UMSI WIRE - Summer 2014

UMSI WIRE is a compendium of faculty news and research, published quarterly by the School of Information. To subscribe, send an email to

The Internet of Things

UMSI associate professor Nicole Ellison was quoted in a USA Today article recently, discussing how smart systems will play an increasingly large part in our daily lives, from helping people decide what brand of coffee to buy to what lunch best suits their health needs. Read article.

Playing games in college classrooms
Based on their experience developing Bibliobouts, an information literacy game, three UMSI researchers recently published Designing Online Information Literacy Games Students Want to Play (Rowman and Littlefield Press). Read more

Baby, look at you now
Graduate student Priya Kumar's research into mothers' decision-making process when posting baby pictures online caught the attention of National Public Radio's All  Tech Considered. Read article.

Assistive technology creates "small wonders" in developing world
A study by assistant professor Joyojeet Pal finds that use of assistive technology like smart phones and screen readers is boosting the economic and social aspirations of the visually impaired in countries like India and Peru. Read article.

She rates a 10

A book series on maker culture by clinical assistant professor Kristin Fontichiaro has been named to the top 10 list of non-fiction series for youth by Booklist, the book review magazine of the American Library Association. Read more.

Internet visionary inducted into hall of fame
Professor Doug Van Houweling, the founding CEO of Internet2, was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in April, honoring the leadership role he played in the university-government-industry partnership that built a network that became the backbone of the Internet. Read more.

Experts on call
Not to name-drop, but Dean Jeff MacKie-Mason has named five new members of the UMSI External Advisory Board, including David Kochalko, a former senior VP at Thomson-Reuters, and Jamie Voris, chief technology officer of The Walt Disney Studios. Read more.

Training the trainers

A new massive online open course on Python taught by clinical associate professor Charles Severance on Coursera and using open source materials is the first specifically designed to create more teachers of that programing language. Read more.

Designing Women
Happiness is: A team of five UMSI grad students swept up first place in the Student Design Competitionat the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (better known as CHI) in April. Their mobile app, Beam, is designed to "improve  happiness and mental health." Read more.

Peace and understanding

The School of Information became the first iSchool in the world to sign a cooperative agreement with the Peace Corps in March. UMSI will now offer a Master's International program and Coverdell fellowships for returning Peace Corps volunteers. Read more.