Older people’s emotional interactive experiences through a citizen science lens

A new pilot project funded by the ACT network

Emotional experience

  MiríadaX is the main Spanish MOOC provider, promoted by Telefónica, Universia and Banco Santander. MiríadaX offers MOOCs since 2013, most of them in Spanish, and few in Portuguese and English. In the context of the Cátedra Telefónica-UPF, we have analyzed MiríadaX platform data till the end of 2014, including data form 144 courses and […]

MiríadaX MOOC platform data analysis

Catedra

The book “Efficient Quadrature Rules for Illumination Integrals“, co-autored by Ricardo Marques is finally published. It is a part of the series of Synthesis Lectures on Computer Graphics and Animation, from Morgan & Claypool Publishers. Available on Amazon or directly on the site of M&C publishers.  

Ricardo Marques’ Book is Finally Published

EfficientQuadRules

The GTI group has been working in Project Kristina, a task that involves real-time interaction of a relational agent with older adults. Recently, at a project meeting in Ulm, the design of an avatar that can be used for initial testings was presented.

KRISTINA Project – Initial Avatar Design

kristina1
logo_worthplay Worthplay
Life-2.0-Logo-PH-ver_3_03 Life 2.0
Athletic Stadium 3D visualization of Bilbao Athletic Club Stadium
noaMax_newsCover_spa Noa & Max – Animating science for future scientists
orquestration1 EEE: Educational Reflected Spaces
metis2 Metis: Meeting teachers co-design needs by means of Integrated Learning Environments
logo4 IMPART
c_logo IJIE: Integrated Journalism in Europe
Intelligent graph generation tool produced through a collaboration between Bestiario & GTI Bestiario and GTI collaboration produces a tool for intelligent graph generation
Collaborative composition of non-linear interactive storytelling
borja_background Automatic Sign Language Avatar for video News
bwr The Game Barcelona World Race
PAGINA:

A new pilot project funded by the ACT network

Populations are ageing while Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are changing the way in which we conduct numerous activities. One of these activities is scientific research. Over the last 5-10 years, Citizen (Cyber) Science (CCS) has become increasingly popular. An unprecedented number of citizen scientists can now be mobilized to solve problems that are difficult for either machines or professional scientists to address alone. However, little if anything is known about, for example, those barriers which prevent older people (60+) from taking part in CCS projects (e.g. usability of technologies) or their motivations for engaging in them. Thus, bringing together CCS and older people is a timely task, which can potentially help us gain a deeper understanding of emerging socio-technical innovations and address important scientific issues. This project focuses on emotions, which are a key element of human behaviour and healthy ageing. Consequently, emotions also play an important role in designing ICTs that not only meet our needs but also enrich our lives. Yet, emotions are at best marginally addressed, and at worst overlooked, by Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) studies with older people. In this pilot project, we aim to take HCI research with older people forward by: (i) examining cross-cultural, everyday emotional experiences of ICTs use by older people with mild-to-moderate age-related changes in functional abilities, and (ii) exploring the participatory design of new types of online user interfaces (e.g. avatars) that relate to, arise from, or deliberately influence, more positive emotional interactive experiences. This main objective will be achieved by using Citizen Science platforms, such as crowdcrafting.org, and UPF’s online framework for creating and rendering interactive avatars online (http://webglstudio.org/).

This pilot project will be conducted throughout 2016 and it has been funded with 15000 CAD by the ACT network (Ageing-Communication-Technologies; http://actproject.ca/), in which the GTI participates.

This pilot project will be coordinated by the GTI and conducted with the participation / support of Àgora (http://edaverneda.org/), and other centres in which we plan to recruit participants, Sergio Sayago (currently, at Universitat de Lleida), and the ACT network.

Jonathan Chacon is a Doctor now!

The GTI member Jonathan Chacon defended his PhD Thesis yesterday, 2nd of February. His thesis title  was “Community platform management mechanisms to support integrated Learning Design”.

Congratulations to Jon!

Jon_defense

MiríadaX MOOC platform data analysis

Catedra

 

MiríadaX is the main Spanish MOOC provider, promoted by Telefónica, Universia and Banco Santander. MiríadaX offers MOOCs since 2013, most of them in Spanish, and few in Portuguese and English. In the context of the Cátedra Telefónica-UPF, we have analyzed MiríadaX platform data till the end of 2014, including data form 144 courses and 191,608 participants.

Part of the analysis, focused on understanding the behaviour of university students’ participation in MOOCs, will be presented at the eMOOCs conference in March 2016.

Albó, L., Hernández-Leo, D., Oliver, M. (2016) Are higher education students registering and participating in MOOCs? The case of MiríadaX. EMOOCs 2016 conference, Graz, Austria.

Abstract: Most MOOCs offer open learning opportunities at Higher Education (HE) level. However, it is still unclear how HE students are taking this type of course. This study focuses on the profile of HE students participating in MOOCs, their registration, preferred topics and completion patterns and how they compare to other types of participants. The paper presents a descriptive analysis of the MiríadaX platform data up to the end of 2014, including an analysis of 144 courses and 191,608 participants. Results indicate that current HE students, who are mostly Latin American and Spanish males interested in technology subjects,register for and complete lower numbers of MOOCs than participants who have already completed their HE studies. HE students older than standard ages have a significant presence in MOOCs and have higher numbers of MOOC registrations and completions.

Conclusions of the study, in brief, include:

The majority of university students involved in MiríadaX MOOCs are male (60.70%) in a range of 18-24. Interestingly enough, there is an important number of HE students participating in MOOCs with ages as from 24 (40%). Most HE students are from Latin American countries (57.5%) and Spain (41.01%).

  • -    University students register for on average of 3.56 courses completing only 0.55 courses (similar pattern when comparing men and women).
  • -    University students are taking MOOCs following a pattern of registration and completion of MOOCs in between participants without HE studies (lower numbers) and with HE studies completed (higher numbers).
  • -    Within the collective of university students, more active students are older than 24, representing profiles of stronger intrinsic motivation to learn or to improve their professional competences.
  • -    MOOCs in the technological science subject area, followed by psychology and economics, show higher percentages of registrations for all types of participants. In the physics subject area, university students represent the highest percentage of types of participants registered.

Figure3

One interpretation of results is that MOOCs are generally perceived as useful lifelong learning opportunities and not that much as a resource (comparable e.g. to books) that can support the HE curriculum. The particular result for the case of physics subject may be explained by a use of these MOOCs as remedial (level O) courses for freshmen at universities. The recent initiatives on the use of MOOCs to support blended educational approaches may influence the future evolution of the trends identified in this paper.

A more extensive study is presented in a Cátedra Telefónica-UPF report (in Spanish). The report covers multiple aspects and all types of participants but it does not include a deep focus on a particular profile of participants (as in the previous paper). It provides an analysis of the social profile of individuals registering in MiríadaX courses, demand of courses by topic and an analysis of drop-out rates.

Oliver, M.; Hernández-Leo, D.; Albó, L. (2015). MOOCs en España. Análisis de la demanda. Cuaderno de la Cátedra Telefónica-UPF “Social Innovation in Education”. Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Disponible online http://repositori.upf.edu/handle/10230/25400

Ricardo Marques’ Book is Finally Published

The book “Efficient Quadrature Rules for Illumination Integrals“, co-autored by Ricardo Marques is finally published. It is a part of the series of Synthesis Lectures on Computer Graphics and Animation, from Morgan & Claypool Publishers.

Available on Amazon or directly on the site of M&C publishers.

 

KRISTINA Project – Initial Avatar Design

kristina1

The GTI group has been working in Project Kristina, a Horizon202 EC-funded project that involves real-time interaction of a relational agent with older adults. Recently, at a project meeting in Ulm, our design of an avatar that can be used for initial testings was presented. The design presented several challenges regarding both technical and aesthetic requirements. The character was intended to maintain a neutral aspect in terms of ethnicity, but it was important also to develop an agent who can be empathetic and yet have authority.

There has been an emphasis in the development of a head because the facial expression is such a fundamental part of the project. The head has been built with a low poly mesh so that it can be processed and react in real-time as required. For the facial expression, a facial rig is being built to allow the avatar to be animated through bones and complemented with blend shapes. The bones provide additional mobility while the blend shapes are necessary so that the avatar can assume the necessary positions to be expressive and respond to a systematic lipsync.

This avatar is designed for initial testings and can be renewed, modified and updated according to further more advanced stages of the project.

Before starting the character design, the GTI carried out an analysis of state of the art for automatic avatar creation tools. They explain different approaches for avatar creation and mention important concepts and parameters that should be taken into account such as: concept of relational agents, difficulties for the process, principles of relational agent design, dialog structure and variability in agent behavior.  They also point out the importance of non-verbal behaviour and the ability to build and maintain long-term emotional relationships with users. Also, a comparison between three main softwares that simplify processes in creation of avatars, animation, editing and playback was stablished. Motionbuilder, Poser and MakeHuman were the softwares that were analysed. This research has given a broader perspective of what the project means. It has been a starting point to find out which can be a good workflow and which tools could eventually provide simplicity and effectiveness during the process.

Right now, the avatar needs more flexibility and different parameters to change basic characteristics such as it’s gender, age and general appearance. Further designs need to be made in the future so that the variability within the avatars can be proven to work under different circumstances.