Alannah Oleson

HCI + Design + Computing Education.

I'm a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Information School at the University of Washington, working with Prof. Amy J. Ko at the Center for Learning, Computing, and Imagination.

I am a critical HCI education researcher. My work draws upon literature from human-computer interaction (HCI), critical computing education research, justice-centered design theory & methods, and software engineering. I envision a world where everyone can authentically and effectively interact with technology by contributing novel pedagogical methods and strategies for critical computing design education. To do this, I often partner with communities of HCI and computing educators, working to identify pedagogical challenges and evaluate potential solutions.

A diagram of the five CIDER stages, with arrows pointing from one to the next. Icons illustrate each stage: A magnifying glass for critique, a thought bubble for imagine, a ruler and pencil for design, two speech bubbles for expand, and two arrows pointing at each other for repeat.

My dissertation work explored how to help computing students think more critically about the technology they create and design more inclusive user interfaces. I created a pedagogical design evaluation technique called CIDER (Critique, Imagine, Design, Expand, Repeat) to help post-secondary HCI students learn to recognize and respond to implicit assumptions about users embedded in technology designs. A mixed-method case study evaluating CIDER’s efficacy in a post-secondary introductory interface design course found that the technique helped significantly increase students’ self-efficacy for inclusive interface design, expand students' concrete understandings of design biases, and even had long-lasting impacts on students' design approaches. Read the journal paper here, and the blog post with highlights for educators here. I also partnered with a community of computing educators with commitments to justice-centered CS education to evaluate CIDER's efficacy in a variety of computing learning contexts. This publication is forthcoming.

At the University of Washington, I taught courses in Design Methods and Cooperative Software Development in the UW Information School. UW also recognized my exceptional contributions to research, teaching, service, and mentorship with a 2023 Husky 100 award, the highest honor for students.

Prior to attending UW, I was a student at Oregon State University advised by Prof. Margaret Burnett, researching end-user software engineering and gender-inclusive software design as part of the GenderMag project. I founded the GenderMag-Teach effort to understand the pedagogical content knowledge that university-level educators develop as they teach their students the principles of inclusive software design.

I am a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow and was an Adobe Research undergraduate scholar.