We are delighted that one of our former NCI research students; Sabine Moebs has been awarded a co-funded Enterprise Partnership Scheme Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue to work with us here in NELL.   This 2 year post-doc was submitted in partnership with, and is co-funded by our friends in Fluid Rock, an interactive web design and development agency based in the Digital Hub.

Sabine will be continuing her work on accesibility and flow experiences and looking at user experience across mulitple devices.  Her research is titled; Accessibility-based Software Engineering Framework for User Experience across Mulitiple Devices.

She will start work in the lab and with Fluid Rock in July 2011.

We look forward to hearing more 🙂


Moodle logo Improving Students’ Learning Experience of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) in Higher Education.


Dr Stephan Weibelzahl and I are currently undertaking a user experience research study investigating how our NCI students engage with Moodle and how we can improve that experience.

Our study will then produce a report detailing students’ behaviour and guidelines on which teaching practices will improve the learners’ experience.

Our objectives are:

  1. To identify a list of most common tasks currently performed by students in VLEs.
  2. To conduct user study on NCI’s VLE (Moodle) including eye-tracking, usage observation and interview.
  3. To produce a report on students’ experience, highlighting usability issues and suggesting areas of improvement.
  4. To produce a booklet with instructional guidelines for lecturers on how to improve the use Moodle in their teaching practices.
  5. To conduct development workshops for NCI facutly to advise them on how to integrate recommendations into current learning and teaching practices.
  6. Through research and practitioner networks, make results of this study (lessons learned) available to other interested stakeholders, other HEA institutions, VLE and Moodle Learning and Teaching Networks.

This research is funded by NAIRTL and will run from Nov 2010 to June 2011

Are you an experienced researcher in the area of technology enhanced learning/e-learning?
Would you like to develop your career through a 2 year Research Fellowship in the National College of Ireland?


For more information on how to apply for this, check out the NCI Research website.

Deadline for submission of proposals: 17.00 Brussels time, 17 August 2010.

Improving the user experience in the National E-learning Lab (NELL):
NELL is a research facility specialising in usability testing for human computer interactions.  We would like to hear from researchers who are interested in conducting research on how to improve the user experience in e-learning.

School of Computing
Adaptive e-Learning Systems, Quality of Experience, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, User Experience, Dialogue Systems, Blended Learning, Usability, Evaluation.

Mice Behaviour

January 8, 2010

Are we now doing research on animals?


No, we are exploring how people use their mouse when reading on a screen. Many people seem to show typical mouse usage patterns that allows us to estimate what they have read. In a collaborative study, we got 32 participants (some of them from here in Ireland and some of them through our research partner in Austria) to read a number of different texts, e.g., news items, a medical text, Google search results and an on-line course.

While they were reading we tracked their gaze position and recorded their mouse & keyboard usage. We haven’t analysed the data in detail yet, but it looks very interesting so far. More details to be follow..

For more information, contact Stephan Weibelzahl:

E: Stephan.weibelzahl@ncirl.ie
T: 01 4498 579


Stephan and I are delighted to have been accepted to participate in a new European Funded Network of research and best practice; the COST Initiative.

The aim of the COST Initiative is to reduce the fragmentation in European research investments and opening the European Research Area to cooperation worldwide.

Researchers from NELL will be joining the IC0904 Network called ‘Towards the Integration of Transectorial IT Design and Evaluation’.   The Priniciple aim of this Action is to harmonise research and practice on design and evaluation methodologies for computing artefacts, across sectors and disciplines.

This Network currently has members from 20 other European countries and is growing.

We see participation in COST Network as exiting opportunity to share research and learn more about what other members in the network are currently investigating in the area of design and evaluation metrics of usability and user experience, particularly in e-learning applications. 

We would also look at participation in the Network as opportunity to encourage mobility and exchange of research students, faculty and staff between different research centres and to collaborate on scientific research and publications.

The first meeting of the Management committee of this Network will meet in Nov 09, so watch this space…