Designing for Discovery: Enhancing collaborative exploration and learning

March 18, 2016
Halligan 102
Speaker: Orit Shaer, Wellesley College
Host: Rob Jacob


Over the past two decades, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research has generated a broad range of interaction styles that move beyond the desktop into new physical and social contexts. Key areas of innovation in this respect include tabletop, tangible, and embodied user interfaces. In this talk, we will examine the application of emerging interaction styles to enhancing collaborative learning and discovery in data-driven areas.

I will present three projects designed to enhance collaborative exploration and learning with biological data sets. The first, SynFlo, is a museum exhibit for exposing visitors to the core ideas of bio-design. The second, G-nome Surfer, is a tabletop user interface for genomic research designed to support novice scientists. The third project, Genomix, is a user interface for self exploration of personal genomics by non-expert users. Through these different case studies, I will highlight what design factors and interaction techniques are important for enhancing discovery.

Bio: Orit Shaer is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and director of the Media Arts and Sciences at Wellesley College. She also directs the Wellesley College Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Lab. Her research HCI focuses on 3D, tangible, tabletop, and mobile interaction as well as on computer-supported collaborative learning. Shaer is a recipient of several National Science Foundation and industry awards including the prestigious NSF CAREER Award, Agilent Technologies Research Award, and Google App Engine Education Award. She received her PhD and MSc in Computer Science from Tufts University. She has been a research fellow in the Design Machine Group at the University of Washington and in the University College London Interaction Center.