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Recent research projects (updated 3 Sept, 2016)

Descriptions of research and other projects can be found on my Projects page. In brief they comprise:

iFISH: a highly engaging exploration engine where a user explores based on personal preferences or 'tastes'.

SGW: online software to advise gardeners on watering. Expanding to advice on mobile devices and sensor networks in gardens.

PRAZE: software to support anonymous peer review in teaching.

Ambivilence project: an ARC project exploring using social networks to support 'ambivalent socialisers' in quitting smoking.


Research interests

My research interests are in the uses of highly engaging and interactive environments in a variety of contexts such as: online learning, exploring complex information spaces, etc. This interest grew from a background in university physics teaching in which the way students learn physics, both online and face-to-face, was a prime interest. In recent years my work has been within the Interactive Design Group within the Department of Information Systems and has hence taken on a more general focus on engagement, affective computing, interactivity and multimedia.

Two areas of particular current interest to me are:

(i) engaging users in exploratory tasks to achieve a goal; the role of ‘affect’ and animation is of interest. Look on my Projects web page for information about "iFISH" or go straight to the iFISH Project page if you have interests here.

(ii) research relating to my current project about the use of technology to encourage users to change their practice in a sustainability sense. Our SmartGardenWatering.org.au web site approaches this by exploring the use of a highly interactive engaging technology to advise gardeners how to use water efficiently in their gardens, and also to interact with an on-line community focussing on saving water. This project is funded by the Smart Water Fund. More details on the project here.

My PhD titled "An investigation of interactivity and flow: student behaviour during online instruction" (abstract, thesis) explored students' experience of 'flow' during online learning. 'Flow' refers to a highly enjoyable experience of control and deep engagement in which a person's skills are well matched to the challenges presented to them. People often report losing track of time during flow and enjoy the experience for its own sake. The aim of the research is to discover how flow relates to learning and what the experience of flow looks like in an online learning setting. The context of the learning is university-level physics and draws on my prior experiences in that area.

Current research students

PhD students

Patrick Pang (2012 - 2016). See Patrick's thesis "Understanding Exploratory Search in Seeking Health Information" here: http://hdl.handle.net/11343/115239

Rob Ely (2009 - 2016)

Masters & 'Occupational trainee' visitors

David Patman (2012 - )

Varan Pathmanathan (Aarlburg University, Denmark) (2010)

Ruud Knieriem (Utrecht University, Netherlands) (2008 - 2009)

Past Honours students

Geoff Findlay (2008)

Silvie Neu (2007)

Ian Liu (2006)


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Some old (!) presentations

2008-10-17 Interactive Design Group research seminar “To search or to explore? – that is the question”: a study in mindful engagement (4.3 MB file)
2008-05-30 IDG Group Smart Water seminar
: "All green fingers and no thumbs": Reflections on a multidisciplinary design for a garden watering system (6.5 MB file)
2006-10-20 Interactive Design Group research seminar: Using a scenario-planning tool to support an engaging online user experience (6.5 MB file)
2004-09-03 Interactive Design Group research seminar: Reflections of a PhD on Flow (356 kB pdf)
2004-06-30 APCHI Conference presentation (483 kB, pdf)
2003-04-04 Department Seminar
(352 kB, ppt)
2002-03-08 Interactive Design Group research Seminar
2001-04-06 Flow seminar
2003 Doctoral consort 2003
2002-11-21 HF2002 Poster
2002-03-04 Departmental seminar
2002-08-16 Interactive Design Group research Seminar

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Working papers

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