Education and outreach

Mini-project, Spring 2019 - Two first-year students Sarah and Steven took part in a mini-project in Spring 2019. The goal of mini-projects are to give students a rapid introduction to formulating a research question, designing a study to answer the question, and executing the study. The students investigated the problem of how programmers might speak code. This could be important for people who are temporarily or permanently motor disabled. Mentored by Sadia (PhD student), the students created a study in which novice programmers spoke lines of Java code. Participants either spoke a missing line in an existing program, or spoke a highlighted line. The students created twenty example programs and had twenty participants record audio into one of two PowerPoint decks: Deck A or Deck B. The two decks counterbalanced which lines of code were missing or highlighted. Sadia and Sarah analyzed the collected data during the Summer of 2019. Sadia is now working on a followup study based on the findings from this work.

Explore CSR workshop, April 2019 - This was a 3-day workshop at Michigan Tech for undergraduates from underrepresented groups to explore research and graduate school opportunities in computer science. Keith and Alex (undergraduate RA) led a group of five students in a research experience on Natural Language Processing for Assistive Technologies. During the workshop, students practiced talking with someone using the Nomon keyboard. The students were tasked with crowdsourcing conversational AAC-like text using Amazon Mechanical Turk. [Link] [Slides] [Photos]

Nomon presentation, May 2019 - Keith demonstrated Nomon to the Straight Talking Group at the University of Dundee. This group is an expert user group of AAC users. The group provided feedback on our initial design of the Nomon keyboard.

WiCS Summer Youth Program, June 2019 - Twenty-six high school girls attended a week-long Women in Computer Science (WiCS) Summer Youth Program at Michigan Tech. Each group developed a mobile phone app using the block programming environment Thunkable. Keith and Dylan (graduate RA) developed a web text prediction API and example apps for use by the students. After completing their apps, the students provided feedback on how to improve the API. [Link] [Slides] [Photos]

WiCS Summer Youth Program, June 2021 - Sixteen high school girls attended a week-long Women in Computer Science (WiCS) Summer Youth Program at Michigan Tech. During a two-hour block of the program, Dr. Vertanen gave a presentation on language modeling and AAC. The girls then took part in several hands-on activities. First, they learned to use the Nomon single switch text entry interface and subsequently provided usability feedback. Next, they took part in a simulated user study comparing abbreviated sentence input versus a conventional keyboard with word predictions. [Photos]

ISAAC Connect, August 2021 - Dr. Vertanen gave a 3-hour master class titled "Lanugage Modeling and Predictive AAC" at the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, ISAAC Connect. [Talk slides]