there was a workshop which was crying out to be organized. And it looks like it’ll happen! Provided I get my act together and write an actual proposal, that is. Project3Leader is willing to cooperate and organize. It’s not entirely his field, but at least he’s willing to throw his weight in. Partially this is because he also wants Company to gain more recognition in the research field, partially because he also wants to gain more knowledge.

One of the requirements of the conference organization is that the proposed workshop organizing committee cannot all work at the same institution. There was one interested person to help organizing a methods and techniques oriented workshop, but he’s more into designing for accessability so I’m not entirely sure that we can maintain the same focus. So this weekend I should read up on the course I’m giving next semester, write a workshop proposal and visit my parents and several friends.

People tell me I have good organizing skills, but maybe some extra practice shouldn’t go amiss. Especially since, after talking to Project3Leader, it is pretty clear that he really needs somebody to work on the user-system interaction, interaction design, field-tests and let’s not forget about the businness models either, please. Neither of those tasks can be executed by me, but supervising students doing this should be an option. Next question: am I ready to juggle 3 students, my Phd, teaching load, some semblance of social life and stay somewhat sane and patient? Sounds like a cliffhanger to me…

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This week I was away for a conference – strictly speaking I’m still away, since I only fly back home on sunday. The conference itself was full of relevant presentations, and for once there were nearly no boring presenters either so it’s been very enjoyable. My presentation also went quite well (although I forgot half of the things I wanted to tell, but that was probably a good thing since I only had 10 minutes), and I got interesting questions.

Everything I heard though, on the first day, started me thinking about organizing a workshop. I’ve been thinking about the topic and the possibility to organize a workshop since the previous conference I visited, but hadn’t found the right venue.

A topic that’s very dear to me is research methods. Which research methods to use when, how to make sure they’re valid and reliable, and how can you incorporate research methods from other fields? It’s definitely a topic that lives, but might not be equally interesting for everybody. There’s a European project that’s looking into this as well. It also includes the possibility for industrial people to have more and easier guidance of their research choices through a framework generated by researchers with a more academic background. And all this without compromising reliability and any kind of validity, of course.

So what better way to discuss this than in a workshop? Preferably one where people have at least some experience, so we could just do one kind of overview presentation on the papers everybody sent in (although I don’t exactly know yet what kind of papers to ask for) and then dive straight into the discussion.

One of the upcoming conferences has their workshop deadline coming up, and it would be thrilling if I could submit something there. I’ve talked to the conference chair, and the workshop chair, and they are interested in the topic. After asking around the community a bit it seems more people would be interested so a small-scale workshop would be very do-able. But what kind of output to predict? A poster might not be the right format. Another person suggested short video clips, which does sound rather exciting because you could run that on a television throughout the rest of the conference and easily post it online as part of the wrap-up.

However, after putting my feet back on earth, the best thing to do would be to check my CompanySupervisor to see what she thinks (especially given the situation with CompanyManager). But it would be so exciting if I could actually pull this off!