Monthly Archives: October 2016

U.S. News & World Report: “Microsoft Aims to Build on ‘Minecraft’ Success” (Ito quoted)

October 31, 2016

The Nov. 1 launch of a “Minecraft” version tailored for the classroom is exciting educators and parents alike.

“Because they added some new modifications for teachers to better manage their class, and to be able to do things like coding and other things that teachers are interested in, it’s just easier for teachers to adopt it,” says Mimi Ito, research director of the Digital Media and Learning Hub at the University of California—Irvine. Ito also is a co-founder of Connected Camps, a for-profit online learning organization through which teenage coaches use “Minecraft” to teach younger children computer coding and Spanish.

Read the full story at U.S. News & World Report.

Van der Hoek visits EA to discuss collaboration

Informatics Professor and Chair André van der Hoek traveled to the Bay Area last week to pay a special visit to Electronic Arts (EA), where he discussed collaborative opportunities and the potential ways for EA to support the computer game science major that is housed in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS). A special thanks to UC Irvine alumna Laura Teclemariam (B.S., Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 2004) for hosting van der Hoek and Ed Hand, assistant dean for development. We look forward to seeing how we can continue working together with EA to provide better opportunities for all of our ICS students.
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UCI makes’s list of best Video Game Colleges

October 28, 2016

SuccessfulStudent.Org recently ranked UC Irvine 33rd out of its top 57 video game colleges of 2016. Not bad, considering that last year UCI didn’t make the website’s list. According to the website, ranks colleges from the student’s point of view based on factors such as well-rounded academics, cost, career prospects in the gaming industry, cutting-edge technological instruction, a track record of graduates making an impact in commercial video games, and proximity to video game and entertainment epicenters.
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Comedian Chris Hardwick tackles the science of social media

October 27, 2016

Comedian Chris Hardwick of Comedy Central’s late-night @Midnight with Chris Hardwick shares the results of a recent UC Irvine study that links selfies to happiness.

The results of the study by Informatics researchers Yu Chen, Gloria Mark and Sanna Ali were published in Psychology of Well-Being in September 2016.

“Our research showed that practicing exercises that can promote happiness via smartphone picture taking and sharing can lead to increased positive feelings for those who engage in it,” said lead author Yu Chen, a postdoctoral scholar in UCI’s Department of Informatics.
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ICS welcomes four new faculty members for fall 2016 quarter

October 20, 2016

The UC Irvine Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences hired four new faculty members who started in the fall 2016 quarter. All of them are recognized leaders in their communities and will help ICS maintain its strength in a broad array of information and computer science domains. Please help us welcome these talented researchers:
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CBS News: “New study links selfies to happiness”

October 15, 2016

A recent study says that taking selfies could offer more than just instant gratification. The study, from the University of California, Irvine, says taking more smiling selfies increases your chances of happiness.

View the story at CBS News.

Informatics team recognized as Best Paper Finalist at ASSETS 2016

October 10, 2016

A paper written by Robert A. and Barbara L. Kleist Chair in Informatics Gillian Hayes and informatics Ph.D. students Kathryn Ringland, Christine Wolf, LouAnne Boyd and Mark Baldwin has been named a Best Paper Finalist at the ASSETS 2016 Conference. The paper titled, “Would You Be Mine: Appropriating Minecraft as an Assistive Technology for Youth with Autism,” will be presented by Ringland at the conference in Reno, Nev., on Oct. 24 during a session on Users with Developmental Disabilities. Sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Special Interest Group on Accessible Computing, the ASSETS Conference explores the design, evaluation and use of computing and information technologies to benefit people with disabilities and older adults.

Informatics Ph.D. student Ringland wins 2016-17 ARCS Scholar Award

Informatics Ph.D. candidate Kate Ringland has received an ARCS Scholar Award for 2016-2017 from the National ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation Inc., which is a nonprofit national volunteer organization of women dedicated to providing scholarships to academically outstanding students who are pursuing degrees in science, medicine and engineering. The ARCS Scholar Awards are intended to recognize and reward UC Irvine’s most academically superior doctoral students exhibiting outstanding promise as scientists, researchers and leaders. Each school at UCI holds its own competition and selects its recipients of ARCS Scholar Awards annually. The recipients receive a $7,500 stipend per year for two years. Keep up the good work Kate!

Changing Academic Life: “Yunan Chen on getting tenure & negotiating motherhood”

October 9, 2016

Yunan Chen is an associate professor in the Department of Informatics at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), and the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS) at the University of California, Irvine. Yunan shares her experiences moving from a medical degree in China to a PhD at the intersection of medical informatics and human computer interaction in the US. She also speaks out about her tenure experiences, being part of a long distance relationship, and the struggles negotiating academia and becoming a new mother.

Listen to the interview at Changing Academic Life.