Monday, November 6th, 2017

Talk: Georgia Tech’s Online MOOC-Based Master Program

Dr. Zvi Galil, Dean of the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will visit the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) to present a new online Master’s program in Computer Science based on massively open online courses. ABSTRACT In May 2013, Georgia Tech together with its partners, Udacity and AT&T, announced a new online master’s degree in computer science delivered through the platform popularized by massively open online courses (MOOCs). This new online MS CS— or OMSCS for short — costs less than $7,000 total, compared to a price tag of $40,000 for an MS CS at comparable public universities and upwards of $70,000 at private universities. The first-of-its-kind program was launched in January 2014 and has sparked a worldwide conversation about higher education in the 21st century. President Barack Obama has praised OMS CS by name twice, and over 1,000 news stories mentioned the programs. It’s been described as a potential “game changer” and “the first real step in the transformation of higher education in the US.” Harvard University researchers concluded that OMSCS is “the first rigorous evidence showing an online degree program can increase educational attainment” and predicted that OMSCS will single-handedly raise the number of annual MS CS graduates in the United States by at least 7 percent. To ensure program quality and rigor, Georgia Tech started in 2014 with a small enrollment of 380; in August 2017 enrollment exceeded 5,850. So far 590 students have graduated from OMSCS. The program has also paved the way for a number of similar, MOOC-based MS programs. The talk will describe the OMSCS program, how it came about, its first three and a half years, and what Georgia Tech has learned from the OMSCS experience. We will also discuss its potential effect on higher education. SHORT BIO Dr. Zvi Galil, Dean of the College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel. He earned BS and MS degrees in Applied Mathematics from Tel Aviv University, both summa cum laude. He then obtained a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell University. After a post-doctorate in IBM’s Thomas J. Watson research center, he returned to Israel and joined the faculty of Tel-Aviv University. He served as the chair of the Computer Science department in 1979-1982. In 1982 he joined the faculty of Columbia University. He served as the chair of the Computer Science Department in 1989-1994 and as dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science in 1995-2007. Galil was appointed Julian Clarence Levi Professor of Mathematical Methods and Computer Science in 1987, and Morris and Alma A. Schapiro Dean of Engineering in 1995. In 2007 Galil returned to Tel Aviv University and served as president. In 2009 he resigned as president and returned to the faculty as a professor of Computer Science. In July 2010 he became The John P. Imlay, Jr. Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech. Dr. Galil’s research areas have been the design and analysis of algorithms, complexity, cryptography and experimental design. In 1983-1987 he served as chairman of ACM SIGACT, the Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory. He has written over 200 scientific papers, edited 5 books, and has given more than 200 lectures in 20 countries. Galil has served as editor in chief of two journals and as the chief computer science adviser in the United States to the Oxford University Press. He is a fellow of the ACM and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. In 2008 Columbia University established the Zvi Galil Award for Improvement in Engineering Student Life. In 2009 the Columbia Society of Graduates awarded him the Great Teacher Award. In 2012 the University of Waterloo awarded him an honorary doctorate in mathematics. Zvi Galil is married to Dr. Bella S. Galil, a marine biologist. They have one son, Yair, a corporate lawyer in New York.
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time:

2:15PM - 3:15PM

location:
UNU-CSMacau SAR China

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Talk: Who Decides What Is “Personal Data”?

Lokman Tsui from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) will visit the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) to give a talk entitled “Who decides what is ‘personal data’? Testing the access principle with telecommunication companies and internet providers in Hong Kong”. ABSTRACT Do personal data protection laws allow citizens to feel reasonably assured that their personal data is protected? My study aims to answer this question in the context of the Personal Data Privacy Ordinance (PDPO) and to what extent this law helps protect personal data in the hands of telecommunication companies and internet providers in Hong Kong. For the study, we submitted data access requests to telecommunication companies and internet providers for a range of information, including subscriber information, IP addresses, geolocation data and whether they had shared any of this data with third parties. In my talk, I will present the findings and discuss its larger implications for a future where increasingly everything will be data-driven. SHORT BIO A geek and an activist, Lokman Tsui is an Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) where he researches free expression and internet policy. Lokman is also a Faculty Associate with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Before Lokman returned to academia, he was Google’s Head of Free Expression in Asia and the Pacific. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, where his award-winning dissertation is a critical interrogation of how new technologies challenge us to rethink journalism. He was born and raised in the Netherlands and managed the unofficial website for filmmaker Wong Kar Wai for many years.
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time:

2:30PM - 3:30PM

location:
UNU-CSMacau SAR China

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

Talk: Gender Studies in Contemporary Chinese Contexts

Zhang Yuan (Noah) from the School of International Education at the China Women’ University in Beijing will visit the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) to give a talk on the development of Chinese gender studies entitled “Gender Studies in Contemporary Chinese Contexts”. ABSTRACT Gender Studies is both an independent and an interdisciplinary academic discipline, which arose from and is largely researched within western institutions. It is worth considering to what extent there is any Chinese-specific academic (or wider cultural) focus on gender studies and education, including forms of knowledge, methodology, and research? Chinese gender studies make use of a variety of international forms of knowledge, which are contextualized in terms of local cultural factors and issues. This talk will provide an introduction and overview with regard to the development of Chinese gender studies. SHORT BIO Zhang Yuan (Noah) graduated with a multidisciplinary degree from the best university in China, and with an MA from a quality university in the Netherland. She completed her graduate work at the University of Macau and obtained a doctorate degree in Philosophy in Communication. She has considerable achievements in teaching, researching, and course development. Now she works in the School of International Education, at the China Women’ University in Beijing, as an assistant professor and the coordinator of the international MA program. Specialized in the fields of Gender Studies and Communication, she is not only a senior expert but also a pioneer and social activist.
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time:

2:30PM - 3:30PM

location:
UNU-CSMacau SAR China

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Talk: Influence of Buddhism in Communication Culture in Bhutan

Dorji Wangchuk will visit the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) to give a talk on the influence of Buddhism in the communication culture in Bhutan and the search for the middle path in the age of social media. ABSTRACT Why do the traditional Bhutanese avoid expressing extreme views – or clear positions, at times? Why do they prefer silence over speech, indirectness over directness and harmony over confrontation when addressing another person? Are these traits derived from Buddhism – the predominant religion of Bhutan? These are some of the questions that this paper seeks to answer. As momentous changes sweep this small kingdom, the country faces both opportunities and challenges in the era of the pervasive social media. Until 1999, Bhutan had neither broadcast television nor Internet. Since then, this small nation, located high in the Himalayas between India and China and for centuries confined in a self-imposed isolation, has practically “leapfrogged” directly into the digital world. In recent decades, mobile phone use has increased dramatically -reaching more than 90 percent of all households. Social media platforms such as Facebook, WeChat, and Twitter are popular where people share images and voice messages and thus extend the traditional oral forms of communication via digital means. Drawing from extensive interactions and in-depth interviews with reputed Bhutanese Buddhist scholars and with communication practitioners; and from the author’s field experiences of working as a broadcaster, filmmaker, columnist and as the Palace spokesperson, this essay explores to understand the influence of Buddhism on communication in the Bhutanese society. SHORT BIO Dorji Wangchuk graduated in electronics engineering from the University of Bologna (Italy) in 1995. He worked as the chief engineer with the Bhutan Broadcasting Service leading the team that brought both the FM radio services and television to Bhutan between 1997 and 1999. Subsequently, he made a career shift and moved to documentary filmmaking, where he won three major international awards and several nominations. His best-known works are School Among Glaciers and Rocking the Himalayan Kingdom. From 2009 to 2013 he served as the Director and Spokesperson for His Majesty the King and the Royal Family of Bhutan. He has also written books chapters and articles in international publications and journals and has penned numerous op-eds in Bhutanese newspapers. He is the founder-advisor to Centennial Radio in Bhutan, a visiting professor at the Royal University of Bhutan. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Macau with the research focus on the influence of social media in news and storytelling traditions in Bhutan.
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time:

3PM - 4PM

location:
UNU-CSMacau SAR China

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Presentation: Social money? Digital money and migrant labor in China

Tom MacDonald, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Hong Kong will visit the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) and deliver a presentation on how Chinese migrant workers use digital money platforms. SHORT BIO Tom McDonald is an Assistant Professor at The University of Hong Kong. He obtained his Ph.D. in Anthropology from University College London in 2013, where he also worked on the Why We Post project, a European Research Council funded global comparative ethnographic study exploring the impact of social media use across a range of different societies. His first solely-authored monograph, Social Media in Rural China: Social Networks and Moral Frameworks (UCL Press) was published in 2016. He also co-authored the volume How the World Changed Social Media (UCL Press, 2016). McDonald is currently working on a new Hong Kong Research Grants Council funded project investigating the use of digital money by migrant workers in China. ABSTRACT Scholars of Chinese society have predominantly regarded the region’s money to represent an unusually “social” artifact. In recent decades, China has seen a dramatic proliferation of “digital money” services within social media platforms, providing various tools for transactions, savings, and investment. While such innovations would seem to confirm the assumed social character of money in China, we present a comparison of the views of Chinese migrant laborers’ views on different social media platforms which suggests the contrary: migrants attribute a greater degree of trust to the digital money platforms which they perceived of as being comparatively less social in nature. We posit that these attitudes should be understood in the context of migrant laborers’ technologically literate yet financially precarious existence, which gives rise to their strongly held fears over becoming the victim online deception designed to part them from their savings. This paper thus argues that while money may indeed be viewed socially in China, this should not be confused with a desire for it to always act socially. The broader implications of the increasing embeddedness of everyday exchange within personal media forms will also be discussed, highlighting the importance of acknowledging how cultural and platform specifics must form part of our understanding of these new monetary technologies and practices.
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time:

3PM - 4:30PM

location:
UNU-CSMacau SAR China
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