Monthly Archives: February 2021

Lifewire: “Playing Video Games May Be Good for Your Mental Health, Experts Say” (Mimi Ito quoted)

February 23, 2021

Dr. Mimi Ito, a cultural anthropologist and professor at the University of California, Irvine studying youth and new media practices, has done research focusing on creative and learning communities that surround complex games such as StarcraftLittle Big PlanetMinecraft, and Roblox

“We found that young people, when engaged in these affinity groups and online communities, are learning a wide range of technical, academic, and digital citizenship skills and knowledge,” Ito said in an email interview. “This can range from organizing complex team play, creating and editing videos, or building their own games.”

Read the full story at Lifewire.

Alumni Chapter’s Lunch & Learn Panel Discussion Showcases Black Superstar Leaders in ICS

On Feb. 5, 2021, in honor of Black History Month, the alumni chapter for the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) hosted an online panel, “Black Superstar Leaders in ICS,” as part of its Lunch & Learn series. Chapter president Pooja Lohia moderated the panel, which featured the following three ICS alumni and two current ICS scholars from the Department of Informatics:

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Exploring Design + Ethics: Postdoc Arpita Bhattacharya and Industry Leaders Advocate for Inclusion

February 22, 2021

Since September 2020, UCI and the creative agency a small studio have been hosting a series of free, virtual workshops focused on ethical design. The first workshop explored innovation and social progress, the second examined inclusive design and the third looked at power dynamics.

Register now for the fourth Exploring Design + Ethics workshop, which will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Postdoctoral researcher Arpita Bhattacharya from UCI’s Department of Informatics, who has been working with students in the Social and Technological Action Research (STAR) lab focusing on the health of marginalized communities, will serve as a panelist alongside the following industry leaders:

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New World Notes: “Bored With Zoom, Professor Teaches Computer Programming In A Virtual World, And Streams It To Her Twitch — Here’s Her Advice For Other Educators” (Crista Lopes quoted)

February 12, 2021

Starting at 12:30pm PT today, you can watch this Twitch channel to see yet another clever solution to teaching a large group of students in quarantine times: UC Irvine computer scientist Crista Lopes, being “sick and tired of teaching in Zoom”, moved her class of 150 students to OpenSimulator, an open source virtual world. And not just to stream a video lecture to an assembly of avatars, but using OpenSim’s scripting functionality so students could actually learn programming by using the virtual world’s language, and building applications within it.

Read the full article at New World Notes.

PsyPost: “Trump’s tweets linked to changes in Americans’ beliefs about the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic” (Sean Young quoted)

New research from the University of California at Irvine suggests that Donald Trump’s tweets influenced the spread of misinformation about COVID-19. The study, which appears in JAMA Network Open, examined social media data from Twitter to capture changes in the public’s coronavirus-related attitudes.

“I’m interested in creative ways to help people and save lives. A broad major problem stopping public health from saving lives is that it takes a long time to learn who needs help,” said study author Sean D. Young, an associate professor and executive director of the UC Institute for Prediction Technology. “Monitoring near-real time data sources like social media, especially among influencers, can help solve that problem.”

Read the full story at PsyPost.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Nika Nour’s Unique Background Fortifies Battle Against Online Misinformation

February 3, 2021

Success as a young chess player helped Nika Nour test into college at age 14 — but don’t compare her to chess prodigy Beth Harmon of the hit Netflix show “The Queen’s Gambit.” “Harmon was acknowledged for her success. The men didn’t retaliate for her winning. All of a sudden, all these dudes call in to make sure she’s a champion. It’s obviously fiction!” Nour says laughing. “I grew up playing chess since I was four, and I was completely berated for loving this sport.”

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Professor Theresa Tanenbaum Selected to Serve as Ambassador of Innovation

February 2, 2021

Theresa Jean Tanenbaum

In December 2020, UCI Beall Applied Innovation (BAI) named its second cohort of Faculty Innovation Fellows, and Informatics Professor Theresa Tanenbaum was among the 18 faculty members selected to serve as “ambassadors of innovation.” The program, now totaling 35 members between the two cohorts, recognizes UCI faculty conducting research with real-world impact. The fellowship is a two-year appointment that involves participating in lectures, workshops and retreats to encourage increased interdisciplinary collaboration across campus, fostering innovative work that can positively impact the broader community. Fellows also receive a stipend to support their own research.

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