The NeuroStandards Collaboration, Jack’s Final Projects, Bing’s Exams, and Brown Bag Presentation

Annie, Rob and the NeuroStandards Collaboration

As psychophysiological methods are increasingly employed in media, marketing and advertising research, advertisers and media producers face difficulties deciding which approach is best.  Recently, two professors in our department, Professors Annie Lang and Rob Potter,  were invited to participate in a team effort to validate the current methods and measures in use.  They are currently involved in the NeuroStandards Collaboration, which features an expert review panel, assisted by a team of expert reviewers, whose goal is to review the research, examine the science and report the findings.

Annie is currently acting as a member of the expert review panel, which is composed of neuroscientists and psychophysiologists.  She explained that in the past, the application of psychophysiological methods was an expensive endeavor.  “When I first started in the field, using these measures was a big investment.  You needed a team, equipment and the ability to both implement and maintain it.”  As the process became more affordable, new companies sprung up, began utilizing these methods and selling the results to advertisers.

Currently, there is a general lack of understanding as to what the results actually mean.  In response, the Advertising Research Foundation is attempting to validate these measures through the NeuroStandards Collaboration.  Ultimately, media, marketing, and advertising researchers need more and better information to evaluate the opportunities that these new methods offer.  Annie met for several days with the companies involved.  Now, she is working with other members of the collaboration to issue a report intended to aid the advertisers.

During his sabbatical last year, Rob traveled to Perth, Australia to conduct research with the Interactive Television Institute (ITRI).  It was the Institute’s director, Duane Varan, who first introduced him to the Advertising Research Foundation.  For the collaboration, Rob acted as one of the expert reviewers that evaluated the methods, design and conclusions of one of the participating organizations.  His goal was to analyze the industry data from an academic point of view.  “I was happy to be a part of it.  Not only does this process help with my teaching, I also try to use these methods in an appropriate way.  While I think results are worth paying for, methods should be transparent.”

To find out more, click here: NeuroStandards Collaboration

Note: Additional information courtesy of the Advertising Research Foundation.

Jack Chang Completes Exams, Finishes Projects

In the final weeks before winter break, MS student Jack Chang completed and defended his oral exams and has, as a final project, created an online portfolio of work he did at IU.  Jack thoroughly enjoyed preparing for the exams. His committee (Andrew Bucksbarg, chair, Thom Gillespie, and Norbert Herber) challenged him by asking him to read new materials related to the game design industry. “Some of the questions gave real world scenarios and asked me to implement them in my answers,” Jack explains, also adding that a lot was learned in the process.

Jack with his committee (from left)--Thom Gillespie, Andrew Bucksbarg (chair) and Norbert Herber.

Jack completed his exams in 8 straight hours, carefully planning what food he was going to bring into the room with him. “It was one of the most creative and productive times of my life,” he recalls. “When it was over, I realized what an interesting experience it was to just focus on one single thing for so long.” The experience, he says, was also valuable because the people reading the answers, his committee, were bound to give useful and constructive feedback.

In addition to the exams, Jack has also completed his online showcase of the games he has created in his time here. The games vary from a sound-based WiiMote project to a big game that required a team of collaborators to complete. “My committee encouraged me to go big, so I got a team together,” Jack explains. For the big project, Jack and his team worked with deadlines for conferences and competitions, eventually winning awards for their work. “It’s not a perfect game, but to me it was a perfect project because we did it ourselves,” Jack says.

Currently Jack is looking for a full-time position in industries such as game, web, and interactive design. He hopes to gain a few years of industry experience before returning to academia to teach others about game design. To view Jack’s games and learn more about the work involved in his final project, check out his website here.

Bing Wang Passes Comprehensive Exams

Last week MS student Bing Wang completed her written exams and oral defense, and she shared her experiences with us this week. Currently living in New York City, Bing flew back to Bloomington and spent her week and a half visit reuniting with friends, taking her exams, and taking photos of the Midwestern winter. Bing planned out her week to provide a good mix of both work and play. “After the written exam, I rested for two days meeting with my old friends at IU, and then I started to prepare for my oral defense which would ask me to extend or correct my answers on the written part,” Bing says.

MS student Bing Wang with her committee (from left): Bryant Paul, David Waterman, chair, and Robert Affe.

To prepare for the exam, Bing devoted a month to reviewing the content from each of her 9 courses, spending extra time on areas of interest such as media economics, international economics, and trade policies. “I didn’t have a good rest before taking the written exams,” Bing explains, “but I felt I did pretty well overall.” Bing adds that, because of the break between the written exams and the defense, she was less stressed to defend her answers before her committee (David Waterman, chair, Bryant Paul, and Robert Affe).

For now, Bing is resuming the job hunt in NYC and relaxing a little bit to celebrate a successful defense. “I finally got the big task done,” she says. “It was great to officially graduate and get my MS degree from such a memorable place.” Bing is keeping her future open for now, perhaps returning to school eventually. “No matter what I am going to choose, the only purpose is to increase my value and competition, and of course, to have a happy life,” she says.

Brown Bag Presentation

Professor Annie Lang was the featured presenter at this week’s T600.

Designing Effective Learner Center Courses: Conversion of a Skeptic or  What I Learned During my Summer Vacation that I Wish I’d Learned 20 Years Ago.

Abstract: This talk will translate threatening buzz words like “learner centered” and “assessment” into useful concepts that are not about evaluating teaching based on how much your students’ learn. I will describe my personal journey from skeptic to convert as I developed a new class and revamped everyone’s old favorite – 501. During the talk I will share a variety of techniques and approaches to course development that I learned last summer which have, for me, changed course development from a magical mystery tour into a guided missile. Or something.

You can listen to the full audio here:


Nicky Lewis: The NeuroStandards Collaboration, Brown Bag

Katie Birge: Jack’s Final Projects, Bing’s Exams, Brown Bag

Special Thanks:

Jack Chang: Photos for story

Bing Wang: Photos for story

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