Hire me as a postdoc or research scientist!

I’m looking for research opportunities related to data equity & education.

I am seeking postdoctoral opportunities or research scientist opportunities that begin Jan - Sep 2022. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington Information School advised by Prof. Amy J. Ko.

Prior research: Data equity in CS education

Broadly speaking, my area of expertise is at the intersection of computing education and human-computer interaction. My dissertation focuses on supporting data equity in computing education by designing techniques and tools to enable stakeholders (e.g. students, teachers, curriculum designers) to interpret and use data. An example of my research on this topic is the design of Student Amp, a tool that enables instructors of large computing courses to interpret student feedback within the context of student identity and peer perceptions while also maintaining student privacy. I began this research with formative studies to understand experiences of students of minoritized groups, such as transfer students. It culminated in the design, implementation, and evaluation of Student Amp which contributed a design framework to support equitable interpretations of student feedback by considering student identity as an asset while ensuring privacy and safety of minoritized groups. see Student Amp

A second example of my research is Codeitz, an adaptive online learning environment that afforded learners agency and informed their decision-making process. This tool contributed guidelines for the design of self-directed online learning environments and to date has been used by 500+ learners, including 40 high school students from underrepresented backgrounds during a virtual STEM summer camp organized by undergraduate STEM students of color. see paper | see Codeitz

I publish my research in premier ACM venues such as Learning@Scale, ICER, and SIGCSE. I have also published in the Journal of Computer Science of Education and ACM magazines including CACM, IX, and XRDS. As of Sep 2021, my 19 publications have been cited 300+ times and I have an h-index of 8.

My research has received support from academia, industry, and nonprofits. I have been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, a Google Cloud Academic Research Grant, and a NSF INTERN supplement. The NSF INTERN funding enabled me to intern at nonprofit Code.org to engage my research with computing education practitioners. Impact of this internship includes improving the effectiveness and equity of their middle and high school computing curriculum which serve 200,000+ students annually ( see paper). I currently serve as the external research consultant to a Code.org working group tasked with developing long-term metrics for learning and inclusion.

New research ideas: Designing equitable, data-rich experiences w/ domain experts

I’m open to any research projects related to computing education, HCI, and critical data studies. To give you an idea of some ideas that have been on my mind, here are a few potential research interests:

  1. How do we enable sensemaking about data for equity-oriented goals? I’m interested in creating tools to enable end-users (e.g. teachers, students) to sensemake about data on disparities and biases for equity-oriented goals. This could involve creating tools that help identify subtle patterns of bias and disparities so they can use their domain expertise to take informed action.

  2. How can informal learning experiences inform community members about algorithms affecting their lives? How can this knowledge enable community engagement? I’m interested in using participatory design techniques to create informal learning experiences that enable community members to learn about and engage with public algorithms (e.g. algorithms related to social services, education) that affect them.

  3. How do young people learn introductory data science concepts by engaging with topics that affect their communities (e.g. algorithmic bias, climate change)? I’m interested in developing pedagogy that introduces data science concepts through engagement with topics situated in local communities. For example, climate change or algorithmic bias affect communities in disparate ways. I want to explore how community members can learn to use data and computing within the context of how these issues affect their community and what they can about it.

Timeline is flexible

My timeline for starting a postdoc is flexible. Here is an approximate/ideal timeline to give you an idea of what flexibility I have. Please note that I likely will have “stopgap” funding to postdoc with my current lab, affording me time to work with PIs to submit grants and funding applications in fall 2021.

  • Dec 2021: defend my dissertation

  • Jan-June 2022: postdoc at current lab at UW

  • June - Aug 2022: spend time with family (work 0-10 hrs/wk)

  • Sep 2022 - 2024/5: serve as postdoc or research scientist (while partner attends law school)

  • 2024/5: job search for tenure-track faculty role

Goal is to be research faculty

My long-term goal is to serve as tenure-track research faculty researching computing education and human-computer interaction in a computer science department or information school (starting 2024 or 2025). Serving as a postdoc or research scientist will afford me the opportunity to further develop my expertise in the field of human-computer interaction by publishing to top HCI and algorithmic fairness venues (e.g. CHI, CSCW, DIS, FAccT) and submitting grant proposal (e.g. NSF human-centric computing (HCC) and Research on Emerging Technologies for Teaching and Learning (RETTL)). I will also have the opportunity to collaborate with PIs with expertise in participatory design techniques and algorithmic fairness, as well as work with government and nonprofit collaborators. So let’s chat! 💬

Benjamin Xie
PhD Candidate

Designing interactive tools for equitable computing education.