Ruth Shillair Ph.D.

Ruth Shillair

Assistant Professor, Graduate Studies Director, Department of Media + Information

  • Media & Information
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I am an educator, researcher, writer, and entrepreneur. I enjoy engaging with MSU students, especially those that have a passion for learning in the dynamic realm of media and information studies. My background includes an undergraduate degree with a double major of management and information systems management. My master’s degree was in telecommunication and information systems policy. My Ph.D. studies focused on the human dimension of cybersecurity, which is a challenging area that is crucial to improving overall cybersecurity. In order to work towards this goal, I work collaboratively with scholars across disciplines on several projects. This has led to joint research projects with the Quello Center and the Oxford University’s Global Cybersecurity Capacity Centre. My research and publications also explore the impacts of the digital divide and digital literacies in access, security, and social marginalization.


Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Media & Information Studies

Editorial Assistant to the Annals of the International Communications Association

Research Consultant to Oxford University’s Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre

Research and Teaching

My research and teaching explore the impacts of technology on how we communicate, do business, and learn. I’ve worked on several projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Health (NIH), and international organizations. My current classes include both undergraduate classes (e.g., MI 452 Media Entrepreneurship, MI 462 Social Computing, MI 472 Digital Business) as well as graduate classes (MI 850 Media & Information Policy and MI 861 Media and Information Technologies in Organizations). 

Selected publications

Shillair, R., Cotten, S. R., Tsai, H. S., Alhabash, S., Larose, R., & Rifon, N. J. (2015). Online Safety Begins with You and Me : Convincing Internet Users to Protect Themselves. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 199–207.

Shillair, R. and Wash R. Are You Listening: Social Roles and the Perceived Value of Statements in Online Learning Communities. Proceedings of the ACM 4th Annual Learning @ Scale Conference, March 14-14, 2015, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Tsai, H. S., Shillair, R., Cotten, S. R., Winstead, V., & Yost, E. (2015). Getting Grandma Online: Are Tablets the Answer for Increasing Digital Inclusion for Older Adults in the U.S.? Educational Gerontology, (June), 150527100153004.

Tsai, H.S., Shillair, R. and Cotten, S. R. Social support and ‘playing around’: An examination of how older adults acquire digital literacy with tablet computers. Journal of Applied Gerontology, October 21, 2015 0733464815609440

Shillair, R. (2016). Talking about Online Safety: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Cybersecurity Learning Process of Online Labor Market Workers.  SIGDOC Conference’16, September 21–23, 2016, Arlington, VA, USA

Selected book chapters

Creese, S., Shillair, R., Roberts, T., Bada, M. and Dutton, W. Building the Cyber Security Capacity of Nations. (Chapter 9) Society and the Internet: How Networks of Information and Communication are Changing Our Lives. Revised 2nd Edition. Ed. Mark Graham & William H. Dutton. Oxford University Press. (Forthcoming 2019).

LaRose, R., Alhabash, S., Jiang, M.T., Shillair, R., Tsai, H., Cotten, S. R. & Rifon, N. Communicating Online Safety: Protecting Our Good Life on the Net. In Wang, Hua (Ed.), Communication and the Good Life. (2015). New York: International Communication Association 

Contact Information
404 Wilson Road, Room 404
Communication Arts & Sciences Building
Michigan State University