The first C21 Day!

The C21 program officially started on September 15, 2021. After months of administrative challenges, we finally have all candidates for the first project wave onboard! Here we were on July 12, 2022, celebrating and strengthening our bonds right before the summer vacation.

The first program point, the steering committee, decided on the next steps in our partnership. Following breakfast, Prof. Vincent Koenig, coordinator of the C21 program, kicked off the day by walking the audience through the C21 project’s journey, starting with mutual visits between Cisco and UL from 2018 onwards. He also reiterated the problem and envisioned solution spaces of the C21: 

  • empowering people
  • transforming organisations
  • designing collaborative tools.

Prof. Romain Martin, the representative of the Ministry of Higher Education and former vice-rector of UL, shared his vision of how the C21 will bring Luxembourg closer to the vision of a smart nation. One specificity of Luxembourg as a research environment for C21 is its ability to act as a living lab on the country level, a lighthouse for technology-enhanced collaboration. Prof. Christine Schiltz, the vice-dean, also expressed her support to C21 on behalf of the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education.

Following these warm greetings, the voice went to the young researchers in C21. They introduced their research challenges and first empirical studies. PhD candidate Alina Lushnikova from the HCI team will develop metrics and methods to assess collaboration experiences. She also shared her first published study on self-tracking collaboration experiences. Exciting work ahead!

Hainan Yu, supervised by Prof. Pedro Cardoso Leite, just joined a week earlier. She introduced her research challenge “learning to collaborate through games”. Is collaboration a transversal skill that can be trained with the help of multiplayer digital games? Everybody wants to join her research for a round of gaming!

Benoît Alcaraz, supervised by Prof. Leon van der Torre, presented his two initial studies on improving collaboration through AI and agreement technologies. He develops an image recommender robot meeting assistant.

Freshly onboard PhD candidate Hoyeon Lee, supervised by Prof. Christine Schiltz, introduced her challenge on “Empowering instructors through software applications”, with a particular focus on mathematics learning. She reminded us about the importance of collaboration through a wise Korean saying: “Even for a blank sheet of paper, it is better to lift it together (백지장도 맞들면 낫다).”

Soon to join us PhD candidate Romain Toebosch, supervised by Prof. Carine Lallemand, presented his challenge on data-enabled collaboration spaces, using personal informatics tools and sensors to inform collaboration situations and trigger reflection and self-regulation.

We look forward to welcoming him soon, together with Aria Nourbakhsh and postdoctoral candidate Dr. Margault Sacré who will support the team in bringing the C21 vision to life. She will be in charge of a transversal challenge on the scalability of digitally enhanced teaching.

The final research introduction came from Dr. Kerstin Bongard-Blanchy, a core member coordinating the C21, in charge of the living lab approach that will test the project outcomes across settings of growing complexity: the user lab, the Luxembourg Learning Center, and Luxembourg schools.

The partners play an essential role in C21. It was now their turn to bridge their challenges with the research program. Eivind Christensen, the industrial program director, shared visions and challenges Cisco currently addresses to enhance the users’ experience. Luc Weis, director of SCRIPT (an entity of the Ministry of Education in Luxembourg), together with his colleague Elisa Mazzucato shared the vision of their involvement in C21 – as a facilitator but also as a test ground with a prototypical collaboration environment.

The afternoon was devoted to the visit to our living lab sites. Firstly the state-of-the-art user lab of HCI team, which the consortium members did not want to leave anymore. But luckily, they did to discover the magnificent Luxembourg Learning Centre with its impressive architecture and cosy collaboration spaces introduced to us warmly by Claire Godet. The User Lab and the Learning Centre will be a test-bed for new concepts of collaborative technologies developed within C21.

The day was beautifully rounded up with casual socializing around the best of Luxembourg vines and a view of the Moselle. We are glad we could finally meet face-to-face and feel freshly energized to make C21 a successful partnership. But before, it is time for well-deserved vacations. Be in touch soon!

This script is strongly inspired by the tweets on @C21_uni_lu Credits to Carine Lallemand.