The eyes have it at CQUni Noosa conference
Published on 07 June, 2012
Noosa caught the eye of some of Europe's top learning methods academics this week, as researchers from as far as Germany, Scotland, Ireland, England, South Africa, France, Malaysia and Finland gathered at the local CQUniversity campus for Australia's first ever eye tracker conference...
Professor Reinhold Kliegl from the University of Potsdam, Germany, Acting Head of Noosa Campus Professor Mike Horsely and Dr Tracy Harwood from De Montfort University in Leicester, England at the recent Eye tracker Conference held on Noosa campus
Eye trackers give researchers an insight into what people are thinking as they read computer screens by detecting where, how long and how often they look at certain images and text.
Held at CQUniversity's $73,000 purpose-built eye tracker facility - one of the few in the world to specialise in education - Eye Track Australia 2012 showcased the latest developments in the field.
CQUniversity Professor Mike Horsley said one highlight was discussing the integration of eye tracking and Electroencephaologram (EEG) technology, which can measure human emotions.
"While eye trackers analyse what a person is thinking about in relation to an image, EEG interprets and records how people are emotionally responding to what they are seeing," Professor Horsley said.
"As one side of the brain processes logical thought and the other handles emotion, the combination of EEG and eye tracker data can give us a complete picture of how a person is responding to an image.
"Research in this area is in the beginning stages, but when we discover how to put EEG and eye tracker data together we are likely to discover more about how we think and how people learn."
In the lead up to the conference, CQUniversity Noosa hosted an eye tracker training day as international and Australian researchers shared techniques and approaches to the technology.
Associate Professor Horsley said the conference had bolstered the Noosa Campus' reputation as a burgeoning research hub and leader in the eye tracking field.
"Attracting the world's leading eye tracker researchers is an indication of how internationally renowned our facility is," Professor Horsley said.
"It has also enabled us to broaden our knowledge base and research network, as well as gain benefits from each other's research."
Several CQUniversity researchers presented updates on their eye tracker research projects.
The conference was managed by Dr Matt Eliot from CQUniversity's Learning & Teaching Education Research Centre (LTERC).
"One of our students is working on a health promotion website aimed at making Australians more health conscious," Dr Eliot said.
"Another was one of CQUniversity Noosa's PhD students who presented her first round of findings on how students self-regulate themselves online - such as how they motivate and set goals for themselves."