Mary Beth Rosson

About Me

I am Associate Dean of Information Sciences and Technology with responsibility for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies; I also continue to be Professor in the same college and am Affiliate Professor of Instructional Systems in the College of Education. With Dr. John Carroll, I co-direct the Computer-Supported Collaboration and Learning (CSCL) lab, part of Penn State’s Center for Human-Computer Interaction.

My long-term research themes include scenario-based design (SBD) and evaluation methods, materials and tools for informal and collaborative learning, and interactive tools for software design and construction. An overview of the SBD methods can be found in the Usability Engineering textbook I wrote in 2002 as well as our repository of usability case studies.

Currently I am participating in a broad range of research projects, most involving some aspect of collaborative learning and problem solving. Typically our projects use a mix of methods – lab studies, participatory analysis and design, exploratory software development, and field studies within the general framework of action research.

Within the CSCL, Jack Carroll and I co-direct the user experience focus area within a large NSF-funded Expeditions project exploring new directions in smart cameras, Visual Cortex on Silicon. We are working with brain scientists and computer vision researchers on novel technologies and applications for computer vision, with a current focus on shopping assistance for people with visual impairments.

Other funded projects include a collaboration with Dr. Shyam Sundar studying the heuristics or short-cuts people use when making decisions about disclosing online information and a new project exploring co-production as a strategy for improving health and wellness among elders in a community. A recently completed project with Dr. Pam Wisniewski (now an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida) integrated a wide variety of methods to investigate the strategies of teens and their parents regarding risky online behavior. I also supervise a long-running action research project in the area of broadening participation in computing, our current work with online support for young people in computing can be found in the iTech Academy.

I am a founding member of the EUSES Consortium (End Users Shaping Effective Software), a group of researchers from Oregon State, CMU, Drexel, University of Nebraska, and Penn State, who collaborate on a broad range of issues and techniques related to end-user software engineering. I am a member of the CHI Academy and an ACM Distinguished Scientist.

For a much longer version of ‘about me’, here is a relatively current (as of November 2015) CV.

About Me

Mary Beth Rosson is Professor of IST at Penn State University, as well as an HCI researcher; she can be contacted by email via mrosson AT