HCI International 2017
Vancouver, Canada, 9 - 14 July 2017
Vancouver Convention Centre
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PANEL: How Two Billion Smartphone Users Can Save Species and More!

Animal and plant populations are declining and becoming extinct at an alarming rate. Habitat loss and environmental degradation are an international concern. HCI specialists have the knowledge and skills to design technology and support communities to collect and share data with scientists, conservationists, policy experts and the public. In this panel we will examine the pros and cons of what, when and where HCI specialists can contribute to saving planet earth for future generations. 


Affiliation: Information School, University of Maryland
Country: USA
Email address:  preece@umd.edu

Abstract: I will introduce the panel and provide a brief overview of citizen science, focusing specifically on citizen science for biodiversity and climate change. I will also briefly present a project called NatureNet (nature-net.org) in which we are investigating how best to support community-driven environmental projects. In this project we are working closely with the Anacostia Watershed Society in eastern Maryland and the District of Columbia to support community members who are training to become master watershed stewards. We are also working with the Reedy Creek Nature Center in North Carolina. In addition to submitting environmental and nature data we invite participants to submit design ideas that will shape the platforms that they use (iPhone and Android apps, and the website). 

Biography: Jennifer Preece is Professor and Dean Emerita in the College of Information Studies – Maryland’s iSchool - at the University of Maryland, USA and a Fellow of ACM SigChi. Jennifer’s research focuses on how technology can support citizen science and other volunteer activities. She has researched crowdsourcing, empathy and social support online, participation and reasons for not participating. She has received funding from the US National Science Foundation, UK funding agencies, the EU and various companies including Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. Currently she is the Principle Investigator of a large NSF-funded project entitled “Innovations in Development: Community-Driven Projects That Adapt Technology for Environmental Learning in Nature Preserves.” Jennifer is author of eight books and numerous publications. Her most recent book, co-authored with Yvonne Rogers and Helen Sharp, is a best selling text entitled Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction (1st Ed. 2002; 2nd Ed. 2007; 3rd Ed. 2011, 4th Ed. 2015) www.id-book.com published by John Wiley & Sons. 


Title: British Columbia Stories
Affiliation: University of Victoria
Country: Canada
Email address:  ycoady@uvic.com

Abstract: Every year, the Royal British Columbia Museum inspires curiosity and awe in thousands of students from around the Province.  We are deploying an interactive two-player mixed reality installation to enlighten, stimulate and inspire high school students as they interact with historic artefacts in stories about BC.  The installation in the museum will allow both players, along with people watching monitors, to explore a (virtual) historic world and collaborate throughout a “vignette”, designed by citizen scientists and related to artefacts in the Museum.  Citizen scientists can add to the artefacts and include content from existing projects such as Cartographic Legacies (http://ethnographicmapping.uvic.ca/cartographiclegacies/) and Mountain Legacy (http://mountainlegacy.ca/) to make each story authentic and educational.

Biography: I work with the MOD(ularity) Squad (the grooviest gang of students to ever attempt to improve the modularity of system infrastructure software), in the Computer Science Department, in the Faculty of Engineering, at the University of Victoria, Canada.
Research Interests: mixed reality systems, citizen science, emerging avenues of advanced modularity across the software stack, and new programming paradigms and future pedagogical directions for immersive applications.


Title: The Case of Thoreau’s Field Notes: How CrowdCurio Helps to Advance Science and Citizen Science
Affiliation: David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo
Country: Canada
Email address: edith.law@uwaterloo.ca

Abstract: Harvard’s museums currently houses six million specimens from around the world. Recently, a massive NSF funded effort completed the digitization and transcription of all 140,000 New England herbarium specimens dating back to the 1700s, making it one of the most comprehensive digital herbaria for a single region in the world. Herbarium specimens are a valuable resource for understanding biological responses to climate change as they allow researchers to track long-term changes of vast numbers of species across space and time, allowing scientists to study the effects of climate change.    In this talk, I will introduce CrowdCurio (https://www.crowdcurio.com), a citizen science platform that enables researchers to not only easily create and manage crowdsourcing projects, but also run online experiments to understand the impact of their design on the crowdsourcing results.   Next, I will describe Thoreau’s Field Notes, a CrowdCurio project where participants are asked to count flowers, fruits and buds; these phenotype counts were subsequently used by ecologists to estimate the changes in flowering time in New England over the past decade.  Within the context of this citizen science project, we conducted a series of human-computer interaction experiments to understand how crowd workers can be assessed by their consistency.  Finally, I will conclude with a discussion on our future work to extend the platform to enable small-group crowdsourcing and to engage K-12 classes and botany clubs to process herbarium records towards understanding climate change.  

Biography: Edith Law is an assistant professor at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at University of Waterloo and co-director of the Human Computer Interaction Lab. Her research focuses on studying incentive mechanisms in crowdsourcing systems and developing new ways to combine humans and machines to address problems in science and medicine. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012 with Ph.D. in Machine Learning, M.Sc. in Computer Science at McGill University, and B.Sc. in Computer Science at University of British Columbia. She co-authored the book ``Human Computation" in the Morgan & Claypool Synthesis Lectures on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, co-organized the Human Computation Workshop (HCOMP) Series at KDD and AAAI from 2009 to 2012, and helped create the first AAAI Conference on Human Computation and Crowdsourcing. She founded CrowdCurio, a research infrastructure for studying technology-mediated crowdsourcing in citizen science and digital humanities.


Title: The promise, and limitation, and promise of HCI in field-based citizen science
Affiliation: College of the Environment, University of Washington
Country: USA
Email: jparrish@uw.edu

Abstract: In 2013, the North Pacific Ocean became unusually warm; a feature that persisted for more than three years, covered an area the size of Canada, and wreaked havoc in ocean ecosystems from plankton to seabirds.  Citizen science programs, including the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) witnessed the impacts of this "marine heat wave," collecting first responder data on species die-offs from California to the Bering Sea, Alaska.  How could HCI have made this on-the-ground response more effective?  With a corpus of almost 1,000 trained citizens in dozens of small coastal communities, how can HCI propel us to a more efficient, more effective state of data collection, data analysis, and data interaction and dispersion.  Or, can it?

Biography: Julia K. Parrish is the Lowell A. and Frankie L. Wakefield Professor of Ocean Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington, where she also serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of the Environment.  Julia is a marine biologist, a conservation biologist, and a specialist in citizen science.  She is the Executive Director of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a 17-year old citizen science program responsible for training more than 4,000 participants to collect monthly data on the identity and abundance of beach-cast birds.  In 2013, Julia was recognized at The White House as a Champion of Change for her citizen science work with COASST.  She is an Elected Fellow of the American Ornithological Union, an Elected Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, and an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow


Title: Improving the quality of citizen science data through sharing from smartphones to online environments
 Affiliation: COASST, College of the Environment, University of Washington
Country: United State
Email address: heeyes@gmail.com

Abstract: Biodiversity citizen science data collected by smartphone users can play a significant role in developing biological and environmental scientific research, policies, and education, but only if the data is reliable and shared with scientists, policy makers, educators, and members of the public. This talk introduces case studies that identify opportunities and challenges of using smartphones to record and share biodiversity occurrence data and reveal collaborative efforts made by individuals, communities, and organizations on improving data quality and making data accessible in online environments. The findings of the case studies show how citizen science data quality is enhanced through a multiple-level sharing from smartphones to online environments. This talk has implications for future HCI studies on developing and designing technologies to support better collecting and sharing good quality biodiversity citizen science data.

Biography: Dr. Yurong He is a social science postdoctoral research associate and a staff member of Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) in the College of the Environment at the University of Washington. She received her Ph.D. from the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research interests lie at the intersection of citizen science, information science, and environmental education. Her current research focuses on citizen science participants’ motivation and identity and data collection and sharing practices in citizen science projects across different learning contexts.

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