I had a great time feeling like a diva and giving a seminar at the Summer Taste of OLLI series.

I did my best to present on a topic that really isn’t my specialty, but I believe it’s important to educate people on where we get information and how well we can trust that information. We covered topics such as Information Disorder, which consists of a combination of misinformation and disinformation. We also discussed the role social media plays in spreading fake news and the role of fake news in our political systems and what measures folks can do to mitigate the amount of disinformation they receive… In one word, Snopes.com. Here is the abstract for the talk:

The subject of “fake news” has arisen again and again before and after the 2016 election, but the concept has actually been around for centuries. This Taste of OLLI lecture will offer a brief history of fake news — the deliberate publication of misinformation and hoaxes in the mainstream media. In the course of this talk, we will receive tips for verifying information and sources and explore how social media has affected the “fake news” phenomenon.

Here is a snap of me trying to figure out how to wear a headset.

2019-06-18 (23)

More on OLLI can be found here: https://ext.csuci.edu/programs/osher-lifelong-learning-institute/index.htm

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I noticed something interesting about Waze the other day, which confirmed some suspicions I had for a few weeks.

For some time, visitors keep getting lost getting to my house, which sits on a cul de sac near the Los Angeles coastline. On more than one occasion, people got lost when using the Waze app, which is supposedly the best crowdsourced navigation around. The app would direct them down deadend streets, blocks away from my home. As it turns out, this may be my fault (not really, but really)…

I witnessed this phenomenon first hand the other night returning from a wedding at the Aquarium of the Pacific. It was about midnight that I noticed my Uber driver turning down a deadend street near my home. When I asked where the driver was going, the directions stated, in 450 feet, make a left on unnamed street. He proceeded to miss the turn.


This is the route I usually take, but I was surprised that Waze would recommend this to an Uber driver. The road is unnamed because it’s not a road, but the back alley of my townhome’s complex. The back alley connects two streets by about a 1/4 mile stretch marked with speed bumps and blindspots.

My suspicion is that because I take this route so frequently and Waze tracks me so closely, Waze thinks that this is now the optimal route. Problem is that it’s only optimal if you know about the alley, not if you miss the turn. Go figure…

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Journal of Computer Information Systems

Here is the Wordle.net word cloud for work I co-authored, titled, “Affordances of Recommender Systems for Disorientation in Large Online Conversations,” which was published in the Journal of Computer Information Systems. This work is another collaborative effort with Asst. Professor Evren Erylimaz.


In the context of large annotation-based literature discussions, this research examines the affordances of recommender systems on users’ disorientation. Drawing insights from literature on group cognition, knowledge building, and recommender systems, we developed three recommender systems and tested these systems on 136 users. Results indicate that the recommender system with constrained Pearson correlation coefficient similarity metric reduced users’ disorientation and afforded them the opportunity to become better aware of interesting and relevant information based on their needs and preferences without heavy costs in terms of time and effort. With respect to other software conditions, results indicate that users suffered from higher levels of disorientation. These findings counter the claim that annotations reduce disorientation. Theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.

E. Eryilmaz, B. Thoms, Z. Ahmed, KH Lee, “Affordances of Recommender Systems for Disorientation in Large Online Conversations,” Journal of Computer Information Systems, April, 2019. (Impact Factor 1.56)

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Here is the Wordle.net word cloud for work I co-authored, titled, “Development of a Reading Material Recommender System Based On Design Science Research Approach,” which will be presented at the 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences on January 10, 2019. This work is a collaborative effort with Asst. Professor Evren Erylimaz.

Screen Shot 2019-01-12 at 8.53.11 AM

The paper abstract is as follows:

Using design science research (DSR), we outline the construction and evaluation of a recommender system incorporated into an existing computer-supported collaborative learning environment. Drawing from Clark’s communication theory and a user-centered design methodology, the proposed design aims to prevent users from having to develop their own conversational overload coping strategies detrimental to learning within large discussions. Two experiments were carried out to investigate the merits of three collaborative filtering recommender systems. Findings from the first experiment show that the constrained Pearson Correlation Coefficient (PCC) similarity metric produced the most accurate recommendations. Consistently, users reported that constrained PCC based recommendations served the best to their needs, which prompted users to read more posts. Results from the second experiment strikingly suggest that constrained PCC based recommendations simplified users’ navigation in large discussions by acting as implicit indicators of common ground, freeing users from having to develop their own coping strategies.

And below is us at the conference site. Not a bad view at all.


E. Eryilmaz, B. Thoms, KH Lee, M. de Castro, “Development of a Reading Material Recommender System Based On Design Science Research Approach,” Proceedings of Hawaiian International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 52), January 8-11, 2019, Wailea, HI, USA.

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WI 2018

wi18This Saturday I’ll be flying off to present the co-authored paper, Dynamic Visualization of Quality in Online Conversations in Santiago Chile at the 2018 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence. I’m very excited to present this research because it was a truly collaborative effort with 3 undergraduate students and my long-time collaborative Dr. Evren Eryilmaz. Below is the abstract and tagcloud of the paper.

Abstract— This paper reports on software designed to visualize levels of quality within online conversational media. Prior to construction, data mining was performed on 2,157 online conversations and examined for attributes of quality. This initial dataset was analyzed for lexical complexity and prompt-specific vocabulary usage and helped guide the redesign of an existing asynchronous online discussion board (AOD). The new design incorporates a real-time quality analyzer and provides users with a visual breakdown of their post in relation to the overall group discussion thread. Results found that the proposed system produced higher levels of overall quality in discussion posts and increased interactions with higher quality discussion posts. Survey results and a social network analysis (SNA) indicate that the proposed system produced higher levels of system satisfaction and group cohesion when compared against control software.


B. Thoms, E. Eryilmaz, N. Dubin, R. Hernandez, S. Colon-Cerezo. “Dynamic Visualization of Quality in Online Conversations,” Accepted for inclusion in Proceedings of 2018 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence, December 3-6, 2018, Santiago, Chile.

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