MSIM moves up in the rankings and cryptocurrencies come to campus

Plus, a challenge to disconnect from your devices and what automation and gig work mean for the economy.

MSIM moves up to second in the country

The online Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) program has been ranked second best in the country by U.S. News & World Report, earning a score of 98 out of 100.

W. P. Carey online programs have been consistently ranked among the top five best programs in the nation for five years in a row. The Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) program moved up one spot in the latest rankings, having ranked third in 2017.

"The new ranking for the MSIM online program reflects our ongoing commitment to academic excellence and innovation,” says Alan Simon, senior lecturer and honors faculty member in the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Ever since the online version of our MSIM degree was introduced, we've strived to emulate the on-campus MSIM experience as closely as possible in the online realm. Our MSIM online students work in teams challenging current cases, delivering virtual presentations to their classmates, and providing feedback on other students' presentations, as welll as engaging with their professors on today's and tomorrow's most critically important IS [information systems] management and leadership topics."

Almost 27,000 students are enrolled in one of 150 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs at ASU. See all W. P. Carey's rankings.

Cryptocurrency courses come to campus

Arizona State University and Dash, a top digital currency for payments, have announced a partnership designed to accelerate research, development, and education in ways that advance blockchain transaction speed, efficiency, security, and expand its uses.

The new $350,000 Dash-ASU agreement includes:

  • The Dash Scholars Program, which provides $100,000 in scholarships for undergraduate and graduate research fellowships.
  • Research lab and Industry open-source projects, providing an additional $100,000 in funding for ASU’s Blockchain Research Lab (BRL) and $50,000 in new funding for the Luminosity Lab.
  • Blockchain course development, with $100,000 for creating an online graduate course expected to be offered at ASU in fall 2018.

The partnership comes after Dash contributed $50,000 in Blockchain Research Laboratory startup funding in August 2017. In November, Dash and ASU announced the creation of the BRL at ASU, the first in academia.

The Blockchain Research Lab includes faculty from W. P. Carey, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. The lab is working on making blockchain accessible for uses beyond cryptocurrency. For example, the lab is working with a Phoenix-area company to formulate a blockchain for eco-energy applications, such as exchanging stored solar power within neighborhoods.

“The W. P. Carey School of Business is excited that leading-edge companies like Dash are supporting faculty and students in producing knowledge and engaging in new learning experiences around blockchain and fintech,” says Michael Goul, associate dean for faculty & research at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Professor stresses disconnecting from digital devices

Could you go on a digital detox for 24 hours? No phone, tablet, or technology of the sort for a whole day?

Clinical Assistant Professor of Information Systems Matthew Sopha is encouraging everyone to do just that. Sopha spoke to ASU Now, azfamily.com, and abc15 about the National Day of Unplugging, which was March 9 through 10 from sundown to sundown.

Sopha says the issue isn’t the technology but rather the stimulation users get from screen time and their over-reliance on it. "There is this instant gratification of being rewarded with new content, simply by swiping refresh,” he says.

The National Day of Unplugging is a nationwide initiative asking all Americans to put their devices down for a day. The initiative’s website states that “we increasingly miss out on the important moments of our lives as we pass the hours with our noses buried in our devices.”

Sopha is asking his students to rethink their relationship with technology. Instead of looking at their devices, go outside or connect with others face to face — and not just during the national event once a year.

Using technology as a tool is healthy, he says, it’s unhealthy when it becomes obsessive.

Experts, partners’ take on automated world and gig work

Experts from W. P. Carey met with industry partners last month to discuss what the future of the workforce will look like and what influence artificial intelligence (AI) and the gig economy will have on work.

The Industry Partners Conference titled, “Future of Work in the Digital Society,” was held recently at the ASU Main campus in Tempe. Leaders from the business and academic communities gathered to discuss AI, which are devices designed to act intelligently, and the gig economy, a workforce made up of primarily independent contractors.

These two workforce changes are already creating a major shift, and it affects everyone in every sector, says Professor Raghu Santanam, chair of the Information Systems Department and organizer of the conference.

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