We had a couple of CHI-related announcements today – Ellie has a workshop paper accepted for Designing and Evaluating Sociability in Online Video Games at CHI, and Pejman (who is already helping to run the Games User Research workshop and has a full paper) has a student with a work in progress paper accepted. Nice work!

Today the group was focussing on Masters students. Each student has to do a research project as a part of the qualification. These projects are supervised by a current member of faculty who hopefully shares some interest in the topic! Some students come up with their own topics, but each member of faculty also lists a number of potential projects in a database. Today the lab group spent the meeting talking through and exploring some potential projects for the database. 

One of the main problems with this kind of exercise is getting the size of the project right. Some projects were dismissed for being too simple, some for being too complex or needing too much time for studies. There was an extended discussion about the ethics procedure – most students will be using some human participants in a project in HCI! 

The technical ability of HCI students can also be quite difficult to accomodate. Some have come from a computer science background and would be very happy to write a piece of software. Others come from more of a psychology background, and having to write the software before they test it may make the project too daunting. 

In the end a range of options did come together, although further work is needed before they get listed in the database. It was a good opportunity to discuss areas for further research on a number of the group’s projects, as well as for some “blue sky thinking” about further options.