Information Sciences and Technology

IST research well-represented at top Communities and Technologies conference

The Westgate Building is home to the College of Information Sciences and Technology. Credit: Penn State / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A research group from the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology is well-represented at the virtual 10th International Conference on Communities and Technology, which began June 21.

Five papers from the Penn State Center for Human-Computer Interaction were accepted to the conference, representing 20% of the papers program, and are published in the conference proceedings. One of the papers also received the conference's Best Paper Award.

"Community is a rich lens for understanding human activity, including how people appropriate technology for everyday life, civil society, and the common good,” said Jack Carroll, distinguished professor of information sciences and technology. “I’m so pleased with the diversity of projects that we will be reporting at C&T this year, a year of physical separation and social turmoil.”

Penn State research represented at the 2021 C&T conference includes:

  • “Constructing Well-being Together: Older Adults Engagement in Coproduction through Volunteering,” which aims to understand how older adults engage in coproduction — the joint production of work — when volunteering, and how these coproductions support their well-being. The study is led by Tiffany Knearem, doctoral student of information sciences and technology; Xiying Wang, UX research lead at News Break and former postdoctoral researcher at the College of IST; and Carroll.
  • “COVID Kindness: Patterns of Neighborly Cooperation during a Global Pandemic,” which investigated novel adaptations made by citizens to support their local communities during the initial phase of COVID-19 from March to July 2020, when physical distancing measures were enforced. The researchers explored civic initiatives for immediate disaster relief in multiple local communities across the United States. The project team includes Jeongwon Jo, doctoral student of informatics; Chun-Hua Tsai, assistant research professor at the College of IST; Knearem and Carroll. This paper was selected for the conference's Best Paper Award.
  • “Making Space for Support: An Exploratory Analysis of Pandemic-Response Mutual Aid Platforms,” which explored significant design features that support the facilitation of mutual aid on online platforms. This project was led by Knearem and includes Jo, Tsai and Carroll.
  • “Not in my Backyard!? Lessons from a Community Conflict,” which studied a community conflict between local residents and Penn State following a proposal for the development of University-owned land in Ferguson Township. Researchers include Srishti Gupta, doctoral student of IST; Shipi Dhanorkar, doctoral student of informatics; and Carroll.
  • “Seek and Reflect: A Mobile Scavenger Hunt to Develop Community Engagement,” a report on a past project that introduced a mobile scavenger hunt app during the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts to understand how it facilitated community engagement. Led by Knearem, this project involves Jo, Wang and Carroll.

The Center for Human-Computer Interaction is an interdisciplinary organizational unit for HCI research, instruction and outreach within Penn State and beyond. The center seeks to leverage and integrate diverse HCI activities throughout the University to facilitate interdisciplinary faculty interaction relating to HCI issues, problems and opportunities, and helps to focus and coordinate research and service projects throughout the wider community.

The biennial Communities and Technologies conference is the premier international forum for stimulating scholarly debate and disseminating research on the complex connections between communities — in their multiple forms — and information and communication technologies. C&T’s 2021 theme of “Wicked Problems in the Age of Tech” invites participants to examine the positive and negative implications of new trends in information and communication technologies impacting communities, civil society and the common good.

Last Updated June 25, 2021