Brown Bag Lunch Schedule

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The HCIL has an open semi-organized weekly "brown bag lunch (BBL)" on every Thursdays from 12:30-1:30pm in HCIL (2105 Hornbake, South Wing). The topics range from someone's work, current interest to the HCIL, a software demo/review, a study design, a proposed research topic, an introduction to a new person, 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.

2013 fall, BBL will be transformed a bit to help increase engagement and strengthen ties in the HCIL community. There will be a wider range of sessions and each one will be organized a little differently than before. In doing so, Michael and Tak will take BBL student co-coordinator role.

To sign up for a session, send an email to BBL co-coordinators Michael Gubbels ( or Tak Yeon Lee ( In the email, briefly describe the topic and preferred dates.

We thank YAHOO! for its sponsorship of the HCIL Brown Bag Lunches. To get notified about upcoming events, please subscribe one of these mailing lists.

Fall 2013

Who Type Topic
Th, Sept 5 No Brown Bag. Rosh Hashanah.
Th, Sept 12 Jon Froehlich
Assistant Professor in CS and HCIL faculty member
Talk/Discussion HCIL Hackerspace
Th, Sept 19 HCIL/HCI Graduate Students facilitated by Michael Gubbels and Tak Yeon Lee Talk/Discussion

The goal of this session is to provide several students at various points in their academic programs

, but especially new students, with a chance to talk about (1) their interests, (2) the projects to which they've contributed, and (3) those they'd like to do. Our hope is that this will allow new students to introduce themselves and convey their interests in a way that helps them find others with shared interests and form working relationships on projects with professors and other students. Students will have 5–8 minutes to introduce themselves and their interests, their previous and current projects, skills and expertise, and their future interests in HCI and the HCIL. Hopefully, this will help new students connect with professors and other students with whom they share interests and can work together on research projects. Following talks will be about 10 minutes for discussion with the presenting students (perhaps for asking them to join a project team).

Wed, Sept 25 Jonathan Donner External Speaker

Everybody’s internet? :Designing for mobile-centric internet users in the developing world

Within 5 years, wireless broadband services will cover 85% of the world’s population, and data-enabled mobile (cellular) devices will outnumber personal computers and tablets. This talk, taken from a book in preparation, details the growing importance of ‘mobile-centric internet use’ in the developing world, raising questions and challenges for design. A breathlessly optimistic narrative has proclaimed the mobile phone the device which will finally close the ‘digital divide’, but the digital world does not run exclusively on mobile handsets. To guide policy and technical investments in socioeconomic development— I argue that it is better to reframe and view the mobile handset as one piece of a person’s digital repertoire, which also might include PCs, telecentres, TVs, tablets, and other devices. In the talk and in the book I revisit some of my previous studies in three domains of socioeconomic development: microenterprises and livelihoods, citizen journalism, and secondary education. Across each, I celebrate the transformational potential of the mobile phone. Yet, in each case, I use the “digital repertoires” lens to raise concerns, identifying how the capacity to generate, produce, and curate information may remain concentrated among those with better resources to secure digital tools, and the skills and incentives to use them. The person with $30 basic data-enabled phone and the person with a smartphone and a state-of-the-art $1000 desktop computer both can connect to the internet; however, it is not the same internet. Yet these persistent digital stratifications can be reduced if technologists, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers work to ensure that constrained digital repertoires enable not only coordination and consumption (which phones already do well), but also contribution (which they do less well). From natural user interfaces to language support to bandwidth pricing, there are concrete ways in which more empathetic design and policy can help a greater proportion of the world’s inhabitants be more productive with their ICTs.

Jonathan Donner - Researcher, Technology for Emerging Markets, Microsoft Research

Jonathan Donner is a researcher in the Technology for Emerging Markets Group (TEM) at Microsoft Research. For the last decade, Jonathan has published research on the remarkable growth in mobile telephony in the developing world, focusing on its implications for socioeconomic development and inclusion in the informational society, as well as its uses in everyday life. His projects at TEM include Microenterprise Development, Mobile Banking, Citizen Journalism, Mobile Health, and Youth and New Media. His research provides rare perspective on design and mobile HCI issues for those who want to build applications for the fastest growing group of internet users in the world: “mobile centric” internet users. Prior to Joining Microsoft Research, he was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and worked with Monitor Company and the OTF Group, consultancies in Boston, MA. He is the author, with Richard Ling, of Mobile Communication (Polity, 2009), and co-editor, with Patricia Mechael, of mHealth in Practice: Mobile Technology for Health Promotion in the Developing world (Bloomsbury Academic, 2012). His research also appears in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, The Information Society, Information Technologies and International Development, The Journal of International Development, and Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization. His Ph.D. is from Stanford University in Communication Research. Jonathan is based in South Africa and is a visiting academic at the University of Cape Town’s Centre in ICT4D. He is currently working on a new book, provisionally titled After Access: Mobile Internet in the Developing World. Further details on Jonathan’s research are at and via twitter as @jcdonner

Th, Oct 3 Ed Cutrell External Speaker
Technology for Emerging Markets (TEM) group at Microsoft Research

The Technology for Emerging Markets (TEM) group at Microsoft Research India seeks to address the needs and aspirations of people in the world's developing communities. Our research targets people who are just beginning to use computing technologies and services as well as those for whom access to computing still remains largely out of reach. Most of our work falls under the rubric of the relatively young field of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICTD or ICT4D). By combining a variety of backgrounds and training, we are able to engage deeply with some of the complex problems associated with poverty and scarce resources. Our goal is to study, design, build, and evaluate technologies and systems that are useful for people living in underserved rural and urban communities around the world. In this talk, I will give an overview of some of the recent work in the group, focusing on projects that explore modalities and interactions specifically designed for the unique contexts and users we’re working with:
1) VideoKheti: A prototype multimodal system to help low-literate farmers search for agricultural extension videos on smart phones.
2) IVR Junction: A platform for building scalable and distributed voice forums for users with low-end phones.
3) Massively Empowered Classrooms (MEC): A project to explore how innovations in MOOCs and blended learning can be applied to second-tier, large-scale engineering education in India.
4) Maybe something else, depending on the interests of the audience

Ed Cutrell manages the Technology for Emerging Markets (TEM) group at Microsoft Research India. Ed has been working in the field of human-computer interaction since 2000, studying everything from novel interaction techniques to interfaces for search and information retrieval. His current research focuses on Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D). The goal of this work is to understand how people in the world's poor and developing communities interact with information technologies and to invent new ways for technology to meet their needs and aspirations. He is trained in cognitive neuropsychology, with a PhD from the University of Oregon.

Th, Oct 10 Marshini Chetty
Assistant Professor in iSchool and HCIL faculty member
HCI and Networking - Taming the Internet One Bit at a Time

Marshini Chetty is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland specializing in human computer interaction and ubiquitous computing. Marshini's research focuses on making information about infrastructure technologies more readily available to everyday users to help them manage complex systems such as broadband networks. She has a Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Institute of Technology, USA and a Masters and Bachelors in Computer Science from University of Cape Town, South Africa. Prior to joining the iSchool, she completed post-doctoral fellowships at ResearchICTAfrica assessing the quality of broadband in South Africa and Georgia Institute of Technology in the College of Computing creating novel home networking tools. She has completed internships at technology giants IBM Research in New York, and with Microsoft Research in Seattle, Cambridge, U.K., and Cape Town. Her awards include a Fulbright Scholarship, a Google Anita Borg Scholarship, and an Intel PhD fellowship during her graduate career. Marshini’s work has also been featured in popular technology blogs, notably Slashdot, Ars Technical, Network World, and BoingBoing!

Th, Oct 17 Kotaro Hara
CS PhD Student

Uran Oh
CS PhD Student
ASSETS'13 Practice Talks Talk 1: Improving Public Transit Accessibility for Blind Riders by Crowdsourcing Bus Stop Landmark Locations With Google Street View

Talk 2: Follow That Sound: Using Sonification and Corrective Verbal Feedback to Teach Touchscreen Gestures
Th, Oct 24 Makeability Lab
Jon Froehlich's research group in the HCIL
Discussion Reflective discussion of experience exhibiting projects at Silver Spring Mini-Maker Faire.
Th, Oct 31 Jen Golbeck
Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies, Affiliate Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department, Affiliate in the Center for the Advanced Study of Language, and HCIL Director
Work In Progress Discussion HCI and Cybersecurity
Th, Nov 7
Th, Nov 14 Erica Estrada
Lecturer, Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

(Tammy Clegg, contact)

External Speaker/Design Charette Design Thinking
Th, Nov 21 June Ahn
Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies and College of Education (joint appointment), and HCIL faculty member
Work In Progress Discussion Video Games, Blended Learning, and Large-scale Education Reform
Th, Nov 28 No Brown Bag. Happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.
Th, Dec 5
Th, Dec 12

Spring 2014

Date Leader Topic
Jan 30 Helena Mentis
New UMBC HCI faculty member
Feb 6
Feb 13
Feb 20
Feb 27
Feb 28
March 6
March 13
March 20 No Brown Bag. Spring Break.
March 27
April 3
April 10
April 17
April 24
May 1 No Brown Bag. CHI 2014 from April 26 to May 1.
May 8


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

Past Brown Bags

The following are the past Brown Bag schedules.

Spring 2013

Date Leader Topic
Jan 24
Jan 31 John Gomez
Feb 7 Ben Bederson Tools for synchronous crowdsourcing
Feb 14
Feb 21
Feb 28 Lisa Anthony (Host: Leah Findlater) Gestural Interaction for Children
March 7 Awalin Sopan Wrong Patient Selection Problem
March 14 Michael Smith-Welch? (Host Jon Froehlich) Kids, Programming, and Makerspaces
March 21 Spring Break (No BBL)
March 28
April 4 Ben Bederson, Jon Froehlich, Leah Findlater HCIL Discussion: Activities, BBL, email lists, etc.
April 11 Urah Oh, Anne Bowser CHI Practice Talks: (1) Urah Oh (full paper) and (2) Anne Bowser (full paper)
April 18 Megan Monroe, Kotaro Hara CHI Practice Talks: (1) Megan Monroe (full paper) and (2) Kotaro Hara (full paper)
April 25
May 2 CHI 2013 (No BBL)
May 9