- Anna Loparev -

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Email

loparev [at] cs [dot] rochester [dot] edu

Bio

My name is Anna Loparev, and I am a sixth year graduate student at the University of Rochester pursuing a Ph.D. in Human-Computer Interaction with my advisers Henry Kautz and Chris Egert. My research focuses on collaborative educational games, including evaluation methods and effective uses. I plan to defend December 2015. If you would like to see my CV, please email me at loparev [at] cs [dot] rochester [dot] edu.

Thesis

In my thesis, I explore how collaborative scaffolding in educational video games impacts helping behaviors in the classroom. Because the concept of collaboration is not well defined, I developed a taxonomy based on over 25 existing studies and surveys from a wide range of disciplines and with diverse target demographics. From this taxonomy, I identified two types of helping for my evaluation: performing part of a task for someone (direct helping) and providing guidance (indirect helping). I incorporated text-based scaffolding for these helping behaviors into an existing collaborative educational video game. Contents include statements such as "I should help create the path." and "Discussing how to get past these obstacles might not be a bad idea." I am currently in the process of analyzing data from trials run at local middle schools and afterschool programs.

Past Projects

Summer 2013 through Summer 2014, I interned at Second Avenue Learning as a learning analyst. While there, I contributed to on-site and off-site user testing sessions, produced content for educators and parents, developed new company protocols for design documentation, and designed TARGETS, an augmented reality card game that teaches chemistry. I also created preliminary designs for future units of Martha Madison, a collaborative game series that teaches middle school students about various science topics.

During my second and third years at the U of R, I worked with Walter Lasecki, Kyle Murray, and Jeff Bigham on WeGame, a system that turns any single-player game into a multiplayer experience. I designed and ran user trials to compare methods of combining inputs, and I explored the types of dynamics such a setup entails.

During my first and second years at the U of R, I worked on creating a model of how blind users use screen readers to experience the web. The goal was to explore the differences among blind users, as well as to use the model for evaluation in future projects.

During my first year at the University of Rochester, I created a developer hub for WebAnywhere, an internet-based screen reader that can be accessed from any computer. This hub included documentation on all files and classes, along with tutorials and a section on frequently asked questions.

During my undergraduate career, I wrote a 22-page paper on automata with the help of my project advisor Mia Minnes. The paper includes a new type of tree called an unfolding tree. I also worked at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab first as QA lead for Sc-rum'pet and later as the designer on Waker and Woosh. Waker and Woosh are games that teach middle school and high school students about displacement and velocity in a non-direct way. They were used to research the effects of narrative on enjoyment and knowledge retention. I also briefly worked as a designer/programmer on an early internal prototype of Symon.

Teaching

Spring 2013 I designed and taught the introductory HCI course. Later, during Spring 2014, I did a guest lecture on HCI and video games in this course.

Twice I worked as a teaching assistant for Jeff Bigham's CSC210 Web Programming course. I was also the head TA of Ted Pawlicki's CSC170 Introduction to Computer Programming and the Web course. All of these positions entailed teaching the course when the Professor was away.