Student Projects

Rowanne Fleck

Room 140

r.fleck@cs.bham.ac.uk

Office hours: Monday 3.30-5.30.


In general I am interested in supervising projects related to HCI. This could be any programming project where the user is a key consideration in the system you are developing, or that attempts to advance theories of HCI. 


For HCI MSc students - most of my projects would involve running studies to understand people's interaction with technology, often in their day to day lives, and might involve some kind of technology intervention. It would also involve some qualitative and/or quantitative analysis of results. However, some projects might have more of a programming or design element.


I have put a few suggestions below, but I am also open to your own project ideas if they fit into the remit above. Projects marked * are those which could be suitable as UG final year projects (though we could probably find a project within most areas that would be). All projects are suitable for Masters' students.


Project Ideas

*Citizen Science for Wildlife

The Birmingham Institue for Forest Research (BIFoR) is investigating how climate change and environmental change will affect woodlands. They have a number of ideas for projects that could help them in their work. 

  1. Monitoring the wildlife in the woodland, which is currently done using infrared image capture devices to capture photographs of the larger animals. They are hoping to use Citizen Scientists (interested members of the public) to help locate and describe animals in the images.
  2. Minihyzotron Monitoring - underground images of roots currently need human analysis which is subjective, time consuming, and dull. Can this be turned into another Citizen Science project? 


Both of the above projects could be design/experimental projects, or could explore some of the more technical aspects of delivering and running citizen science projects.  Alternatively, you may come up with non-citizen science approaches to classifying the data.


Understanding older adults activity tracking behaviour

Research reports a number of physical and mental wellbeing benefits to older adults of keeping physically active, but figures show that 42% of men and 48% of women aged 65-74 (64% of men and 69% of women aged 75+) in England do not achieve recommended weekly targets (REF BHF statistics 2015). More recent government targets also suggest limiting sedentary time (gov.uk). Activity trackers have been successfully used in intervention studies to increase levels of physical activity, but these technologies are predominately designed for young adults. This project would involve interviewing older adults to find out if and how they use activity tracking devices, why they abandon them (if they do) and any difficulties they find with them.


General Areas of Interest

I don't have any specific projects in mind for these areas, but would be keen to talk through your ideas if they were topics that interested you. 

Work-life balance, wellbeing and productivity


Behaviour Change and Habits



Online Reviewing Behaviour



Children’s collaboration around technology

This is a very broad area, but I am interested in many aspects of collaboration around various types of digital technology, in particular



* Human-Building Interaction 

How can digital monitoring technologies could help them improve building design and efficiency? This could help to understand building users and actual building running better to feedback into future building design. It could also be fed-back to building occupants to help them use the building more efficiently. A project in this area could involve investigating what data could be captured, and how. How could it be presented to building occupant to encourage more energy efficient building use? It could also involve considering ways to measure the success of any such interventions – improved building energy consumption, greater occupier satisfaction or other measures. 

Usable Security

Humans are often considered the ‘weak link’ in various computer security systems. How can understanding people’s limitations and incomplete understandings of computer security issues help us design more completely secure systems that properly take into account and support the humans in the system?