Research projects are a huge part of what we do, combining not only concepts of human-computer interaction, but also, education, social network analysis, mobile application development, and community informatics, and much more. These are the various ongoing projects within our lab. Some publications have their PDFs inserted, please click to view them.

Smart and Connected Health

Smart and Connected Health project is interested in how older adults maintain health and well-being through social interaction and engaging in diverse activities through coproduction. Coproduction is a social practice in which individuals use their everyday resources to deliver voluntary services.  Our ultimate goal is to design a tool that elicit social interaction and coproduction aiming to improvements in health and wellness for older adults.

Recent Publications:

Wirth, R.J., Yuan, C.W., Hanrahan, B.V., Carroll, J.M., Rosson, M.B., & Bindá, J. 2016. Exploring Interactive Surface Designs for Eliciting Social Activity from Elderly Adults. Proceedings of the 2016 ACM on Interactive Surfaces and Spaces (Niagra Falls, Canada, November 6-9). New York: ACM, pp. 403-408.

Yuan, C.W., Kropczynski, J., Wirth, R., Rosson, M.B. & Carroll, J.M. 2017. Investigating Older Adults’ Social Networks and Coproduction Activities for Health. Pervasive Health 2017: Proceedings of 11th EAI International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare (May 23-26; Barcelona, Spain), pages, ACL-DL url


Jomara Binda, Tina Yuan, Ben Hanrahan, Richard Wirth, John M. Carroll, Mary Beth Rosson 

Third Eye Exhibition
The Third Eye project is primarily focused on recreating the visual cortex on silicon for a number of purposes. The role of our lab in this project is to develop the user experience for the eventual hardware prototype being worked on by other partners at this university, and others around the country. We are currently focused on working collaboratively with visually impaired and blind individuals within the State College community to develop enjoyable, consistent, and useful experience interactions for this prototype. Our current specific focus is developing user experience interactions for a grocery store scenario utilizing prototype hardware and software concepts.

Recent Publications:

Zientara, P.A., Lee, S., Smith, G.H., Brenner, R., Itti, L., Rosson, M.B., Carroll, J.M., Irick, K.M. & Narayanan, V. 2017. Third Eye: A Shopping Assistant for the Visually Impaired. IEEE Computer, 50(2), 16-24.

Yuan, C.W., Lee, S., Hanrahan, B.V., Rosson, M.B. & Carroll, J.M. 2017. Constructing a holistic view of shopping with people with visual impairment:  A participatory design approach. Universal Access in the Information Society

Yuan, C.W., Hanrahan, B.V., Lee, S. & Carroll, J.M. 2015. Designing Equal Participation in Informal Learning for People with Visual Impairment. Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal – IxD&A, 27, 93-106.

Weidman, J., Carroll, J. (2015). Wizard of Oz Prototyping of a Smart Camera Shopping Assistant for Visually Impaired People. ACM CHI 2015. (In Submission)


Sooyeon Lee, Tina Yuan, Ben Hanrahan, Tom Kawchak, Dana Cinque, John M. Carroll, Mary Beth Rosson 

Civic Technology

Future State College

Future State College: An app that engages citizens in the future planning process of our city. The municipal government of State College, like many municipalities, develops a decadal master plan to guide local development. It includes many detailed sketches of future streetscapes, but citizens often have difficulty envisioning the future environments in context. Our partners in the town government find this difficulty communicating vision of future design is a serious obstacle to more effective participation in local government planning processes. In response to this challenge, we are designing a mobile application called Future State College, which allows citizens to take a self-guided walking tour through the future of their city. As a citizen passes a marker where a future plan is proposed, they receive a ping the prompt the to read a short description of the new plan, view planners sketches, and “upvote” or “downvote” the plan along with a short description of why they voted this way. Citizens can also “like” others comments. We are currently conducting user studies that will allow us to learn if the use of this app is successful with respect to enhancing civic awareness and participation, and evoking community identity. Our design rationale is that situating the planning materials in the physical places to which they refer will make planning more vivid and concrete, and thereby more accessible to citizens, removing the participation “costs” of attending formal planning reviews, and helping bridge the gap between municipal planners and community residents. Through our ongoing research we explore if the use of such an app inspires more action to engage in other community activities such as reaching out to elected officials, attending public meetings, or voting in local elections.

Recent Publications:

Carroll, J. M., Kropczynski, J., & Han, K. (2014a). Grounding Activity in People-Centered Smart Territories by Enhancing Community Awareness. Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal, 20, 9-22.


Jessica Kropczynski, Keith Han, Patrick C. Shih, John M. Carroll

Community Animator: A mobile app for civic engagement

Community Animator is a smartphone enable meet-up app to create a culture for civic engagement.
Too often, efforts of local businesses, organizations, and governments to create a collective vision for positive community change are disconnected—stuck within silos defined by generation, discipline, or interest. The Community Animation mobile application is designed to increase the number of civic relationships in a city. Coffee shops and other spaces were once a place for citizens to discuss community issues, today these third spaces that used to anchor us in civic life are filled with individuals immersed in mobile devices. This geosocial networking application identifies nearby individuals that are open and willing to chat or perform a task related to civic issues and facilitates simple introductions. The application asks users to create an account to select from a list of civic interests. Once an account is created, users geolocation on their smartphone allows Community Animation to connect and coordinate with users in close proximity with matching civic interests.

The use of community technology can reduce transaction costs of participation in civic networks which leads to direct economic impacts for organizations and the local market. Little research has been done to quantify the community impacts of increasing civic relationships on local organizations. Community Animator uses the GPS in your smartphone to find “animated” citizens near you with the same civic interests, the activity traces in this app can be used to identify trending civic interest of a community, hotspots of local conversation, and map the increasing connectedness of community members with various organizational affiliations. Future research on this application will work to discover ways to preserve these conversations in a low effort manner so that innovative community conversations can be shared with a wider audience. This initial work will simply work to identify how these community interactions can create shared trust, collaborations, and a “win-win” culture for divergent/siloed groups.

Recent Publications:

[work in progress]


Jessica Kropczynski, Jomara Binda, Keith Han, John M. Carroll

Mobile Technology and Timebanking
Mobile technology has become the most salient technology, especially following the introduction of the smartphone, and has gained a great deal of attention among local community researchers and practitioners. In Mobile Community projects, we investigate how unique affordances supported by mobile technology will bring local residents closer to their local communities. We design mobile systems and study their technological and social impacts on people and their local communities as well as suggesting design implications. We have been involved in a number of projects in various local contexts, including Mobile Timebanking (local volunteer efforts), Local News Chatter (local news and social media), Lost State College (local heritage), Arts Festival (local annual events), and so on. We have a study in progress, please click here to learn more!

Recent Publications:

Jung, H., Bellotti, V., Doryab, A., Leitersdorf, D., Chen, J., Hanrohan, B., Lee, S., Turner, A., Dey, A. & Carroll, J.M. 2016. ‘MASTerful’ Matchmaking in Service Transactions: Inferred Abilities, Needs and Interests versus Activity Histories. ACM CHI 2016: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (San Jose, California, May 7-12). New York: ACM, pp. 1644-1655.

Chen, J., Yuan, C.W., Hanrahan, B.V. & Carroll, J.M. Accepted. Capturing Community in Mobility: Mobile Methods for Community Informatics. Mobile Media & Communication,

Doryab, A., Bellotti, V., Yousfi, A., Wu, S., Carroll, J.M. & Dey, A.  If it’s convenient: Leveraging Context in peer-to-peer service transaction recommendations.  In press. Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies (IMWUT), 1 (3),

Shih, P.C., Han, K. Bellotti, V. & Carroll, J.M. 2015. Unequal Time for Unequal Value: Motivations as Design Space for Timebanking. ACM CHI 2015: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Seoul, Korea, April 18-23). New York: ACM, pp. 1075-1084. Honorable mention paper award.

Han, K., Shih, P., Bellotti, V. & Carroll, J.M. 2015. It’s time there was an app for that too: A usability study of mobile timebanking. Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction, 7(2), 1-22.

Bellotti, V., Cambridge, S., Hoy, K., Shih, P. C., Handalian, L., Han, K., & Carroll, J. M. (2014). Towards Community-Centered Support for Peer-to-Peer Service Exchange: Rethinking the Timebanking Metaphor. Proceedings of the International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’14), 2975-2984. [Honorable Mention]

Carroll J.M., Hoffman, B., Han, K., & Rosson, M.B. (2014). Reviving Community Networks: Hyperlocality and Suprathresholding in Web 2.0 Designs. International Journal of Personal Ubiquitous Computing (PUC). In Press.

Shih, P. C., Han, K., & Carroll, J.M. (2014). Community Poll: Exploring the Effects of Externalizing Public Opinions in Social Media in a Local Community Context. Conference on Human Computation & Crowdsourcing (HCOMP ’14). In Press.

Han, K., Shih, C. P., & Carroll, J. M. (2013). Aggregating Community Information to Explore Social Connections. Proceedings of the International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM ’13), AAAI.

Bellotti, V., Carroll, J. M., & Han, K. (2013). Random Acts of Kindness: The Intelligent and Context-Aware Future of Reciprocal Altruism and Community Collaboration. Proceedings of the International Conference on Collaboration Technologies and Systems (CTS ’13), IEEE.


Keith Han, Patrick C. Shih, Jiawei Chen, Sooyeon Lee, Jessica Kropczynski, Harry Robinson, Mary Beth Rosson, John M. Carroll 

Learning Technology

Retention Issue in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have recently experienced rapid development and garnered significant attention from various populations. Despite the wide recognition of MOOCs as an important opportunity within educational practices, there are still many questions as to how we might satisfy students’ needs, as evidenced by very high dropout rates. Researchers and education practitioners lack a solid understanding of what student needs are being addressed by MOOCs, how well MOOCs now address (or fail to address) these needs and what instructional and technical mechanisms we can offer to improve MOOCs retention rate. Our project aims to understand MOOCs user motivations, various learning patterns in MOOCs and potential reasons resulting in low retention by using qualitative, quantitative, data mining methods. Based on those insights, we propose design principles and build prototypes to improve MOOCs.

Recent Publications:

Zheng, S., Han, K., Rosson, M.B. & Carroll, J.M. 2016. The Role of Social Media in MOOCs: How to Use Social Media to Enhance Student Retention. ACM L@S’16: Third Annual Conference on Learning at Scale (Edinburgh, Scotland, April 25-26). New York: ACM, pp. 419-428.

Zheng, S., Wisniewski, P., Rosson, M.B. & Carroll, J.M. 2016. Ask the Instructors: Motivations and Challenges of Teaching Massive Open Online Courses. ACM CSCW 2016: Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (San Francisco, February 27-March2). New York: ACM, pp. 206-221.

Carroll, J.M., Wu, Y., Shih, P.C. & Zheng, S. 2016. Re-appropriating a question/answer system to support dialectical constructivist learning activity. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(1), 137-156.

Carroll, J.M., Jiang, H. & Borge, M. 2015. Distributed collaborative homework activities in a problem-based usability engineering course.Education and Information Technologies, 20(3), 589-617.

Zheng, S., Rosson, M. B, Shih, P. C., and Carroll, J. M., Understanding Student Motivation, Behaviors and Perceptions in MOOCs, In Proc. ACM Computer Supported Cooperative Work 2015 (CSCW) (In Press) [PDF]

Zheng, S. Rosson, M. B., Shih, C. P., and Carroll, J. M., Re-Place-ing MOOCs: Designing Massive Open Online Courses as Interactive Places for Collaborative Learning. In Proc. ACM Learning@Scale 2015 (In Submission)


Saijing Zheng, Patrick C. Shih, Mary Beth Rosson, John M. Carroll

Dialectic Learning with Piazza

Learning can be engaged by dialectic, that is, by identifying pros and cons that inhere in propositions, and more generally, by raising questions about the validity of claims. Piazza is a free wiki-style question-answer course management infrastructure, we have repurposed its use in various courses in the IST program. We have used Toulmin argumentation structures to organize and facilitate these dialectical learning activities, as well as, more liberal critical thinking structures. Our goal is to better understand Piazza as a discussion-based tool that effectively engages students, while, making design suggestions to improve the system.

Recent Publications:

Wu, Y., Shih, P. C., & Carroll, J. M. (2014, July). Design for supporting dialectical constructivist learning activities. Proceedings of the International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Barcelona, Spain, 4156-4164. Valencia, Spain: IATED.


Yu Wu, Patrick C. Shih, Saijing Zheng, Joslenne Pena, Mary Beth Rosson, John M. Carroll

iTech Academy

In this longitudinal project, we are investigating the role of an online community on summer technology camps, held at Penn State IST. The iTech Academy caters to local high school and middle school students who are curious about computing concepts. This camp serves as an introduction to various topics like robotics, web development, and cybersecurity. With our community, we are examining the change in attitudes and perceptions of computing through log data, surveys, and observations. We have finished our first phase of this project during Summer 2014.

Recent Publications:

Aritajati, C., Rosson, M.B., Pena, J., Segura, A., and Cinque, D. (2015) A socio-cognitive analysis of summer camp outcomes and experiences. SIGCSE 2015. ~Paper accepted for presentation (In Press)


Top Aritajati, Joslenne Pena, Dana Cinque, Mary Beth Rosson 

Understanding and Supporting Curation on GitHub
Software developers are increasingly utilizing GitHub for collaborative curation purposes, that is, select, organize, and evaluate resources for preservation and future use. However, GitHub is designed as a code hosting and collaboration site for software development rather than for curation purpose. The reasons of why GitHub is chosen for such activity, how collaborative curation actually takes place, and how to improve such practice abides investigation. I am currently conducting user studies to understand curation practice on GitHub and designing prototypes that summarize and visualize software project information from big data to better support curation.

Recent Publications:

Wu, Y., Kropczynski, J., Shih, P., Carroll, J. M. (2014). Exploring the Ecosystem of Software Developers on GitHub and Other Platforms. CSCW ’14.


Yu Wu, Jessica Kropczynski, Patrick C. Shih, John M. Carroll 

PICOS: family online safety
Protecting adolescents from online safety risks is a major contemporary concern in social computing, and researching adolescent online privacy and safety is equally as challenging. Relatively few researchers have studied adolescent online privacy and safety, but those that have show that threats from privacy breaches, cyberbullying, sexual predation, and other types of risk exposure are all too real. The grand challenge, however, is how do we approach these problems in a way that can protect adolescents while allowing them to benefit from online social engagement? We do this through framing online safety as a developmental process of adolescent growth, where parents help teach and teens must learn how to prudently navigate online challenges in order to inoculate teens from excessive harm.

Recent Publications:

Wisniewski, P. J., Xu, H., Rosson, M. B., & Carroll, J. M. (2014, February). Adolescent online safety: the moral of the story. In Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work & social computing (pp. 1258-1271). ACM. [PDF]

Wisniewski, P., Xu, H., Carroll, J., & Rosson, M. B. (2013). Grand Challenges of Researching Adolescent Online Safety: A Family Systems Approach. [PDF]
Wisniewski, P., Jia, H., Xu, H., Rosson, M. B., & Carroll, J. M. (2014). “Preventative” vs.“Reactive:” How Parental Mediation Influences Teens’ Social Media Privacy Behaviors.[PDF]

Jia, H., Wisniewski, P., Xu, H., Rosson, M. B., & Carroll, J. M. (2014). Risk-taking as a Learning Process for Shaping Teen’s Online Information Privacy Behaviors. Proc. Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, 2015. [PDF]


Pamela Wisniewski, Haiyan Jia, Heng Xu, Mary Beth Rosson, John M. Carroll 

CAnalytics: Supporting Activity Awareness in Collaborative Information Analysis

This project focuses on design and development of software components to support a variety of synchronous and asynchronous collaborative information analysis activities, including the computational infrastructure to support secure replication and persistence of shared data, as well as client-side components that support communication, authoring, and monitoring tasks. The current focus of this project is an extremely complex lab experiment in which teams of three students solve an information analysis problem involving a conspiracy to steal laptops on campus. We are studying teams performing this with standard tools and materials, but also with a software tool we are developing with a set of coordinating visualization tools.

Recent Publications:

Borge, M., Ganoe, C. H., Shih, S.-I., & Carroll, J. M. (2012). Patterns of team processes and breakdowns in information analysis tasks. In Proceedings of the ACM 2012 conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work – CSCW ’12 (pp. 1105–1114). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. doi:10.1145/2145204.2145369 [PDF]

Carroll, J. M., Borge, M., & Shih, S. I. (2013). Cognitive artifacts as a window on design. Journal of Visual Languages & Computing, 24(4), 248-261. [PDF]

Convertino, G., Mentis, H. M., Slavkovic, A., Rosson, M. B., & Carroll, J. M. (2011). Supporting common ground and awareness in emergency management planning: A design research project. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 18(4), 22.[PDF]

Carroll, J. M., Rosson, M. B., Convertino, G., & Ganoe, C. H. (2006). Awareness and teamwork in computer-supported collaborations. Interacting with computers, 18(1), 21-46.[PDF]

Carroll, J. M., Rosson, M. B., Farooq, U., & Xiao, L. (2009). Beyond being aware. Information and Organization, 19(3), 162-185. [PDF]

Carroll, J. M., Neale, D. C., Isenhour, P. L., Rosson, M. B., & McCrickard, D. S. (2003). Notification and awareness: synchronizing task-oriented collaborative activity. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 58(5), 605-632. [PDF]


Dong Chen, Mary Beth Rosson, John M. Carroll