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The Burner Project: Privacy and Social Control in a Networked World

Description: As mobile phones become increasingly ubiquitous in today’s world, academic and public audiences alike are curious about the interaction between mobile technologies and social norms. To investigate this phenomenon, I examined how individuals use technology to actively manage their communication behaviors. Through a three-month research project on usage patterns of Burner, a mobile application, this thesis explores the relationships among technology, culture, and privacy. Burner is a service that equips individuals with the means to create, maintain, and/or dissolve social ties by providing temporary, disposable numbers to customers. The application offers a way to communicate without relying on a user’s personal phone number. In other words, Burner acts as a “privacy layer” for mobile phones. It also provides a valuable platform to examine how customers use the application as a strategy for communication management. This thesis represents a marriage of practice and theory: (1) As an applied enterprise, the project was constructed as a customer needs assessment intending to examine how the service was situated in the lives of its users. The findings have successfully been applied to my client’s company strategy and have led to a more informed customer approach. (2) As an academic endeavor, this research contributes to existing scholarship in anthropology, computer-mediated communication, privacy, and design. The results provide rich fodder for discussions about the impact of mobile communication and services.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Shade, Molly
Partner: UNT Libraries

Space in Space: Privacy Needs for Long-Duration Spaceflight

Description: Space exploration is a uniquely human activity. As humans continue to push the limits of exploring the unknown, they have sought knowledge supporting the sustenance of life in outer space. New technologies, advancements in medicine, and rethinking what it means to be a “community” will need to emerge to support life among the stars. Crews traveling beyond the Moon will rely on the development of new technologies to support the technological aspects of their missions as well as their quality of life while away from Earth. Likewise, through advancements in medicine, scientists will need to address remaining questions regarding the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body and crew performance. Space explorers must learn to utilize these new technologies and medical advancements while learning to adapt to their new environment in space and as a space community. It is important that researchers address these issues so that human survival beyond Earth is not only achievable but so that life among the stars is worth living and sustaining. This thesis addressed these issues in an attempt to extend the trajectory of space exploration to new horizons.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Aiken, Jo
Partner: UNT Libraries

Operationalizing a Reading Culture at Rio Hondo Junior High

Description: A rural Rio Grande Valley school has continuously performed below the state average on the reading portion of the State Assessment of Academic Readiness. One of the concerns expressed amongst teachers and staff is the student’s lack of desire to read for pleasure or for academic purposes. This study examines the attitudes of students and staff in towards reading by focusing on the school’s reading culture. A mixed methods approach consisting of interviews, participant observation, a focus group, and a survey was employed in this study. The study found that the teachers and students maintained two polarizing perceptions of their reading culture. Based on these findings the following recommendations were made: create a literature-centered curriculum, increase and vary the selection of school library books, and align teachers’ perception with the students’ perception to create a unified reading culture.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Manning, Victoria Nicole
Partner: UNT Libraries

Everyday Performances in U.S. Household Kitchens

Description: BMA Innovation Consulting is committed to serving consumers products that can play a more meaningful role in household cleaning. So far, their innovation department has used psychology-based principles and approaches that have helped them understand consumers’ preferences, attitudes and claimed needs in household cleaning. That said, little information has been collected on the active role that products play or could play as participants in the everyday dynamics of US consumers. An anthropological approach to the study of U.S. kitchens, as an important center of family interaction in U.S. households, should yield important insights to the design and development of products that can more effectively and more actively participate in those dynamics. With this project I am fundamentally proposing a new approach to the identification of critical product design requirements. Figure on the right shows the key differences between the psychology-derived principles the organization is mostly using today vs. the anthropological lenses through which I will be conducting my research. Overall, I will be leveraging existing knowledge in the “individual desires” realm, connecting it to the collective situation & cultural context within which “cleaning action” emerges.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Rosado-Bonilla, Mireilly Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries

Other Identities As Assumed: Job Descriptions Among Classified Employees in a Public School System

Description: The aim of this thesis is to investigate the current status of job descriptions at a Public School System, in [City], [State], USA, and to make recommendations for improvement in terms of job description content, format, and the creation and updated processes. This work covers job descriptions among classified employees and does not cover job descriptions for instructional staff (teachers, principals, etc.) or Executive Administrative Staff. The work begins by introducing the reader to the client and the current status of the client's job descriptions. The demographics of the subject population are discussed as well as the research methodologies. Findings are presented in light of research data and analyzed using Social Identity Theory, as well as business leadership principals. Finally deliverables are provided and recommendations are made. The thesis argues that application of Social Identity Theory and business leadership principals will support the ongoing job description processes by engaging employees in the process with supervisors leading the process
Date: August 2015
Creator: Kellersohn, Keith B.
Partner: UNT Libraries