Data Visualization to Inspire and Inform
Sept. 28: Alberto Cairo (Knight Chair in Visual Journalism)
In this presentation, Alberto Cairo will present some of his recent collaborations with companies like Google and Microsoft, and his Visual Trumpery lecture tour in the Fall of 2017 and the Spring of 2018, which presents graphicacy ("graphical literacy") to the public at large. He'll also explain how all these projects embody the principles of effective data visualization that he teaches in his classes and has written about in his books.
How to Teach Big Data Use to Journalism and Mass Communication Students: A Qualitative Analysis
Oct. 5: Michel Dupagne (Professor, Journalism and Media Management)
Notwithstanding a myriad of challenges that still need to be addressed in the years to come, there is little doubt that big data are poised to influence major sectors of the economy, including health care, transportation, retail, and even the media industries. Big data, also known as data science or mining, are here to stay in one form or another. Some media researchers have begun to evaluate and take advantage of key characteristics of big data, primarily volume, velocity, variety, and value, to generate innovative designs and new insights into phenomena that were not possible a few years ago. But left out of these stimulating developments in our academic discipline is the pedagogical element. Specifically, do college instructors in mass media schools and programs need or have the responsibility to teach the use of big data as an integrated part of existing courses or in new courses to students who may have little knowledge of database management, statistics, and computer programming? If so, what would be the desirable parameters that the instructors should consider to facilitate and maximize the learning experience of this complex subject matter? Based on a series of in-depth interviews with big data course instructors in journalism and mass communications, we will explore emergent themes related to three key areas of interest: (1) relevance of big data for media students; (2) course content that covers big data effectively; and (3) challenges faced by instructors who teach big data in the classroom. The paper will conclude with suggestions for mass media instructors to construct partial and complete big data courses.
Watch for motorcycles! The effects of texting and handheld bans on motorcyclist fatalities
Oct. 12: Michael French (Professor, Sociology)
Objectives: To determine whether state-specific texting and handheld bans have a significant impact on motorcyclist fatalities in the US. Methods: Longitudinal multivariate analysis of state-specific traffic fatality data (2005-2015) from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) merged with state-specific characteristics, texting and handheld device laws, and other traffic policies. Results: States with moderate and strong texting and handheld bans have significantly lower motorcyclist fatality rates even after controlling for numerous other factors and state fixed-effects. Moreover, this result is driven mainly by multiple-vehicle motorcycle crashes as opposed to single-vehicle crashes. Conclusions: Although research is mixed on the effectiveness of texting and handheld device policies for overall traffic fatalities, our research indicates that motorcyclists may be at elevated risk of distracted driving and thus benefit greatly from these policies. Policy Implications: Motorcyclists account for a much higher proportion of total traffic fatalities relative to the share of motorcycles among all vehicles and vehicle miles driven in the US. Our findings suggest state legislatures should consider strengthening texting and handheld bans along with their enforcement to improve safety and save lives, especially among motorcyclists.
Film and Television History: Writing from the Margins
Oct. 19: Christina Lane (Associate Professor, Cinema and Interactive Media)
The past several decades have seen a surge in exciting film research that considers perspectives and practices long excluded from traditional history. For example, the contributions of women, people of color, and gays and lesbians have often been obscured or marginalized in grand “master narratives” of classical Hollywood or big broadcast. As the historical landscape expands to reveal a vast array of contributors and many different forms of cultural participation, a number of methodological and theoretical concerns and questions arise, such as how to locate and make use of sources and evidence that were previously unconsidered or unavailable, or how to theorize the authorial role of someone who does not fit into an ordinary industry category. This presentation will consider these historiographic concerns and questions in light of several of my recent projects, all of which strive to write a revisionist history of women’s involvement in film and television “from the margins.”
Persuasive Play, Social Impact and Games as Engagement Strategy
Oct. 26: Lindsay Grace (Visiting Knight Chair)
In a world that is constantly vying for our attention, games offer an opportunity to not only entertain, but engage. Providing an overview of his work in the last four years, Professor Grace shares recent projects that aim to change people’s interests, activities and opinions. These include individual games, game exhibits, playful interactions and game based assessments. Learn about successful projects he and his team completed for the World Bank, Education Testing Services (ETS), the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Polygon/Vox Storytelling Studio, WAMU, and others. He will share some lessons learned in the design of playful engagements, how change is supported through game design, and what the future holds for the use of games in non-game contexts.
An Alternative to Existing Health Intervention Tools? Design and Evaluation of a Serious Digital Health Game to Discourage Indoor Tanning Among Young Adults
Nov. 2: Soyoon Kim (Assistant Professor, Communication Studies)
Research concerning the distribution of health information—whether persuasive intervention messages or factual health knowledge—has become an important branch of communication research, largely because of the wealth of communication channels currently available. This environment poses important questions, such as whether the rise of new communication platforms (e.g., interactive digital media), which ostensibly allow more user control and entertaining experiences, amplify health communication effects. One important alternative approach to existing health-intervention tools is the use of serious digital games, designed to promote psychological, behavioral, and clinical health by integrating educational goals with the entertaining nature of gameplay. In this presentation, Dr. Kim will report some important findings from her project with other SoC faculty members, which was developed to examine the feasibility of implementing a serious digital health game (Dreamy) to intervene in indoor tanning use among young adults.
Hollywood’s Dirtiest Secret: the Environmental Costs of Our Screen Culture
Nov. 16: Hunter Vaughan (Associate Professor, Cinema Studies, Oakland University)
In this talk, Dr. Vaughan will present an overview of his upcoming book, Hollywood’s Dirtiest Secret (Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2018), an alternative, environmental history of popular American film culture. Using case studies from classical Hollywood to contemporary digital media, Dr. Vaughan addresses the increasingly crucial intersection between screen culture and the environment. At a time of increased social anxiety regarding climate change and other natural crises, this talk will explore how we collectively and individually use screens to mediate our experience of the natural world, from the messaging power of environmental representation to the material environmental impact of 21st-century smart technologies.