TALK 2: Seeing Beyond the Chart: How to cultivate critical thinking through visualization, by Dr. Fanny Chevalier, University of Toronto
BIO: Dr. Fanny Chevalier is a Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science, and Statistical Sciences at the University of Toronto, where she conducts research in data visualization and human-computer interaction. In particular, she has been interested in addressing the challenges involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of novel interactive tools supporting visual analytics and creative activities, with primary focus on interactive tools for the visual exploration of rich and complex data, visualization education, the design and perception of animated transitions, and sketch-based interfaces. Prior to joining UofT, Dr. Chevalier was a Research Scientist at Inria, France until 2017, and in earlier years, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU), and Inria-Microsoft joint center in Paris. She obtained her PhD in Computer Science from the Université de Bordeaux in 2007. She is the recipient of an Inria grant for scientific excellence and her research papers have received awards at the premier venues in Human-Computer Interaction (ACM CHI, ACM UIST). Her work on sketch-based animation system from CHI 2014, released by Autodesk as SketchBook Motion has been awarded as the Apple iPad App of the Year for 2016. She has also consistently served in the organising and program committees for ACM CHI, ACM UIST and IEEE Infovis conferences for the past years.
ABSTRACT: Seeing Beyond the Chart: How to cultivate critical thinking through visualization . Data, “the oil of the digital era”, has came to be the most valuable resource of our modern society. As a scientist, I find it exciting to see news outlets using more and more data graphics to communicate facts, stakeholders increasingly rely on data analytics to gain insight into our world and make informed decisions, and governments increasingly promote and engage in open data. In the meantime, it is also daunting to witness how destructive fake news, rumours and falsehoods can be to a general population poorly prepared to engage in evidence-informed reasoning.
In this talk, I will discuss one of the most important societal challenge of our times: visualization literacy, defined as the ability to understand, find, collect, interpret, and support arguments using visual representations of data. Through a sample of my recent research projects focusing on visualization creation, visual communication and visualization education, I will share my reflections on how we can cultivate an informed citizenry capable of critical thinking, reasoning, and knowledge-based decision making.
TALK 3: Understanding People and Designing Technology for Sustainable Development, by Dr. Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed, University of Toronto. BIO: Dr. Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed
is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at University of Toronto. He leads the “Third Space” research group there. He conducts research in the intersection between Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Information and Communication Technology and Development (ICTD). He received his PhD from Cornell University in 2017. His PhD research focused on the design challenges around ‘voice’ which he defines through access, autonomy, and accountability. Most of his early research was situated in Bangladesh and India, where he had conducted ethnography and design studies with many underprivileged communities including readymade garments factory workers, evicted slum dwellers, rickshaw drivers, mobile phone repairers, and victims of sexual harassment. His current work has expanded from there and is also addressing pressing concerns of marginalization in Iran, Turkey, China, Canada, and the US. His work is often motivated by postcolonial computing, infrastructural politics, feminist HCI, and subaltern studies.
Dr. Ahmed established the first HCI research lab in Bangladesh in 2009. He also launched the first open-source digital map-making initiative in Bangladesh in 2010. Very recently, he and his colleagues founded an “Innovation Lab” in Bangladesh to promote grass-root level innovation in the country. Dr. Ahmed received the prestigious International Fulbright Science and Technology Fellowship in 2011. He also received Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing graduate fellowship in 2015. Very recently, in 2018, he has been awarded the Connaught Early Researcher Award from the University of Toronto. He has also received multiple awards for his publications including a Best Paper award in ICTD and a Best Paper Honorable Mention Award in ACM CHI. Dr. Ahmed’s work has been supported by various national and international organizations including the National Science Foundation (NSF) of USA, National Institute of Health (NIH) of USA, Intel, Microsoft Research, IBM Research, Samsung Research, the World Bank, and National Institute of Mental Health of Bangladesh. His current research is being supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada, and Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
ABSTRACT: The top Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations, including poverty alleviation, literacy, and gender equality, are closely tied to the problem of exclusion from core economic, social, and cultural infrastructures. As a potential tool for sustainable development, technology has the responsibility to make these infrastructures more inclusive. However, to date, many of the world’s biggest technological advances have primarily benefited only a small fraction of the developed world. The goal of my research is to leverage ethnographic methods to understand the underserved populations in low-income regions, and design and develop appropriate technologies to bring sustainable positive change in their lives.
In this talk, I will describe my general research approach that combines ethnography and design. I will focus on two projects to explain how understanding the communities through a deep ethnography can result in effective technologies. The first is “Suhrid”, an accessible mobile phone interface for a low-literate rickshaw driver community. The second is “Protibadi”, a mobile phone application for women to combat public sexual harassment. Both projects will demonstrate a set of ethnographic tools and techniques for understanding different economic, social, and cultural values of a community and how those can play a crucial role in designing novel technologies. In addition, I will briefly discuss my ongoing work on privacy right, refugee problem, technology repair, and e-waste to show how ethnographic studies have opened up novel spaces for design and other creative interactions mediated by computing technologies. Through these projects, I will also explain how “voice”, which I defined by better access, visibility, and freedom, can empower marginalized communities combat the problem of exclusion, and contribute towards sustainable development.