Singularity Radio Podcast: “Understanding Attention in the Digital Age” (Gloria Mark interviewed)

November 16, 2022

In this conversation with Chancellor’s Professor of Informatics Gloria Mark, the podcast explores many different facets of attention, including but not limited to how our attention span is decreasing, how technology is shaping our attention habits, the consequences of a struggling attention span, and many different solutions that we might consider to take back control of our attention. Gloria recently authored the book Attention Span, which will be released on Jan. 10, 2023.

Listen to the podcast: https://player.fm/series/singularity-radio/fbl79-gloria-mark-understanding-attention-in-the-digital-age

Informatics Influence at CSCW Is 23 Papers Strong

November 10, 2022

From “teaching tech to grandma” to “crowdsourcing mental health messages,” researchers from UC Irvine’s Department of Informatics have explored a wide range of topics this year. This is evident from 23 of the papers being presented at the 25th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2022), one of the premier venues for research into the design and use of technologies that support collaborative work and life activities. The virtual conference started this week with an impressive showing from UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS).

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Graduate Student Spotlight: Informatics Ph.D. Student Lucas Silva Works to Increase Diversity in STEM

October 20, 2022

Pew Research Center’s 2021 report on diversity in STEM fields found that Black and Hispanic adults are underrepresented in the STEM workforce — including computing fields — and women are underrepresented in computing and engineering fields. At UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), third-year informatics Ph.D. student Lucas Silva is working to increase minority representation and achievements in STEM as the department’s diversity ambassador.

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Software Engineering Ph.D. Student Jessy Ayala Receives Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship

October 18, 2022

Jessy Ayala headshot

Jessy Ayala, a software engineering Ph.D. student in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), has been awarded the Eugene Cota-Robles (ECR) fellowship, the most prestigious diversity fellowship offered at UC Irvine. This award, named in honor of one of the earliest Mexican-American professors in the University of California System, puts students interested in careers in academic teaching and research on a fast-track toward completing their doctoral degree.

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Stacy Branham Breaks Down Barriers with “Hello World! I Have a Disability” Keynote

October 6, 2022

Belting out a few lines from the classic Singin’ in the Rain showtune “Good Morning,” Stacy Branham made it clear to her Tapia 2022 audience that her presentation, “Hello World! I Have a Disability.,” would not be your typical research talk. But Tapia — as the premier venue to acknowledge, promote and celebrate diversity in computing — isn’t your typical research conference.

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NPR: “Rolling the dice on race in Dungeons & Dragons” (Aaron Trammell interviewed)

September 29, 2022

Dungeons & Dragons is one of the most popular tabletop roleplaying games of all time. But it has also helped cement some ideas about how we create and define race in fantasy — and in the tangible world. We take a deep dive into that game, and what we find about racial stereotypes and colonialist supremacy is illuminating.

Aaron Trammell is an assistant professor of informatics at UC Irvine, and he edits a scholarly journal about, “analog games” like D&D. He’s spent years studying the interplay between tabletop games and race. Aaron links the war gamer’s idea of historical accuracy to this adherence to all-white histories. … “They value things that are what they see as authentic. This becomes one of the big excuses of the fantasy war gaming community to not add more inclusive rules,” said Trammel.

Listen to the full podcast here: https://www.npr.org/transcripts/1125115438

Informatics Researchers Receive $1.2M to Improve Software Accessibility Testing Tools

September 26, 2022

Stacy Branham
Stacy Branham
Iftekhar Ahmed
Sam Malek

When Informatics Professors Sam Malek and Iftekhar Ahmed, and Ph.D. student Abdulaziz Alshayban, first studied accessibility issues in mobile applications, they found that close to 96% of the top 1,000 mobile apps in the Google Play Store had severe accessibility issues. In other words, they found people with disabilities — who account for approximately 15% of the world population — can’t properly use these apps. “Quite honestly, Iftekhar and I were shocked by the prevalence of accessibility issues in these popular apps,” says Malek. “After conducting additional studies with developers, we realized part of the problem has to do with the fact that developers (1) do not have a good understanding of accessibility guidelines and best practices, and (2) there are not many good tools available to help developers detect and fix accessibility issues prior to making their apps available on the app store.”

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Recrafting Computer Science: $1.5M NSF Grant Leads to New Course Offering

September 20, 2022

How can a loom, a device used to weave cloth and tapestry, enhance computational thinking and broaden participation in computer science in higher education? This question is at the center of a three-year collaboration between researchers from UCI and Carnegie Mellon University through a $1.5M grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The project, “Recrafting Computer Science: Fiber Crafting as Computational Thinking,” started in 2021 and is now launching computer science courses at CMU for fall 2022 and at UCI for spring 2023. The newly designed undergraduate computer science curriculum involves constructing and programming a robotic loom, offering a more tangible approach to computational thinking.

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ExperienceCraft: Creating a Custom Minecraft Server for Grieving Youth

September 14, 2022

More than 250,000 children in the United States have lost a parent or primary caregiver because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are 5.6 million children who, by age 18, will grieve the death of a parent or sibling. So there’s no question we need to create more thoughtful ways to support grieving youth. “You have to meet kids where they are,” says Courtney Dubin, chief program officer of Experience Camps, a nonprofit that supports grieving children through summer camp programs and other year-round initiatives.

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