Monthly Archives: April 2010

Poster Presentation at UWS: Part 1

Over the weekend you might have heard me tweeting constantly about creating a poster for University. Unfortunately this poster was not made from coloured card, highlighters and glitter glue (media studies yey!), it was for the upcoming postgraduate event at my university (University of the West of Scotland) where I will be presenting next week.

A few people have asked me about it in real life – as well as taking advice from my colleague Ana (who wrote her own reflections from her poster presentation in 2008 and a more recent resource a few days ago). I used the University of Leicester poster presentation guide (prepared by Stuart Johnston in SSDS) as a guide and starting point for the project. It is an excellent (and open) resource for anyone who hasn’t got the first idea where to begin at presenting their research on a poster (me then..)

As I have not presented yet, I have decided to split this post into a two-parter; firstly reflecting on the poster creation and then concluding with reflections from the event itself.

I have attend two poster events previously – one when I worked in alumni department at the University of Leicester, where the alumnus sponsored a prize at the festival of postgraduate research – and secondly as part of a greater event on interdisciplinary practise at Loughborough University. This is the first time I have presented as a delegate.

The idea of a poster presentation session (at least in a PG context) is to allow for the students at the University to present their work in an environment outside of their usual environment and to be exposed to the practise of communicating their work to a wider, generalised audience- they tend to be formed across campuses and departments, and the audience who participate tend to be coming from a non-specialised background. The poster needs to be eye catching enough to attract the attention of the people walking past – and it should be clear enough to read at a distance – so no clutter, dodgy fonts, etc. (Same rules are powerpoint presentations.)

The poster I am presenting is centred around my fieldwork in Vancouver – although I have attached the poster to  this entry, I will try and use any discussion time to clarify concepts around emerging/converging media/communication platforms, talk about preliminary experiences and observations and generally focus on the Olympic lens of the research project. I have made an active decision to avoid talking about technology or social media as a forefront focus as it tends to provoke one of two reactions:

1) “That internet is not for me..” (Switches off)
2) “You’re not doing the Internet properly..” (proceeds to tell others about how they use the web)

Certainly these discussions are worth having (perhaps) – but from experience, they tend to cloud and distort the rest of the project before getting to the meatier part of the research context. Furthermore, as it is general audience, I don’t want to spend too much time discussing technology (unless it is in the pub afterwards) Lastly, I’m in the process of articulating ideas around technology, morality and demotic behaviour – and I’m not quite ready for articulating that area just yet.

By cutting out the focus on technology altogether, I hope to be able to talk about elements of the Olympic media framework which is not purely sport, or part of the international spectacle – instead thinking about how the forthcoming games will effect our own lives and what others might expect to encounter during the run up to London 2012. It is through this context I will attempt to frame discussions relating to changing media landscape, rather than the other way around. I hope they find the information about alternative Olympic messages as fascinating as I did when I found out about them.

That’s the plan anyway – I will update in a week’s time to reflect on the presentation aftermath. I hope that it might be a useful resource to future PhDs, like Ana’s and Stuart’s were to me.

 

Posted via web from Jennifer Jones’s Posterous

Poster Presentation at UWS: Part 1

Over the weekend you might have heard me tweeting constantly about creating a poster for University. Unfortunately this poster was not made from coloured card, highlighters and glitter glue (media studies yey!), it was for the upcoming postgraduate event at my university (University of the West of Scotland) where I will be presenting next week.

A few people have asked me about it in real life – as well as taking advice from my colleague Ana (who wrote her own reflections from her poster presentation in 2008 and a more recent resource a few days ago). I used the University of Leicester poster presentation guide (prepared by Stuart Johnston in SSDS) as a guide and starting point for the project. It is an excellent (and open) resource for anyone who hasn’t got the first idea where to begin at presenting their research on a poster (me then..)

As I have not presented yet, I have decided to split this post into a two-parter; firstly reflecting on the poster creation and then concluding with reflections from the event itself.

I have attend two poster events previously – one when I worked in alumni department at the University of Leicester, where the alumnus sponsored a prize at the festival of postgraduate research – and secondly as part of a greater event on interdisciplinary practise at Loughborough University. This is the first time I have presented as a delegate.

The idea of a poster presentation session (at least in a PG context) is to allow for the students at the University to present their work in an environment outside of their usual environment and to be exposed to the practise of communicating their work to a wider, generalised audience- they tend to be formed across campuses and departments, and the audience who participate tend to be coming from a non-specialised background. The poster needs to be eye catching enough to attract the attention of the people walking past – and it should be clear enough to read at a distance – so no clutter, dodgy fonts, etc. (Same rules are powerpoint presentations.)

2010.04.25PosterPresentationOlympicFINAL.pdf
Download this file

The poster I am presenting is centred around my fieldwork in Vancouver – although I have attached the poster to  this entry, I will try and use any discussion time to clarify concepts around emerging/converging media/communication platforms, talk about preliminary experiences and observations and generally focus on the Olympic lens of the research project. I have made an active decision to avoid talking about technology or social media as a forefront focus as it tends to provoke one of two reactions:

1) “That internet is not for me..” (Switches off)
2) “You’re not doing the Internet properly..” (proceeds to tell others about how they use the web)

Certainly these discussions are worth having (perhaps) – but from experience, they tend to cloud and distort the rest of the project before getting to the meatier part of the research context. Furthermore, as it is general audience, I don’t want to spend too much time discussing technology (unless it is in the pub afterwards) Lastly, I’m in the process of articulating ideas around technology, morality and demotic behaviour – and I’m not quite ready for articulating that area just yet.

By cutting out the focus on technology altogether, I hope to be able to talk about elements of the Olympic media framework which is not purely sport, or part of the international spectacle – instead thinking about how the forthcoming games will effect our own lives and what others might expect to encounter during the run up to London 2012. It is through this context I will attempt to frame discussions relating to changing media landscape, rather than the other way around. I hope they find the information about alternative Olympic messages as fascinating as I did when I found out about them.

That’s the plan anyway – I will update in a week’s time to reflect on the presentation aftermath. I hope that it might be a useful resource to future PhDs, like Ana’s and Stuart’s were to me.

 

Teaching timelines with timelines #smcedu

Screen_shot_2010-04-19_at_21

For context, I teach once a week at Birmingham City University (first year’s Media Theory, specifically New Media and Photography) Having the term begin whilst I was in Vancouver proved a bit of challenge (kindly Dave Harte took over the class whilst I was away) but essentially I wanted to be meta and use new media to teach new media. Up until now, I’ve not had the chance to do that (unless you call the VLE Moodle new media) as I’ve been firehosing my schedule since I’ve been away. After speaking with the class, all of which seemed to be craving something a bit different, I went away to think about ways to break the monotony of me speaking, them yawning (the class does run on until 5.30pm!). Plus, the easter holidays have allowed me to catch up with myself and think about ways in which to experiment with social media tools in the classroom.

This week’s class was on Historiography -  a method which is used to assess and display history, to which they’ll be observing in the context of media texts. With much to-ing and fro-ing I managed to swap my classroom for a computer lab – and instead of purely reflecting (reading out from a bit of paper) on their directed study tasks (homework given after the lecture), I decided to let them use the two and a half workshop time to design, carry out and display a mini research project on their own (or in a group if they wished).

The first part of the session (30 minutes) was dedicated to creating a historiography based on their own personal experiences on the web (adapted from an idea that Jon Hickman discussed with me way back in September) The task asks them to think about their key moments of using the Internet, such as favourite websites, tools to access (mobile, laptop, wifi) and memories that were siginificant (could be things like being embarassed on facebook or discovering how to work a new website). They were to use the computers to find media content (images, videos etc) to illustrate this history and to save it as a list. (This represents history as memory)

This second session paired up with the first graph, asking them to work as a group to chart (what they felt was) the history of the Internet from the last 20 years, where they were to gather examples from realiable sources (justifying the realiability) to try and provide an extensive history of the web, using archive or media texts.

The part where web 2.0/social media tools comes in was via the timeline software, Timetoast. I used Ana ADI‘s wonderful resource on timeline software to pick out timetoast as a quick and easy way to display data gathered online. There are others (such are dipity, viewzi and lifeblob) but I just wanted to use something simple, with little distractions from the task.

Screen_shot_2010-04-19_at_21

Where as some timeline websites allow you to set up RSS feeds which aggregate content from other websites such as twitter, flickr and youtube (there is a time and a place for data agregation and archiving), Timetoast keeps it simple by letting you manually set up entries to your own requirements – adding a photo or video to illustrate each time entry. Importantly, it is embeddable and rss-able – so that the group time lines can be displayed on class blogs and subscribed to for updates. 

The final section involved the groups layering their personal timelines (3-4 per group) over the top of the “official” history of the Internet, in order to see the comparisons of different user experiences and interpretations of the task. Something I am keen to explore through my own research is the idea of morals and online spaces – where some internet debate centres on the ways in which we believe is a “right” way of using a particular tool or technology – it is hoped that getting the students to explore and think critically about their own internet usage, in order to compare with others, they can see the many different (and similar) screens that we may share as a class.

 

Shared Link: Gephi, graph exploration and manipulation software

Media_httpgephiorgwpc_qhhfh

I was shown this software by Alan Cann earlier this evening. Will blog about it more once I’ve had the chance to play with some data – but as I’m working towards a poster presentation at UWS in May (and been accepted for a paper presentation at the MeCCSA postgraduate conference in June) – both about media networks and the Vancouver Games, I figured this may be the shiniest (and most stable) network analysis software I’ve seen recently. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I won’t have to manually code my networks this time around. Here’s hoping!

Best. Footnote. Ever.

Best footnote ever:
 
“Indeed, in one case, an academic blogger in Australia made a extraordinary argument, within highly defensive review of a book critical of the claims of “digital democracy”, which implied that the Web is so dynamic, and research materials are so “static”, at there is virtually no point in subjecting the Web to academic research!”

I can tell I am going to enjoy reading Graham Turner’s “Ordinary People and the Media: the Demotic Turn” – been bored to tears with academic jargon fluff and with over enthused cyber fetishism. Been hanging around the classic media theory to try gain a bit of perspective, something that can’t seem to get from “social media” – not unless the chat goes private or is taken offline.

Also, that reminds me:

“The focus on micro-events of insignificance that are puffed into a historical revelation of biblical importance. Bookshelves are filled with tipping points and wisdom of crowds. Chris Anderson’s Long Tail captures an argument so simple it can be conveyed through the title. He investigated Amazon, eBay and online music retailers to show how “endless choice” is creating ‘unlimited demand’. He argues that the focus on best-sellers is misguided and the internet changed ‘everything’. Technological determinism is fused with neoliberalism, where the market promises endless growth and choice.” (Brabazon, 2008: 16)
 
Liked that quote too.

Shared Link: Academic software for research papers | Mendeley

Media_httpwwwmendeley_husad

I know I said that Zotero is the one for me (and in a way it still is) but this Easter weekend I’ve been getting involved with Mendeley, a piece of academic referencing software with a twist.

It does all the things I wished Refworks and Endnote did (which I’d have to acquire illegally to play with) – when you upload a .pdf, it stripes the meta data from the paper and fills in the blanks. It also allows you to bulk rename and move files, so that all your files can be called something sensible like name.year.title.pdf (these things matter after 6 months +) – it’s just nice and sensible for the user who doesn’t want to spend their time filling in forms and shouting at their file management system.

It also has the social thing where you can share collections with other users (handy if I need to send a list of things I’ve been reading to my supervisor) – Zotero was moving towards that, but it was currently sitting at either ALL PUBLIC (Don’t want to live my PhD in public) or ALL PRIVATE (Don’t want to isolate myself and not have access to valuable networks which are build through sharing knowledge and data) – at the moment, as a young researcher, I’ll be using it mainly offline – but it’s pretty cool that the opinion to collate and share is there.

Importantly, it also imports Zotero in the background – so I can still continue to use it when I’m in Birmingham or using my Linux netbook. It’s actually quite nice not working out of a browser when I am at home. I hope I stick with this one – mucking around with referencing software is procrastination 0.5.