University of Colorado Boulder News: “ICS Alumna Leysia Palen recognized as rare ‘distinguished professor’ by CU system”

January 23, 2023

Leysia Palen, professor in the Department of Computer Science and the founding chair of the Department of Information Science (2015-19), has been recognized as a distinguished professor, the highest recognition given by the University of Colorado system.

Since the award was established 45 years ago, only 136 professors have been recognized in this way across all four campuses.This rare distinction recognizes the three pillars of professorship: research, teaching and service. Palen said it was deeply meaningful to be awarded for all these dimensions she cares about.  

Read the full story on the University of Colorado Boulder website.

Can Gaming Cool Global Warming? An Experimental Climate XR Class Aims to Inspire Change

January 13, 2023

An adorable creature with a fire-like glowing tail looks at you, pleading with its longing eyes as it is hunted to brighten a dark forest. Can you help save it by finding alternative sources of light? This is your mission in a virtual reality game called “The Darkened Pathway.” The VR world is one of five new extended reality (XR) experiences developed for Informatics 295/190: Climate XR, an experimental course offered in fall 2022 through UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS).

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The New York Times: “How to Focus Like It’s 1990” (Gloria Mark mentioned)

January 10, 2023

In 2004, Gloria Mark, a [Chancellor’s] Professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, watched knowledge workers go about a typical day at the office. Using a stopwatch, she noted every time they switched tasks on their computer, moving from a spreadsheet to an email to a web page to a different web page and back to the spreadsheet. She found that people averaged just two and a half minutes on a given task before switching. When Dr. Mark repeated the experiment in 2012, the average time office workers spent on a task had dropped to 75 seconds. And it has continued to drop from there. 

Read the full story at The New York Times (subscription required, UCI campuswide access if provided by UCI Libraries).

Software Engineering and Data Science Professional Master Programs Celebrate Capstone Successes

January 3, 2023

December 2022 concluded the 15-month journey of students in the master of software engineering (MSWE) and master of data science (MDS) programs. The two professional programs, offered by the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) at UC Irvine, culminate in a capstone project, ensuring students graduate with hands-on, real-world experience. For some, this meant helping a robot learn to dance; for others, it meant applying data analytics to support the health of newborn babies.

“Capstone projects play an integral role in the academic development of students pursuing a graduate degree,” says MDS Program Director Bryan Muñoz. “The capstones also benefit the sponsoring companies, allowing them to preview emerging talent from the School of ICS.”

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Informatics Ph.D. Student Yawen Guo Wins 2nd Place at AMIA Student Paper Competition

December 13, 2022

Second-year informatics Ph.D. student Yawen Guo won second place in the American Medical Informatics Association 2022 Annual Symposium Student Paper Competition in November. Her paper, titled “Public Opinions toward COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates: A Machine Learning-based Analysis of U.S. Tweets,” studied a large volume of tweets “to examine the beliefs held among Twitter users toward vaccine mandates, as well as the evidence that they used to support their positions.”

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Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard (Interview: Gloria Mark)

Gloria Mark is a professor, author, and researcher. Gloria joins the Armchair Expert to discuss what attention is, how email can be a main source of stress, and what the study of Informatics is. Gloria and Dax talk about the concept of flow, what social capital on the internet is, and what the fallacy in multi-tasking is. Gloria explains how being an artist prepared her for studying psychology, how well-being should be prioritized over productivity in the workplace, and how self-interruption is a major culprit of distraction.

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EdSurge: “How Gaming Creates Opportunities for Learning That Endures” (Mimi Ito interviewed)

December 5, 2022

Mimi Ito, [informatics professor in residence], is a cultural anthropologist and learning scientist at UC Irvine. She’s been sharing her observations with EdSurge readers for nearly a decade now, reflecting on young people’s interest-driven and playful engagements as they relate to education. Recently, we were fortunate to speak with her at length on the topic of game-based learning. Here, she comments on the history of gaming in education, its limitations and its potential—when done well—as a conduit for deep connections with learners.

Read the full interview on EdSurge