my work with people with disabilities in the home, in the workplace, and in public spaces has demonstrated that collaboration is a significant tool and goal of people with disabilities in their everyday lives. Further, social setting and human-human interactions significantly impact whether and how assistive devices are used. In this talk, I will share and unpack stories from people with various abilities to argue that assistive technology design through the lens of “interdependence” provides a more honest, respectful, and empowering alternative for assistive technology design.

Bio: Stacy Branham is a Lecturer in Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Her research in Human-Centered Computing contributes to the subfields of Social Computing and Assistive Technology by investigating how technologies mediate interpersonal relationships, often with people who are blind. Her recent and ongoing studies explore how technology can engender safety as people with disabilities encounter law enforcement at protests, as blind parents care for their children at home, and as transgender people navigate violence in online and offline spaces. Themes she investigates include agency, empowerment, disability, gender, social justice, intimacy, interdependence, personal safety, and ethics in design research. Her research has been recognized with best paper awards at CHI and DIS. Dr. Branham has organized multiple workshops at CSCW and CHI on ethics in design research, culminating in a Special Issue of Interacting with Computers. She is currently a papers AC for CHI 2018 and the Chair of the Student Research Competition for ASSETS 2017. Dr. Branham received her BS and PhD in Computer Science from Virginia Tech, with a specialization in Human-Computer Interaction.


Gabriela Marcu,
Drexel University
Cody Buntain,
University of Maryland, College Park

Gabriela: TBD
Cody: Gaining Insight into Real-World Societal Response Using Social Media

Abstract: Online social networking platforms (OSNs) like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit have become valuable data sources in studying societal response to high-impact events (terror attacks, natural disasters, mass demonstrations, etc.). These events unfold rapidly, with users posting their responses and new developments to OSNs as they happen. Rapidly understanding these responses can be critical to providing assistance or reducing conflict.

This talk discusses three main areas in this research: 1) How well does OSN data reflect real-world population data, 2) What are the patterns in response behavior to these events, and 3) How can low-quality information be filtered out from these data sources?

I will present findings across these questions, showing social media data mirrors certain geographic populations, discussing event-detection algorithms, and outlining some current research in cross-platform information quality. I will then open discussion on future work in: OSN data for qualitative study, crisis informatics, and studies of population/platform differences in online information quality.

Bio: Dr. Cody Buntain is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Maryland’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab and is funded by the Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellowship. His current areas of research include studying complex social systems and how society leverages social media in the aftermath of crises and social unrest. This research includes evaluating information credibility across social media platforms, real-time information retrieval and event detection in response to crises, social media reflections of real-world phenomena, and the intersection of machine learning and computational social science.


Mark Fuge,
University of Maryland, College Park

Designing with Data: How machine learning is morphing human, product, and system design

Abstract: TBD

Bio: Mark Fuge is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research lies at the intersection of Mechanical Engineering, Machine Learning, and Design; an area often referred to as "Design Informatics" or "Data-Driven Design." He received his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley, and received his M.S. and B.S. at Carnegie Mellon University. He has conducted research in applied machine learning, optimization, network analysis, additive manufacturing, human-computer interfaces, crowdsourcing, and creativity support tools. He has received a DARPA Young Faculty Award and a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship. You can learn more about his research at his lab’s website:


Sigfried Gold,
University of Maryland, College Park




Foad Hamidi,
University of Maryland, Baltimore County




Internship Panel? (TBD)




Janet Walkoe,
University of Maryland, College Park

Technologically Mediated Teacher Noticing

Abstract: We introduce technology-mediated teacher noticing (TMTN): a vision for the design and use of technology-mediated tools that takes seriously the need for teachers to attend to, interpret, and respond to their students’ thinking. This vision is situated at the intersection of research on teacher noticing, and on technology to support student thinking. We synthesize that work to highlight specific ways that technology-mediated classroom tools can focus and stabilize teachers’ attention on valuable aspects of student thinking emphasized by current reform efforts. We then illustrate TMTN with classroom examples in which technology supported or obstructed teachers' attention to student thinking, and consider implications for research on technology in teacher practice, professional development, and the design of technological tools for K-12 classrooms.

Bio: Janet is a Learning Scientist and Mathematics Educator. She earned her Doctorate from Northwestern University in the Learning Sciences in 2012. She also holds an MS in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BA in Mathematics from the University of Chicago. Before enrolling in graduate school, Janet taught high school mathematics (from 1996-2006), earning National Board Certification in 2003. Janet studies the teaching and learning of algebra in formal and informal environments. In particular, she is interested in the natural resources children bring to algebra classes and how to help teachers leverage these resources. Outside the college you may find her at the yoga studio or spending time in Washington DC with her daughter, husband & their pet rats.


Hernisa Kacorri,
University of Maryland, College Park




Karen Holtzblatt and Chris Robeck
University of Maryland, College Park




Karthik Ramani,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette


Abstract: TBD

Bio: TBD

11/23/2017 No Brown Bag, Thanksgiving recess

Georgia Bullen




Pamela Wisniewski
University of Central Florida



Past Brown Bags

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