Fourth Brown Bag of the Semester – September 26, 2014

Rob Potter, Associate Professor, Anthony Almond, PhD Student, Sharon Mayell, ICR Lab Manager, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University

Tools Available for Researchers in the Institute for Communication Research

We tried to come up with a catchier title.  But, in the end, we are hoping that this is enticing enough for social science researchers interested in learning about the array of data collection measures available at the Institute for Communication Research (ICR).  The mission of the ICR is to enable social scientific research conducted by faculty and students in The Media School at IU.  Eventually, we will be located in Franklin Hall—very close to the action. But, until then we are in Eigenmann Hall.  Which means, we need to bring the action to YOU.

Come and hear descriptions/see demonstrations of these tools available for you to use:

  • Media Lab & Direct RT software for experimental design, questionnaire construction, and psychological measurements
  • Qualtrics software for online survey and experimental data collection
  • Tobii eye tracking hardware & software
  • Biopac physiology data collection hardware and software (that’s actually rather easy to use)
  • Emotiv 14-channel EEG data collection hardware

    Rob demonstrating some of these gadgets

    Rob demonstrating some of these tools.

New Lab Rats, New Lab Equipment

By Edo Steinberg

Last Spring the College of Arts and Sciences gave the Institute for Communication Research money to buy new lab equipment. The two main purchases were the BIOPAC physiology system and the Tobii Eye Tracker.

The fearless reporter and his fearless eyeballs, as seen by the Tobii Eye Tracker.

The fearless reporter and his fearless eyeballs, as seen by the Tobii Eye Tracker.

“They arrived at the same time,” says Rob Potter, director of the ICR. “I had familiarity with physiology, I had familiarity with the BIOPAC system and I knew I had to teach using that system in an Intensive Freshman Seminar (IFS) in August. When they both arrived at the same time, I hooked the eye tracker up and made sure that no parts were broken and essentially we could pay the bill. Then I turned it on and it looked terrible. The fidelity of the screen wasn’t right.”

Because time was pressing, Rob decided to focus on the BIOPAC first. He put the eye tracker in the corner. Vacation, the IFS course and a conference led to the eye tracker being left alone until late August.

Then incoming graduate student Anthony Almond asked Rob if he could spend some time in the lab. “I said to myself, ‘I better grab Anthony while I can, before another faculty member does,’” Rob recalls. “I said, how about Tuesdays and Thursdays. I shot for the moon. He said yes. Then, I was lucky enough to get Niki as my AI. Later, Glenna came up to me and said ‘I hear you have this meeting.’”

During these new students’ first meeting with Rob at the ICR, Anthony took a look at the eye tracking system, which he had some experience with previously. After about an hour, he figured out the problem and fixed it by installing updated video drivers.

Rob says that the ICR is the place for students who wish to get experience with lab equipment to come, if they ask Rob or lab manager Sharon Mayell to come. “Anthony was able to come in and try to troubleshoot stuff. That’s exactly the type of environment we want to have. All the way back when Annie Lang was the director, that was the environment she tried to instill. Bring your ideas to the ICR and work on investigating questions that interest you.”

Now, Anthony, Glenna and Niki spend time at the ICR, getting to know the equipment and preparing for future participation in research projects.

“I’m continuing to figure out what acronyms stand for,” Niki jokes.

Niki sees where she looked when she watched a video.

Niki sees where she looked when she watched a video.

“The eye tracker can do more than just see where you look,” Anthony says. “It can also measure the size of your pupil, and when your eyes are moving rapidly across the screen. You can also use it in combination with other physiological measures. For example, if someone is looking at a website and their heart rate decelerates, is it because they were looking at the ad on the side, because they were reading the text or because of something else entirely?”

Other applications include whether or not people notice certain things on the screen, as well as implications for design. For instance, website developers can see if the audience is looking at what they want to show or something else is distracting people.

“I’m here for a crash course in both physiology and eye tracking research,” says Niki. “I want to see what others are doing and throw myself into the world of research, to see what’s possible.”

Glenna has used the BIOPAC system before. “But I haven’t done a lot with it,” she emphasizes.

“I used the BIOPAC before, as well,” Anthony says. “And this morning Rob showed me something about it I didn’t know. Now I have to show him how to do fancy software stuff.”

“It’s been really cool to see how everyone comes together and collaborates with what they know from the past,” Niki says. “Anthony, Glenna and Rob all have these interesting areas of expertise.”

If you also want to be a lab rat, as people conducting research in the ICR are affectionately called, get in touch with Rob!

Visiting Faculty – Eunyi Kim

by Teresa Lynch

Professors choose to do different things with their time away from teaching and other duties when they go on sabbatical.  Eunyi Kim has come to IU from the University of Incheon in South Korea as a visiting scholar in our department.  Eunyi originally came to the United States in 1992 as a spouse, but soon after entered graduate school at Syracuse University.  She completed both her master’s and doctoral degrees at Syracuse and a post doctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado.  Both she and her husband served on the faculty of Texas A&M University before returning in 2006 to teach Korean universities.

Eunyi at the first lab meeting for the ICR

Her coming to IU was in part due to a chance meeting with Annie Lang at a conference in San Francisco some years ago.  Annie was on the organizing board and Eunyi was one of the junior office holders in the association.  Over the course of the next few years, the two bumped into each other at conferences; but, it wasn’t until she began searching for a place to visit on her sabbatical that she reached out to Annie. Much to her delight, Eunyi was offered not only a place as a visiting faculty member, she was also given an office, access to the Telecom’s ICR Lab (Institute for Communication Research), and the opportunity to take Rob Potter’s psychophysiological methods course this fall.  As a political communications scholar currently interested in new media, she has found herself comfortably situated among a faculty similarly oriented.

Eunyi is adjusting to life back in the U.S.  She admits that the transition in living styles is quite intense for her.  When she moved from Texas back to the dense urban environment of Seoul, it took her two years to completely readjust to the pace of city-life. Here she has been pleasantly surprised to discover the thriving Korean community in Bloomington.

Eunyi has enjoyed having her two sons with her in Bloomington.  Her elder son will soon be returning to California to continue his own academic pursuits as a double major in psychology and biology.  Her younger son started first grade at Rogers Elementary School here in Bloomington this fall.  The three have been enjoying the local farmers’ market, particularly a taste-testing booth where they’ve sampled many types of tomatoes. She has also spent time volunteering with the Monroe County Public Library where her younger son participates in the local chess club. In addition, she is learning Chinese along with her younger son. Her husband was in Bloomington for some time during summer and will return in December when he will begin his longer stay as a visiting faculty in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

We’re lucky to have Eunyi with us until next summer.  A warm personality, she was eager to hear as much about me as I was to hear about her.  She readily admits her love for meeting new people and learning.   She’s currently working over at the ICR in Eigenmann, room 637.  If you’re over there, make sure to say hi.

Visiting Faculty – Byungho Park

by Teresa Lynch

When Byungho Park was considering the locations where he could spend his sabbatical from the the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), there was one big thing on his mind.  Toys.  Of course, the “toys” Byungho was looking forward to are housed at Telecom’s Institute for Communication Research (ICR) in Eigenmann Hall and come in the way of Coulbourn Stacks and physiological sensors, but that’s just semantics.

Byungho reunited with his “toys”

Byungho is well-versed with the equipment and facilities available here because he completed his doctoral studies at IU, earning his Ph.D. in Telecommunications in 2006.  After completing his doctorate, Byungho held a faculty position for two years at the National University of Singapore before moving back to his hometown of Seoul with the faculty position he now holds.  Byungho describes KAIST as being more like MIT than IU – the college closest to social sciences on his campus is the College of Business, where he teaches courses on the psychology of advertising and the media consumer.

While his teaching now primarily focuses on the business concerns of media, Byungho is looking forward to doing research more in line with what he was doing here prior to his return to Asia.  An added benefit of  a sabbatical in Bloomington is that he doesn’t have to waste any time learning new facilities or adjusting to a whole new group of people.  In particular he’s excited to be reunited with his three mentors: Annie Lang, Rob Potter, and Julie Fox.

That’s not to say that Byungho hasn’t had to readjust a bit to life in Bloomington.  He jokingly says “the U.S. is a boring heaven and Seoul is an exciting hell.”  And Bloomington has changed since he left.  For one thing, “there’s a Macy’s here now.”  He’s also pleased to see the new developments on campus, noting that the School of Informatics and Computing has grown, there are new dorms on his commute to Eigenmann, and there are lots of new faces in the Telecom department.  His experience here too is now different.  He’s no longer a student.  He and his wife have two children enrolled in the local school system for the year he’ll be visiting.  And he’s keeping himself very busy with research.

A snowglobe that Byungho contributed to the ICR’s collection in 2004 from Orlando

One thing that he’s hoping to make time for, though, are the TV shows that got him through his Ph.D.  He’s an avid Star Wars and Star Trek fan.  He also describes himself as a former crime drama addict; loving the original CSI, all of the Law and Orders, and Numbers.  He had even hoped to one day use Numbers for social science and statistics examples for his students, though he hasn’t quite made that work yet.  For the moment, he finds himself too immersed in his work to get back to religiously watching crime dramas, but he hopes that soon enough he’ll be settled in to get back to them.  And, hopefully, he will find himself with enough time to enjoy being back at his alma mater with old friends and old toys.

Snow Globes with Annie, Londontown, FC Telecom vs Travis, and Prof. Boczkowski’s Brown Bag

Objects in Offices, Segment 4: Annie Lang and Snow Globes

As a grad student in the department, you will more than likely spend some time in the Institute for Communication Research, or ICR. Along with various research labs, offices and equipment, you will notice an interesting collection in one of the rooms. It is a snow globe collection and it is about 15 years in the making.  Professor Annie Lang explains that it acts as a reminder of where ICR researchers have traveled in the past.

Now that the collection is maxing out, new rules are in place for those wanting to add to it.  Annie says that they used to bring snow globes back when they went anywhere, whether it was a conference or vacation.  Over time, they collected so many snow globes that the rules had to be adjusted.  Now, you can only bring a snow globe back if it is work related, as in when you went to conference, presented a paper or gave a talk.  In addition, a rule of triples was enstated.  Once two or three snow globes have been collected from a particular city, you are not allowed to add anymore.  This is mostly because conferences tend to happen in the same cities and this rule keeps the collection unique and eclectic.

See Annie explain more about these snow globes, what other objects have been brought back from various locations and what object has officially been banished from the collection.

Jenna Hoffstein and the Londontown Project

This fall grad student Jenna Hoffstein became the executive producer of the Londontown project. Londontown is a concept for an MMORPG set in an idealized version of Victorian England. The team is currently working on creating a vertical slice of the game, or a much down-sized prototype of a small portion of the game.

Since its inception as a concept by former IU Telecom faculty Lee Sheldon, Londontown has been student-driven, and the project gives students the opportunity for hands-on experience in game design. As an incoming grad student, Jenna was encouraged by Lee to sign up for the project over the summer and in her first semester landed the role of Londontown’s lead writer.

Currently, the Londontown team consists of around 25 grad and undergrad students from Telecom, Informatics, English, and other departments working in various task groups—production, audio, design, programming, and writing. “There are really a lot of different ways people can get involved in the development,” Jenna says. The teams meet individually about once a week, and the group comes together every three weeks to discuss their progress. The end goal in creating a vertical slice of the virtual world is ultimately to pitch Londontown to video game publishers. “In an ideal world, we’d love to get it in front of publishers and move the project off campus and really turn it into a game.”

Jenna, who spent last summer developing an iPhone game about jellyfish called “Castaway Jelly,” hopes to complete her grad studies next semester. From there, she aims to move to the east coast to work for game developers, hopefully getting to use her experience to develop virtual worlds. “Really big, thorny problems that develop in creating virtual worlds are a lot of fun,” Jenna says.

FC Telecom Falls to Travis and Man Down

Last Thursday FC Telecom faced off against “friendly” rivals, Man Down (with the department’s Travis Ross as a longtime team member), in a fierce battle of athleticism and sportsmanship. In spite of a fearless and unrelenting effort by Telecom grad students Lindsay Ems, Matt Falk, and Peter Blank, Professor Mark Deuze, and other teammates, FC Telecom was defeated under the stadium lights at Karst Farm Park.  But the team is still optimistic about the future.

Both sides acknowledge a noble victory, though FC Telecom suggests that under slightly different circumstances, the outcome may have favored them instead.  “Games against Travis’ team are always fun and important,” says Mark. “Unfortunately, FC Telecom had to miss our fearless leader—Steve Krahnke—and tireless defender—Norbert Herber. This put us at a severe disadvantage,” he says.

Grad student Peter Blank notes that, despite the rough first half, the team rallied quite a bit to finish strong. “If you ‘zero’ the score from the first half, the second half must have turned out 3-4, which means we made big progression during the game,” Peter says. Of Mark Deuze’s presence on the field, Peter adds, “It’s hard to believe that he never played professional league.”

Despite the loss, FC Telecom’s spirit remains high, as Travis didn’t get away with 4 goals against them this time, as he had done in a previous encounter. Summarizing the game, Mark says, “With heroic efforts by Lindsay, Peter, and Edgar, we managed at times to keep the pressure on Travis and company, and put away several passes and goals. Ultimately, their team’s youth and coherence as a team prevailed. It was a deserved win on a glorious evening at Karst Farm Park.”

To get a better idea of what went down on Thursday, check out this slide show of photos from the matchup:

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Pablo Javier Boczkowski (Northwestern University) Brown Bag Presentation

This week, we were excited to have Professor Pablo Javier Boczkowski from Northwestern University to present at the T600 Brown Bag.

When Supply and Demand Do Not Meet: The Divergent Online News Preferences of Journalists and Readers and What They Mean for the Future of Media and Democracy

Abstract: In this talk I will report on a series of studies that bridge my recently published book, News at Work: Imitation in an Age of Information Abundance (University of Chicago Press, 2010) and a new book that I am writing during the current academic year.  These studies focus on the existence and magnitude of a thematic gap between the news that journalists who work at elite online news sites consider the most newsworthy ones and the stories that attract most attention among audience of these sites; the factors that shape this gap; and, what this gap means for the economic viability of these news organizations and the quality of democratic life.

See the highlights of his discussion here:


Nicky Lewis: Snow Globes and Brown Bag

Katie Birge: Londontown and FC Telecom vs Travis

Props, Docs, Homecomings, and the 1st Brown Bag

This week we bring you a potpourri of items from around the department. Check out what Professor Mike McGregor’s been collecting in his office drawer for all these years, find out when you can view documentaries produced and edited by some of our grad students, learn what Chase Martin’s been doing for the past year and a half, and feast your eyes on some highlights of the first T600 Brown Bag talk of the semester featuring Professor Rob Potter.

Objects in Offices, Segment 2: Mike’s Prop Drawer

Professor Mike McGregor isn’t one to always keep a straight face.  His sense of humor is known and appreciated throughout the department.  This week we stopped by his office to take a look inside his prop drawer.  Mike has been collecting various mementos, figurines and knick knacks since high school.  Many of the memories are from his time spent in law school and working for the FCC.  He does use some of the props when teaching media law classes, like his draft card and pocket edition of the U.S. Constitution.  However, while most are just for laughs and reminiscing about the past, many of the items have interesting stories behind them.

Mike originally acquired a pirate firearm while in law school.  Mike and his friends used to put on Gilbert and Sullivan shows, like Pirates of Penzance, to distract themselves from studying law.  In that particular production, Mike played the Pirate King and got to keep the gun out of it.

The Oscar Meyer Weenie Mobile is actually a souvenir from a former student.  While working for Oscar Mayer’s marketing and promotions department, she would drive the real Weenie Mobile around campus.

The wide variety of contents in the drawer create quite a conversation piece.  Take a look at some of the treasures we found while visiting his office:

Documentaries Airing on WTIU

Three graduate students who collaborated with undergraduates in a year-long documentary class will get to see their docs on local PBS station WTIU this month. The course, taught by Ron Osgood, allowed students to pitch possible documentary ideas in the first semester. Of the three docs selected for production in the second semester, two of them were pitched by grad students. MS student Mary LaVenture (who produced “A Four-Wheeled Fascination”) and recent MS graduate Satina Stewart (who produced “Love 2.0”) each headed up their projects, and MS student Erin Gupte contributed to the production of a documentary about the controversies surrounding the construction of Interstate 69.

Mary, who is currently in the process of submitting “A Four-Wheeled Fascination” to various film festivals, is happy with the way the documentary turned out and is looking forward to seeing it air on WTIU. She adds that creating the documentary was an eye-opening experience and a great opportunity to learn more about roller derby. “People seem really excited about the documentary, and the derby girls love it,” Mary says of the final product.

The year-long course culminated in May with a public screening of the three documentaries, but anyone who missed the spring viewing can catch the documentaries on WTIU throughout September. “This is something WTIU has been doing for the class for at least the last couple of years,” says producer Mary LaVenture. The documentaries are airing a week apart every Friday at 10:30pm this month. Here’s the schedule:

“Love 2.0”- 9/10 @ 10:30pm: This documentary produced by Satina Stewart explores the changing meaning of love in a world increasingly turning to online dating. Featuring interviews with people all turning to online dating for different reasons, “Love 2.0” examines the successes and perils of finding love in a digital world.

“Interstate 69: Under Construction”- 9/17 @ 10:30pm: This documentary produced by undergraduate student Ryan McDonald investigates competing forces in the controversy surrounding the construction of I-69 in southern Indiana. Interviewing proponents and opponents of I-69 construction, the documentary captures all the different viewpoints.

“A Four-Wheeled Fascination” – 9/24 @ 10:30pm: This documentary produced by grad student Mary LaVenture chronicles the history of women’s roller derby from its inception to present day. “Four-Wheeled” also interviews women from two roller derby teams in Indiana and explains the many ways in which roller derby teams are involved in their communities. You can view the documentary’s IMDB page here.

Chase Martin

If you’ve been hanging around the TV/Radio building for a few years, you may have noticed the return of a familiar face this fall—Chase Martin. Currently back from a hiatus in the industry, he’s finishing up his master’s degree while serving as Instructor of Record for T205, the undergraduate course on media and society. Chase has been assistant instructor for T101 before and even taught an extra section as Instructor of Record in the past, but this semester he admits he’s taking on a bigger challenge in his new role.

Though Chase is stepping a bit out of his comfort zone for T205, a class of 122 undergraduates, he’s ready to put a new and personalized spin on the class. “For me,” Chase says, “it’s about looking at new media and social media, and this gives me the opportunity to add my own input to the course.” For Chase, this personalization includes getting each student set up with a blog as well as a Mark Deuze-inspired Twitter feed during class, reminiscent of the professor’s T101 courses in previous semesters.

Chase, who spent his time away from the department working for a company that made learning software for the Department of Defense, is ready to be back in the academic swing of things and is currently collaborating with Professor Mark Deuze on research related to independent game developers in the video game industry.

“It’s nice to have the opportunity to indulge in the ideas available here,” Chase adds. “It’s great to come back and get to work through my thoughts.” Chase plans to continue his research on organizational models of video game companies.

Brown Bag

Professor Rob Potter had the honor of presenting at the first brown bag seminar of the semester this past Friday:

Is the Third Time a Charm?:  The spotty past, booming present, and hazy future of psychophysiology in the media psychology laboratory


This talk begins by examining two distinct—and brief—moments in the history of communication scholarship when researchers employed measurements of physiological reaction during message processing as dependent variables in experimental research.  I then discuss how psychology’s move toward behaviorism curtailed the use of such measures in both these eras, even though they were separated by more than four decades.

This brings me to a look at the modern era, where measures of bodily reaction are much more accepted in communication research.  The reason?  These measures are now collected, analyzed, and presented under the assumptions of psychophysiology.  I’ll discuss these assumptions using some recent data collected in the ICR to illustrate.

Finally, I attempt to briefly predict what the future may hold for physiological measures of media processing . . . a prognostication that may not be as rosy as you may expect.

Watch some of the highlights from Rob’s presentation here:

It was great to hear all that Rob has been working on since his sabbatical to Australia.  He has recently finished a book on psychophysiological measures, which he mentions in the video clip.   You can find additional information on Rob’s book here:

Rob Potter’s New Book

Special Thanks

Rob Potter:  For telling us about the treasures in Mike McGregor’s drawer


Nicky Lewis:  Mike’s Prop Drawer and Brown Bag

Katie Birge:  Documentaries Airing on WTIU and Chase Martin

Orientation Week 2010

The IU Department of Telecommunications Graduate Program ushered in the Fall 2010 semester with orientation week activities, welcoming new grad students and reuniting returning ones. Here’s a quick glance of the orientation week happenings:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Orientation Week kicked off with breakfast and introductions in Studio 5.  Faculty, staff, new and returning grad students got a chance to meet and greet. View a quick video of introduction highlights here:

New grad students spent the rest of the day with Grad Director Harmeet Sawhney to learn the ins and outs of the graduate program. Later on, Professor and Facilities Manager Ron Osgood took the new students on a tour of the building, showing the studios, offices, and various classrooms.  The Radio-TV Building houses not only the Department of Telecommunications, but also WFIU and WTIU, the local public radio and TV stations. Check out some high points of the tour here:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Professor Susan Kelly spent the morning with new and returning grad students in an associate instructor training session “Micro-Teaching Preparation,” covering what to expect on the first day and beyond. Later, Professor Bryant Paul led new and returning grad students through a workshop on grading techniques and policies. See brief tidbits of Bryant’s words of wisdom in this video:

Interest Area Meetings took place throughout the building on several topics. Take a look at what occurred at each of the sessions:

Cognitive Processing of Media

Faculty and grad students discuss current research interests and ongoing projects at the cognitive processing interest area meeting.

Economics, Law and Policy

Mike McGregor introduces the faculty and welcomes grad students at the economics, law, and policy interest area meeting.

Design and Production

Students and faculty discuss current creative projects and ongoing production work.

New grad students also attended an associate instructor workshop on campus climate, conducted by Campus Instructional Consulting, and production-oriented graduate students took part in a Studio 5 training session to prepare for their AI work in upcoming undergraduate production courses. Later, all grad students prepared for micro-teaching sessions in small groups.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The graduate students convened to conduct several micro-teaching sessions, each presenting on a topic or interest area of their choosing. They received valuable teaching experience and feedback for improving their classroom skills.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New grad students participated in three workshops organized by Campus Instructional Consulting—The First Day of Class and Beyond, Discussion Techniques for Active Learning, and Three Strategies for Creating Success in the Classroom.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Professor Rob Potter led new grad students through the Institute for Communication Research (ICR) at Eigenmann Hall. The ICR hosts many student and faculty projects related to physiology, psychology, political communication, and other areas of research. See the abbreviated version of Rob’s tour in this video:

More Interest Area Meetings took place on Friday. Have a look at some photo highlights:

Sex and Violence in Media

Faculty members Andrew Weaver and Nicole Martins begin the sex and violence in the media interest area meeting.

New Media and Social Theory

Mark Deuze leads an interdisciplinary brain storming session at the new media and social theory interest area meeting.

Later, Professor Bryant Paul led the group critique session of the grading workshop. The week of orientation events and activities concluded with an evening reception for the graduate students and faculty at the grad director’s house.

For more glimpses of the week, check out these photos from orientation activities:

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Also, grab your 3-D glasses to view a photo of orientation introductions taken by grad student Chris Eller. The department is offering a cutting edge 3-D production course entitled “3-D Stereoscopic Digital Production and Storytelling” as a T540 (special projects course). For more information about the course, contact Professor Susan Kelly:

Graduate students and faculty in the third dimension at orientation introductions.


Special Thanks

Siyabonga Africa: photographs during orientation introductions

Chris Eller: 3-D photographs during orientation introductions

Mark Deuze: for allowing us to use the sensibilities of “Media Organizations @ IU” blog


Nicky Lewis: Videographer and Writer

Katie Birge: Photographer and Writer