SLIS welcomes newest faculty member Dr. Yvonne Rogers

[photo of Dr. Yvonne Rogers]

Yvonne Rogers, Ph.D., is professor of information science at SLIS, professor of informatics at the School of Informatics, and adjunct professor of cognitive science. She also retains her chair in computer science and artificial intelligence at the University of Sussex, UK.

SLIS: In addition to your teaching, what are your plans for research here?

Dr. Rogers: To begin with I would like to familiarize myself with the various HCI based projects that are ongoing in SLIS. I'd also like to continue with some of the research projects I was working on in the UK. In particular, I am very interested in exploring the social and cognitive aspects of collaborating around shared interactive surfaces (i.e. tabletops and boards). For example, I am currently setting up a research project with MERL (Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs) based in Boston, MA, to carry out a series of user studies investigating how people collaborate and learn together when supported by their state of the art interactive tabletop technologies. I also plan to investigate aspects of the user experience that "move beyond the desktop", developing frameworks that conceptualise the physical, embodied and socio-cognitive aspects of human technology interactions.

SLIS: This fall you will be teaching L642: Information Usage and the Cognitive Artifact. What will students explore in the course? What are the key ideas or artifacts they should take from your course?

Dr. Rogers: The title of this course is a legacy from the past, so I've renamed it as "Concepts and Contemporary Issues in HCI". A central concern is to determine which theories and constructs are appropriate for understanding the use of, informing the design of and assessing the value of information technologies. The first part of the course provides an opportunity for students to learn about a range of theoretical approaches that have been developed specifically for use in HCI. Based on this understanding, students will then have the opportunity to apply some of them, assessing their value in relation to the design and evaluation of particular interactive technologies. To this end, a number of hands-on practical activities will be carried out alongside reading of the relevant literature. In so doing, a variety of techniques of applying theoretical ideas will be explored and their merits and disadvantages exposed. The second part of the course will examine contemporary issues surrounding the situated use of interactive technologies. In particular, it will cover "hot topics", including emotion, embodiment, interpersonal and social aspects of interaction. As with the first part, it will explore the value of emerging theoretical accounts for these kinds of phenomena in relation to their utility in informing the design of interactive systems.

SLIS: Your research crosses many fascinating fields, like sociology, psychology, computer and information science, and anthropology. What attracts you to the intersection of the disciplines?

Dr. Rogers: I've always been a strong believer in interdisciplinarity and resist being pigeon-holed as a "computer scientist", a "psychologist" or an "HCI expert". Part of the reason is that, in my view, many problems in HCI and information science are best tackled from multiple perspectives, namely, technical, social, cognitive and design. Multiple concepts and methods, derived from different perspectives and fields, provide an armory of tools that enable us to theorize about "the bigger picture" while also enabling us to consider how best to design a range of user experiences aided and augmented with various technologies. This requires having a knowledge of the different perspectives and also working in multidisciplinary teams.

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Posted August 04, 2003