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February 2014



CIS Professor Earns Achievements for Research and Course Design

Dr. John Guo is working to increase university influence by conducting cutting-edge research and receiving a grant to design a course that could be shared among multiple universities.

Professor John Guo

Dr. John Guo, CIS professor in the College of Business, recognizes the importance of doing more for the university than teaching.

Cutting-edge research published in top academic journal

Guo was recently published in Communications of the Association for Information Systems (CAIS) discussing social networking and social media trends in the U.S., South Korea, and China. The article summarizes a panel of four experts on social media, Guo included, which not only examined the status quo of social networking but also predicted the future of some of those networks. Social networks and social media are so prevalent in our lives today that it is not uncommon to find practitioners using their assorted gadgets for both personal and professional uses.

“The biggest threat toward information security is not about hackers, it’s about lost devices…Losing cell phones, laptops, tablets, and PCs are the leading factor to corporate organizational data leakage,” said Guo.

The information presented in Guo’s publication is fairly new and, therefore, very eye catching. On the CAIS website, the publication is on the list of most viewed articles. When asked if he believes it is important for professors to get published in such highly esteemed journals, he responded with a “firm yes.”

“We need to do cutting edge research leading to our identity as research-vigorous,” said Guo. “Small activities lead to one big strategic goal to become more influential nationwide if not global.”

Shared course designed for 4VA with mini-grant

Guo believes it is important to work on these projects and attempt to spread recognition of JMU. In addition to his publication, Guo recently received a mini-grant from 4VA to design a new cyber security course with an emphasis on hands-on practices. The grant is earned through a competition-based application and is worth $4,000-$8,000.

The course will approach web security from a hands-on perspective, meaning students can learn how to make the right decisions once they are practitioners. They will know how things work and be able to practically decide what course of action to take. 

4VA is a collaborative among James Madison University, George Mason University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and the University of Virginia. It brings the universities together to achieve mutually beneficial goals by working together.

Determining whether shared course will spread to other universities

The cyber security course for which Guo received his mini-grant is being offered as a pilot course this semester. After its first semester, there is a possibility that the course will spread to other institutions. Some aspects that go into deciding whether or not to expand the course is student feedback, the Executive Advisory Board (EAB) response, and peer advice.

“At CIS we have well qualified, highly-experienced professors. They will evaluate the learning effectiveness and outcome of this course and in the end we combine all three sources to come up with a profile/argument stating that this course is right on target or has some room for improvement,” said Guo on the process. 

Collaboration of universities is mutually beneficial

Guo believes JMU benefits from participating in 4VA because it increases the university’s scope beyond the region in which it resides. Further, the school can increase the rigor of its curriculum and share and exchange knowledge with other institutions so that everyone achieves more.

Guo is currently working on more dedicated research on BYOD (bring your own device) policy management. He encourages students to BYOD, as many are encouraged to do so in professional settings. Guo currently teaches CIS 330 (Database Design and Application) and CIS 498 (Network Defense and Security). He began working in CIS as an assistant professor in 2010 after receiving a Ph.D. in information systems from Mississippi State University.

By Alix Carlin (Communication studies, ’14)








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