Reflection on Presentation1

Our team didn’t get the chance to present, but I still feel I learned a lot about collaboration since the last two classes. I used to think that team project is kinda of time-consuming, since you have to coordinate between multiple people, and everybody has different schedule and everybody is busy. I vaguely know that team projects are supposed to make students better collaborators and communicators, but I didn’t really feel much difference deep in my heart. Now I realize that I was so goal-oriented, and that kinda blocked me from enjoying the process. I was always in such a hurry and panic to get everything finished. Now I realize you can never get everything finished, or get everything perfect, the more important thing is to learn from each other and to learn together.

I recently read a lot about social constructivism in learning, simply put, knowledge and meaning is socially constructed. So I started to mindfully pay attention to what I learned from others and what we together constructed during the collaboration. For example, Anusha and I made the presentation on text and typography. Although we didn’t get to present eventually, I realize I wouldn’t even know what is typography, and what’s the difference between text and typography if we didn’t have the talk before last class. I just felt so much better even we finished that part the last minute before class. Anusha, thank you for making me feel so much better 🙂

Don’t panic. Everything will be fine. Just use a mindfully appreciation to your collaborators, and talk with them to see what you can learn together, and be nice, and make friends with them. You will benefit from talking to each other about the key concepts more than dividing all the work and do them completely alone, though that maybe more efficient under special time when everybody is super super busy.


RAA#4: Social Discovery

1. APA Citation

Shneiderman, B. (2011). Social discovery in an information abundant world: Designing to create capacity and seek solutions. Information Services and Use, 31(1), 3–13. PDF

2. Definition:

Social Discovery: the collaborative processes that promote creating capabilities and seeking solutions. “In its most ambitious form social discovery is the detection of new and important relationships, patterns or principles that advance disciplines and make valuable contributions to society.”

3. Purpose

Propose a framework of design of search tools that support social discovery.

4. Methods

Based on previous theories of information seeking, work in CSCW and the Reader-to-Leader framework of social participation.

Figuire1. The Reader-to-Leader framework suggests that the typical path for social media participation moves from reading online content to making contributions, initially small edits, but growing into more substantive contributions. The user-gen- erated content can be edits to a wiki, comments in a discussion group, ratings of movies, photos, music, animations or videos. Collaborators work together over periods of weeks or months to make more substantial contributions, and leaders act to set policies, deal with problems, and mentor new users.

5. Main Findings

(1) The shift of searching tools: specific fact-finding–> open-ended exploratory search –> social discovery (collaboration in creating capabilities and seeking solutions)

(2) The Social Discovery framework. “The social discovery concept extends the ideas from the creativity and discovery support tools based on information visualization, team coordination and design tools.” It emphasize not only the information seeking, but also participation and creativity. “Valuable contributions also come from those who tag, taxonomize, comment, annotate, rank, rate, review and summarize.”

Figure 2. The Social Discovery framework describes the two stages of work: creating capacity and seeking solutions. These are carried out by a dialog between those who initiate requests and those who provide responses over a period of weeks and months.

5. Analysis: This is a theory paper from a computer scientist. Ben Sheinderman is a big figure in HCI and Information Visualization. He advocates the revolution of science to science 2.0 to really consider real social problems utilizing the web. This is a framework or guideline on design of computation tools that better support human and their social interaction in the processing of searching for knowledge. It is set to “promote thinking about and conducting research into the mechanisms that facilitate social discovery”. It mentions that “the implications are profound for academic, industrial and government researchers, since they force re-consideration of reward structures, especially for creating capabilities, which deserve more recognition in tenure or promotion reviews.” I am excited to see a big figure in computer science really embraces the idea of social media to do good for our humanity, and admire a lot of his thoughts and insight.

RAA#3: CommentSpace, Collaborative Visual Analytics

  1. APA Citation:
    Willett, W., Heer, J., Hellerstein, J., & Agrawala, M. (2011). CommentSpace: structured support for collaborative visual analysis. Proceedings of the 2011 annual conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 3131–3140). PDF

    CommentSpace website

  2. Purpose:  (1) Present details of a web-based collaborative visual analysis system CommentSpace that aims to help users better make sense of the visualizations through synthesizing others’ comments. CommentSpace “enables analysts to annotate visualizations and apply two additional kinds of structure: 1) tags that consist of descriptive text attached to comments or views; and 2) links that denote relationships between two comments or between a comment and a specific visualization state or view. The resulting structure can help analysts navigate, organize, and synthesize the comments, and move beyond exploration to more complex analytical tasks. (2) Evaluate this system: “how a small, fixed vocabulary of tags (question, hypothesis, to-do) and links (evidence-for, evidence-against) can help analysts collect and organize new evidence, identify important findings made by others, and synthesize their findings” and “establish common ground”.
  3. Methods: (1) present technical details of the design of this system, and usage scenario (2) evaluate by two controlled user studies and a live deployment comparing CommentSpace with a similar system that doesn’t support tags and links.
  4. Main findings: (1) A small, fixed vocabulary of tags and links helps analysts more consistently and accurately classify evidence and establish comment ground. (2) Managing and incentivizing participation is important for analysts to progress from exploratory analysis to deeper analytical tasks. (3) Tags and links can help teams complete evidence gathering and synthesis tasks and that organizing comments using tags and links improves analytics results.
  5. Analysis: (1) This paper is from the “garden” of information visualization and visual analytics. This line of work (collaborative visual analytics) is drawn from and expanding into CSCW and social media research. Because computing systems are eventually serving people within their social contexts, also because of the popularity of the web, many technical systems are implemented on the web and thus seek to support people, their communication and collaboration. I see this emerging converging point between social media and visualization techniques, but there are still huge discrepancies in the way of thinking and doing among researchers in different disciplines (esp. computer science and social science). Traditionally, the way of conducting user studies in technical world usually lack of rigor or depth. “It was almost a joke in some technical domains that reviewers of papers just need to check the mental box of the existence of user studies without considering the quality”. Large part of those papers are dedicated to “fancy algorithms”. The future of social computing calls for close collaboration between computer scientists and social scientists, further more engineers, artists and designers. (2) This paper is related to my project of integrating user participation in rating, tagging and commenting academia papers. CommentSpace is designed as a modular softare that can run  in conjunction with any interactive visualization system or website that treats each view of the data as a discrete state, so maybe I am looking forward to adopt it or some elements of it to my project in the future.

Twitter Reflection

Rethinking Recruiting….

I read this blog about how useful twitter is for recruiting.  It should also useful for us in similar way (for job hunting, and academic career), and I always have this belief which has been enhanced by TECH621 class. However, I am not quite there yet. I still feel it’s a lot messy on my twitter, and feel burdensome just to clean it up, and there are interesting people there I am following, but I simply just read too slow to follow all those interesting posts. Hopefully I will get there this semester.

I definitely understand why Dr. V push us to collaborate on Twitter, because of all those potential benefit mentioned above if we get really professional on Twitter. We did a fairly good job. However, Twitter seems not a very good tool for this kind of collaboration, especially for some of us who are at the starting stage of using twitter. We are not automatically included in one conversation if our name didn’t get mentioned in one tweet, we have to manually click the #Tech621 hash-tag to see what was going on. We should have created another hash-tag just for this presentation. Since we didn’t do that, there are probably hurdles in between the conversation: somebody posted the topic they want to do, but another person didn’t see that tweet, and posted the same topic later. I heard about complain about that A wanted to a certain topic, and posted on Tweet, but B “stole” A’s topic later on, probably because B didn’t see or didn’t pay attention to A’s earlier post.  I made a summary tweet of who’s going to do what topic at the early stage to make things clearer. Sometimes there are too much traffic on twitter and too much distraction, it’s very easy to miss some relatively important messages, especially for starters.We coordinate well on twitter, but me and my partner still met offline to go through the slides and clean things up.

I would think a Skype discussion group (by including other people in the conversation) would be better, or any other tools of the similar nature (I’ve used QQ messenger and Fetion messenger before, and they works just fine. Gtalk would do the work too) where conversations happen exclusively among the group members without outside disturbing, also the messages will be saved if a certain group member is offline, thus he or she will see the messages next time upon login.

I should dig more into Twitter to make it truly useful for my career. Hopefully, I will get on the right track at the end of this semester.

P.S. Something for your laugh and thought. Here is an interesting video about twitter. A young man who doesn’t tweet said those who tweet all day for the reason of hanging out with friends don’t really have friends. This caused the Fail Wale, which caused a huge panic: