Find out all about the lectures and courses we are offering using the central teaching administration system TISS.
Core lectures offered by our group include the following:
- Denkweisen der Informatik
- Denkweisen der Digitalisierung
- Exploring Disruptive Technologies
- Ethics & Design
- Responsible Research and Innovation
- User Research Methods
- Exploratives Design 1+2
- Critical Design
- Critical Theory of Computer Science and Media
- HCI in Health Care
- Applications in Health Care
- Human Robot Interaction
- Game Design
- Game Production
- Design and Evaluation of Visualisations
- Cognitive Foundations of Visualisation
- Vernetztes Lernen
- Communication and Moderation
- Assistive Technology
- Assistive Systems
- Free and Open Technologies
- Computational Aspects of Digital Fabrication
- From surviving to thriving: crafting your good professional life
- Fundamental research methods for doctoral students (Qualitative methods block)
We also offer varying seminars and supervise Praktika, bachelor theses and master theses - get in touch with one of us directly via mail if you are interested – you can find our research areas and e-mail addresses under “people”, as well as some open Topics below.
Peter has listed his currently open thesis topics under peter.purgathofer.net.
Katta has listed their currently open thesis topics under katta.mere.st/teaching/open-topics.
Janis Lena Meissner
- “Tools for rural youth participation in their local community”: The “Jugendgemeinde 2050” research project highlighted a communication gap between rural youth in Lower Austria, their communal political representatives and street work. In particular, rural youth seems to struggle to identify ways in which their local communities might support them in their aspirations and concerns. Which digital tools might be used in future to foster a better communication between the different actors? Potential contributions of the work should be empirical and/or in the form of new artefacts (in the spirit of Research and Development).
- “Views from below on the digital transformation of work”: Qualitative in-depth studies of “non-technical” service work (e.g. female-dominated professions, system-relevant underpaid low-qualification jobs) to identify the key role of digital tools, assess the workers’ digital competences and reveal hidden technological labour (e.g. staff in kindergarten, supermarket, restaurants, hair dressers, etc.). The potential contribution of the work would be empirical.
- “Making Useful Stuff”: Explorations of particular “useful" potentials for a specific group of “non-technical” people (e.g. old people, young people with little digital education, traditional crafts hobbyists, etc.) in using digital fabrication tools. In which particular ways could a Do-it-Yourself approach with tools such as 3D-printers, laser-cutters and microcontrollers benefit them? Potential contributions of the work could be artifacts and/or empirical research contributions by documenting and analysing the participants’ trajectories and struggles of learning and using the tools for their own ideas.
- “Confidence boosts for dealing with digital technologies”: Design experiments or participatory action research about configuring approaches to strengthening the confidence of self-identifying “technophobes”. Which aids, toolkits, methods or engagement formats might be developed to not only reduce the fear but to adopt and appropriate digital tools? Potential contributions of the work could be methodological and/or empirical.
- “The invisible woman with tech agency”: Engage and co-design with middle-aged women without any tech education who call themselves technophobes. This project could be about documenting participants’ experiences and analysing personal trajectories of learning and engaging with (dreaded) in order to identify strategies for building resilience and confidence. Potential contributions of the work could be empirical, methodological or artifact-based.
- “Staying with the trouble of digital fabrication tools - related to time”: A qualitative in-depth study of the specific barriers to using digital tools related to the requirement of time needed for learning and using these digital tools. For example, parents of young children or people with care responsibilities tend to have very limited time and energy for learning to use new tools (even if they would like to and the tools might be useful for them in particular ways – e.g. 3D-printing toys or assistive gadgets). The aim of this work would be to identify specific issues that these people face, aspects of current tool design that do not work for them and discuss ideas for better catering for the time-constraints: How could they still participate in digital fabrication despite having very limited time to dedicate? Potential contributions of the work could be empirical and inform a time-sensitive design manifesto.
- “Components for a Schnittmuster swatch book”: In previous work Janis developed the concept of the Schnittmuster as a context-sensitive approach to the design of maker toolkits. She used the example of capacitive touch-sensor electrodes to demonstrate how electronics components could be hand-crafted from different materials while fulfilling the same functional criteria. Thesis work on this topic would involve applying the Schnittmuster concept to further sensors or actuators, developing materials for guiding users in crafting their own electronic components and evaluating the approach in the given context. Potential contributions of the work would be artifact-based and empirical.
- *“Designers with disabilities”: Participatory design projects with people with disabilities on integrating 3D-printing into their own design activities - for example at a "Tagesstruktur" (formerly known as "Behindertenwerkstätte"). Designing workshops or similar engagement formats might enable people with disabilities to showcase more of their agency with digital tools as well as to create their own design portfolios. Potential contributions of the work could be methodological (developing accessible engagement formats) and/or empirical (documenting personal learning trajectories and struggles with tools design by reflecting on the experiences of participants).
- “Connections through Making”: Participatory Action Research on creating social connections or even alliances over hybrid crafts projects. For example, what might happen if sewers work with tech makers? What might happen if different groups collaborate over shared goals? (E.g. new repair networks rooted in a shared concern for suastainability). Potential contributions of the work could be empirical, methodological or artifact-based.
- “Database of Fails”: Creating a platform for sharing and reflecting on failures, problems and struggles with digital fabrication technologies. Why was it hard to learn using a tool? What did I learn from doing something wrong? Why was it actually even important to make mistakes? The aim of the thesis is to evaluate the potentia l of collectively reflecting on what went wrong for peer support and individual building of resilience and confidence. Potential contributions of the work would be artifact-based and empirical.
If you are interested in any of the topics, please contact Janis Lena Meißner.
Beyond the listed projects she is open for other thesis ideas that tie into the agenda of digital inclusion of “non-technological” people. More specifically she encourages thesis work that aims for making:
- empirical research contributions (providing new knowledge through analysis and discussions based on data-collection)
- artifact contributions (designing prototypes of new systems, tools, toolkits, techniques, and set-ups that reveal new insights and considerations of new possible futures)
- methodological contributions (configuring new approaches to research and design practice)
She can support such work with her experience in the following methodological research and design approaches:
- Understanding people in relation to tools used for work, amateur activities or creative hobbies: user research methods (qualitative approaches), ethnographic approaches (online and offline), Creative research methods (collecting people’s reflections through their creative expressions), inductive or deductive approaches to analysis of qualitative data
- Human-centered design explorations for creating inclusive tools: Design, implementation and evaluation of a prototype; Research through Design (Exploring research questions through iterations of design and reflections)
- Participatory and transformative approaches: Participatory Design and co-design, Action Research
I only offer supervision for bachelor theses.
Areas and topics I can offer support and guidance in are Critical and Speculative Design, Participatory Design, Qualitative Methods, Design Research Methods, Design with Children, Storytelling, Technology and Disability, Technology and Nature, Technology and Mental Health, Neurodivergence, and Feminism and Design Justice.
This means that you can approach me for projects where
- you want to design technological artefacts together with people
- you engage critically with technology
- you address social issues in and around technology
- you are interested in Graphic or Industrial Design
- you want to explore or understand in-depth rather than measure or prove
- you want to work with fiction
- you want to build (physical) prototypes
- you want to understand people’s experiences with technology
- you are more interested in the humans/animals/plants than the technology
You can feel free to ask about other related topics or areas though!
I am not taking on any more Masters or Bachelors thesis supervision, unless in a supporting role with another supervisor. This is because of my impending retirement and the number of existing thesis students to see through to completion before then.