Maria C. R. Harrington

Maria C. R. Harrington, Ph.D.

Biography

Dr. Maria C. R. Harrington is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the UCF Nicholson School of Communication and Media. She also has a second joint appointment in the UCF Learning Sciences Cluster, is a core faculty in the Texts & Technology Ph.D. program, and is a Research Associate with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History with the Powdermill Nature Reserve.

She is an American information scientist and artist. Research focus is on Virtual Nature, and the aesthetics in the perceptual ambient array and information science theory as it relates to beauty found in natural environments using augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), GIS simulations, and new media art to explore the phenomena of human reactions. Such tools are used to investigate human interaction of real-virtual environments and impacts on perception, learning, health, and creativity. Such systems influence scientific, human, social, and cultural transformations. She is director of The Harrington Lab, and has consulted on projects using AR and VR with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Research area is broadly related to the development of digital media artifacts from human-computer interaction, user centered design, and data visualization perspectives. There are two major creative research projects currently under investigation. The first project is AR Perpetual Garden App used in museums, and the second project is the investigation of VR with The Virtual UCF Arboretum, both are used to study informal learning, emotional, and aesthetic impacts of immersive, multimodal, and interactive digital media as knowledge artifacts. Both projects have resulted in grants, awards, publications, and presentations. The AR apps are available on iTunes, Google Play stores, and digital media on PBS LearningMedia. Papers appeared in peer-reviewed international journals and conference proceedings, including: Curator: The Museum Journal, Virtual Reality, IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, and Museum and the Web, NASA Human Research Program, HASTAC, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, ACM-SIGCHI IDC, and ACM SIGGRAPH.

She has been PI or co-PI on research in Virtual Nature and its applications. Awarded an Artist in Residence fellowship and invited to become a Research Associate with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Powdermill Nature Reserve, she is investigating informal learning with digital media. Awarded a grant from the UCF/Office of Research & Commercialization, VPR Advancement of Early Career Researchers (AECR), she is engaged in interdisciplinary research with the Department of Biology, UCF Arboretum, and the Department of Psychology investigating immersive multimodal applications of The Virtual UCF Arboretum with a treadmill. She has been recognized as a national and international scholar with invitations to conduct a Virtual Nature Workshop in Game Development and Mixed Reality, at the MultiMediaTechnology Program of the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Austria, and at the University of Pittsburgh. In the past, she was invited to review grants for NSF Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE), Information & Intelligent Systems Division (CII), Cyber-Human Systems (CHS), for the ARVR Panel.

The Harrington Lab at UCF investigates virtual nature, using AR and VR as a technical artifact, to better understand perceptual phenomenon as it relates to human-computing-environment interactions that cause emotional, learning, and aesthetic outcomes. The lab is highly collaborative with several active multidisciplinary partnerships. Efforts focus on extending prior work in the development of Simulated Ecological Environments for Education (SEEE) used for research and art. The lab is under the direction of Dr. Harrington at the University of Central Florida. Find her publications on Google Scholar and ResearchGate.

Her artwork, as both digital media and photographic prints, has been shown, and sold to private collectors, and promises a new genre of digital media art with augmented and virtual reality. Her artwork is an investigation of landscapes, much like the Hudson River School of the past, and Clifford Ross of the present, and explores ideas salient with humans’ connections and responses to the land.

Education

  • Ph.D. in Information Science from University of Pittsburgh (2008)
  • M.S. in Information Science from University of Pittsburgh (1990)
  • B.S. in Economics and Art from Carnegie Mellon University (1988)

Research Interests

  • Art and technology, both AR and VR as an aesthetic medium
  • Virtual nature, in AR and VR as geo-spatial virtual simulations of nature
  • AR and VR, simulations, and human-computer interaction for informal learning and creating
  • Emergent, co-creation activities, and design of technology to support human creativity
  • Perception, emotion, cognition, and active learning as responses to virtual nature and impacts on society and cultural transformation.

Recent Research Activities

Her new research direction is to investigate the factors, from an information processing perspective, that drive individuals and societies to create and the role beauty plays in shaping human feelings, thoughts, and action in both art and science. AR and VR, when executed as both works of art and as realistic, simulations, are important as they influence scientific, human, social, and cultural transformations and growth, especially into the new and unknown.


Selected Publications

Articles/Essays

  • Harrington, Maria C. R., Tatzgern, M. Langer T., Wenzel, J. W. (2019). Augmented Reality Brings the Real World into Natural History Dioramas with Data Visualizations and Bioacoustics at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Curator: The Museum Journal, First published in Wiley Online Library (April 19, 2019). https://doi.org/10.1111/cura.12308
  • Harrington, Maria, C. R. (2011). Empirical Evidence of Priming, Transfer, Reinforcement, and Learning in the Real and Virtual Trillium Trails. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies 2011 vol.4 Issue No.02 – April-June pp: 175-186 [DOI: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/TLT.2010.20 | Research Gate | PDF ]
  • Harrington, M.C.R. (June 2012). The Virtual Trillium Trail and the empirical effects of Freedom and Fidelity on discovery-based learning. Virtual Reality, Volume 16, Number 2, Pages 105-120. Original Article published in OnlineFirst™ Springer London. 1-15.  (March 3, 2011) [DOI: 10.1007/s10055-011-0189-7 | Research Gate| PDF ]
  • Harrington, Maria, C. R. (2009). An ethnographic comparison of real and virtual reality field trips to Trillium Trail: The salamander find as a Salient Event. In Freier, N.G. & Kahn, P.H. (Eds.), Children, Youth and Environments: Special Issue on Children in Technological Environments, Volume 19 Number 1: Published by: The Board of Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate, for the benefit of the Children, Youth and Environments Center at the University of Colorado Boulder
    [Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.19.1.0074 | HTML | PDF]
  • Dissertation: Harrington, Maria, C. R. (2008).  Simulated Ecological Environments for Education (SEEE): A Tripartite Model Framework of HCI Design Parameters for Situational Learning in Virtual Environments. Dissertation Abstracts International. July 17, 2008. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. [PDF]

Creative Publications

  • Harrington, Maria C. R., Wenzel, J. W., Tatzgern, M., Langer T., Oliver, M., Isaac, B., Guffey, A., Bledsoe, Z., Jones, C.  and Dinic, R. (2017-2018). The AR Perpetual Garden Apps. Published on Google Play Android Store (Version 6.6.6) Launched November 30, 2018. Available from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.carnegie.garden
  • Harrington, Maria C. R., Bohlen, P., Beck, K., Bledsoe, Z., Jones, C., Miller, J., Pring, T., Elliott, J., Jarrett, R., Lindsay, A., and Guziejka, J. (2016-2018).  The Virtual UCF Arboretum Project (Version 1.0). VR complete November 2018. Available from STEAM.com. (Launch 2019).
  • Harrington, Maria C. R., Wenzel, J. W., Tatzgern, M., Langer T., Oliver, M., Isaac, B., Guffey, A., Bledsoe, Z., Jones, C., Dinic, R., and Tiefengrabner, M. (2017-2018). The AR Perpetual Garden Apps. Published on Apple iTunes App Store (Version 1.2) Launched October 25, 2018. Available from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ar-perpetual-garden/id1438086490?mt=8
  • Harrington, Maria C. R., Bohlen, P., Beck, K., Bledsoe, Z., Jones, C., Miller, J., Pring, T., Elliott, J., Jarrett, R., Lindsay, A., and Guziejka, J. (2016- 2018). The Virtual UCF Arboretum Project Website (Version 1.0) Launched October 2018. Available from UCF:  https://arboretum.ucf.edu/virtual/ and Published on PBS Learning Media https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/virtual-ucf-arboretum/virtual-ucf-arboretum/?fbclid=IwAR3Sur3GVnALQadQY1SLAOCrIIvxdMGBceGPcEOWG5nKjz8BzBI_Txa1oW4
  • Harrington, Maria C. R., Bohlen, P., Beck, K., Bledsoe, Z., Jones, C., Miller, J., Pring, T., Elliott, J., Jarrett, R., Lindsay, A., and Guziejka, J. (2016-2018).  The Virtual UCF Arboretum Project (Version 1.0). Unreal Game engine level complete October 2018.  Available from STEAM.com. (Launch 2019).
  • Harrington, Maria C. R., Wenzel, J. W., Oliver, M., Isaac, B., Guffey, A., Bledsoe, Z. and Jones, C. (2015-2017). The Virtual Garden Timeline Website. (Launch 2017. https://virtualgarden.powdermill.org/ )

Conference Papers/Presentations

  • Harrington, Maria. "Virtual Dioramas Inside and Outside Museums with the AR Perpetual Garden App." MW19: MW 2019. Published February 14, 2019. Consulted March 13, 2019.
    https://mw19.mwconf.org/paper/virtual-dioramas-inside-and-outside-of-museums-with-the-ar-perpetual-garden-app/
  • Harrington, Maria, C. R. (2019). “A Virtual Nature Model: Experience Virtual Nature.” Presented to the Otronicon Speaker Series, Orlando Science Center; Orlando, FL.
  • Harrington, Maria, C. R. (2018). “Improving Psychophysical Well-being and Performance in Isolated, Confined, and Extreme Environments with Head Mounted Virtual Reality Photorealistic Simulations of Earth Based Natural Environments,” Abstract and poster presented at the 2018 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’’ Workshop  HRP RESEARCH: THE GATEWAY TO MARS, Galveston, TX.
  • Harrington, Maria, C. R. (2018). “Successful Emergent Team Formation Methods and Process at UCF Digital Media, using Webcourses Discussion Feature and Ideation Techniques,” Abstract and presentation presented at the 2018 Sunshine State Teaching and Learning Conference, St. Petersburg, FL.
  • Harrington, Maria, C. R. (2018). “The Virtual UCF Arboretum Project: An Educational Simulation of the Real UCF Arboretum using VR and Educational Website for STEM” Presented to the Otronicon Speaker Series, Orlando Science Center; Orlando, FL.
  • Harrington, Maria C. R., (2017). “Ripples in a Pond: How Virtual Reality may be a Tool of Impact for the Humanities.” HASTAC 2017 Conference Abstract and poster, UCF, Orlando, Fl.
  • Harrington, Maria, C. R. (2017). “The Virtual UCF Arboretum Project: Work-in-progress Demonstration of a STEM Teaching Resource, the Website, and Virtual Reality Flowers and Plants,” Presented to the Plants Beyond Limits Conference, University of Central Florida, Department of Biology,  Orlando, FL, Nov.
  • Portnoy F., Smith, L., Harrington, M.C.R., Kremer, K., Nichols, T., & Zammitto, V. (2011). Facing the Human Factors Challenges in Game Design: A Discussion Panel. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting September 19-23, 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada. 55(1). 520-524. [ DOI: 10.1177/1071181311551106 | PPT ]
  • Harrington, M.C.R. (2011). The Virtual Trillium Trail — An Educational Simulation of the North American Forests. iED Summit IMMERSIVE EDUCATION INITIATIVE BOSTON SUMMIT 2011 May 13-15, 2011, Boston College, Boston, MA.
  • Harrington, Maria C.R. (2009). Meta-ontologies for learning in virtual and augmented realities. Proceedings of the ACM-SIGCHI IDC09. The 8th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children Workshop on Children and Mobile Technology: Interface Development for Mobile Touch Devices. June3-5, 2009. Como, Italy. [Research Gate | PDF ]
  • Harrington, Maria, C. R. (2006).  Situational learning in real and virtual space: Lessons learned and future directions. ACM SIGGRAPH’06. July 30-August 3, 2006 Boston, MA, USA. [DOI: 10.1145/1179295.1179344 | PDF | PPT ]
  • Harrington, M.C.R. (2006). Trees of life: Models of children's creative processes. Proceedings of the ACM DIS’06 Doctoral Consortium. June 28, 2006 State College, PA, USA. [DOI: 10.1145/1142405.1142464 | PDF | PPT]
  • Harrington, M. (2005). Virtual Beechwood: Simulated ecological environments for education. Proceedings of the Conference on Spatial Information Theory’05. Doctoral Consortium Abstracts. September 14-18, 2005 Ellicottville, New York, USA. [ Research Gate | PDF ]

Invited Lectures/Presentations

  • “Virtual Nature in Augmented reality and Virtual reality for Informal Learning in Museums and Arboretums.” Presented to the University of Pittsburgh, School of Information Sciences. Pittsburgh, PA. Dec. 2018.  https://pitt.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=4b0724b6-4309-4960-a27f-a9af01247fe8
  • Harrington, Maria C. R.  (May 2018).  Virtual Nature Workshop. Game Development and Mixed Reality, MultiMediaTechnology program of the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Austria
  • “A New Paradigm for Virtual Reality & Simulations for Education, Learning & Creating: The Virtual Trillium Trail Project – Empirical Evidence on Design Factors in Simulated Ecological Environments for Education and Causal Impacts on Emotions, Learning, Priming, Transfer, and Reinforcement.,” Presented to the University of Central Florida, Institute for Simulation and Training, Modeling and Simulation Seminar; Orlando, FL, Nov. 2016.
  • “Reality matters in virtual reality for learning sciences research: The Virtual Trillium Trail empirical data and future fMRI studies,” Presented to the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA; Pittsburgh, PA, April 2010.http://halley.exp.sis.pitt.edu/comet/presentColloquium.do?col_id=700

Miscellaneous Publications

Awards

Co-Principal Investigator, VPR Advancement of Early Career Researchers (AECR) 2018-2019 “AECR: Work Breaks, Health, and Performance.”University of Central Florida, Office of Research.

Principal Investigator/Artist in Residence, “The Perpetual Garden, a Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Exploration & Investigation of Digital Nature,” 2018
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Powdermill Nature Reserve

Principal Investigator, “Virtual Field Trips, LLC,” 2013
Idea Foundry Grant — The Entertainment & Ed Tech Business Accelerator Program

Principal Investigator, “Investigation and Evaluation of Virtual Worlds,” 2012
Faculty Professional Development Council (FPDC) — Professional Development in Support of Collaborative Academic Grants, Round III, PASSHE, Slippery Rock University

Co-Principal Investigator, “Soft Skills Trainer – Multimedia Annotation System,” 1991 - 1992
Rotman School, MBA Program, University of Toronto, IBM Grant for Education and Innovation Award

Principal Investigator, “Web-based Framework for Online, Multimedia Course Material,” 1997
Holyoke Community College, Planning and Innovation Grant



Activities

  • Research Associate at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in the Section of Powdermill Nature Reserve, Pittsburgh, PA. 
  • Orlando Science Center, Otronicon Advisory Board Member
  • Artist in Residence, Powdermill Nature Reserve, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Board Member, Fox Chapel Parks Commission

Courses

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
14717 DIG3811 User-centered Design Face to Face Instruction (P) F 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM Unavailable
No Description Available
19841 DIG6825 Res Methods for Inter Media World Wide Web (W) Unavailable
No Description Available
Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
88770 DIG3811 User-centered Design World Wide Web (W) Unavailable
No Description Available
92290 DIG6812 Dig Interact for Inf Learning Video Strmng (V) COVID DL exmp Th 06:00 PM - 08:50 PM Unavailable
No Description Available

No courses found for Summer 2020.

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
19189 DIG3024 Digital Cultures & Narrative World Wide Web (W) Unavailable
No Description Available
18543 DIG3811 User-centered Design Mixed-Mode/Reduce Seat-Time(M) F 01:30 PM - 03:20 PM Unavailable
No Description Available
18530 DIG6812 Dig Interact for Inf Learning Face to Face Instruction (P) M 06:00 PM - 08:50 PM Unavailable
No Description Available
Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
89622 DIG3811 User-centered Design Mixed-Mode/Reduce Seat-Time(M) Th 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM Unavailable
No Description Available

Updated: May 19, 2020