Hi, I'm Joel. I'm an Assistant Professor in the University of Maryland's College of Information Studies (iSchool), and Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL). Previously, I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Project Scientist in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at Carnegie Mellon University, where I worked with Steven Dow and Niki Kittur. I received my PhD in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, where I was advised by Christian Schunn.

My research and teaching focus on the intersection of people, information, and creativity. I want to know how they (can best) combine to enable us to design the future(s) we want to live in. Learn more.

I'm recruiting PhD students (to begin Fall 2019) to work on topics related to creatively reusing knowledge in the domains of research, design, and policymaking and civic innovation. If that's you, please mention me in your personal statement when you apply to the iSchool, and feel free to reach out to me beforehand too!

Recent news and updates

Sep 2018 2 new NSF grants have officially been awarded! One (Co-PI) with Mark Fuge from UMD MechE, to develop a theory of when diverse initial ideas lead to better final design solutions, and one (Co-PI) with Niki Kittur (CMU HCII) and Dafna Shahaf (Hebrew University CSE) to accelerate innovation by creating new systems that support analogical search.
Sep 2018 New paper on combining crowdsourcing and machine learning to find analogies between research papers accepted to CSCW 2018! New Jersey, here we come! Camera-ready version here.
Aug 2018 Xin Qian joins the MegaCognition Lab as a first-year PhD student, fresh off a Master’s in Language Technologies from CMU’s Language Technologies Institute, to work on sensemaking technologies for collaboration at scale. Welcome, Xin Qian!!
Apr 2018 2 extended abstracts accepted as full paper presentations at Collective Intelligence 2018, one summarizing our recent work on computational analogy, and another with Saiph Savage on scaling up personalized feedback and mentoring for crowd work. Zurich, here we come!
Jan 2018 Camera-ready preprint for our CHI paper on helping designers explore abstract redescriptions of their design problems is ready! Read it here.

See all news and updates

Talks and travel

Oct 1, 2018 Mason Humanity-Centered Design Seminar, George Mason University
Oct 16, 2018 Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and Information, University of Maryland
Nov 3-7, 2018 CSCW, New Jersey City
Nov 13, 2018 Educational Psychology Colloquium, University of Maryland
Mar 25-27, 2019 AAAI 2019 Spring Symposium "Towards AI for Collaborative Open Science", Stanford