SIAT - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

Receive updates for this collection

‘Ah Ha’ Moments: Novice Choreographers Using Defamiliarization in Digital Choreographic Technologies

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-09-19
Abstract: 

Choreography is a complex compositional and embodied creative process that often relies on ‘co-imagining’ between choreographer and dancer, and more recently between choreographer and technology as a strategy in generating new movement ideas. Adding technology into the choreographic process is a unique challenge because choreographers generate, augment and assess movement through and on their bodies. Technology has historically been used as a tool to augment creative opportunities in choreographic process;; often these varied choreographic support tools are designed to function as a ‘blank slate’ for choreography. However, these choreographic tools do not necessarily contribute to the design of creative ideas, instead functioning on low levels mainly as notebooks, annotation tools and idiosyncratic empty canvases. My research investigates the experience of novice choreographer’s ‘ah ha’ moments in their creative process by addressing a gap that exists within current digital choreographic creativity support tools. This gap is the ability to co-imagine novel movement choices between choreographer and technological support system. ‘Ah ha’ moments refer to moments in creative choreographic process that present new insight, understanding or choices and that bridge connections for a choreographer, contributing to a new awareness that results in novel movement material, or novel approaches to structuring movement: reflection of an iterative process. Collaboration is often recognized as a key element in compositional process between choreographers and dancers, and is recently described as a process of ‘Co-Imagination’ by performance theorist Andre Lepecki. Co-Imagination is the process of imagining the creative possibilities interactively together, yet with unequal creative control. While this is a common practice in contemporary choreography, the choreographic strategies of back-and-forth interactions (with mutual participation) is seldom considered and is under researched as a creativity tool for choreography. In the research presented in this thesis, I have explored the concept of applying generative algorithms in the creation of movement catalysts that can propose novel choices to the choreographer. I have designed, implemented and evaluated these generative choreographic procedures (which I have titled ‘Cochoreo’) to the existing choreographic support tool ‘idanceForms’ (idF). Novice choreographers were asked to design short choreographies using idF over a week. Data was collected through observation and focus group discussions and analyzed through grounded-theory inspired thematic methods. The contribution of this work situates the design and practice of interactive choreographic systems within creativity theory to explore future design of iterative and provocative technology for supporting movement, creativity and co-imagination.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Thecla Schiphorst
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

A Methodology for the Computational Evaluation of Style Imitation Algorithms

Date created: 
2016-12-05
Abstract: 

We investigate Musical Metacreation algorithms by applying Music Information Retrieval techniques for comparing the output of three off-line, corpus-based style imitation algorithms. The first is Variable Order Markov Chains, a statistical model; second is the Factor Oracle, a pattern matcher; and third, MusiCOG, a novel graphical model based on perceptual processes. Our focus is on discovering which musical biases are introduced by the algorithms, that is, the characteristics of the output which are shaped directly by the formalism of the algorithms and not by the corpus itself. We describe META-MELO, a system that implements the three algorithms, along with a methodology for the quantitative analysis of algorithm output, when trained on a corpus of melodies in symbolic form. Results show that the algorithms’ output are indeed different, although none of them encompass completely the full feature-set belonging to the style of the corpus. We conclude that this methodology is promising for aiding in the informed application and development of generative algorithms for music composition problems.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Philippe Pasquier
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Interacting with Design Alternatives

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-05-26
Abstract: 

Many designers tend to work with multiple, simultaneously-available design alternatives. The evidence for this fact can be found in many different domains of design, such as architectural, product, industrial and mechanical design, but also in drawing, painting, sculpting, and fine arts in general. Numerous empirical studies, likewise, report instances of designers developing, and then simultaneously working with multiple design solutions in parallel. The need for alternatives-enabled work can be further confirmed by instances of expert opinion, as well as explained by theoretical accounts based on first perceptual principles, such as those governing the human visual system, or human perception in general. Yet, despite the available evidence confirming the importance of multi-state work, most contemporary computational tools, including computer-aided design (CAD) tools, their important sub-variant (parametric CAD, or pCAD tools), as well as other types of computational tools, are steeply immersed in the single-state paradigm, whereby the user can work with, and modify, just a single computational model at a time. Consequently, since the overwhelming majority of users nowadays still employ single-state tools, they necessarily have to recur to various ad hoc methods when engaging in multi-state work, in order to circumvent the limitations inherent to single-state tools. However, such workaround methods are inefficient, and error-prone. The aim of this work is to address the aforementioned shortcoming of single-state computational tools, while focusing on pCAD tools. The thesis of this work, accordingly, is that ``alternatives-enabled (i.e. multi-state) pCAD tools, designed in concordance with the interaction design guidelines and principles presented in this dissertation, support designing''. I break down my thesis statement further into the following three main research questions, each addressing one separate aspect of the statement: (1) What are the essential system features of novel multi-state pCAD tools that can support design work? (2) What are the design guidelines and principles for building and evaluating multi-state pCAD tools? and (3) What methodological approach can be followed that can help system designers build multi-state pCAD tools? In order to support my thesis, I first conceptualize (or design, develop) the class of multi-state pCAD tools, by first employing both (1) various pre-design methods (such as literature review, and probing of the ``design space'' of feasible interaction designs), as well as (2) by employing various research-through-design methods characterized by the development of numerous models, interactive research prototypes, and design artifacts in general. All these activities provide evidence about the effectiveness of specific, individual features of multi-state pCAD tools. The two main research methods that I use include (a) an expert study whereby six experts voice their opinion on the CAMBRIA 1 prototype and its features, and (b) a cognitive analysis which provides scores of the CAMBRIA 2 prototype evaluated along a number of ``cognitive dimensions''. The experience that I acquire by performing pre-design and research-through-design activities allows me to synthesize high-level bodies of knowledge such as design guidelines and principles, as well as to describe the method that I followed in order to conceptualize multi-state pCAD tools. These, in turn, answer postulated research questions, and thus support the thesis.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Halil Erhan
Robert Woodbury
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Design-in-Living

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-04
Abstract: 

This doctoral work aims at articulating and deepening our understanding of how people design and make a space they live in with the goal of informing the design of interactive artifacts. While previous research described the appropriation and transformation of design artifacts through their everyday uses, those descriptions have focused mostly on discrete artifacts or systems. In this doctoral work, my goal is to go beyond unique instances by looking at the relations between design artifacts, ensembles of artifacts, and the spaces they are in. This dissertation puts forward the concept of design-in-living as a way to rethink the design of interactive artifacts and spaces. Design-in-living describes how everyday designers engage in multiple ways of designing by combining unconscious design acts, ad hoc design, and planned design activities in order to construct their built environment. Design-in-living occurs while living in a particular space over time and design acts are motivated by fit between artifacts, ensembles, and the space. As a result, the space is constantly and incrementally built, leading to an invariably unfinished space. The articulation of design-in-living emerged from the findings of four studies. Each study was previously published and the full text of those four studies is presented in this cumulative format dissertation. The four studies include 1) a critical literature review of human-computer interaction (HCI) research on the home, 2) an ethnography inspired study of the practices of design and making of three groups of non-expert designers, 3) the articulation of the conceptual construct of unselfconscious interaction, and 4) an autobiographical design project of converting a cargo van into a campervan. In addition to the conceptualization of design-in-living, this dissertation I pose a critical reflection on how to design for people who live with the Internet of Things, at home and beyond. Moreover, I offer a methodological reflection on the use of autobiographical design as a method of inquiry. Finally, this dissertation is addressed to interaction designers and HCI and design researchers who are interested in designing interactive artifacts that can become part of the making and designing practices in lived-in spaces.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ron Wakkary
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Breaking Tradition: Recreating Tutorials with Unconventional Techniques

Date created: 
2016-07-11
Abstract: 

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tutorials have become part of our every day landscape. From IKEA style furniture directions to clothing tags detailing how to wash them, people are surrounded by directions listing the steps required to accomplish a task by themselves. The Maker movement, utilizing this form of instruction, has popularized and standardized the format. HCI research and tutorial makers explore methods of streamlining the creation of DIY tutorials, but very little research has been done to explore alternatives. By applying Research through Design (RtD) techniques, this work seeks to explore twelve alternative approaches to traditional tutorial presentation methods. Both amateur and expert participants were then asked nineteen different open-ended questions pertaining to the designed tutorials. Their responses were coded and sorted utilizing grounded theory, and serve to support the RtD methodologies already applied. The findings of this study reveal a need for identifying a tutorials audience, in addition to better supporting tutorial authors.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ron Wakkary
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Tangible interactions with intangible heritage: The development and design of ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ — belongings

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-16
Abstract: 

Contemporary museums increasingly incorporate technology into exhibits, allowing visitors to engage with information in different ways and in greater depth. One such technology utilized is the digital tabletop. This thesis describes ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ — Belongings, an interactive tangible tabletop at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. The tabletop was designed to communicate the continuity of Musqueam culture, convey the complexity of belongings excavated from an ancient Musqueam village site, and reconnect those belongings to traditional practices and oral histories through tangible interactions with the table. In this thesis, I offer a case study of the collaborative design process shared among the researchers, curators, and the exhibit Advisory Committee, and I highlight key design decisions that resulted from this collaboration, showcasing how cultural values can be shared through tangible interactions. I use this case study to contextualize three collaborative publications on ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ — Belongings, the research outcomes of this project.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kate Hennessy
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Leveraging MSLQ dataset for predicting students’ achievement goal orientations

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-07-12
Abstract: 

Motivation, cognition, and achievement goals are three broad domains of learners’ characteristics that affect how learners study and what they learn by studying. Two of the most commonly used instruments for measuring learners’ characteristics are the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire, and the Achievement Goals Orientation. A substantial body of research over the last three decades has studied relationships between the motivational and the achievement goal constructs used in both the instruments. No previous study, however, attempted to use the existing knowledge of construct associations to derive learners’ achievement goals from their measures of learning motivation or vice versa. This research aimed to leverage the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire dataset for predicting learners’ achievement goals orientations and was guided by the following research question: whether the MSLQ measures of motivated strategies for learning reveal achievement goal orientations of college students. Data for this study was collected from 347 undergraduate students. Both a confirmatory data analysis approach and an exploratory data analysis approach were employed to examine the collected data. For confirmatory analysis, I built a new theoretical model of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire items based on the previous empirical research findings, and employed Pearson correlation analysis, regression analysis and Akaike Information Criterion to identify the best-fit models. For exploratory investigations, I used canonical correlation analysis to identify relationships between Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire measures and Achievement Goals Orientation constructs. The confirmatory analysis identified a 15-item model of motivated strategies which predicted four achievement orientations, whereas the exploratory analysis resulted in a 15-item model that predicted three achievement goal orientations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Marek Hatala
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Visual histories of decision processes for collaborative decision making

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-05-24
Abstract: 

Remembering, understanding and reconstructing past activities is a necessary part of any learning, sense-making or decision making process. It is also essential for any collaborative activity. This dissertation investigates the design and evaluation of systems to support decision remembering, understanding and reconstruction by groups and individuals. By conducting three qualitative case studies of small professional groups, we identify the critical activities where history functionality is needed most and specify problems in collaboration and technology use. We construct a framework of key issues, concepts and observations that can serve as a basis for the design of systems to support histories for decision making and decision reconstruction. A tool for visual history in collaborative decision making may benefit from having the following features: a minimal commitment way to create records of history; support for sharing of tacit knowledge; providing the context of information; reducing clutter and user need to switch attention among the tools and environments; providing access to multiple sources of record within a single environment; providing users with cues and reminders; allowing users to create their own structures within the system; and supporting user agreements and storytelling. We suggest and defend specific design responses to the above mentioned framework. We reified several of these design ideas in an interactive prototype (the VH Prototype). A qualitative user study of the VH Prototype validates, refines and prioritizes the suggested design framework and shows possible real-world scenarios for how each of the design principles can support decision recording, remembering, understanding and reconstruction.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Robert Woodbury
Lyn Bartram
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Development, implementation, and evaluation of an interaction design thinking course in the context of secondary education

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-06-26
Abstract: 

Design thinking aims to foster innovation by elevating participants’ creative thinking abilities. It usually involves a problem-solving approach to solve complex problems, which can be best achieved through collaborative and human-centered activities. In post-secondary education, design-thinking techniques and practices have been implemented into different curricula as particular skills that need to be learned in the 21st century. However, little work has been conducted to investigate design thinking in secondary education. This thesis reports on a successful development, implementation, and evaluation of an interaction design-thinking curriculum in the context of secondary education. Over the course of three months, 39 students from two schools in grades 9 and 10 participated in the course. Several types of data sources, including in-depth interviews, participant observation, focus group, open-ended questions, questionnaires, and visual method were employed to gather data, and the data was coded for distinguishing core concepts and categories. The results of the study clarify the course benefit for students and inform interaction design educators and researchers about how to best develop, implement, and evaluate a secondary-level course on interaction design thinking. This study presents several important research contributions. First, it demonstrates how students’ design thinking skills can be incorporated into their everyday life experiences and practices. Second, the findings of the study shed light on design thinking evaluation, and how design educators and interaction design practitioners can evaluate participants’ design thinking skills and abilities through different data collection methods in depth. Third, this study provides an analytical lens in examining and adapting a design thinking curriculum in the context of secondary education. Furthermore, this study provides four substantial recommendations to design educators for implementation of a design thinking-based curriculum.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ron Wakkary
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Not all feedback modalities are created equal: designing mindful artifacts to decrease stress and increase focus

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-02-23
Abstract: 

Mindful breathing exercises have been proven to reduce stress and increase focus. While technologies are increasingly being used to support mindfulness practices, there has been little research that has evaluated how different modalities can affect everyday awareness. I utilized a research through design methodology to develop three different artifacts that use different feedback modalities to alert participants when their breathing pattern shifts from optimal diaphragm breathing to chest breathing. Using a mixed-methods study, I analyzed how different feedback modalities influence diaphragm breathing, and the corresponding impact on stress reduction, focus and productivity for students in everyday work activities. My findings show that when participants were able to achieve optimal diaphragm breathing patterns their stress decreased and their focus increased, especially if they participated in a regular body-based practice. I utilized my results to evaluate the five design guidelines that were applied in the development of the three different artifacts.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Thecla Schiphorst
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.