About GDIL

The Global DisInformation Lab (GDIL) was established in 2020 at the University of Texas at Austin to encourage collaborative interdisciplinary academic research on the global circulation of a broad spectrum of information, misinformation, and disinformation via digital media.

 

Our Mission 

  1. Enable interdisciplinary academic research on the global circulation of “disinformation” via digital media
  2. Promote a deeper understanding of national and regional contexts in which disinformation is generated, harvested, circulated, and weaponized
  3. Generate policy recommendations and solutions for the looming problems of the “post-truth” world

Our faculty and student affiliates are committed to promoting a deeper understanding of national and regional contexts in which such information is generated. Our hope is that such research will generate policy recommendations and solutions.  

We encourage student interest in the Lab. UT undergraduate and graduate students are urged to visit our “Get Involved” page. GDIL regularly partners with other research groups across campus and outside clients. If you have a project you would like to collaborate on, reach out to us through the form at the bottom of the page. 

Our People

We are building a network of interdisciplinary scholars. We know that great research begins with empowered researchers. Meet our team and get in touch!

Our Research

Learn more about our research focus. Our goal is to provide faculty and student researchers with the resources they need to complete world class research on the global dimensions of disinformation and misinformation.

Drop us a line.

Want to work with us? Have an idea for a project? Curious about some aspect of the lab? Please reach out. We promise we’re friendly!

 

Contact us

FAQs: general

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How is GDIL structured?

The Global Disinformation Lab itself is overseen by the Leadership Team and Student Leadership Team, but the main drivers are our amazing student leaders and researchers.

There are multiple active projects every year in the Global Disinformation Lab and each project has a faculty advisor/mentor, TTL and GSRs.

Faculty Lead or Faculty Mentor: A project may be a faculty member’s own research project (Faculty Lead) or they may have the knowledge and skills to assist a team doing the research (Faculty Mentor).

Task Team Leader (TTL): TTLs are UT Austin students who serve as a group leader. They are typically the main point of contact between the team and the faculty lead/mentor, schedule and run the team meetings, and answer questions or guide the researchers. The TTL position is typically a paid position, although each project is different. TTLs are usually graduate students but we have a few amazing undergraduates who have taken on this challenging role recently!

GDIL Student Researchers (GSRs): GSRs are the backbone of the Lab! GSRs are UT Austin undergraduate and graduate students from disciplines across campus. GSRs are asked to commit to working on their project an average of 10 hours per week. The position is typically unpaid, but there are most definitely benefits (see Student FAQ below).

What are the All-Hands meetings?

GDIL is a community. Students work closely with their project team members, but it is also important to gather as a whole so we can meet one another, learn about other projects, and support one another in this amazing work.

The monthly All-Hands meetings give us the chance to come together as an entire Lab. Each meeting will be a bit different – some will have guest speakers from UT and elsewhere, others will be team presentations so that we can all learn what the other GDIL projects are working on.

All-Hands meetings are closed to GDIL participants only. If you are not yet a member but would like to attend, please contact us at [email protected]

Where is GDIL located?

Our offices are located in Belmont Hall on the UT Austin campus.

FAQs:
students

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When can I apply?

We accept applications throughout the year. However, projects run September-May and may fill up, so we encourage you to apply in the summer months as we begin putting the teams together.
Students may apply later in the fall and spring but we cannot guarantee a spot on a team.

Who can participate?

Chances are, if you are reading this you can participate. We are open to University of Texas at Austin undergraduate and graduate students from any discipline. There are no prerequisites besides an interest in disinformation and misinformation and a willingness to abide by our code of conduct.

Are there any prerequisites or experience requirements?

No. Though we are interested in the skills you have (especially language skills!) there are no requirements beyond the standard ~10 hour commitment and your ability to attend our monthly All-Hands meetings.

How will I be spending my time?

That’s a great question! We ask that you commit to an average of 10 hours per week but please understand that some weeks will have far less work than others, so it definitely changes throughout the semester.

Once you join a team, your TTL will work with everyone to find a time to schedule a regular team meeting. Some are once a week, others will be less frequent. And we all use Slack to communicate in between.

You will then spend your time meeting with your team and then working independently (or with other team members) on research, coding, or whatever other activity your project involves.

You will also be required to attend the All-Hands meeting once per month. The meeting dates and times can be found in the semester schedule.

What are the benefits of being a GDIL TTL or GSR?

We’re glad you asked!!

When you become involved with GDIL, you become part of the GDIL community.

First, all active GDIL participants will be added to the GDIL Slack channel where they can communicate with their team and the leadership team. We often post interesting articles or news stories as well as internship and job openings that we hear about often.

You’ll have a space of your own – GDIL has an office location in Belmont Hall with space for TTLs and staff as well as a small conference room available at any time for GSRs. You can meet there for team meetings, to work individually or in groups on your projects, or even if you just need a quiet space to do some homework. Once you become a GSR, we will provide you with a code for entry into the Lab.

We offer amazing networking opportunities! Along with the guest speakers who you will have the chance to meet at each All-Hands meeting, we also have partnerships with external clients. Our students have had the chance to work with Sandia National Labs, the Army Cyber Institute, Arizona State University Research Enterprise, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), among others. And just last year, former CIA Director John Brennan visited with our students!

And yes, there’s always the swag (coming soon)!

Can I attend a meeting to learn more?

We host info sessions each summer and early fall. However, if you’d like to learn more about us during the rest of the year, please feel free to send us an e-mail and we’ll be happy to meet with you to answer any questions and discuss  available research positions or possibilities to become involved.

Have a question we haven't addressed?

Our contact info is at the bottom of the page. Do not hesitate to reach out and ask. We are friendly, we promise.

FAQs:
Faculty

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Can I bring a project to GDIL?

All faculty of The University of Texas at Austin are welcome to propose a project, whether it be new or already in progress. Please know that we can only take on a small number each year. We will soon have a portal where you can share your project information with us but, until then, please send us an e-mail at [email protected]

Are there costs associated with running a project at GDIL?

GDIL does not charge any fees for bringing a project to the Lab.

The Task Team Leader position is a paid position that we ask you to cover. Many projects are funded through grants or other funding already secured by the faculty member and TTL salary and tuition may be covered through that. TTL positions are typically paid as Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) which covers salary and tuition. Each college has their own rate, so please check with your college administration for details.

GDIL Student Researchers (GSRs) are not usually paid. GSRs commit themselves to the work so that they can gain valuable knowledge and skills that will help them in their careers, so we ask that you keep that in mind when working with them. However, some projects have the funding to offer those students hourly positions or stipends for their work. It is not required but a nice bonus for their hard work if the funding is available.

How do I recruit a TTL and GSRs?

If you already have a student you work with or know who would be a good candidate as your Task Team Leader (TTL), then you’re ahead of the game! Having a student who knows your research or topic area is invaluable! However, if not, we are here to help.

If your project is added to GDIL, we will work closely with you to advertise for both a qualified TTL, if needed, and GSRs who will make up your project team. Sometimes these students will come from your own college or department, but it is often helpful to have a few from other disciplines, as well. We will work closely with you to ascertain the right number of students needed and the skills that would be helpful. Please keep in mind that the students are also joining your team to learn and some may not have extensive knowledge of your topic or specialty, but everyone will bring something special to the table.

What will my team do?

Every team works differently, but there are a few set requirements that they all work around.

First, each team will have a dedicated channel on GDIL’s Slack account where students may message any time with questions or updates. It is a great way for everyone on the team to keep in touch!

Each team will decide a meeting schedule that works for their team members, either in person or virtually. Some teams meet weekly while others meet less often, so you and your TTL can discuss before meeting your GSRs for the first time. And you’re welcome to use GDIL’s small conference room in Belmont Hall for meetings!

All students are required to attend monthly All-Hands meetings. We ENCOURAGE faculty leads/mentors to attend as well, if able. It is a great chance to learn about what some of the other GDIL projects are doing and hear a fantastic guest speaker or two. The schedule will be posted on the website at the start of each semester.

And finally, along with the final deliverable that we know is the ultimate goal of every project, we encourage our students to publish regularly throughout each semester in a blog post, a published article, or other. Not only will it let others learn more about the projects, it is also an invaluable exercise for the students. All written work will be preapproved by the faculty lead/mentor.

Have a question we haven't addressed?

Do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or to schedule a meeting to discuss the possibility of bringing a project to GDIL! Just write to us at [email protected]

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