Research

I'm a PhD student in the Department of Management Science and Engineering working with Professor Pamela Hinds at the Center for Work, Technology and Organization. My research focuses on the use of communication and collaboration technologies in distributed organizations around the world. Specifically, I study how technology is adopted and used in organizations that span geographic and cultural boundaries, what obstacles users face when they are communicating and collaborating with colleagues around the world and how we can design more effective, user-friendly information and communication technologies. I am also a member of the Stanford Human-Computer Interaction Group where I am working with Professor Michael Bernstein on a "Flash Teams" project in which we are using oDesk and other crowdsourcing platforms to go through the entire human-centered design and development process and build interactive applications and other creative projects in record time. Through this project, we hope to create an efficient pipeline process and create a platform that allows individuals to crowdsource their projects and take advantage of the unique affordances of crowdsourcing tools.

As an undergraduate at Cornell, I worked with Professor Geri Gay at the Interaction Design Lab on projects related to mobile health applications. Some of my other mentors and collaborators at Cornell included Professors Sahara Byrne, Jeff Hancock and Jeremy Birnholtz. My current and previous research projects are summarized below. All of my publications and research involvements can be found on my CV.

Current Projects

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Expert Crowdsourcing with Flash Teams
with Michael Bernstein, Melissa Valentine, Alexandra To, Negar Rahmati & S├ębastien Robaszkiewicz
View project site | Read the paper

This research introduces expert crowds as core components of crowdsourcing systems. Where traditional microtasking struggles with complex goals that require expertise, crowds of experts can succeed. Expert crowds, however, fail to structure their work effectively. To overcome these challenges, we present flash teams: modular, self-contained and replicable computational workflows for expert crowdsourcing. To support the creation of flash teams, we are developing Foundry, an interactive environment for authoring team structures and live monitoring of team progress. So far, we have demonstrated that flash teams can crowdsource complex tasks such as movie animations, lesson planning, and the entire user-centered design process, in less than one day. Replicating and combining these modular teams can yield substantial projects, such as an entire on-demand online class platform with content, in twenty hours.

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Understanding Technology Appropriation in Intercultural Global Work
with Pam Hinds, Steve Barley & Hatim Rahman

The research involves a longitudinal global field study with qualitative and quantitative components. The objective of this research project is to understand the opportunities and challenges of deploying a knowledge sharing system around the globe, particularly with regard to the way people in different countries are using it in different, potentially incompatible ways. Ultimately, this research will advance our understanding of the possibilities and problems associated with the deployment of collaboration technology for global use and shed light on how to better support global knowledge sharing and collaboration across teams and countries. Open questions, for example, include 1) in what ways do people in different cultural contexts use knowledge sharing systems similarly and differently, 2) what are the underlying reasons for these differences, and 3) when these systems are used differently, what is the impact on global collaboration? This research is supported by a grant from National Science Foundation.

Previous Projects

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Time to Eat [Mobile Health Application]
with Geri Gay, Sahara Byrne, JP Pollak, Amy Gonzales, Theodore Lee, Brian Wansink

Mindless Eating Challenge is a mobile phone-based health game based on Dr. Brian Wansink's Mindless Eating Challenge. In the game, players are tasked with caring for a virtual pet or plant, similar to the popular Tamgotchi. Pet care requires the user to follow a variety of health and eating recommendations and verify their actions with photos taken with their phone's camera. For example, the recommendation "Eat a hot breakfast" would require the player to submit a photo of him/ herself eating a bowl of oatmeal. Photos and compliance are then judged either by judges or peers. Based on compliance to these recommendations, the pet or plant changes its appearance and gains features or accessories--a tree might grow taller or grow more leaves or fruit in response. Alternatively, leaves might fall off if the players performance is poor. A social portion of the game allows the user to see various depictions of their performance in comparison to the performance of others in their group, as well as of their group in comparison to other groups. Mindless Eating Challenge is funded by the Pioneer Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Journal of Children & Media | IEEE Pervasive Computing

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Tweeting for Class: Co-Construction as a Means for Engaging Students in Lectures
with Jeremy Birnholtz and Jeff Hancock

Motivating students to be active learners is a perennial problem in education, and is particularly challenging in lectures where instructors typically prepare content in ad-vance with little direct student participation. We describe our experience using Twitter as a tool for student "co-construction" of lecture materials. Students were required to post a tweet prior to each lecture related to that day's topic, and these tweets -- consisting of questions, examples and reflections -- were incorporated into the lecture slides and notes. Students reported that they found lectures including their tweets in the class slides to be engaging, interactive and relevant, and nearly 90% of them recommended we use our co-construction approach again.
YouTube Video | CHI 2013 (Note) | CSCW 2012 (Poster)

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Vera [Mobile Health Application]
with Geri Gay, JP Pollak, Eric Baumer, Phil Adams and several others at the Interaction Design Lab

A key to behavior change is the ability to intervene at the point of decision. In health behavior, this could be the moment one must decide between taking the elevator or the stairs or whether or not to eat a piece of cake. These are also the moments where it is most difficult to reach people--they occur throughout the day, often randomly, in any location. Fortunately, the ubiquity and awareness of today's mobile phones provides us with a solution. The goal of this project is to explore the use of the mobile phone as a behavioral interrupt: how, at the point of health-related decisions, can we encourage people to take a moment to think about the ramifications of their decision, reflect on past decisions, and ultimately make healthier choices? The application, codenamed Vera, is currently in testing, but we will reveal more information soon!
CSCW 2012 (Paper)

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