Spring 2017 Talk Schedule

Spring 2017 Talk Schedule

If ideas are viruses, personal preferences are the immune system

February 7, 2017
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

SpeakerDan Cosley, Associate Professor, Cornell University Information Science

Dan Cosley is an associate professor in information science at Cornell University, currently on rotation as a program officer in NSF’s Cyber-Human Systems program, who does research broadly around human-computer interaction and social media.  His high-level research goal is to build and study systems that leverage people’s online behavior to improve both individual and social outcomes.  He has done such work in a number of domains, including modeling information dissemination in social media, supporting civic participation online, using social media content to support reminiscence and reflection, helping people contribute to public goods such as Wikipedia, and improving recommender systems.  Much of the work has been supported by NSF and is rooted in the PhD in computer science he received in 2006 under the guidance of advisors John Riedl and Loren Terveen from the University of Minnesota.

Abstract: 

The notion that ideas, products, and innovations spread “virally” through information networks resonates in both popular and scientific accounts of how things become popular.  These accounts often focus on the role of others’ influence, using models that emphasize structural roles in networks (Gladwell’s “mavens, connectors, and salesmen”; Keller and Berry’s “influentials”) or make analogies to the spread of diseases (threshold and cascade models rooted in epidemiology).  In this talk I will argue that such models are poor fits because they don’t account for the agency of those on the receiving end: paying attention to an idea is not a disease that you catch but a choice that you make.  Based on work with Dr. Amit Sharma that looks at how people’s choices are affected by social explanations of recommendations (e.g, “Thomas Jefferson and 9 of your friends like this”) and feeds of friends’ activity (as in last.fm, Flickr, and other sites that show us our friends’ actions on items), we conclude that personal preferences dominate decision making in a way that models of information diffusion don’t, but should (and increasingly could), account for.  Along the way we’ll look at considerations for designing more effective social explanations, methods that try to tease out social influence from underlying personal preferences, and ways theory might help us get a more nuanced handle on the broad notion of “influence” by focusing our attention on specific mechanisms.

CSCW Practice Talks – [Canceled]

February 21, 2017

11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Speaker: [Canceled]

Abstract: [Canceled]

Across Group Ties in Stratified Social Network Data: Exploring Collaboration in Hospital ICUs

March 7, 2017
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Speaker: Nicole C. Fernandez

Nicole C. Fernandez teaches Organizational Network Analysis for Kent State’s Information Architecture and Knowledge Management Program and has taught Social Network Analysis for Georgetown’s Communication, Culture, and Technology Program since 2009. She has a BA in English Lit from Catholic University and an MS in Math and Statistics. She has done consulting work related to Social Networks with NDI and with MedStar Research Institute. She has recently started her own consulting company, Insight Academics LLC.

Abstract: 

When approaching collaborative patient care in hospitals how can sparse connectivity be formally identified? This talk looks at a conservative computational strategy to assess for sparse ties while exploring the opportunity to build a discussion about teamwork. This case study comes from the RWJF Pioneers Project ‘Creating a Social Epidemic of Safety’ which concluded in 2016. Title: Across Group Ties in Stratified Social Network Data: Exploring Collaboration in Hospital ICUs.

Corporate Privacy Policy Changes during PRISM and the Rise of Surveillance Capitalism

March 28, 2017

11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Speaker: Priya Kumar

Priya Kumar is a doctoral student at the University of Maryland’s iSchool, where she studies the intersection of privacy, families, and technology use. Her research has been referenced on NPR, Buzzfeed, Slate, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, Time, and the Brooklyn Quarterly. Before joining the doctoral program she worked on the Ranking Digital Rights project, which evaluates the world’s largest technology companies on their respect for users’ rights to freedom of expression and privacy. Priya holds a master’s degree in information from the University of Michigan and bachelor’s degrees in journalism and government and politics from the University of Maryland.​​

Abstract: 

Disclosure of the NSA’s PRISM program demonstrated that Internet companies have become prime targets of government surveillance. But what role do companies themselves play in putting users’ privacy at risk? By comparing the changes in the privacy policies of ten companies—the nine in PRISM plus Twitter—I seek to understand how users’ privacy shifted. Specifically, I study how company practices surrounding the life cycle of user information (e.g. collection, use, sharing, and retention) shifted between the times when companies joined PRISM and when PRISM news broke. A qualitative analysis of the changes in the privacy policies suggests that company disclosure of tracking for advertising purposes increased. I draw on business scholar Shoshana Zuboff’s conceptualization of “surveillance capitalism” and legal scholar Joel Reidenberg’s “transparent citizen” to explain the implications such changes hold for users’ privacy. These findings underscore why public debates about post-Snowden privacy rights cannot ignore the role that companies play in legitimizing surveillance activities under the auspices of creating market value.

Global nomads in a local area: New international students’ local information behavior in unfamiliar environments

April 11, 2017

11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

SpeakerChi Young Oh

Chi Young (Chiyoung) Oh is a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland’s iSchool. His research interests lie in the intersection of human information behavior, human computer interaction, and community and health informatics. His current research focuses on how international newcomers need, seek, and use information and technology during their adjustment to new environments. Prior to joining University of Maryland, he was a user experience researcher at the UX Lab at Daum, an Internet search portal in South Korea. Chi Young holds a master’s degree in information science with human computer interaction concentration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and bachelor’s degrees in psychology, library and information science, and business administration from Yonsei University.​​

Abstract:

As international education gets increasingly popular around the globe, more students go abroad for studies. In new environments, international students face various information challenges as they determine where to live, where to buy, where to eat, and how to move around. Addressing these challenges requires local information about housing, places, directions, and transportation. Through longitudinal surveys, interviews, and cognitive mapping, this study examines how international newcomer students’ needs for local information and their information-seeking behaviors develop during adjustment to new environments. Also, this study identifies the relationships between local information behaviors and social contexts of international students. The results suggest that new students’ local information needs and behaviors are shaped by complex interactions between their socio-national context, available technologies, and level of exposure and adjustment to the new environment. This implies that information behavior models and theories must better account for the complexity of contexts if they are to be useful for providing practical insights for designing information systems and services to support international students’ information practices and adjustment to unfamiliar environments.

Citizen Science

April 25, 2017

11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Speaker: Ademir Vrolijk

Ademir Vrolijk is a Ph.D. Candidate in Systems Engineering in GWU’s Engineering Management and Systems Engineering department. His work studies centralized and decentralized innovation strategies, and their applications within both NASA and ESA. He holds a B.Eng. in Aerospace Engineering from Carleton University in 2008, and is an alumnus of the International Space University’s Space Studies Program in 2011. Outside of academia, Ademir has worked as a project management professional for the Canadian defense department as well as a medical technology start up. He also sat on the national board of the Canadian Space Society, a charitable organization promoting space advocacy.

Abstract:
The use of open innovation initiatives (e.g. citizen science projects, innovation or ideation contests) has exploded in the recent history, with use in commercial, philanthropic, and governmental organizations. By posing problems for anyone to solve, the organization connects to the members of the public through their participation, and can benefit from the solutions provided. These initiatives offer the ability to include, and give a voice to, those who normally might not be part of the organization’s processes (so-called non-traditional contributors). In addition, these non-traditional contributors can be leveraged for their, potentially, novel or high value ideas. Drawing on past successes and with these goals in mind, the US Government has launched initiatives across a variety of agencies and contexts: the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Education, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and more.
Implementing these tools broadly, particularly in technical contexts, raises questions about the limits of their usage. In particular, though the goal of inclusiveness means reaching the public broadly (seeking wide participation), the goal of solving a technical problem requires specific expertise (seeking narrow participation). These seemingly opposite goals could mean that the (non-expert) public would not be able to contribute to these types of problems. This led us to ask: can we leverage non-expert input to technical problems? If so, how?
Our work tackles this question through an inductive study of NASA’s Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology (ECAST) event. Here, members of the public (non-traditional contributors to engineering problems) provided comments on a design decision for a future spacecraft. We find that their fact-independent contributions, provide the most valuable input to the technical decision makers. Separated from diverging fact-dependent contributions about the topic, these contributions can inform decision makers on “how to choose” among their options. We also provide preliminary guidance for decision makers when eliciting input from the public on technical problems.

User perceptions of algorithms!

May 9, 2017

11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Speakers: Dr. Nick Proferes

Nicholas Proferes is a Post-Doctoral Scholar working at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies. His research focuses on how users experience and navigate the politics of platforms.

Abstract: Practice talk for ICWSM 2017 Workshop: Studying User Perceptions and Experiences with Algorithms Call for Papers -“From Facebook’s News Feed algorithm that shapes the posts and updates we see, to Spotify’s recommendation service that introduces us to new music that we might love, to dating site algorithms that attempt to match us with potential romantic partners, algorithms play an increasingly important role in shaping many aspects of our daily lives. “

 

Citizen Science Association Conference Practice Talks

May 9, 2017

11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Speakers: Snigdha Petluru and Jonathan Brier

Jonathan Brier is a Ph.D. student at the School of Information at University of Maryland College Park. His research covers the evaluation, development, and evolution of cyberinfrastructure and online communities. Currently, he is focused on the evaluation of the sustainability of online communities in the domain of citizen science.

Abstract:

Designing Participation Experiences to Engage and Retain Long-Term Volunteers (Snigdha Petluru)
Citizen science has made significant contributions towards engaging volunteers with the environment. To understand the experiences and characteristics associated with long-term citizen science participation, we interviewed 7 long-term volunteers involved in multiple citizen science projects at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. We found meaningful differences in the goals and motivations of older and younger participants, as well as different perceptions of monotony and variety that related to the degree of similarity between the project’s science domain and their professional background. These perceptions of monotony and variety are important to consider when designing participation experiences to ensure that volunteers stay engaged and active, even in phases of inactivity (e.g., in seasonal projects). Project staff could also collaborate to create menus of tasks within or across projects specifically curated to promote mental and physical well-being, another driver for long-term commitment to citizen science volunteerism reported by our study participants.

Presentation matters: how teachers assess citizen science projects for classrooms (Jonathan Brier)
We examined K-12 teachers’ perceptions of citizen science projects’ fit to classroom needs based on 343 reviews completed by 18 teachers at a SciStarter workshop. Through inductive content analysis, we explored their evaluations of citizen science projects, which were based on online information. We found variability in which resources and materials for participation were highlighted, likely due to individual teachers’ needs and how citizen science projects were presented online. The evaluation criteria for classroom appropriateness identified multiple objectives, such as enjoyment and skill development, plus activity design and perceived ease of participation. Feasibility considerations included technology requirements, resource and materials availability, and age appropriateness. These findings suggest that matching citizen science projects to classrooms requires clear, consistent, and comprehensive information relevant to educators’ key decision criteria, such as technology requirements, resources needed, teaching materials provided, and appropriate age levels.

CASCI Talk Series Spring 2017 was organized by Karen Boyd. Please direct questions about the schedule to klboyd@umd.edu or casci@umd.edu.