University of Maryland

Fall 2017 Talk Schedule

CASCI Lightning talks & Wikipedia Editing

September 19, 2017
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing
Speaker: CASCI Members

Abstract: Quick introductions by volunteers from CASCI to introduce their research. Any remaining time to be used as an editing sprint of Wikipedia pages related to CASCI research topics and related areas to improve the quality of the pages and resources.

Defining, Designing, and Documenting Computational Thinking for K-12 Learners

October 3, 2017
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Abstract: Computing is changing our world. From how we work, to how we communicate and how we relax – few aspects of our world have been left unaffected by computation and the technologies that it enables. Computational thinking and its constituent skills, such as using abstractions, debugging, and programming, are essential for understanding and contributing to our increasingly digital landscape, yet these practices are rarely encountered in contemporary K-12 education. In this talk, I will lay out a program of research investigating three related research questions: What is computational thinking? How do we study it? And how can we design learning opportunities to make it accessible to all learners? Using data from three studies, I will provide examples of computational thinking in distinct settings and discuss methodological and design approaches for creating meaningful computational thinking learning experiences. I will conclude the talk with the implications of this work with respect to the design of current and emerging learning environments and discuss future directions for research on bringing computational thinking learning opportunities to all learners.

Speaker: David Weintrop is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership in the College of Education with a joint appointment in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of accessible and engaging computational learning environments. He is also interested in the use of technological tools in supporting exploration and expression across diverse contexts including STEM classrooms and informal spaces. His work lies at the intersection of human-computer interaction, design, and the Learning Sciences. David has a Ph.D. in the Learning Sciences from Northwestern University and a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. He spent one year as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago studying computer science learning in elementary classrooms prior to joining the faculty at the University of Maryland. Before starting his academic career, he spent five years working as a software developer at a pair of start-ups in Chicago.

Tweets may Be Archived: Civic Engagement, Digital Preservation, and Obama White House Social Media

October 17, 2017
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Abstract: As part of his Presidential transition, the administration of Barack Obama included social media data among the materials transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In addition, this social media collection comprised of data from Twitter, Facebook, and Vine were distributed to organizations and researchers to explore and investigate. In this presentation, we present our initial observations on the first social media presidency through the lens of its data, extracted from their native platforms. While the data speak to the engagement cultivated by the administration in its use of social media, the collection contains as many questions as it does answers. The completeness, metadata, and accessibility of these materials remain unclear, potentially limiting the use of the collections in research and beyond. The presentation analyzes platform-specific issues and offers potential solutions to address the preservation and access challenges to social media data. We conclude with implications for the digital preservation community and social media researchers to consider when approaching social media data collections.

Speaker: Adam Kriesberg is a a Lecturer at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies. Along with Ricky Punzalan, Adam works on a variety of research projects related to agricultural data curation as part of a cooperative agreement with the National Agricultural Library. He completed his PhD at the University of Michigan in 2015. His dissertation, “The Changing Landscape of Digital Access: Public-Private Partnerships in US State and Territorial Archives,” used a mixed methods design to examine the digitization partnerships between government archives and private companies. At Michigan, he worked as a research assistant on the Archival Metrics Project, developing and testing toolkits to promote evaluation in archives, and the DIPIR Project, investigating data reuse in three academic communities: quantitative social science, archaeology, and zoology.

Internet policy as a minority rights issue: A focus on LGBT users

October 31, 2017
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Abstract: The role of private intermediaries such as Facebook and Google in governing users’ rights is well established in scholarship. However, less is known about the role of online platforms in mediating the rights of minority users such as LGBTQ people. This presentation focuses on the role of private Internet companies in mediating LGBTQ expression, privacy and association online. The presentation will focus on mainstream Internet companies such as Facebook and Google as well as Grindr and other dating apps catering to LGBTQ communities and their role in arbitrating user rights through policy and technological designs, including algorithmic content moderation and geolocational data collection. Moreover, discussion will focus on how these globally operating Internet companies shape public policy debates on issues like net neutrality and data localization requirements, and the unique implications of these debates for minority users. The discussion will conclude with several policy recommendations that could help create Internet policy designs supportive of minority users, including increased collaboration between industry actors and minority advocates, as well as greater public and industry commitment to end-to-end encryption.

Speaker: Andrea Hackl is a senior research fellow with Ranking Digital Rights. She holds a Ph.D. from American University’s School of Communication, where she focused on issues related to Internet governance and minority rights. Her work has been published in the journals Information, Communication & Society and Telecommunications Policy. She also wrote a white paper on the technology needs of homeless LGBTQ youth that helped the organization LGBT Technology Partnership & Institute create a cellphone program for at risk youth.

The Privatization of Privacy

November 14, 2017
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Abstract: In her talk, Dr. Sargsyan offers a fresh perspective on privacy governance through the lens of privatization of the digital public sphere as exemplified by the policy-making role of technology companies. Dr. Sargsyan examines to what extent the privacy policies and technical tools of large tech companies have evolved to safeguard user privacy in the last decade, and assesses the role of self-regulatory and multi-stakeholder arrangements in the process. Confirming what many privacy advocates suspect or experience firsthand, her findings reveal the limited authority of key privacy stakeholders over tech companies’ policy decisions. They also confirm the power of these private entities to make public policy decisions opportunistically, driven by market considerations. In tackling this important and complex topic, Dr. Sargsyan provides critical insights about the authority relations among tech companies and governmental and non-governmental entities and challenges the idea that multistakeholderism is an inherently democratic governance mechanism. Moreover, she draws a clear distinction between cosmetic privacy changes and changes that have significant implications for user privacy.

Speaker: Tatevik Sargsyan is a senior research fellow with Ranking Digital Rights. She holds a Ph.D. from American University’s School of Communication (SOC), where her work revolved around privacy and the privatization of digital public sphere. She serves as an Adjunct Professor at American University and teaches courses on the social impact of information and communication technologies. Previously, Tatevik served as a Google Policy Fellow at the Global Network Initiative (GNI) and conducted policy analysis on privacy and freedom of expression. Her research has been featured in academic journals such as International Journal of Communication and Internet Policy Review. Tatevik is also a fellow at the Internet Law and Policy Foundry—a collaborative platform for early-career internet law and policy professionals.

Applications of Information Technology Innovations for Educational and Economic Gender Empowerment in Selected Rural Areas in Southwestern Nigeria

December 5, 2017
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Abstract: Adolescent/teen pregnancies are Nigeria’s number one killer of girls, and are attributed to the lack of education and poverty. These adolescent/teen pregnancies are very common in Nigeria’s rural areas, such that one in every three teenage girls in the rural areas has started childbearing, compared to one in every ten in the urban. These teen pregnancies result in unsafe abortions, complications during childbirth, premature deaths for most 15-19 old girls, and also causes them to drop out of schools. Funded by American Association of University Women( AAUW), this postdoctoral study aims to investigate how information technology innovations can be leveraged to empower and educate disadvantaged girls and women in the selected rural areas of Southwestern Nigeria that face such problems. This proposed study will investigate the existing ICT options in place in the selected rural areas, the ICT options that could be proposed for gender empowerment, and the factors influencing the use of the selected ICT options in the study area. Based on these findings, recommendations will be made on the ICT options that can be deployed in these selected rural areas.

Speaker: Oluwatoyin Ayanlade is a lecturer and a research fellow from the African Institute for Science Policy and Innovation at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Nigeria. She is presently a postdoctoral research scholar at the University of Maryland, College of Information Studies. Her research investigates how information technology innovations can be leveraged to alleviate societal problems. Oluwatoyin has a PhD in Technology Management from OAU; a MS from Roehampton University, London, UK; and BS in Computer Science and Engineering also from OAU, Nigeria.

The Fall 2017 CASCI Talk Series was organized by Priya Kumar. Please send questions about the schedule to pkumar12 [at] umd [dot] edu or casci [at] umd [dot] edu..