Thursday, October 23, 2008

CS 820 Residency Makeup Sessions

Many thanks to those who attended our Residency Makeup sessions last night. The Adobe Acrobat Connect session was recorded and offered examples of how to complete the activities. Visit the link posted in our News Forum under A Chipmunk's access this 58-minute recording.

The Second Life session included the same concepts, but instead of looking at the documents, it offered more interaction and discussion.

We reviewed:
  • Interface metaphors - users understand the interface as it models real world tasks
  • User profiles - identifying user classes
  • Use case scenarios - preconditions, actors, main scenario, alternate scenario and postconditions
  • Usability specification - identifying usability attributes and setting a range of goals
  • Usability tests - empirical testing using 3D interface prototypes in Second Life
Next week, we will meet in Second Life at 7:00 PM Mountain to discuss project ideas and how to get the most out of Second Life as we weave the course concepts into our 3D modeling activities.

Future classes will weave our project topics and choice of usability criteria into each incremental deliverable. Adobe Acrobat Connect (Breeze) sessions will be scheduled upon request.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Nifty Assignments and the ACM Digital Library

The last Rocky Mountain CCSC presentation demonstrated the use of games and creative solutions in Nifty Assignments.

Are you interested in how students solve problems using a variety of games? Visit the ACM Digital Library. to read how they used Hunt the Wumpus (updated to Hunt-the-Terrorist), football scores, maze creation, anagrams, stable pairings and Missile Command for class assignments. The Rocky Mountain CCSC has offered Nifty Assignments for the past few conferences and this year, offers a paper for those who were unable to attend.

Due to the multiple conference tracks, I missed some wonderful presentations and workshops. For more information, use the titles listed in the CCSC Rocky Mountain Conference program and visit the ACM Digital Library.

jGRASP: Teaching Hard Concepts with Intuitive Visualizations at the CCSC

Dr. James Cross presented jGRASP, the Java virtual machine version of the Graphical Representations of Algorithms, Structures and Processes in his workshop jGRASP: Teaching Hard Concepts with Intuitive Visualizations at the CCSC Rocky Mountain Conference held at Colorado Technical University (CTU).

jGRASP is funded by a National Science Foundation grant. Previous research on GRASP was supported by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), the Defense Information Systems Agency DISA) and Lockheed Martin.

Download and use a free copy of jGRASP and the tutorials in Windows, Mac or Linus formats. This visual tool is easy to use by dragging and dropping program elements into a viewer window.

CCSC Workshop on Animated Database Courseware and Gamemaker for Game Development

Yesterday at the CCSC Rocky Mountain Conference at CTU, Dr. Mario Guimaraes led a riveting presentation of how they use the 2D game design tool Gamemaker in An Exploratory Overview of Teaching Computer Game Development. He noted that Gamemaker is available by a free download. It is easy for students to use and best for designing 2D games.

Today, his workshop on Incorporating Animation Courseware into the Teaching of Complex Database Concepts: Conference Workshop demonstrated how to integrate Flash and Java to animate the entity-relationship notations to depict various ways of learning how to model and understand a relational database design. Visit the Animated DataBase Courseware research site to experience animated instruction and the assessment of advanced database concepts.

CCSC Rocky Mountain Conference 2008 at Colorado Technical University

Papers from the Seventeenth Annual Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges Rocky Mountain Conference were presented October 17-18, 2008 at Colorado Technical University in Colorado Springs. The CCSC conference was hosted in conjunction with the Institute for Advanced Studies' doctoral residency at Colorado Technical University.

The subjects ranged from the use of games in education, such as Neverwinter Nights in Learn These Sums or Die, Using the Ancient Game of Rogue in CS1 and Alice to accessibility tools for blind students and ethics in technology.

Congratulations to my co-authors Steven Endorf, Dawn Frankovich and Johnny Sandaire for their work on our paper entitled A Virtual Environment for Designing User Interface Prototypes. Our presentation on Slideshare was lively as we integrated slides and a Second Life (SL) session to demonstrate the class projects and SL's powerful project creation tool.

It was a great opportunity to demonstrate the accomplishments of CTU students who studied and created projects within the virtual world of Second Life during the Winter 2008 offering of CS 820 Usability and Interaction. Many thanks to Dawn and Steven for presenting their work at the conference as they were not required to attend this term's doctoral residency.

Our Keynote speaker, Kevin Cox, from Microsoft's SQL Server Product Group, discussed the Technology for Very Large Databses, citing his case study for the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-Starrs) project.

James Morgan's presentation of statistics from a study he conducted on The Development of Student Perceptions of Ethical Issues in the Use of IS segued nicely into our banquet presentation.

Keynote speaker Dr. David Teneyuca, Dean of Information Technology at CTU Online, discussed Ethics and Technology. He offered riveting examples of inappropriate use that ranged from robot sex to how technology may be influencing a shift in ethics and values.

We appreciated Site Chair Dr. Bruce Harmon's efforts in hosting the conference at CTU and the CCSC Rocky Mountain Steering Committee's hard work in organizing the papers, publication, sessions and future events. Attendees enjoyed the generous donations from the vendors and sponsors who distributed Cenage canvas bags, Pearson Education textbooks, literature from Colorado Technical University and made this wonderful learning experience possible.

My loot bag included two new books on usability and interaction! *grins*

For more information on tomorrow's conference sessions, visit the CCSC 17th Annual Rocky Mountain Conference.

If there are papers that you would like to read from this conference, use the session names from the CCSC program to review them in the ACM Digital Library.

Note: The images included in this post are by C. Calongne. The first four depict the projects from Winter 2008 CS 820 in Second Life and the last photo includes projects from several classes in Second Life.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Keynote Address for the Online Teaching and Learning Conference

On Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 2:00 Eastern, I'll give a keynote address on Second Life: Teaching Tips from the Virtual Frontier for the Jossey-Bass Online Teaching and Learning Conference.

The title is similar to my presentation at the TCC conference in April 2008, but I've updated the examples and references. See you at the conference!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Welcome to CS 820!

Welcome to our Fall offering of CS 820 Usability and Interaction!

As you progress through this course, you will explore the process of interface design, usability testing and explore new ways to design usable interfaces.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Innovation Week in Second Life

Visit Orange Island to see a schedule of events for their presentation of Innovation Week in Second Life! I was fortunate to attend Monday's fun presentation by the bantering duo Gwynneth Llewellyn and Jade Lily as they looked Back to the Future.

Monday also featured a special Metanomics panel discussion stimulated by the recent interview with Philip Rosedale, Founder of Second Life.

After the Metanomics session, Malburns Writer led a fun tour of innovations and quizzed participants using an audience participation Human Barometer exercise. In response to his questions about innovative products and technologies, the guests stood on signs to Agree, Disagree or be Unsure.

My favorite was the demonstration of Second Life on a Samsung cell phone using gesture-based recognition that reminded me of using the Wii. To look down at the ground in Second Life, the user tilts the cell phone to pan the camera down.

The Sims 2 representation of the future of eCommerce with avatars examining real life products appealed to me, too. While a few items, like shoes, benefit from trying them on before buying, a virtual shopping mall for real life goods is appealing for interacting with products and browsing for gift ideas.

Would I buy from a virtual shopping mall? If the products are interactive, well-organized and delivered within two days, you bet!