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Margaret Burnett: Gender and Software

38 minutes, 52 seconds


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Meet Dr. Margaret Burnett, a Professor of Computer Science at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Oregon State University. She is exploring hypotheses correlating and differentiating (or unifying) both the design and usage patterns of software by gender. Dr. Burnett has spent the last three months as a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research.  Great fodder for the latest edition of WM_IN, we thought, and we were lucky enough to catch up with Dr. Burnett during her last week at MSR to talk about her focus of study, which is the fascinating topic of gender differences and human-computer interaction that exist in the ways people solve problems when they use software.  

Dr. Burnett's current research focuses on end-user programming, end-user software engineering, information foraging theory as applied to programming, and gender issues in those contexts. She is also the principal architect of the Forms/3 and the FAR visual programming languages, plus the WYSIWYT testing methodology for end-user programmers.  Watch, learn and enjoy!


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  • Thanks.  I'm intrigued by the work she alludes to around 15:50 about the connection between usability and software architecture which I managed to find here --> http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bej/usa/ .  think I'll try reading a few of the papers (hope they're not all behind the ACM paywall)

    re the joke at the end, I certainly hope there are plenty more women at all levels at MSFT who would make interesting interview subjects.  as far as higher-level/more prominent women goes, do you think you could get an interview with Maria Klawe who joined the MSFT board of directors a few months back?  I'm curious about her work/thoughts on serious games.

  • Maria is indeed on our list to interview!  We're hoping to catch her this fall when she's in town.  Stay tuned. 

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