Research completed in Canada

Since moving from Ireland to Canada in 2004, I have completed a number of research projects, described below. You can also access my current research projects and projects completed in Ireland and the European Union.

25. VideoCom

How are First Nations using broadband networks and ICT for community, social and economic development?

The VideoCom project has evolved into the current, ongoing First Nations Innovation project. Every year more remote and rural First Nations (Indigenous communities) in Canada use broadband networks and ICT to help them achieve their social, economic, cultural and political aspirations. They use ICT for distance learning, telehealth, delivering community news and information, and a range of other activities. ICT is supporting the increased participation of First Nations community members in many social, economic, political and cultural activities, as well as providing new ways to share and promote common perspectives.

The VideoCom project led by the University of New Brunswick had three First Nations partners: Keewaytinook Okimakanak in Ontario, the First Nations Help Desk in Quebec and Atlantic Canada’s First Nation Help Desk / Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey in the Atlantic Region. The project resulted in numerous publications and outreach activities. For more information, check out the VideoCom moodle: http://videocom.firstnation.ca

This project ended in 2013 when the First Nations Innovation project was launched. VideoCom was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) from 2006 to 2012 with in-kind contributions from the partners.

24. Technologies for Healthcare

How can ICT be used and improved for healthcare?

“Technologies for Healthcare” includes a group of studies I led or participated in at the  National Research Council of Canada with health sector partners. The studies included attitudes of clinical mental health professionals toward telemental health, videoconferencing for health administration, patient portal technologies, technologies for hospital medication administration and others.

This project also included several studies conducted in partnership with my VideoCom research project, including First Nation community perspectives on telemental health and a major literature review on ICT for health and wellness in remote and rural First Nations.

The technologies for healthcare studies were funded by the National Research Council of Canada; partners included the River Valley Health and Vitalite Health Network in New Brunswick and Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch in Ottawa. The studies were completed in 2012.

23. Broadband Video Communications

How are people, organizations and communities using online videos and videoconferencing?

Broadband Video Communications was a major research project I led for the National Research Council of Canada that included a number of separate studies – including some of the earliest research papers about YouTube as well as on videoconferencing for education and healthcare, peer-generated videos and others.

In Canada, a vast geographical distance separates many communities from each other and from the resources available only in large urban centres. Broadband networks (high-speed digital networks capable of supporting real-time video and audio communication) are an important means of linking people and communities with each other and with vital resources. Video communications on broadband includes all the ways that people use video to communicate with each other on broadband networks, including videoconferencing, multi-site videoconferencing, webstreaming, video podcasting, and web cameras of all kinds.

This project was funded by the National Research Council. It resulted in numerous publications as well as several technical development projects. The project was completed in 2010.

22. Research on ICT with Aboriginal Communities

Building a national research cluster of researchers and others working on ICT with Aboriginal communities in Canada.

Across Canada, Aboriginal communities are using information and communication technologies (ICT) to reach their development goals. Research on ICT with Aboriginal Communities (RICTA) was a network aimed at building a critical mass of knowledge and sharing among researchers working on this topic.

The RICTA cluster members included more than 30 people working with universities, community research institutes, Aboriginal organizations, government and the private sector. For more information, and to view the RICTA video and download the 2005 meeting report, visit the RICTA website: www.ricta.ca

The RICTA network was a partnership with the University of New Brunswick, the National Research Council of Canada and Keewaytinook Okimakanak. RICTA was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council‘s Strategic Research Cluster Design Grants in 2004-2005. The project ended in 2006.

21. Government of New Brunswick – ICDL Pilot

Evaluating a pilot program to increase the IT competence of government employees.

I led this evaluation of a pilot program to increase the IT competence of Government of New Brunswick employees. The evaluation’s purpose was to assist the Government’s efforts to increase its IT capacity.

From February to September 2005, the Government of New Brunswick and ICDL Canada undertook a pilot program in ICDL certification for Government employees. The International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL), the world’s leading end-use computer skills certification program, verifies a person’s competence in computer skills. The Government’s objectives for the ICDL pilot included determining if ICDL training and certification is appropriate for Government staff and if staff pursuing training and certification would improve their computer skills, knowledge and confidence. Upon completion, the evaluation report was used by the Government of New Brunswick to consider revisions to its IT training policies.

The Government of New Brunswick – ICDL Pilot Evaluation was conducted for the Government of New Brunswick – www.gnb.ca – and ICDL Canada – www.icdl.ca. The project was completed in 2006.

20. Community Intermediaries Research Project

What are the opportunities and challenges facing community organizations delivering information and services?

The aim of the Community Intermediaries (CIRP) project was to investigate the social challenges and needs addressed by Canadian non-profit community-based organizations, the social and community contexts in which they operate, the information and services they provide to citizens, and the technologies they use to do their work. These organizations are “community intermediaries”” because they act as links between the various levels of government (federal, provincial, and municipal) and citizens, providing social services and information to their clients and communities.

CIRP investigated the opportunities and challenges facing four community intermediaries as they delivered adult formal and informal learning, skills and training services, health information and services, and general community information and community development activities. The CIRP research examined how these community intermediaries were using information and communication technologies (ICT) as well as other means of communication (e.g., in-person visits, telephones, written correspondence, etc.) to deliver government information, services and programs.

I was co-investigator on the CIRP project, coordinating the efforts of the National Research Council staff working on the project team, co-supervising the graduate students, conducting fieldwork and data analysis, and drafting project reports and publications.

CIRP was a partnership of the National Research Council Institute for Information Technology (www.nrc.ca), the University of New Brunswick (www.unb.ca), Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (www.hrsdc.gc.ca ) and Health Canada (www.hc-sc.gc.ca). The project was completed in 2006

19. Seniors and ICT

What challenges are facing senior citizens that could possibly be improved through ICT?

The Seniors and ICT project conducted background research for the development of intuitive, reliable and easy-to-use information and communication technology applications (ICT) to assist senior citizens who want to continue living at home. The focus of the project was ICT for social communications. The analysis considered not only seniors but also other citizens, particularly informal caregivers and members of seniors’ extended families. Many seniors are also people with disabilities. Most seniors are women. Many seniors are living in cultural minority communities. The project considered these and other aspects of seniors’ lives to ensure that the research is inclusive of a wide spectrum of Canadians.

The project was funded by the National Research Council of Canada and ended in 2004.

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My research projects 1 to 18 were conducted in Ireland and the European Union. Click here for the descriptions of these projects.

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