CS New Faculty Lecture: Briana Bettin, Computer Science, November 12

Dr. Brianna Bettin (Computer Science) will present a New Faculty Lecture on Friday, November 12, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. in Rekhi 214. Dr. Bettin is an assistant professor in both the Computer Science and the Cognitive and Learning Sciences departments. Her research interests span education, experiential design, and human factors. Her talk is titled, “Facets and Inclusions: Analogy as a Transformative Tool for Navigating CS Curricula.”

The lecture is in-person, but it can also be joined on Zoom.

Following, Dr. Stefka Hristova, (Digital Media, Humanities) will present her talk, “Algorithmic Brown: Race, Representation, and the Emergence of a Digital Color Line.” Hristova’s specialties include visual studies, algorithmic culture, photography, and critical theory.

Lecture Title and Abstract: Dr. Briana Bettin

Briana Bettin

Title: “Facets and Inclusions: Analogy as a Transformative Tool for Navigating CS Curricula.”

Abstract: Our increasingly digital society requires citizens to effectively communicate about and with computing technologies in order to thrive. Learning to navigate the digital landscape and computing topics can be immensely challenging. Shifting to “think like a programmer” is often challenging, and why the machine behaves as it does can appear antithetical to “the real world” assumptions students are used to in their daily lives. Coupled with stereotypical notions on the difficulty and societal impacts of computing and programming, students can easily become frustrated and discouraged from learning necessary skills and topics for the fourth industrial revolution.

This talk explores how using analogical representations to convey computing concepts and ideas can transform student relationships with computing material. Tying the “difficult novelty” of computing topics to lived experiences can help machine behaviors become relatable rather than flummoxing. Creative and cultural expressions using analogical representations create further avenues for CS curricular transformation, allowing students to foster their sense of self and community in relation to their computing studies. The lived experiences of students have many angles, and learning computing topics is a path paved with flaws. By transforming curricular dialogues to center students and their existing understanding, we can use these facets and inclusions to transform their experiences learning computer science.

Biography: Briana Bettin’s research blends user experience methodologies with education research to better understand programming students and the impacts of the classroom environment. She is a member of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystem’s (ICC) Computing Education research group.

Lecture Title, Abstract, Bio: Dr. Stefka Hristova

Lecture Title: Algorithmic Brown: Race, Representation, and the Emergence of a Digital Color Line

Abstract. This talk examines the implementation of the Fitzpatrick skin color scale as a tool that has facilitated racial diversity efforts as well as inquiries into racial bias in the contexts of digital and algorithmic technologies. More specifically, it focuses on the introduction of the racialized emojis and thus the establishment of a new Shirley Card of the digital and algorithmic age. The racialized emojis and the the Fitzpatrick scale are problematized: while anchored in the discourses of dermatology and thus appearing to be a neural and value-free framework, they are part of long lineage of skin classification endeavors that have aimed to quantify human skin color for the purposes of racial recognition and discrimination.

Biography. Dr. Stefka D. Hristova is an Associate Professor of Digital Media at Michigan Technological University. She holds a PhD in Visual Studies with emphasis on Critical Theory from the University of California, Irvine. Her research analyzes digital and algorithmic visual culture. Hristova’s work has been published in journals such as Transnational Subjects Journal, Visual Anthropology, Radical History Review, TripleC, Surveillance and Security, Interstitial, Cultural Studies, Transformations. She was a NEH Summer Scholar for “Material Maps in the Digital Age” seminar in 2019. Hristova is the lead editor for Algorithmic Culture: How Big Data and Artificial Intelligence are Transforming Everyday Life, Lexington Books, 2021. She is a co-PI on the Michigan Humanities Grant Bad Information: Fake News, Manipulated Photographs, and Social Influencers.