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

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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.

Models and Methods for Reflecting and Improving Analytical Tools and Practice Using Flow, FlowSpaces, m3 [em-cubed], CDG+ and TextWorlds+ for mindful multi-level analysis of text

Date created: 
2016-04-11
Abstract: 

This Dissertation offers a transdisciplinary integration of several strands of research from human cognition and language understanding across to analytical practice and analytical tool design. This work aims to enable reflective practice for the individual analyst by developing theoretical models, applied methods, and prototype systems that are focused on overcoming core challenges related to deficits in the cognitive and functional capacities of human analysts and their analytical tools. Five integrally related research projects are first grounded by an elaboration of the problem space and a thorough inventory of the concepts, theories, and methods drawn from disciplines that study human cognition and enact analytical practice. The reseach focus proceeds from a broad view on analysis, through to the often overlooked analytical task of shallow evaluative judgment in the preparatory phase of analysis, and finally to the deeper and under-supported task of analytical reading in the execution phase of analysis. The collective goal of these projects is to understand, capture, and enable the processes of general analysis, shallow evaluation and deep comprehension, by creating models, methods, and systems to interactively capture and reflect these cognitive and functional processes. At the broadest level, both the Flow Model and the FlowSpaces System aim to enable process-focussed reflection on focal activities by theorizing a general analysis process, and by capturing and analyzing workflow focus data. The m^3 prototype system and method captures shallow analytical judgments in the preparatory phase of the analysis process as bundles, tags, and highlights. The capture of these metadata objects aims to enable file-focused reflection, on a record of procedural states of files as they are processed through workflows and more generally upon the preparatory process of feature identification and boundary judgment. Finally, to better understand the execution of deeper textual analysis, my extended Cognitive Discourse Grammar offers models of discourse context, discourse content, and the dynamics of discourse processing, as well as several novel methods and interfaces for meta-contextual classification of text. These models are the basis for the applied method and proposed system of TextWorlds+ discourse analysis, which captures interactive TextWorld models as external representations of the internal mental models of conceptual structure formed while reading. Interaction with these models aims to enable meta-cognitive reflection upon the internal cognitive processes of language comprehension.

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

The personal equation of interaction for interface learning: Predicting the performance of visual analysis through the assessment of individual differences

Date created: 
2015-10-20
Abstract: 

The Personal Equation of Interaction (PEI) for Interface Learning is a short self-report psychometric measure which predicts reasoning outcomes of interface learning such as accurate target identification and insights garnered through and inferred from learning interaction. By predicting outcomes, we consider why some interfaces are more appropriate than others, provide a tool for intuitive interface design, and advance the pursuit and design of interface individuation. Through study designs which use comparative interfaces and simple but imperative tasks to any interface learning, such as target identification and inferential learning, we evaluate the accuracy of analysts and how it is impacted by graphical representation. By using psychometric items culled from normed trait assessment, we have created a measure which predicts accuracy and learning, called the Personal Equation of Interaction. This prediction tool can be used in a variety of ways, including as a function or equation that puts a number on the association between analyst and interface. We also use the PEI to build profiles of analyst expert cohorts and discuss how its use might impact Visual Analytics.

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

Exploring thermal sensation in the design of parent-child distant interaction

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-12-02
Abstract: 

Current video chat systems such as Skype afford high quality of auditory and visual information by allowing users to communicate anytime and anywhere. However, affectionate touch which plays an important role in child social-emotional development is filtered out of the process during video conversation. In order to address this issue, this thesis explores the quality of thermal stimulation as a metaphor for physical intimacy in remote interaction between parents and child through a prototyping approach to fully understand potential benefits and experiences of thermal messages in interpersonal communication. The findings from a qualitatively focused methodological approach describe how the users appropriate the thermal wearable communication system and experience heat cues. My analysis reveals values of thermal information in interpersonal communication and suggests how future thermal applications could be designed to augment distant communication patterns in parent-child relationship.

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

Experience Before Construction: An Immersive Virtual Reality Design Tool for Architectural Practice

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-08-05
Abstract: 

In architectural design, understanding and communicating how a building will be experienced is an ongoing challenge. However, recent developments in Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) technology are revealing a new design representation tool capable of providing realistic experiences of computer-generated spaces. Still, the question of how such design representation tools should be designed is a subject of ongoing debate. Here we first outline potential usage scenarios and system requirements based on interviews and focus groups with practicing architects, then describe how this information was used to inform the design of a foundational IVR representation interface that encompasses these scenarios and requirements, and lastly experimentally evaluate the interface according to the system requirements outlined initially. Our findings indicate that our embodied interface provided users with an immersive experience of the space without requiring a significant investment of set up time. Finally, design lessons and future design goals of our interface are discussed.

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

Varying Effects of Learning Analytics Visualizations for Students with Different Achievement Goal Orientations

Date created: 
2015-11-06
Abstract: 

Through advancements of Technology-Enhanced Learning an opportunity has emerged to provide students with timely feedback using Learning Analytics in the form of visualizations. To afford actual impact on learning, such tools have to be informed by theories of education. Particularly, educational research shows that individual differences play a significant role in explaining students’ learning process. However, limited empirical research has investigated the role of theoretical constructs such as motivational factors that are underlying the observed differences between individuals. In this work, we conducted a field experiment to examine the effect of three designed Learning Analytics Visualizations on students’ participation in online discussions in authentic course settings. Using hierarchical linear mixed models, our results revealed different effects of visualizations on the quantity and quality of messages posted by students with different Achievement Goal Orientations. Findings highlight the methodological importance of considering individual differences and pose important implications for future design of Learning Analytics Visualizations.

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

Harvesting the Interactive Potential of Digital Displays in Public Space: The Poetics of Public Interaction

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-11-27
Abstract: 

A digital public display is a platform of media architecture that can either take the form of a large-size stand-alone screen, which relies on LED, LCD or plasma technology, or else a video projection that illuminate the façades of buildings in dark settings. Like nondigital advertising billboards since the nineteenth-century, digital public displays typically tend to be used to deliver commercial content, publicize news and offer context-relevant information in accordance with the elementary one-way transmission model of communication. As a result, until recently, most public media displays remained non-interactive. But now that computational systems can support digitally-mediated interactions on this platform, interactive screen technology is becoming an increasingly common component of new urban digital infrastructures in semi-public and public space. This doctoral research examines how the interactive potential of digital public displays might be unleashed at the scale of the built environment if designers were to focus on their public vocation and their social affordances. In the past decade, display-based systems have mostly been studied, designed and produced top-down style by experts. However, some researchers have called for new methodologies that could help effectively bridge the gap between the top-down prescriptive design approaches and the bottom-up appropriative digital practices that shape the in situ usages of this urban technology. This doctoral work strives to take up this challenge by demonstrating that multisited design is an approach that can be used to shape the conception and function of interactive digital public displays in the context of urban infrastructural planning. An interpretive outcome of participant observation, this dissertation also reports on field observations made over two years, presented as a narrative punctuated with micro-analyses on design research. This further contributes to the literature by, first, implicitly suggesting throughout that the concept of real time public interaction can provide an abstraction that facilitates thinking about the design of interactive digital public displays; second, presenting thick descriptions that evoke four new possible purposes for this platform; and third, developing the concept of social affordances tailored to public space.

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

From Caribou Hide to Pixels: Digital Heritage and Interaction Design in the Virtual Museum.

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-09-23
Abstract: 

In this thesis I perform close readings based on my experience interacting with three different versions of an object – a traditional Inuvialuit parka in the Smithsonian’s collection, and the garment’s respective digital representations on two sites: 1) on the Inuvialuit Living History project and 2) on the Smithsonian Institution’s online database. My analysis is based on common principles between Activity Theory (AT) and the premise of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). AT claims human activity as the foundation in meaning making (Kaptelinin & Nardi, 2006), while ICH is defined as ensembles of actions considered as meaningful traditions and practices beyond utilitarian purposes (Kurin, 2007). The close reading attempts to understand how these principles may inform effective design practice for representations of digital cultural heritage. In particular, how they are manifested in the digital heritage interface through the analytical lenses of: 1) new media narrative; 2) interactivity; and 3) spreadability of meanings.

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