Samuel Dodson, Ph.D.

About Me

I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Information Science at the University at Buffalo.

I research how scientists and engineers interact with information. I actively publish in the areas of genre studies, information practice, science and technology studies, and STEM education. My publication record is available from my Google Scholar profile or my ORCID record.

I teach courses on human–computer interaction, information visualization, information retrieval, and research methods in the master’s and doctoral programs.

I previously studied at the University of British Columbia (PhD in Library, Archival and Information Studies and Master of Library and Information Studies) and Lewis & Clark College (Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and Psychology).

Research

The objective of my research is to better understand science and engineering document practices. Drawing upon activity theory and rhetorical genre theory, I study how scientists and engineers interact with different genres in their work. For example, an engineer designing a medical device must interact with multiple genres. These might include product specifications, material safety data sheets, medical standards, regulatory requirements, patent information, and clinical trial reports. In this example, each genre provides specific information that contributes to the engineer’s overall understanding of the safety and effectiveness of the medical device.

Genres represent norms for how, why, and to what effects scientists and engineers communicate and accomplish their goals. I often study how emerging scientists and engineers learn to recognize the relationship between genres and tasks in the performance of document practices. The findings of my research provide insights into scientific and technological work, including how knowledge is created and applied. By describing document practices, my findings show how the skills and abilities for interacting with specialized information are a critical part of scientific and technological inquiry and reasoning.

Publications

Refereed Journal Articles

Dodson, S. (in press). “Having just the right answer is almost as worthless as not having an answer”: Conceptualizing the information needs of emerging engineers. Journal of Documentation.

Dodson, S., Sinnamon, L., & Kopak, R. (2024). Mapping the relationship between genres and tasks: A study of undergraduate engineers. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24897

Seo, K., Yoo, M., Dodson, S., & Jin, S.-H. (2024). Augmented teachers: K–12 teachers’ needs for artificial intelligence’s complementary role in personalized learning. Journal of Research on Technology in Education. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/15391523.2024.2330525

Chopra, A., Mo, M., Dodson, S., Beschastnikh, I., Fels, S., & Yoon, D. (2021). “@alex, this fixes #9”: Analysis of referencing patterns in pull request discussions. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 5(CSCW2), 385:1–25. https://doi.org/10.1145/3479529 Impact Recognition Award

Seo, K., Dodson, S., Harandi, N. M., Roberson, N., Fels, S., & Roll, I. (2021). Active learning with online video: The impact of learning context on engagement. Computers & Education, 165, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2021.104132

Dodson, S., Roll, I., Harandi, N. M., Fels, S., & Yoon, D. (2019). Weaving together media, technologies, and people: Students’ information practices in flipped classrooms. Information and Learning Sciences, 120(7/8), 519–540. https://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-01-2019-0011

Refereed Conference Papers

Sinnamon, L., Dodson, S., Li, A., & Hina Shahid, S. (in press). Re-envisioning search education through a critical information literacy lens. Proceedings of the Association for Library and Information Science Education Annual Conference.

Dodson, S. (2023). Tracing information use over time: A comparative study of undergraduate engineers. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 60(1), 938–940. https://doi.org/10.1002/pra2.904

Dodson, S., Sinnamon, L., & Kopak, R. (2023). Spontaneous learning environments: Manipulating readability and cohesion in support of searching as learning. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 60(1), 570–575. https://doi.org/10.1002/pra2.817

Dodson, S. (2022), A survey of undergraduate engineering students’ personal information management practices. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 59(1), 669–671. https://doi.org/10.1002/pra2.685 Best Poster Award, 2nd Place

Srinivasa, R. J., Dodson, S., Seo, K., Yoon, D., & Fels, S. (2021). NoteLink: A point-and-shoot based linking interface between student notebooks and instructional videos. Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, 140–149. https://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/JCDL52503.2021.00026

Sinnamon, L., Tamim, L., Dodson, S., & O’Brien, H. L. (2021). Rethinking interest in studies of interactive information retrieval. Proceedings of the Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, 39–49. https://doi.org/10.1145/3406522.3446031

Seo, K., Fels, S., Yoon, D., Roll, I., Dodson, S., & Fong, M. (2020). Artificial intelligence for video-based learning at scale. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale, 215–217. https://doi.org/10.1145/3386527.3405937

Fong, M., Dodson, S., Harandi, N. M., Seo, K., Yoon, D., & Fels, S. (2019). Instructors desire student activity, literacy, and video quality analytics to improve video-based blended courses. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale, 7:1–7:10. https://doi.org/10.1145/3330430.3333618

Yarmand, M., Yoon, D., Dodson, S., Roll, I., & Fels, S. (2019). “Can you believe [1:21]?!”: Content and time-based reference patterns in video comments. Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 489:1–489:12. https://doi.org/10.1145/3290605.3300719 Best Paper Honorable Mention Award

Dodson, S. (2019). Interacting with heterogeneous information ecologies: Challenges and opportunities for students in diverse and distributed learning environments. Proceedings of the Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, 445–448. https://doi.org/10.1145/3295750.3298967

Bogers, T., Dodson, S., Freund, L., Gäde, M., Hall, M., Koolen, M., Petras, V., Pharo, N., & Skov, M. (2019). Overview of the Workshop on Barriers to Interactive IR Resources Re-Use. Proceedings of the Workshop on Barriers to Interactive IR Resources Reuse, 1–6. http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-2337/overview.pdf

Bogers, T., Dodson, S., Freund, L., Gäde, M., Hall, M., Koolen, M., Petras, V., Pharo, N., & Skov, M. (2019). Workshop on Barriers to Interactive IR Resources Re-use (BIIRRR 2019). Proceedings of the Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, 389–392. https://doi.org/10.1145/3295750.3298965

Dodson, S., Freund, L., Yoon, D., Fong, M., Kopak, R., & Fels, S. (2018). Video-based consensus annotations for learning: A feasibility study. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 55(1), 792–793. https://doi.org/10.1002/pra2.2018.14505501119

Dodson, S., Roll, I., Fong, M., Yoon, D., Harandi, N., & Fels S. (2018). An active viewing framework for video-based learning. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale, 24:1–24:4. https://doi.org/10.1145/3231644.3231682

Fong, M., Dodson, S., Zhang, X., Roll, I., & Fels S. (2018). ViDeX: A platform for personalizing educational videos. Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, 331–332. https://doi.org/10.1145/3197026.3203865

Dodson, S., Freund, L., & Kopak, R. (2018). The role of pre-existing highlights in reader-text interactions and outcomes. Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, 17–20. https://doi.org/10.1145/3197026.3197066

Harandi, N. M., Agharebparast, F., Linares, L., Dodson, S., Roll, I., Fong, M., Yoon, D., & Fels, S. (2018). Student video-usage in introductory engineering courses. Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association Conference, 80:1–80:8. https://doi.org/10.24908/pceea.v0i0.13025

Dodson, S., Roll, I., Fong, M., Yoon, D., Harandi, N. M., & Fels, S. (2018). Active viewing: A study of video highlighting in the classroom. Proceedings of the Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, 237–240. https://doi.org/10.1145/3176349.3176889

Dodson, S., Freund, L., & Kopak, R. (2017). Do highlights affect comprehension? Lessons from a user study. Proceedings of the Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, 381–384. https://doi.org/10.1145/3020165.3022158

Dodson, S. (2017). Supporting collaborative information seeking through shared annotations. Proceedings of the BCS-IRSG Symposium on Future Directions in Information Access, 12:1–12:4. https://doi.org/10.14236/ewic/fdia2017.12

Freund, L., Dodson, S., & Kopak, R. (2016). On measuring learning in search: A position paper. Proceedings of the International Workshop on Search as Learning, 22:1–22:2. http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-1647/SAL2016_paper_22.pdf

Non-Refereed Publications

Dodson, S. (2023). Building expertise with technical information in support of computational literacies: A research project with MLIS students and instructors. Proceedings of the Association for Library and Information Science Education Annual Conference. https://doi.org/10.21900/j.alise.2023.1375

Dodson, S. (2021). Becoming engineers: How students leverage relationships between documents and learning activities [Doctoral dissertation, University of British Columbia]. cIRcle. https://dx.doi.org/10.14288/1.0401273

Dodson, S., & Zimmerman, S. (2018). Autumn School for Information Retrieval and Information Foraging (ASIRF 2017). ACM SIGIR Forum, 52(2), 83–86. https://doi.org/10.1145/3308774.3308787

Dodson, S. (2016). Effects of Field Dependence-Independence and passive highlights on comprehension [Master’s thesis, University of British Columbia]. cIRcle. https://dx.doi.org/10.14288/1.0300056

Refereed Conference Presentations

Dodson, S. (2023, November 8–11). Roots of inequality in informal information sources: Growing more inclusive practices on Stack Exchange [Paper presentation]. Society for the Social Studies of Science, Honolulu, HI, United States.

Sinnamon, L., Dodson, S., Li, A., & Shahid, S. H. (2023, March 19–23). Search education: A critical information literacy approach [Workshop paper presentation]. Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, Austin, TX, United States.

Sinnamon, L., Dodson, S., & Kopak, R. (2021, March 14–19). Reading measures for searching as learning applications [Workshop paper presentation]. Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, Canberra, Australia.

Dodson, S. (2019, June 2–6). Understanding students’ genre–task relationships [Workshop paper presentation]. Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, Champaign, IL, United States.

Teaching

My teaching philosophy is based on a constructivist worldview, informed by activity theory. Constructs from activity theory bring attention to learners’ motivations in their interactions with one another and with the artifacts that mediate their situated thinking and behaviors. In alignment with these constructs, I aim to support forms of agentic experiential learning. In doing so, I encourage students to share their prior knowledge, professional experience, and personal interests to foster spaces for collaborative engagements with peers and scholarly texts as co-thinkers. I consider how assignments can be connected to the interests that students bring to the classroom. For this approach to be meaningful, it is important to design practical and flexible assignments that can be adapted to students’ capacities and the careers they hope to pursue. My teaching values the contributions of students from diverse backgrounds and with a wide range of lived experiences, whose perspectives may have been historically excluded from shaping information policies and systems. This philosophy motivates three primary goals in my teaching: i) supporting collaborative learning spaces; ii) providing practical learning opportunities; and iii) advancing equity, diversity, social justice, and inclusion initiatives.

Current Courses

Course Typically Offered Syllabus

LIS 557 Information Visualization

Fall Syllabus

LIS 565 Information Retrieval

Spring Syllabus

LIS 575 Introduction to Research Methods

Fall and Spring Syllabus