Summer 2014 Courses Telecom Should Offer

By Edo Steinberg


T506 Statistics for Telecommunications

Stop looking for stats courses all over campus! Now you can take this class, which will teach you how to perform ANOVAs, Chi-squared tests, and all the rest. Recommended for 71.7% of M.A. and Ph.D. students and 16.2% of M.S. students. Prerequisite: the ability to add and subtract.


T507 Social Networking Sites

Emotional, behavioral, and socio-economic issues in social media research. Prerequisite: friending the instructors on Facebook (and don’t you put them on “Limited Profile” mode – they’ll know! This is their area of expertise, after all).


T508 Songifying Communication Theory

Visiting Scholar Whirli Placebo will teach how to take your research out of journals and into YouTube videos. Prerequisite: talent or lack of self-awareness.


T513 Horror Film Production

Note: class will meet for one long session on Friday, June 13, 2014. Prerequisite: due to budget cuts, please bring your own cleaver.


T534 Excel Uses and Gratifications

Ryland Sherman will offer a special course on how to turn Excel into your lean, mean data analysis and visualization machine. Prerequisite: a basic understanding of what $A$1 means.


T578 Pornography Design and Production

We have sex researchers and media producers in the same department. Time to combine their talents. Class will meet in Room 169. Prerequisite: no giggling.


T600 Proseminar in Telecommunications Research

This special edition of T600, known as the Media Arts and Sciences Stage Frightened Speaker Series, is an opportunity for people to present their research to an empty room while everybody else is on summer vacation.


T666 Post-Apocalyptic Design and Production

Topics will include: how to film zombies from a safe distance, survival mechanisms, using carcasses as an energy source for production equipment, and how to edit out your own screams. This class is not the same as T513, a narrative fiction class where you make the horror. In T666, which is geared toward documentary filmmakers, the horror comes to you! Prerequisite: owning a gun and knowing how to use it.


The Many Emotions of Summer

By Mona Malacane

Summer is right around the corner! We are all looking forward to the bliss of sleeping in, not having to worry about grading/grades, not being shackled by deadlines, travelling to conferences, and getting some much needed Vitamin D. We all deserve – and should bask in – the R & R. Once you’re done with everything semester-related, you take those few days to unwind, relax, kick up your feet, and not think about work (<– all synonyms for day drinking).

Buuutttt let’s face it. We’re academics. We don’t really “take the summers off.” And when that numbed happiness starts to wear, these are the emotions that we will invariably experience.

After that last paper/exam/grading binge, you feel this:


And then this.

super excited

For 2-3 days after the semester is over …

not caring thing

And for about 3-7 days, life couldn’t be more relaxing.

watch tv

You shut down anyone who even tries to talk about work.

do not care

Maybe you go visit family or significant others, and they try and mimic your excitement for being done for the semester.


But they don’t really get it …

you dont get it

You do some traveling …


And then June rolls around and we don’t get paid …

on a budget

So you go anywhere there is free stuff.

free stuff

Early on, the avoidance of work looks like this …

start tomorrow

But then the knocking guilt of not working starts to get a lot harder to ignore. It sounds a little something like this…

take responsibility

So you start working half days and still enjoy yourself.

pretending to work

Even though you still don’t have that much monies.


And you start to feel a little lost without the structure of work …

who am i

Then you get that urge to just throw yourself back into work because you feel so terribly lazy and you are addicted to the instant gratification of being productive.


And you start counting the weeks (not the days because it’s still too far away) until school starts … time starts to move very slow.


Then you get the email from Tamera about orientation info. You know you missed her.

thank you

You feel rested and ready to get back into the grind, even looking forward to it.


But for now … but right now

Designing the Ideal Grad Lounge

By Josh Sites and Steve Myers


In our inaugural article, Steve Myers and I discuss what we think would be the ideal (and hopefully plausible) graduate student lab and lounge spaces. You’ll find the structure of our articles to be a bit unconventional: we brainstorm the whole thing together, but write sections separately. – Josh This gives us the chance to jump in and comment on each other’s sections.  So this right here is Steve and I’m interjecting.  This style keeps the individual thoughts of our constant discourse which, if you know us, is in all essence constant. – Steve Thanks for reading!

Let’s Actually Do Work in the Lab and Lounge in the Lounge

At present, it’s no secret that not a whole lot of actual work goes on in the grad lab (with the exception of the game design class; +3 constitution to them).  Many of us enter that space with lofty goals of efficiency and achievement.  For me, this only actually happens when the place is empty. I wish I had that discipline. If it’s empty, I just end up doodling on the whiteboard.

With the merger upon us, there may be an opportunity to influence the design of our space in Franklin Hall.  These are our thoughts on how the lounge should be.

The Grad Lounge: It’s Colonel Mustard with the Candlestick

When I think lounge, I think Clue; windows, couches, nooks and crannies.  I think of my Grandmother’s sitting room, a space designed to entertain and communicate. The frame of reference in my mind when envisioning the space was Mother Bears. I love the angular, wooden tables and benches. It’s simple and inviting. It feels apart from the rest of reality, because it’s visually distinct.

The lounge should be a space where we want to go and spend time.  It should be a safe haven for grads to relax and socialize. When I talk to Ted Jamison-Koenig about heavy metal or to Niki Fritz about Wisconsinites, I want to be able to face them and not have to yell across the room over all the diligent people. It really is hard to doodle on the whiteboard with all that commotion. 

Bare minimum, the space needs couches and/or armchairs that face one another.  And I think it would only make sense to have a TV or projector setup that students can plug their laptops into to show projects, or honestly even just veg out a bit.  There should be power outlets everywhere. Let me echo this: EVERYWHERE.

A dinner table, conference table or restaurant booth would also be one of the spaces for a group.  Next to this would be a coffee (tea) station.  With a small sink, we could keep a collection of community mugs for different people to handwash and use quickly without having to exit the lounge. Which would double the indignation when someone doesn’t wash their mug.

These are our thoughts.  What are yours?

For the full version of this post, click here.

Sine Qua Nonsense

To the Next Telecom Blogger

When presidents and vice presidents leave office, they write a letter to their successors with words of advice. As I prepare for the end of my term at the Telecom blog, I feel compelled to write a public letter to whoever will replace me on the team. I am, after all, a wise man whose every word is sought by all, or at the very least by me.

The most important part of the blog experience is Monday morning team meetings. There is assigned seating. Never, ever try to sit in Harmeet’s chair. I tried that once and Harmeet did not appreciate it, especially since he was still sitting there. Mona will sit on the left. Tamera, who has recently joined the team, will sit on the right. You will sit in the middle, swinging your head around frantically to ensure all three of your colleagues get adequate eyeball time. If you feel you cannot do this, concentrate on Harmeet and Tamera. Mona cannot derail your graduate career.

To make Harmeet happy, come up with creative ideas, or ideas about creativity, or creative ideas about creativity. Bring in stories that show the social fabric of the department – its texture, if you will. Make the department look good. Do not mention the time graduate students challenged each other to a duel with Civil War muskets. “I never heard of graduate students challenging each other to a duel with Civil War muskets,” you say? Good, you got it.

Never use gifs. That is Mona’s thing. If you use a gif, you will be a copycat. Mona does not like copycats. She is a dog person. Always ask about her dog Harry before you ask her for favors.

Keep your posts reasonably short. If you don’t, only your mother and Harmeet will read them. Even the person who is the subject of the post will quit half way through, saying “I know where this is going anyway.” This is why you should always put your misquotes and character assassinations at the end of long posts.

When interviewing people, they will almost always tell you something along the lines of “this must be too boring for the blog.” Usually, this is just them being insecure and it will come out interesting. Sometimes, it will indeed be a dud. In either case, always say “no, this will be great!” I have learned that screaming “you are a terrible interviewee” at people only makes them cry harder, though it makes for a terrific gif.

I will continue to write Sine Qua Nonsense once a month, so you’ll also need to know how to deal with me. Just stroke my ego and you should be fine.

Welcome to the blog team, whoever you may be!


David’s Retirement

By Tamera Theodore

The moment I learned of Professor David Waterman’s plan to retire effective July 1, I heard a muffled yet distinct “thud.” It was the sound of my own despair. My mind raced to all the things I’d miss: David’s kindheartedness and thoughtfulness, his warm smile and humor (sometimes in charmingly self-deprecating ways), his very audible battles with the photocopier (complete with door slamming and expletives), and more than anything, the care with which he treats others and cultivates relationships with colleagues, students and staff.

But this momentous event wasn’t about me, it was about David. So in hopes of soothing my sadness by finding a way to embrace David’s decision to retire, I asked him if he’d entertain a few questions. Here are his thoughts in his own words.

David's Beard (2002)

David’s Beard (2002)

How is the David Waterman who joined Telecommunications in 1993 different from the David Waterman who is heading into retirement? How has your work impacted that change?

My hair has gone from blonde to gray-blonde (Sharon says only I can still see the blonde), and I shaved off my beard about 10 years ago. More seriously, I still have the same intense interests in the economics of media and information that I began with in graduate school.  The media world has changed incredibly, of course. I have admittedly changed more slowly, but I hope I have made up for that with some wisdom.  I wrote 2 books in the 21 years I have been at IU that contain a lot of what I have ever learned. But they both contributed greatly to the graying of my hair.
What was a defining moment of your career as a scholar?

I would say the turning point was when I got a research assistance job in graduate school to work for a professor proposing to study the economics of the media, a topic barely heard of at the time.
You’ll teach a graduate course in the Fall and continue to serve on grad student committees. What other work will you continue with into retirement?

For the near future at least, my research agenda about the online video industry and its regulation occupies me. Ryland Sherman, Yongwoog Jeon, and I are writing a paper on this topic for an FCC conference at the end of May.  It’s a fascinating, though dauntingly technical and complex subject to me, but at least in the past, my fascination has kept my head above water.

Do you have any words for those who will carry the torch into the Media School era?

I don’t think our faculty needs any advice. I have a great ambivalence about not participating in this myself. But I concluded that I would not be able to fully participate far enough into the transition to really have a meaningful influence on it. I am very optimistic that this is going to work out well for our department and students. I think that the research, production, teaching, and people skills in our department will carry the day.
What does retirement mean to you? 

Well, I never liked the word, because I don’t want to sit on a bench in a park, and don’t have any grandchildren to play with yet.  To me it will be a slow transition from my academic life to one of physical labor and strengthening my bonds with the land, plants, and animals. To me that’s an alluring and powerful force in my life.  I’m still able to do that and I’m not going to let that time pass.
What are you most excited about for your retirement? What do you most look forward to?waterman 2014

Digging, farming, getting bees, chickens and a dog, and connecting more with my Quaker group.  As for the academic part, I look forward to a delicious balance. Working hard on my research, but not too hard, and not worrying so much of the time about how I can possibly get it all done in time, still finish my absurdly elaborate class preparations, be evaluated by a committee, and all that.
Do you have any specific plans for how you’ll spend your time? Any special projects or adventures planned?

For one, I’m going to renovate our house, which would take even someone who knows what they are doing a year of work.  I’m also going to expand my garden, hopefully back into my neighbor’s property, and make friends with my bees and chickens. And not least, I plan to do some socially helpful things, helping people in real need.
What will you miss most? What will be the hardest thing to let go of?

That’s easy. I will miss being an integral part of our faculty and graduate student group.  It is truly amazing to me that I could be in a place with people that I like so much and who all seem to put up with me with tolerance and good humor.  At heart, I’m a real nerd, subject to hysteria and unsuited to corporate culture.  I’m also really going to dislike moving out of my office. I’m hoping to make a deal with Walt, but it doesn’t look promising.

On your impending retirement, you were overheard saying that “it’s like turning in your musical instruments.” Can you say more about what this means to you?

I think I said that on a day that I was trying to talk myself out of the whole thing.  That is the toughest way for me to envision my transition, since I want to play on. I think I’ve learned to play a few really good songs.  I won’t be able to do that forever, but I’m not turning in my fiddle yet.

That’s Ms. Professor Doctor Ma’am To You

By Niki Fritz

There is a little notice in the liquor section of the CVS on College that states if you appear to be under 25 you need to provide two forms of ID in order to purchase your natty ice…. or Barefoot Cab in my case. I chuckled a little when I saw this warning, remembering fondly my days of undergrad at UW-Madison when 25 seemed like the mythical age of “grown-ups,” and I could never imagine not getting carded, not to mention ever being called ma’am.

And yet here I stand, two feet back in college, solidly planted in “adulthood,” well past 25 and yes, now routinely getting called ma’am by everyone from bag boys to waitresses to my overly polite students. I’ve got to admit, it kind of bugs me.

It is not that I mind being a grown up. I actually quite enjoy my decreased car insurance rates and the fact that I will never ever drink Fleichman’s ever again. I just can’t get used to the quasi-southern use of ma’am to refer to any woman over the age of 25 in Indiana. Maybe because I can’t quite wrap my mind around what ma’am means. Is it a respect thing? Or is it an automatic response thing? Or is there this mythical line in the sand in Indiana, where a girl suddenly becomes a ma’am? Is this thing quantifiable? I know I shouldn’t take offense to it but, because I don’t understand what it means, and because ma’am is definitely not something we routinely use in Wisconsin, I just can’t help but feel a twinge of old every time a checkout boy asks me “Do you have your Kroger card ma’am?”

Not even that ma’am is the oddest thing I’ve had to get used to being called since moving to Bloomington. I’m only 2 semesters in to my master’s and I already get the awkwardly titled “Dear Dr. Fritz” emails. Occasionally these emails give me a twinge of excitement for a day when that may be a proper email greeting. But usually it just reminds me how not much I’m not Dr. Fritz.

Of course in addition to Dr. Fritz, I’ve quickly gotten used to my students in T101 calling me professor, even though it is a heavy and inaccurate title that makes me feel like I’m somehow tricking my students every time they make this guffaw. I often get emails from my students directed to Professor Fritz; although my favorite emails are the ones addressed to Professor Niki, like my students can’t decide to be casual or formal, whether they are on a title or first name basis with me.

To be honest, I empathize with my students’ confusion. Grad school is a limbo of sort, a beautiful, carpel-tunnel-creating, brain-expanding, exhausting, confusing limbo. I often find myself confused about whether I should be formal or informal, Ms. Fritz or Niki, girl or ma’am, student or teacher. This confusion is also why most days you will find me wearing leggings with a blazer, caught in between undergrad and academia, not yet sure if ma’am is a compliment or not.

When I got to the register at CVS with my $5 bottle of wine, the checkout woman smiled in that cheery genuine Indiana way and said “Hello darling. Can I see two forms of ID?” Two forms of ID?! Two Forms?! “Bless her heart,” I thought, my mind turning giddy. “This woman may actually think I’m under 25!” To be fair, I had just come from the gym and she may have mistaken my sweat for a “youthful glow,” but still I was ecstatic, probably overexcited for a mere 3 year underestimate.

Still I proudly produced two forms of ID. She looked them over, smiled and said “Thank you ma’am” as she handed back my IDs. I sighed in defeat. I guess I’ll just have to get used my new titles in limbo.

Final Brown Bag of the Semester – April 25, 2014

Tamara Kharroub, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University

Gender and social identity in transnational Arab Television

SUMMARY: In this talk I will present a series of studies and preliminary results from my Ph.D. dissertation, exploring the role of social identity and identification with media characters in the process of effects of gender media stereotypes. Given the transnational nature of the Arabic-language television industry and the great diversity between viewers in Arabic-speaking countries, the studies explore the media content in different Arab countries, the extent to which cultural and national identity in the Arab world influences selective exposure, identification with characters, self-categorization, and the effects of content on the viewers’ attitudes and beliefs particularly conceptions about sex-role ideology.


Paul Wright’s acknowledgements on the occasion of the last brown bag of the year:

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