Friday, September 5, 2008

Who am I academically

I am a second year Ph.D. student in the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) at the Pennsylvania State University. My intellectual interests focus on incorporating contextual, social and cultural factors into system design to create innovative social interaction and learning experience. More specifically, I am interested in the following areas: 

-    Social computing and community computing
-    Design and usability of communication technologies 
-    Unified Communications
-    Computer-supported collaboration
-    Learning environments and tools

I am currently working with a team of researchers led by Dr. John Carroll at the Computer Supported Collaboration and Learning Lab to design and develop community-oriented wireless applications. We have developed location-based event and blog service for the Central County Art Festival held in this July. You can get more information from here. Our next step is to introduce team/logistic tracing services for this year’s United Way Day of Caring in October. Lately I also have put some efforts on exploring the design space for enhancing engagement in community-oriented activities. 

I received my M.A. degree in communication and B.A. degree in Chinese language and literature from Tsinghua University in China. Before I became a Ph.D. student, I had been a professional software engineer for a couple of years basically focusing on designing and developing components or devices for unified communications, such as SIP-based IP-PBXs, PSTN/ISDN/ITSP gateways, Wi-Fi mobile phones, and so on. It seems my academic/professional trajectory has changed a lot, but I would say this does help prepare me for IST, a truly interdisciplinary field concerning the intersection of information, technology, and people.

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