Guest Speakers

Dr. Colin Conrad (he/him)

Assistant Professor, Dalhousie University

Dr. Colin Conrad is an interdisciplinary information technology researcher whose work draws from human-computer interaction, neuroscience and data science. The overarching goal of Dr. Conrad’s research is to identify ways to improve information technology designs by accounting for unconscious cognitive and emotional mental processes. For example, a common problem in online learning is difficulty paying attention for long periods of time. In a recent experiment, Dr. Conrad focused on detecting mind-wandering during online lectures using electroencephalography (EEG). By discovering and applying a technique for measuring mind-wandering, he showed that it increases in degree as a lecture progresses, and that the degree of mind-wandering negatively impacts learning. His work suggests that online lectures should be kept under 30 minutes.

Dr. Conrad also uses website and social media data to inform learning and decision-support systems. Adapting natural language processing techniques, which typically detect differences in authorship, Dr. Conrad has identified techniques for automatically detecting dimensions of essay rubrics, which can be applied to ensure consistent evaluation across multiple evaluators. He has also used a similar approach to identify Twitter users who are likely to give to charities, which was later used by a Maritimes-based software company to create a decision-support system and incorporate it into their products.

Dr. Jamila Ghaddar

Assistant Professor

Dr. Jamila Ghaddar is an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University’s School of Information Management. She is a SSHRC-funded Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Manitoba, where she works with Raymond Frogner at the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation and Dr. Greg Bak at the History Department. She is also an Adjunct Fellow at UoM’s St. John’s College. She holds a PhD and Master of Information from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. Her work has appeared in the premier academic journals Archival Science; Library Quarterly; and Archivaria. Her 2016 publication in the latter on the legal battles over archives between Canada and the Truth & Reconciliation Commission won the Association of Canadian Archivists’ W. Kaye Lamb Prize for best article. Most recently, she completed a chapter for the forthcoming book, Disputed Archival Heritage. These interventions form part of a larger intellectual project that interrogates the complex dynamics between race, colonialism, gender, history, memory, citizenship, nationalism and archives in national spaces and international arenas like Canada, France, Algeria, Lebanon, UNESCO and the Arab League. Ghaddar has been awarded a Senior Doctoral Fellowship with UofT’s Equity Department, the ALA’s Eugene Garfield Dissertation Fellowship, and a multiyear Doctoral Fellowship from Canada’s Social Science & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).