måndag 17 februari 2020

FLIGHT spring 2020 bachelor's theses

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Three groups of students will evaluate the FlightViz visualization tool during the spring term

My previous blog post presented three bachelor's theses that I will be the advisor of during the spring term and this blog posts presents the other five theses (10 students working in pairs) that I will be the advisor of. It is a bit misleading to say that I will (only) be the advisor of these eight bachelor's theses as my role is more complex. All of these eight theses are "generated" by two research projects, "Homo Colossus" and "FLIGHT". I am the principal investigator and project leader of both of these research projects. All of these bachelor's theses are the result of theses proposals that we wrote up in the research projects. That means my relationship to these students is not just as their "advisor" but also as a "client" who wants something done. This can be compared to a situation where a company wants something done (a "client") and where the students also have an academic "advisor" who helps them deliver not just what the company wants but who also (and actually primarily) helps them write a thesis and thus pass the course (in this case "DM128X Degree Project in Media Technology").

So I have two hats when I meet the students. On the one hand I am a client who wants (practical) things done (stuff should be delivered!). On the other hand I am also their academic advisor who makes (scientific) demands and supports them so that they get their thesis together and pass this 15-credit course.

These students do get more attention and support than "ordinary" students would get. The course has a budget and there are guidelines for how much time an advisor should spend throughout the spring term but since they are working with/for a research project, I am prepared to spend some more time with these students. Here are the five bachelor's thesis:


Evaluating FlightViz at KTH (Anna Gustavsson and Kristina Andersson)
I wrote about the FlightViz vizualisation tool in a blog post a month ago. A group of students developed FlightViz for the FLIGHT project during the latter part of the autumn term. The tool was developed to fit the needs of the four researchers in the FLIGHT project, but (how) does it fit the needs of other users at KTH who also would like to know about KTH flight patterns? Anna and Kristina will evaluate FlightViz with other user groups and will thus also find out what questions others would like to have answered that FlightViz currently does not satisfy. We expect this thesis to result in a list of needs/demands that we can take into consideration when we develop an updated version of FlightViz.


Evaluating FlightViz at other universities (Eliott Remmer and Nils Merkel)
Eliott and Nils will evaluate FlightViz at a number of other universities in and near Stockholm. Kristina von Oelreich who is Chief Sustainability Officer at KTH will help Eliott and Nils with contacts (other persons who have her role at other universities).


Evaluating FlightViz at other organisations (Albin Matson Gyllang and Billy Jansheden)
Albin and Billy will also evaluate FlightViz but in other, non-unviersity organizations. It seems like one of the organisations that will be part of their thesis is the Red Cross. Markus Robèrt who is part of the FLIGHT project will help Albin and Billy with contacts to relevant persons in these companies (organisations).


Engaging through design - visualizing the climate impact of aviation in KTH departments (Maria Jacobson and Nike Backman Eriksson)
We will visit one department/division at each of the five Schools at KTH during the spring. We will visit them again a year later and possibly make shorter visits a few times in-between. It would however be good if these departments knew how they are doing in terms of CO2 emissions from their flights throughout the remainder of the year. Maria and Nike will therefore design a leave-behind "installation" that will be updated with new data on a monthly basis and that will display some relevant information or measure that will help departments understand if they are on track to meet their goals (or not). Maria and Nike have basically taken on a task that we specified in our research project application, e.g. to "examine alternative ways to represent historic, present and future travel data and CO2 emissions to communicate and further increase awareness of the connection between data, habits and behaviors in relation to KTH goals".


Travelspeed (Martin Neihoff and Julia Huang)
Martin and Julia will do the same thing that Maria and Nike will do, but have already decided what specific data they will work with - data on the length of air trips (distance) and time away from Stockholm. Distance divided by time = speed. How can speed be used to benchmark or increase awareness of travel patterns at different departments? This is a far-out idea that came to us (the researchers in the FLIGHT project) when we met a group of students and we think this ides is very intriguing (there are parallells to the "time geography" that Swedish geographer Torsten Hägerstrand developed in the 1960's). We don't yet know what this idea will yield, but we think it is really intriguing and are happy that we have found students who will help us explore this concept!
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