Students Develop Cutting-Edge Prototypes

Sandlin, Anu  |  Sep 28, 2018

News Image: 
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
interaction design
Fleming Seay
Open House

In the Texas iSchool’s Interaction Design class, students learn to “put it all together,” says Dr. Fleming Seay, a longtime adjunct faculty member and senior principal UX engineer at Dell. The project-based course in design thinking allows students to tackle a real-world problem of their choice by gathering and interpreting data, and transforming the implications of that data into a prototype design that is then tested and refined.

I’m always impressed with how prescient the students are when it comes to project topics

 “I’m always impressed with how prescient the students are when it comes to project topics,” he says, noting that over the years, his students have developed prototypes that anticipated Google Maps, Foursquare, and Tinder. One student developed a concept for an e-reader and digital store before there was a Kindle. “I’d say we have at least one incubator-worthy concept per class, often two or three.”

 Texas iSchool student Semeon Risom recently led a team that developed a prototype for an app to promote physical fitness for elderly people through virtual-reality technology. The app allows users to walk, jog, bike, or paddle in virtual settings of their choice. Semeon continued to work on the app after completing Dr. Seay’s class and demonstrated it at the iSchool Open House in Spring 2017.

 During the demonstration, users of Semeon’s app pedaled a stationary bicycle while wearing a VR headset, creating the sensation of mountain-biking on a forest trail. “The application is called ViRtually Young,” said Semeon. “It allows someone who is elderly or who otherwise may not be able to perform the exercise activities they’d like to do, to do that in a safe environment, whether that’s in their home, at a doctor’s office or with a physical therapist.”

School awards student research at Open House

Ferguson, John  |  May 15, 2017

Open House

Four School of Information students received top awards for their projects and research findings during the iSchool's Spring 2017 Open House Showcase on May 5.

The Open House was an opportunity for approximately 80 iSchool students—including more than 50 graduating master's students—to showcase their work in interest areas ranging from archives and museums to global intelligence, health and information management.

The School of Information also opened its doors to members of the public and Austin-area employers during the Open House. Faculty, staff and students provided tours and demonstrations in digital archaeology, image and video computing, information experience, information retrieval and crowdsourcing, the IT lab, and the school's new makerspace.

The students who received awards are Tingting Cai, Anshulika Singh, Nitin Verma and Chen-Chun Shen.


Tingting Cai

Dean’s Award

Tingting Cai: Design a Classroom Observation Tool for Round Rock ISD

“The classroom observation tool I designed for Round Rock ISD is a web-based application that will replace paper forms researchers are using for observation activities. Numerous features are embedded in the prototype to help Round Rock ISD perform the daily work in a more efficient and delightful way …” Read More

Selected by the dean based on the quality of research, the impact of the project, the complexity of the project, and the wow factor of the presentation.


Anshulika Singh

People’s Choice Award

Anshulika Singh: Improving the User Experience of the iSchool Career Development Office

“The iSchool's MSIS program, being a multidisciplinary program, poses a challenge for the iSchool Career Development office in terms of serving the varied career needs of its students. … This research will provide valuable information regarding the Career Development Office's resources, systems and tools to support students' varied and unique career needs …” Read More

Selected by Open House attendees based on their perceptions of the most interesting and engaging work with the potential to make the biggest difference.


Nitin Verma

Faculty Award

Nitin Verma: Using Eye Tracking to Study User Experience on Scrollable Webpages

“This report describes the use of eye trackers to study user experience on scrollable webpages. In particular I focus on the eye tracking software EventIDE, which allows researchers to create experiments that can adapt to the participants' responses …” Read More

Selected by iSchool faculty based on the quality of the project and the presentation, as well as the project’s positive impact on the field of information studies.


Chen-Chun Shen

Peer Award

Chen-Chun Shen: iTester 3 Usability Study

“iTester is eMetric's online learning performance assessment product which provides a reliable and secure environment that allows students to take tests online. I conducted a study which improved the user experience of iTester 3 as well as reduced biases and increased assessment accuracy …” Read More

Selected by current iSchool students based on their perceptions of the project that best represent the spirit of the iSchool to solve information challenges for human benefit.


Find more information about the Spring 2017 Open House at


UT iSchool Spring 2016 Open House

Ferguson, John  |  May 13, 2016

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School of Information Spring 2016 Open House
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Students present their iSchool projects.
Open House

More than 60 iSchool students presented the results of their research projects on May 6 during the School of Information’s Spring 2016 Open House.

The event gave community members a chance to visit the iSchool and learn about work being done by students and faculty to curate and organize knowledge through advances in technology.

Approximately 40 graduating master’s students also discussed their capstone projects, which are the culmination of their academic studies. Capstone projects integrate students’ expertise and interests to produce work in a variety of disciplines, such as user experience, information architecture, interactive design and curation, in vocations ranging from healthcare and information management to libraries and communication.

Among other projects, iSchool students:

  • Built a program that tracks sarcasm on Twitter;
  • Redesigned websites to improve user experience and engagement;
  • Digitized historic folk recordings, aerial photography collections, and indigenous languages of Latin America;
  • Created the prototype of a mobile app that helps library users find books more efficiently;

In addition to student presentations, the open house featured lab tours and demonstrations of the iSchool’s Information Experience, Digital Archaeology, Information Retrieval and Human Computer Interaction labs.


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