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March 2016 Newsletter

  1. Recent iSchool NewsProvost's Teaching Fellowship, the Apple Privacy Debate, Research Grants; & more

  2. iSchool Student NewsCoding Commons Collaborative

  3. Upcoming EventsHCOMP 2016, TLA

Kristin Sullivan, the communications liaison for the Association for Information Science and Technology, teaches students command line skills at the Coding Commons.

1. Recent iSchool News   Top ↑

Diane Bailey Was Selected To Be A Provost's Teaching Fellow

Diane Bailey Was Selected To Be A Provost's Teaching Fellow

Diane Bailey will be the first Provost's Teaching Fellow in the School of Information. Recognizing excellence in teaching innovation, the fellowship comes with $25,000, including a $10,000 stipend across two years and $15,000 for a teaching initiative of her choosing. Professor Bailey was selected following nomination by Dean Andrew Dillon, an interview with a current Fellow, ratification by the full Fellows membership, and approval by the Provost’s Office.

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Professor Bias Lands Two Research Grants

Professor Bias

In June, iSchool associate professor and Information eXperience Lab co-director Randolph Bias received funding for two research threads. He earned a $34,000 research grant from the UT-Austin Center for Identity to fulfill his research program “An Empirical Study of the Level of Agreement between Social Media Users’ Perceived and Actual Privacy Settings.” The CID serves as a center of excellence for identity management, privacy and security.

Doctoral candidate Ramona Broussard is serving as Bias’ research assistant for the program, which will entail two studies: a crowd-sourced survey of how confident people are in understanding which items they share on social media applications can be seen and by whom. Interviews with 40 Austinites will also ask questions about their confidence in understanding of their privacy settings and what they think their current settings allow. Afterward, Bias and Broussard will review settings with the participants to see the extent to which the settings match users’ understanding.

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Apple Privacy Debate

In February, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the company plans to fight a government order to unlock a cellphone of one of the shooters in the San Bernardino murders. Both law enforcement and privacy advocates find many areas of agreement and disagreement in this conflict.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo remarked on this law enforcement challenge, "iPhone and Apple and other manufacturers are designing their equipment so even they can't get to it, and I have a huge problem with that." Most citizens need not be concerned about government’s invading their privacy, but police must be able to have information that will help keep the community safe. "I think that we as a nation need to stand up and speak up and understand there will be some consequences in terms of keeping our community and our nation safe," Acevedo added.

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Professor Loriene Roy Receives Grant For Veterans

iSchool professor Loriene Roy has always had a desire to bring services to U.S. military veterans. Roy’s father received a Bronze Star in the Korean War. Two years ago, she started working with SongwritingWith:Soldiers, a nonprofit organization founded by Austin singer and songwriter Darden Smith. The nonprofit pairs veterans and active-duty service members with professional songwriters to craft songs about their military experiences, often about combat and returning home.”

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Patricia Galloway

UTA Portugal Logo

UT-Austin Portugal International Collaboratory

Assistant Professor Jacek Gwizdka and Associate Professor Matthew Lease and Luis Francisco-Revilla received a $100,000 grant for their project “Relevance Mining and Detection System.” Francisco-Revilla serves as a research associate and manager of the visualization interfaces and applications group at the Texas Advanced Computing Center.

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Barker, Gruning receive Dasher Best Paper Award at FIE Conference

Lecia Barker

University of Texas School of Information Associate Professor and iSchool doctoral student Jane Gruning won the Benjamin J. Dasher Best Paper Award at the 2015 Frontiers in Education conference in El Paso in October.

Barker and Gruning wrote “The Student Prompt: Student Feedback and Change in Teaching Practices in Postsecondary Computer Science” in spring 2014 based on research they conducted on what influences computer science faculty to potentially change their current teaching practices.

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Jacek & Yan

Gwizdka, Zhang Earn Grant

UT iSchool Assistant Professors Yan Zhang and Jacek Gwizdka received a $44,444 grant from the UT-Austin in Portugal International Collaboratory for Emerging Technologies co-lab to study interface and content elements people use to evaluate online health care information. They are working with their colleague Carla Lopes from the University of Porto in Portugal.

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Three ISchool Professors Win Grant From Center For Identity To Study Patient Portals

Three University of Texas School of Information professors spent summer 2015 conducting research to more fully understand the role of human values in the use of patient portals and how this information can better help older adults and beyond.

UT iSchool associate professors Ken Fleischmann and Bo Xie and assistant professor Yan Zhang received a $50,000 grant from the Center for Identity for the project "Personally Identifiable Information and Human Values in Patient Portals - A Systematic Review of Older Adult-Oriented Studies." Fleischmann, Xie and Zhang worked on this project through August 31. Xie also holds a joint appointment in the UT School of Nursing. The professors studied specific values associated with the use of patient portals such as privacy, trust and transparency.

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Turkish Professor Visits ISchool To Study Effects Of Cyberhate


It can start out as a differing of opinions on a social media or a website blog post. Suddenly, it can escalate from name calling to a full attack on an individual’s race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or political affiliation.Unfortunately, hate speech has been around for centuries but with the advent of the Internet, it has evolved into a new electronic form - cyberhate.

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2. iSchool Student News   Top ↑

Coding Commons Collaborative

Graduate students in the School of Information have created Coding Commons, an organization that provides a collaborative workspace for students of any discipline who are interested in learning more about programming and the inner workings of computers.

Kristin Sullivan, communications liaison for the Association for Information Science and Technology, believes that students can learn a variety of skills in Coding Commons. “I think Coding Commons is effective in introducing UT students to various tech topics ranging from software design to programming to Wikipedia editing,” she said.

Students can apply what they learn in the Coding Commons to any discipline. In a recent session, students learned how to use the program command line, which connects the user with the internal workings of the computer. If they can program in command line, students can manipulate the mechanical and electrical components that make computers work, such as processors. They can also gain administrative authority to pull up many files and run applications such as the Internet and Facebook.

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Kristin Sullivan

3. Upcoming Events   Top ↑

Matt Lease & HCOMP 2016

iSchool professor Matt Lease is one of the organizers for HCOMP 2016. HCOMP is the premier venue for disseminating the latest research findings on crowdsourcing and human computation. While artificial intelligence (AI) and human-computer interaction (HCI) represent traditional mainstays of the conference, HCOMP believes strongly in inviting, fostering, and promoting broad, interdisciplinary research. This field is particularly unique in the diversity of disciplines it draws upon, and contributes to, ranging from human-centered qualitative studies and HCI design, to computer science and artificial intelligence, economics and the social sciences, all the way to law and policy. The HCOMP conference is aimed at promoting the exchange of scientific advances in human computation and crowdsourcing among not only researchers, but also engineers and practitioners, to encourage dialogue across a spectrum of disciplines and communities of practice.

The 4th AAAI Conference on Crowdsourcing & Human Computation
October 30 - November 3, 2016
AT&T Conference Center at the University of Texas at Austin

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San Antonio Alumni Event
Saturday February 20, 2016
Email Cassie Alvarado for details.

Houston Alumni Event
Sunday March 6, 2016
Email Cassie Alvarado for details.

TLA Annual Conference Alumni Event in Houston
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Irma’s Southwest Grill
6:30-8:30 pm
1314 Texas St #100, Houston, TX 77002
Email Cassie Alvarado for details.