IJAIS Submission

The following tag-cloud and abstract was for an invitation to extend my COLLA 2015 conference paper, “Online Learning Community Software to Support Success in Project Teams”. The new paper, “Online Social Networking Software as Ad-Hoc Project Management Software in Capstone Project Courses,” was submitted to the International Journal On Advances in Intelligent Systems and adds 100% more data, extends the results to incorporate a more in-depth social network analysis and enhances the discussion. Although the guidelines suggest 30%-40% new content, we feel we have far exceeded this amount and offer a fresh take on this study. Below is the abstract and tag-cloud for this paper:


Abstract— In this paper, we explore the use of online social networking (OSN) software as ad-hoc project management (PM) software. Through the adaptation of specialized OSN software, project teams can facilitate group collaboration as they work towards completing project milestones. This study aims to showcase the importance of sustained engagement throughout the lifecycle of the project, across both meta-level engagement with the external community and micro-level engagement within and among the project team members. More specifically, this work identifies how OSN technologies cultivate online community which can be shown to augment project motivation and participation resulting in project success. Under the lens of an existing theoretical model, one which highlights individual collaboration within online community spaces, we measure perceptions of the customized OSN software before and after its implementation. A content analysis highlights how successful project teams maximized features of the system, which is supported by a social network analysis (SNA), which highlights levels of individual engagement across the project lifecycle as they relate to online interaction and project results. Survey data identifies individual perceptions across various aspects of the system as it fosters social interaction and build online community, represented in terms of social capital.

Read More

Amazon Fresh left me feeling dirty…

From Day 1, I knew it wouldn’t last.

Included in our first order was milk, eggs, frozen pizza, bread and coffee. For an order that would require around 3 or 4 reusable bags (maybe less) at the grocery store down the block, our order consisted of six of the bags pictured below. If that was all there was, it would be fine since those bags and the inside foam-packaging are picked up and reused by Amazon. But no. Also included was each item wrapped in a thin-plastic bag (plastic bags are not reused by Amazon, but we are slowly using them as doggy-bags). And included for each perishable item was an encasement of plastic ice-packs (ice-packs are not reused by Amazon, but now I have a freezer full of them).

The strange thing about this process is that I’ve been reusing my personal grocery bags for over a decade. In fact, Los Angeles charges per bag if you forget yours. It’s a good process and minimizes the number of bags that make it to our sewer systems and into the ocean. I imagine in a few years there will be a class-action suit against Amazon for these current practices.

Well, although it was nice to wake up to fresh groceries, but instead I’ll continue to skate down the block and get my shopping from Ralph.


Read More

AMCIS 2016

Here is the tag cloud and abstract for work I co-authored, titled, “Learning Effects of Attention Guidance in Online Discussions,” which will be presented at the Americas Conference on Information Systems. I will be presenting this paper along with my colleague Evren Eryilmaz in San Diego on August 12.


This paper reports on the design and learning effects of an awareness mechanism integrated into an anchored discussion system. Drawing on social constructivist literature, the design aims to attract, retain, and if necessary reacquire students’ attention on instructional materials’ central principles in document-based asynchronous online discussions. To form a holistic picture, we operationalized learning across three dependent variables: perceived learning, knowledge gain, and learning efficiency. We performed an experimental study (N=64) across two sections of a blended-format human-computer interaction course to evaluate our design. Results show that the proposed design increased students’ perceptions of learning. However, the difference in knowledge gain scores was marginally significant, and represented a medium effect size. Interestingly, we found that our design afforded more efficient learning. Moreover, we discovered students’ perceptions of learning to be a significant predictor of their learning efficiency. Theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.

Read More

Pokemon Go

This past semester, one of my students constructed a rather complex database, which he called the Pokemon DB. The database was an elaborate group of database tables that stored pokemon, which are are creatures (pokemon means pocket creatures) of varying shapes and sizes that live in the wild or alongside humans. They were developed by Nintendo in consortium Game Freak, and Creatures.

Last month I tried poke, which is raw tuna. Not my favorite, but it did taste good.

And last week Pokemon Go was released. I’m not the biggest gamer, but I love the social and health implications of games. In fact, I try to incorporate games into my course quizzes, albeit they are far from fun games like Pokemon Go. But I downloaded it nonetheless. So far it’s been fun, but I have no dreams of being an expert trainer. The dynamics of the game, however, have been fascinating.

The pokemon franchise came out long after I was a kid caught up in the phenomenon and therefore have no fondness for its nostalgia. However, I am impressed with how Niantic has brought the pokemon experience into the real-world where you can collect pokemon on street corners, train and fight pokemon at local gyms and scavenge for items across city landmarks.

Right now I’m a Level 8 Trainer (levels go up to 40), but I’m acknowledge my lack of skill. I’ve been to the gym and haven’t won a single match! All-in-all, it’s been fun though, although I don’t see myself dedicating my life in search of rare pokemon… I heard this one guy quit his job! God speed my friend.



Read More

A Simple Program for Enhancing Quality in Online Discussion Boards

The below abstract was sent to the SACNAS National Conference.

Under the field of human computer interaction (HCI), the subfield of captology guides how technology can influence behavior [1]. In this research, we extend research from Project Acceso 2015 and perform an analysis of previous online conversations and improve upon the design of an existing online discussion board. More specifically, this research focuses on how simple algorithms can be used to influence the quality and flow of online conversations resulting in greater topic-focus and more readable discussion posts.

In total, 1,629 conversations were mined for readability and keyword density. Readability was accessed using Readability Metrics, an open-source application programming interface for managing texts and their readability scores [2]. Key-word density was calculated as a ratio of total keywords found over total words posted minus all stop-words. Our analysis found that while readability increased from originations to responses, there were decreases in response readability and keyword density. Additionally, there was the tendency for users to move away from topics as discussions aged.

A social network analysis (SNA) was also performed using NodeXL, which is an open source extension for MS Excel that provides a range of basic network analytics and visualization features [3]. Our analysis discovered that users who fell within an acceptable level of quality tended to be more central to the network, while users with lower quality scores tended to be situated on the outskirts of the network. This suggests that as the quality of user posts increases, the number of responses that user receives also increases, thus increasing the density of the social network.

To remediate these issues and persuade users to deliver more on-topic, readable discussion posts, SPEQ-DB provides users with a more responsive way to judge the quality of their posts. More specifically, users can view a quality report, which dynamically analyzes and rates the content of their posts and provides users with a subset of trending keywords. Additionally, an overall group quality index is calculated and provides users with a comparison of their individual post as it is measured against the group’s average. Finally, discussion pins allow users to keep track of posts they are most interested in or find most helpful. Below is the screenshot, or you can try it out here: socialxyz.com/SPEQ. A sample poster can be found here: socialxyz.com/pubs/QualityPoster-draftv3.1.pdf.


To test SPEQ-DB, a design science research methodology is proposed. In design science, researchers are concerned with the way things ought to be in order to attain goals and they construct artifacts as a way of achieving these goals [4]. Building atop [5], our research asks the following questions:

R1: To what extent will SPEQ-DB enhance the quality of both origination and response posts in online conversations?

R2: To what extent will SPEQ-DB increase levels of network density within the online community?



[1] Fogg, B., & Nass, C. (1997). “Silicon sycophants: The effects of computers that flatter,” Int’l Journal of Human Computer Studies, 46(5).

[2] Ipeirotis, P. (2012). “Readability Metrics API,” Mashape. Accessed June 19, 2016 from https://market.mashape.com/ipeirotis/readability-metrics.

[3] Hansen, D., Shneiderman, B. and Smith, M. (2011). Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a Connected World, Burlington: Morgan Kaufmann.

[4] Simon, H. (1996). The Sciences of the Artificial Third Edition, Cambridge, MA : MIT Press.

[5] Thoms, B., Eryilmaz, E. (2014). “How Media Choice Affects Learner Interactions in Distance Learning Classes,” Computers & Education, v75, pp.112-126

Read More