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University of Michigan School of Information


UMSI Wire - Summer 2019

Welcome to UMSI WIRE, a quarterly compendium of news and research from the University of Michigan School of Information for educators and information professionals.

Moral concerns override desire to profit from finding a lost wallet

An international team of behavioral scientists – including UMSI assistant professor Alain Cohn – turned in   17,303 "lost" wallets containing varying amounts of money to public and private institutions in 355 cities across 40 countries. Their goal was to see just how honest the people who handled them would be when it came to returning the "missing" property to their owners. The results were not quite what they expected. 

The research drew considerable attention in national media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and NPRRead more:

Designing better apps for students with special needs

K-12 educators have been using technology in the classroom with increasing frequency but not always with great success, particularly when teaching students with special needs. That’s why UMSI assistant professor Gabriela Marcu has focused her research and technology design work on communications strategies that engage teachers, parents and students in team-based solutions. Read more:

Jurgens uses deep learning to adjust for sampling bias in social media

In a new study, UMSI assistant professor David Jurgens and a group of researchers in the United States and Europe have designed a survey method to accommodate and adjust for sampling bias in social media data. Read more:

Libby Hemphill receives Anti-Defamation League fellowship 

The Anti-Defamation League Center for Technology and Society announced that UMSI associate professor Libby Hemphill is one of four leading academics selected for its second class of Belfer Fellows. Her project will focus on using state-of-the-art machine learning approaches to automatically detect new terms and phrases being used by white supremacists online. Read more: 

UMSI researchers take home awards at 2019 Web Conference 

Associate professor Qiaozhu Mei took home a best paper award and assistant professor David Jurgens won best poster at the 2019 Web Conference in San Francisco in May. Read more: 

Schaub discusses smart speaker privacy concerns

As privacy issues with smart speakers started to gain media attention, assistant professor Florian Schaub has established himself as a first-call expert. Here he discusses Amazon’s efforts to address concerns with the company’s Alexa devices. Read more: 

UMSI-led dashboard for student academic success receives IMS Global Learning Impact award

A team led by research professor Stephanie Teasley, comprised of faculty and students from UMSI and the School of Education and staff from Information Technology Services, earned an IMS Global Learning Impact award for My Learning Analytics, a student-facing dashboard tool that helps students improve their study behaviors. Read more: 

Ellison voted International Communication Association Fellow

UMSI professor Nicole Ellison was elected as a fellow by the International Communication Association (ICA), an academic association for scholars interested in the study, teaching and application of all aspects of human and mediated communication. Read more:

Matrimonial website profiles show Indians more open to intercaste marriage

By examining data from a modern matchmaking website, Ashwin Rajadesingan and David Jurgens of the School of Information and Ramaswami Mahalingam of the Department of Psychology in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts have found that many Indians—in their native country and the United States—are beginning to change their attitudes about Hindu intercaste marriage. Read more: 

“Heritage algorithms” help STEM students connect with indigenous cultures

Math and computing ideas are embedded in many cultural designs in indigenous traditions. Ron Eglash is the recipient of a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to fund a program bringing these heritage algorithms to students underrepresented in STEM. Read more:

It's easier to trust automated vehicles when we know what they plan to do ahead of time

When it comes to automated vehicles, humans continue to have difficulty trusting that the cars will make the right driving decisions to get them where they want to go and do it safely. A new study from Lionel Robert, supported by MCity, shows establishing trust is about the timing of the information delivered by the cars. Read more: