Fast Company: “Thanks To Telepresence Robots, Kids Can Attend School From Home” (Judy Olson cited)

June 1, 2017

The machines, usually paid for either with funding for students with special needs or from grants and donations, allow students who might otherwise be socially isolated to stay in touch and even make eye contact with classmates and teachers. That helps keep their spirits up and helps them stay motivated academically, according to Judy Olson, a professor at the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. Olson is the coauthor of a paper on telepresence robots in education that was presented at the Association for Computing Machinery’s recent annual conference on human-computer interaction.

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Bangkok Post: “Get engaged! Focus your mindset to execute results” (Mark cited)

May 31, 2017

Effective training is not possible without engagement; however, engaging today’s audiences can be difficult. According to Gloria Mark, an informatics professor at the University of California, Irvine, the average person’s attention span is only about three minutes before they feel the impulse to set aside whatever they are currently doing and begin a new activity.

Read the full story at Bangkok Post.

Trammell releases second volume of Analog Game Studies

May 19, 2017

Aaron Trammell, associate professor of informatics, published the second volume of Analog Game Studies in May with co-editors Evan Torner (University of Cincinnati) and Emma Leigh Waldron (UC Davis). The publication is a compilation of articles from the bimonthly online journal Analog Game Studies, which is dedicated to the academic and popular study of games containing substantial analog components, such as board, card and die games. Each year the journal compiles the previous volume’s articles, with the addition of a bonus article, into a print anthology. The first volume was released in June 2016, and now both volumes are available for purchase or a free download from ETC Press at Carnegie Mellon University.

The second volume continues the work of analyzing analog games within the larger frameworks of social meaning. Guest articles include Bruno Faidutti’s landmark essay “Postcolonial Catan” and “Out of the Dungeons: Representations of Queer Sexuality in 71 RPG Source Books” by Jaakko Stenros and Tanja Sihvonen, as well as many others.

UCI’s game design program ranked 3rd in state, 18th in nation by ACR

May 17, 2017

Animation Career Review (ACR) has released its 2017 Game Design School Rankings in which UCI was ranked the 3rd best school for game design in California, 4th best on the West Coast, 6th best among public colleges and 18th best in the nation. These rankings highlight the growth and impact of UCI’s B.S. in Computer Game Science, which is housed in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. The computer game science bachelor’s gives undergraduate students invaluable hands-on experience in programming, designing and implementing virtual games.

ACR launched in 2011 with the goal to be the most comprehensive source of information for aspiring animation and game design professionals. The criteria ACR uses when compiling top school lists include academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of programs, degree value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness and geographic location. ACR also incorporates school surveys during the evaluation process.

NBC News: “How to Prevent Interruptions at Work” (Mark quoted)

May 10, 2017

Stop interrupting yourself. Stop putting all the blame on Joan from down the hall … you’re just as much to blame for the interuptions. “What fascinates me is that people interrupted themselves almost as much as they were interrupted by external sources,” said Gloria Mark, associate professor at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, who conducted a study on workplace interruptions. “They interrupted themselves about 44 percent of the time.” Indulging the urge to check in on social media or responding to a text message are internal sources of interruption you may not even be aware you are committing.

Read the full story at NBC News.

Interactions: “Health information technology: Opportunities abound. Challenges Remain” by Yunan Chen

May 5, 2017

From electronic health records to personal health apps, information technology (IT) has proliferated in the healthcare sector over the past few years. This has led to the increased availability of electronic data and the improved capability of clinical decision making. Most notably, consumer-facing applications—mobile health apps, wearable devices and sensors, and assistive technologies—have become prevalent, reshaping the landscape of patient education, health management, and public-health practices. It is therefore not surprising that designers and researchers are optimistic about the prospects of health IT. Many firmly believe these innovations represent a powerful source of disruption that will fundamentally change how healthcare is practiced.

Read the full story at Interactions.

Dourish publishes The Stuff of Bits

May 4, 2017

Chancellor’s Professor of Informatics Paul Dourish has published a new book titled The Stuff of Bits: An Essay on the Materialities of Information about the digital representations that help shape our computerized existence.

On one end of our digital experience are interactive virtual entities like online stores, e-books and whole virtual worlds. On the other end are the physical infrastructures that support them, such as fiber optic cables and server farms. The Stuff of Bits examines the domain between these virtual and physical entities that make up our computer-generated experiences and focuses on these digital representations encoded into software, loaded into computer memory, shared between networks and stored in our databases.

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Mic: “Racist and sexist behavior in esports is exposing what regular gamers experience every day” (Kat Lo quoted)

In recent months, several professional gamers in the esports world have been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons: incidents of sexual harassment, abuse of power and horrifyingly explicit racist rants.

It’s easy to read these high-profile stories and think they’re strange, one-time occurrences — but for those who play games online, these displays of toxic masculinity are an everyday reality. And if you don’t fit the stereotype of a gamer — meaning you’re not a straight, white male — these racist, sexist and homophobic online encounters with total strangers are much more likely to occur.

So, what effect do these more high-profile incidents have on the gaming world at large? Do they spark change within communities or simply model bad behavior that normal gamers will be all too eager to emulate? We spoke with Kat Lo — a Ph.D. student and researcher in online communities and harassment at University of California, Irvine — to suss it all out.

Read the full story at Mic.