Sine Qua Nonsense

The Halloween Report

Isaac and the roasted pig (photo courtesy of Alicia Eckert).

Isaac and the roasted pig (photo courtesy of Alicia Eckert).

Halloween may officially be tomorrow, but the Telecom costume party took place last weekend. Rachel Bailey hosted the shindig. Isaac Knowles and his friend John Killian, a professional chef, roasted a pig, decapitated it and placed its head on a spike for all to see and fear.

The costumes varied wildly, but I believe they were all meant to convey subliminal messages. Teresa Lynch, for example, dressed as Executioner Miralda, a character from the video game Demon’s Souls. This is her attempt to promote the death penalty, especially by beheading. The bodiless pig’s head drove her point home.

Dustin as Captain Morgan (Photo Courtesy of Michelle Funk).

Dustin as Captain Morgan (Photo Courtesy of Michelle Funk).

While Dustin Ritchea, Mona Malacane and Yongwoog Jeon wore very different costumes, their underlying message was the same. Dustin as Captain Morgan, Yongwoog as Sherlock Holmes, and Mona as the government shutdown were embodiments of the libertarian worldview. Less government is better. Private citizens like Captain Morgan could do a better job roaming the high seas than taxpayer-mooching Navy SEALs. The best detective in literary history was a private investigator, solving the crimes the inept official police couldn’t. And again, the main course helped convey the message that if Telecom students can cut the pork, so can Congress!

Nancy Tyree dressed as a bearded artist. Her boyfriend Jon was a canvass. They brought markers and encouraged others to draw on the canvass. Just like Tom Sawyer got his friends to paint a fence, Nancy got her own friends to do her job for her. I believe she was trying to teach us to delegate authority – if you’re smart enough to get others to do what you’re supposed to do, you aren’t being lazy.

Yongwoog as Sherlock Holmes and Michelle as an alien (photo courtesy of Michelle Funk).

Yongwoog as Sherlock Holmes and Michelle as an alien (photo courtesy of Michelle Funk).

Irene Van Driel and Mariska Kleemans brought a taste of the Netherlands to the party. They wore orange wigs and red, white and blue clothes. Orange is the Dutch national color, and red, white and blue are the colors on the Dutch national flag. This was a veiled attack on American Exceptionalism. They tried to subliminally remind us that the flag of the United States is not unique in its choice of colors, which it shares with about 30 other countries. This was also a pro-monarchist, pro-House of Orange message. They may be planning to topple our government.

Edo as the High Road (photo courtesy of Michelle Funk).

Edo as the High Road (photo courtesy of Michelle Funk).

Dan Levy promoted peace and tranquility as The Dude from “The Big Lebowski”. He wore a blond wig and a bathrobe. He also walked around with an empty carton of half and half. That carton really tied the costume together.

I conveyed my own message to the world, as well. I wore yellow and white stripes, a hippie vest, an Interstate sign and buttons with the peace sign, psychedelic colors and the word “love”. I also held a comically large joint with fake marijuana made out of green pompoms. I was “the high road”. Get it? Oh, you had to be there.

And no, my subliminal message had nothing to do with drug legalization. I was trying to promote the use of puns while raising awareness of the flimsiness of our nation’s infrastructure.


“Night of the Living Fed”

By Mona Malacane

Six years ago, Travis Ross started a Halloween tradition that has become a legend. You overhear musings about the party during the orientation gathering, it had its own website, and the costumes are seriously creative (I highly recommend stalking some photo albums on Facebook). In fact, I think I overheard some of my fellow grad students in the grad lab planning their costumes as far back as July.

I put a spell on you

The party hasn’t always been the staple Halloween shindig though. Travis faced some stiff competition in the first few years he threw the Halloween party.  Travis explains:  “Halloween is one of those great things that somebody on campus is always going to be throwing a party. For the longest time I had to compete with other Halloween parties. There were like four years where I was just selling [my party] so hard just to try to get that critical mass that you need to make a party feel crowded enough to make the party feel like it is a good party.” Travis had to stop people in the halls and drop into classes before they started and advertise the party those first few years. The tradition eventually caught on and became a department staple.

Sadly, Travis and his wife Emily moved on to greener pastures (literally, they live on a farm), which left us pondering who will take over the party?! A few names were thrown around, and multiple people said they were willing to continue the tradition … but no one made any definitive moves. That was, until September 30th, when Rachel Bailey stepped up and made it clear that she is picking up the baton and throwing this year’s party.

I asked what possessed her (I channeled Edo for my pun there) to throw the Halloween party and her reply makes me believe that this year’s party is going to be epic: “Well, I love throwing parties. I like the details and the planning and having a theme to stick to and work towards. And Halloween is so fun … in general I go above and beyond for holidays of all kinds, but those who know me know I generally pull out the stops for Halloween especially.” Travis also mentioned that Rachel is a great hostess and likes to incorporate food into her themes.

When I asked Rachel if she will be doing anything different this year, she explained,  “My party will be a good time, I’m sure. Will everything coalesce into the most magical, scarifying, awesome Halloween party ever? I have no idea … part of the thing about parties is you can plan everything to the tiniest detail and the dynamics just don’t come together. I’ll handle all the details – you guys just come ready to have a good time and we can’t miss.” She does, however, live in a home with a fire pit and plenty of land so there will be plenty of parking and “room for high jinks of various kinds.”

Travis will miss throwing the party but is happy that Rachel is continuing the tradition, telling me he is “glad it is going into good hands.” He has given his blessing but passes on a few tips: (1) have good lighting, (2) have plenty of spirits, (3) try and achieve the critical mass of people needed to feel like a good party, (4) keep the music going, and (5) “Watch out for Senia because she is a Spotify hacker.”

Bad things happen when Halloween parties run out of alcohol.

Bad things happen when Halloween parties run out of alcohol.

Final Brown Bag of the Semester – April 26, 2013

Rachel Bailey, Ph.D. Candidate: Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University

Title: Encoding Systems and Evolved Message Processing: Pictures Enable Action, Words Enable Thinking… the Special Case of Food and Advertising.



Food, when presented as tasty and ready-to-be-eaten, makes overcoming biological drives to consume difficult. For example, chimpanzees repeatedly make inappropriate decisions in these contexts, incapable of overriding their biological responses, but can make expedient decisions about items that only symbolize food. Extending these findings to how food is presented in advertising leads to interesting ideas.  In this talk, initial studies examining how the way food is presented in media affects processing will be discussed. These studies (Bailey, 2012; Bailey & Yegiyan, 2012; Bailey, Connolly & Lang, 2013) have found greater tendencies to approach ready-to-eat representations of food (e.g. a Big Mac) compared to symbols, or packages, of food (e.g. a Big Mac wrapper). But more importantly, when food was only symbolic, emotional responses were more nuanced and cognitive categorizations were easier to make. Thus, when food is merely symbolic, individuals can overcome their biological drives and respond in ways beyond a strictly appetitive response. Future research and real world implications for these findings will be discussed.

Speaker Bio:

Rachel Bailey is a PhD candidate at Indiana University in the Telecommunications Department. She will join Washington State University’s faculty soon where she will be the director of the Communication Cognition and Emotion Lab. Her research interests lie in the complex dynamics of how individual differences, variations in mediated messages and environments in which they are consumed come together to influence how media are processed, remembered and later acted upon.

One-Eyed Willie

by Teresa Lynch

Even when her daughter was a little girl, Rachel Bailey’s mother knew that Rachel would have a big heart for animals.  Some time around age four or five, Rachel began insisting on hauling stray dogs into the car on the way home because as she saw it “they had no home.”  And being raised on her family’s cattle farm far out in the Missouri countryside, there was no shortage of animals – especially dogs.

Penny, one of Rachel’s dachshunds

In the years when Rachel lived on her family’s farm, she helped with caring for a number of these homeless pets, but it wasn’t until she began college that she started rescuing them on her own.  With a busy graduate school life and travel both to conferences and home, taking care of pets can be a challenging task.  Rachel found herself earlier this year with four dogs: Shane, Percy, Penny, and Petey.  The first one to be adopted by Rachel was Shane, a friendly mutt with at least a bit of German and Australian shepherd.  Next came Percy, a dachshund with an incredibly sweet disposition.  Penny and Petey, her other two dachshunds, were given to her as gifts and despite not being so, act as if they are brother and sister.  For years, Rachel coordinated their care when she was away, made sure she lived in a place with yard space, and doted upon them whenever she could.

But, there’s a harsh reality to being a rescue owner.  Although Shane lived to an old age, passing away earlier this year, many rescued pets suffer from ailments and complications brought about by abuse or neglect.  Percy, suffered from terrible arthritis and had to be carried nearly everywhere for the first year she had him.  He unexpectedly and suddenly passed away earlier this year possibly from degenerative myelopathy, a deteriorating spinal disease.  The loss of her two pets was understandably difficult, but that didn’t stop Rachel from agreeing to provide a home to her newest rescue named after the Goonies pirate, One-Eyed Willie.

One-Eyed Willie is also a dachshund, fitting in nicely with Penny and Petey.  He’s even the same color.  And, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, he only has one eye.  The vet speculates that Willie was either born without the eye or lost it when he was a very young puppy.  Either way, it doesn’t cause him any pain now.

Rachel and One-Eyed Willie

When she lost Shane and Percy earlier this year, an acquaintance (a fellow rescuer) contacted Rachel about taking the then unnamed, one-eyed dog who had been rescued from a destitute rescue kennel.  The woman described the dog as a hopeless case, but Rachel was up for the task.  Or, so she thought.

The next few months proved to be quite trying.  Willie had obviously been terribly abused, fearfully biting Rachel any time she tried to pet him.  He was good at hiding and very fast, making it difficult for her to keep tabs on him.  In effort to get him used to her and his new home, Rachel kept crates in three different locations throughout her house.  These crates effectively became safe spaces from where Willie could watch the action, but still feel hidden.  Over time, he began to creep out of the crates, although he still has to be fed alone.  The sweet dog that Willie is deeper down has started showing.  Rachel says he loves soft toys, but will only play with them when he thinks he’s not being watched.  “I look at him sometimes and I think ‘Who are you?’  He’s got this whole little world I don’t know about.”

Penny and Petey have definitely accepted him into the family, sleeping in a big dachshund pile whenever possible.  Overall, Rachel says she and Willie just adapted to each other, learned to coexist.  But, as she told me about her (not-entirely-futile) attempts to get him used to the eye patch her mom made for him, I could tell that One-Eyed Willie definitely has a spot in his heart for her, although it’s likely not as big as the spot she has developed for him.

Media@IU, Castronova’s Gamer-Friendly Grading, Ted at the Sweet Sixteen, Brown Bag

Media@IU, by Mike Lang

Gathered in Mark Deuze’s office, Mark Deuze, Danqing Liu, Jennifer Talbott, Geng Zhang, and Adam Simpson bounce ideas off one another as they plan for the upcoming Media@IU reception at the Well’s House on April 4th.  Projector to project the Media@IU website on the wall? Check. Microphone and sound system? Check. Facebook event page? Check.  Preparations for the hush-hush VIP after party? Check. Attendance is a bit light today, as team members Christy Wessel Powell and Maria Fedorova are unable to make it, but the ideas still keep flowing. Every Thursday from 1-2 the Media@IU team convenes to discuss progress and plans, but as the buzz builds, so to do the questions surrounding the initiative.

Over the last few years, Deuze has noticed an increase in media related research and creative activities across campus including research projects in other departments, courses, speakers, student clubs and organizations, and graduate reading groups. As such, the original goal of Media@IU was simply to raise awareness of these activities. Two semesters ago, Liu, working as an RA for Deuze, was charged with one of the first awareness-raising jobs, collecting information about courses around related to media. A huge project with lots of potential, Liu recruited Talbott and Zhang to help out. Setting up a T575: Directed Group New Media Design Project under the supervision of Deuze, the three embarked on creating a database on media-related activities on campus. As Talbott explains, the trio searched for classes, talked to faculty in various departments, went to the career development center, talked to career advisors, looked up student clubs, located facilities on campus that could be useful for media projects, identified UITS classes that offered media related skills, and did some research on companies affiliated with IU that could potentially offer students internships or jobs. Along the way they recruited students from SLIS and journalism to build the website that would house all of the information.

In the beginning most of the initiatives were organized around undergraduates. Because media is such a broad topic, many students need a road map of sorts. Liu explains that when Joe Schmo freshman goes to register for classes or pick a major, Media@IU can help him navigate the many facets of media scholarship and gain a clearer view of what he wants to do. They also hope that the site would facilitate faculty collaboration.  This semester the team has shifted its attention to graduate student resources such information on funding sources for research, and small snippets on projects going on around campus.

The culmination of all this work will be the first ever Media@IU conference in October. Held in the Union, the conference will bring together students and faculty to present and discuss their media related work, provide opportunities to network, and facilitate collaboration. In addition, the conference will be  spotlighted by a rock star keynote speaker selected by graduate students. Although the team takes it one step at a time, it hopes the conference will grow to the point it can resemble the old Big Ten Media and Communication conference that died out years ago.

Throughout the process, the team has gained new members from around the University, some who may only come for a meeting or two, and others who stick around for longer. Zhang says that finding new recruits in the beginning was hard. However, as their ideas evolved into a more tangible product, people were more receptive and helpful. So much so that when the team put out an advertisement for website help, they received inquiries from individuals all the way in California willing to contribute at no cost.  Although the original trio is graduating this May they hope to recruit some new members to carry on the torch after they leave.

Fundamentally, Media@IU is a ground up exercise; an initiative driven by the desire and willingness of students and faculty to collaborate in the spirit of doing more with media. It’s hard to predict where it will go, or what it will look like, but with the full backing of the provost, and a team of dedicated individuals willing to put in the work, everyone gets to reap the rewards.

The Media@IU reception will take place on Wednesday, April 4th from 8-10pm in the Well’s House and refreshments will be provided. Stop by and learn what the future of media research at IU looks like. Did I mention free T-shirts and a wicked after party? Check out the Facebook event page here. Check out the Media@IU Website here.

The Media@IU Team: Danqing Liu, Jennifer Talbott, Geng Zhang, Christy Wessel Powell, Maria Fedorova, Jihoon Jo, Jin Guo, Vasumathi Sridharan, Adam Simpson, Todd Chen.

Media@IU Logo by Todd Chen.

Castronova’s Gamer-Friendly Grading, by Ken Rosenberg

Like many of my generation, I went through school wishing it were more like a video game. When I found out that this is not just a personal fantasy, but a widespread and serious movement that needs researchers, I knew I would stay in school forever. Gamification is the use of game-like systems to structure and enhance real-world behavior and its proponents often list education among the most important institutions in need of such a shift. Games are neatly designed experiences that are logical, iterative, skill-based, egalitarian, and always potentially winnable—a perfect formula for learning. Professor Ted Castronova’s grading of undergraduates resembles a leveling system common to games, one that originated in the role-playing genre.

Students must write 500-word essays, which are graded on a pass-fail basis. Though many games have point systems—or even, ironically, letter-based grading systems—at the end of a level, the most important measure is still the “level clear” screen; either you won the game, or you didn’t.

They can submit as many times as it takes to earn complete credit. There is no limit on how many times you can try to win a game, and the only thing that matters is winning. The previous attempts do not count against you—in fact, if anything, they prove beneficial. Studies show that some failed attempts can ultimately make victory more emotionally rewarding. Punishment for failure only discourages effort.

It takes a bit more to earn each next level. Gamers know that all levels are not built equally: 1 through 20 is nowhere near the grind that takes a player from 20 to 40. Essay requirements for the next highest grade work on a +1 additive progression. Earning a “C” requires two more essays than a “D”-level performance, but going from a “C” to a “B” takes three.

The grade breakdown:

  • 1 essay   =   D
  • 3 essays  =  C
  • 6 essays  =  B
  • 10 essays = A

When Ted told other teachers about his system, they assumed that most students would earn an “A.” In fact the class still keeps the typical “C” average. Ted believes that students pick their grade from the beginning and decide to do a set number of essays. (Regardless of when or how students determine their grade, they still turn in most of them at the end of the semester.) Despite the unfortunate conclusion that game-like systems will not push everyone toward maximum achievement, there is one enormously significant upshot that all teachers can appreciate: nobody complains about their grade.

Ted at the Sweet Sixteen, by Mike Lang

Ted Jamison-Koenig was never a basketball fan. Then he moved to Bloomington to attend IU. For the last 5 years, Jamison-Koenig has sat through the worst years of Indiana basketball, yet cheered the Hoosiers on with ferver regardless. With the Hoosiers having a better than expected year this year, making it to the Sweet Sixteen, Ted road tripped to Atlanta to watch the fabled matchup with IU’s rival Kentucky. Edward Jones Dome, home field of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, may not have been the best suited for a basketball game (especially with all the good tickets going to alumni and high roller donors).  But that didn’t stop Ted from having a good time, as he was just happy to be there. Unfortunately IU lost the game, but the proclamation was loud and clear. IU basketball is back, and Ted was there to witness it.

Brown bag

Dynamic Motivational Activation in Media Use and Processing

Zheng Wang

A mathematical theoretical framework called Dynamic Motivational Activation (DMA) will be described. DMA models help reveal how we attend to, process, respond to, and are affected by the ever-changing information environment in an adaptive way. The models tease apart the influences of the exogenous vs. the endogenous variables (e.g., communication variables vs. audience physiological and cognitive system variables), and allow the study of their dynamic interactions. A few DAM studies will be discussed. They examine the dynamics of real-time processing of entertainment and persuasive messages, and also longitudinal communication activities in daily life.


Conceptualizing Flow, Presence and Transportation as Motivated Cognitive States

Rachel Bailey

Flow, Presence and Transportation will be discussed as the outcome of the motivated cognitive dynamic system settling into different attractor states. Conceptual definitions from the literatures concerning each of these states will be discussed and translated into motivated cognition variables. Data from three experiments will be presented in support of this reconceptualization. Implications for taking this dynamical, complex approach to studying these states, and media processing in general, will be discussed.


Zheng Joyce Wang (Ph.D. in Communications & Cognitive Science, IU-Bloomington, 2007) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at the Ohio State University, Columbus. One of her research foci is the use of real time data (e.g., psychophysiological measures, real life experience sampling) in conjunction with formal dynamic models to study how people process and use media. In particular, she is interested in the dynamic reciprocal effects between media choice/use behavior and its impact on emotion and cognition over time. Another research foci is to understand contextual influences on decision and cognition by building new probabilistic and dynamic systems based on quantum rather than classic probability theory. Her research has been supported by National Science Foundation.

Rachel Bailey is a third-year doctoral student at Indiana University. Her research interests focus on understanding how motivationally and psychologically relevant variables come together in complex ways to influence and constrain how information is processed in mediated contexts over time.

Random Search Term of the Week

One of the search terms that led a viewer to the grad blog was: “a stone with bryant substance”!

And the viewer was treated to last year’s February 28 story on Bryant Paul’s Rock Tumbler.

Rachel Bailey’s Kicks, Bryant Paul: Rock Tumbler, Mike Lang’s Album Release, Chris Eller’s Brown Bag

Rachel Bailey’s Collection

Grad student Rachel Bailey has a small obsession hidden in her closet . . . around 250 pairs of shoes.  How she accumulated this massive collection of footwear is an interesting story.  It began between her freshman and sophomore years at University of Missouri, when she took a job in a child psychologist’s office.  Once Rachel began working in a place where she could wear nice things, her shoe collection began to grow.  Then, she took a position as an assistant to the UM’s Vice Provost of Enrollment Management.  Still, more shoes.  “In high school, I only had an interest in functionality.  I owned maybe one pair of heels.  Then, I started getting fun shoes to wear when I dressed up.” Now, Rachel’s massive collection includes boots, dress shoes, casual shoes, and some workout shoes.  She has one closet devoted solely to her footwear, which includes two shoe racks and several dividers.  She has them organized into sections as well: casual, nice, and really nice.  “I keep the really nice ones in their dusters, bags or boxes.  The boots?  They just kind of go wherever they fit.”

A major adventure for Rachel was moving her shoe collection to Bloomington.  “I moved from Austin, Texas to Missouri and from Missouri to here within a couple of weeks.  I’ll never move so much stuff again.  Well, I say that now . . .”  Rachel has a new appreciation for flats since coming to grad school, since walking around IU’s campus in heels isn’t easy.  She justifies her underlying passion for footwear by explaining that clothing trends wear out faster.  Rachel believes that shoes have a bit more staying power.  In fact, the oldest pair she owns are a pair of Nike flip flops from high school.  More importantly, she doesn’t let her clothes define her footwear choices.  “I just like fabulousness.  If I see a pair of shoes that speaks to me, I will figure out what to wear with it later.”

Bryant Paul’s Rockin’ Hobby

As a bright-eyed 4th grader, Bryant Paul was mesmerized by the polished stones his teacher brought to class, and he begged his mother for a rock tumbler – the machine that spins and churns rough pieces of rock into small polished marvels. He got his wish, started his first batch immediately, and (because he didn’t read the instructions) promptly broke the tumbler within a few days. The dream could have ended there.

A batch of Bryant's freshly tumbled stones

Luckily, when Bryant was going up for tenure here at IU, he was on the lookout for a new hobby when his parents sent him a serendipitous birthday check, and he remembered his short-lived rock tumbler of his childhood. Deciding to take another stab at rock tumbling, Bryant used this money to buy an updated version of his childhood toy. “I needed a hobby, so I got a rock tumbler,” Bryant explains. This time around, he researched the basics of rock tumbling before making his purchase, learning that it’s more complicated than simply throwing a handful of rocks into the machine. “With my first tumbler, I just put a bunch of rocks in it without grit or polish, and that’s why it broke,” he says. Many of the rocks are either really strong or incredibly fragile, and both present a challenge. Some stones, like agates, can take as many as 5 months of tumbling before they are ready for the next level of grit, the abrasive substance added to the tumbler to wear away at the stone.

Bryant’s next step on the pathway to becoming a master lapidary (the official term for a stone artisan) is to learn how to shape

One of Bryant's pieces of polished agate

and polish cabochons, the circular or oval-shaped pieces of stone used for jewelry. “Here’s the thing about cabochons: jewelry makers are always looking for them,” Bryant explains. The cabochon-making process requires different equipment to cut and polish the stone. Byant hasn’t purchased the new equipment yet, but it’s becoming a likely future purchase. “I am a tumbler enthusiast,” he says of the craft. Bryant is part of an online community of rock tumbler hobbyists who sometimes post their work on the website, and when he needs help or has a question about some of his rocks, he goes online or, in some cases, attends rock shows (gatherings where tumblers and jewelers present their wares for sale and viewing).

Bryant purchases most of his stones online from websites dedicated to the art, though he has tumbled a few pieces of local rock. His favorite stone so far is malachite, but he cautions that it’s a potentially

Bryant showcases a piece of agate

dangerous rock. “I killed a tree in my backyard working with malachite,” Bryant warns. “I threw the grit out there and the tree started not looking so good . .  . and then it died.” He also advises against throwing used grit down the sink. “It’s basically like cement, so don’t do it,” he warns.

Dangers of the craft aside, Bryant enjoys rock tumbling because it doesn’t require constant attention and commitment. “It’s a really low maintenance hobby. The tenure process was long, and picking up this hobby was good for making me learn to wait,” he says. Bryant has also shared his hobby with his daughter, bringing rocks to her class and giving pieces of polished agate to the students, hopefully inspiring one of them to someday beg for a rock tumbler.

Mike Lang Releases Album

Mike Lang has more than just a passing interest in metal music.  Along with Professor Mark Deuze and Massakren lead singer Parker Weidner, Mike led one of the most talked about brown bag presentations of last semester. While he takes his scholarly research on extreme metal and scenic capital very seriously, Mike also explores metal in a more applied way . . . by playing it.

Now, Mike and his band, Deschain, are celebrating the release of their own album.  It is available for purchase through MySpace or by contacting Mike directly. Congratulations Mike!

Listen here: Deschain

Brown Bag Presentation

Chris Eller, MS student and Senior Systems Analyst at IU’s Advance Visualization Lab, gave last week’s brown bag presentation.

Developing a 3D Advanced Production Class – What’s it like to Teach on the Bleeding Edge

Abstract:  3D movies have come, once again, into the public eye. Modern 3D technology has overcome many of the shortcomings present in the last Golden Age of Hollywood 3D circa 1955. We are now in a position to develop 3D movies that can stand on the merits of storytelling and cinematic craft without 3D problems hampering the success of the production. The technology of stereoscopic production has come a long way since Sir Charles Wheatstone published his paper concerning stereopsis in 1838.

Now, 173 years later, Hollywood and Indie productions are finding fresh success at the box office while at the same time discovering that precious few people actually know HOW to make a good 3D movie or TV show. T452 was conceived of and designed to address this knowledge gap and equip our students to successfully compete for jobs on 3D productions after graduation.

Follow these links to Chris Eller’s Brown Bag Podcast and the slides from his presentation. You can also check out his website here.


Nicky Lewis:  Rachel Bailey’s Collection and Mike Lang Releases Album

Katie Birge:  Bryant Paul’s Rockin’ Hobby and Brown Bag Presentation

Roger Cooper Returns, Lelia’s Transnational Study Routine, and SPR Conference in Portland

Roger Cooper Returns to IU

It’s been 17 years since Roger Cooper has walked on IU’s campus.  After receiving his PhD from the Department of Telecommunications in 1992, Roger Cooper has gone on to become an associate professor and director of the School of Media Arts and Studies at Ohio University.  Last Friday,  he returned to Bloomington to present at the week’s brown bag.  Beforehand, he shared some memories from his time at IU and what it means to come back after all these years.  “It’s kind of odd that I haven’t come back, being that OU is only 300 miles away, but I think it’s because coming back is an emotional experience for me.  It was an important time in my life.”

Roger explained that making the decision to come to Bloomington to pursue his PhD was a big one.  “I was married, with two small children and we both had steady jobs.  On the surface, it didn’t seem like the best decision.”  His parents were particularly unsure about Roger’s decision to pack up his family and go back to grad school.  For him, the decision to come to IU was one of the easiest he ever made.  “I had a gut feeling that this was what I was supposed to do.  If you think too practically about these kind of things, you might not make the best choice.  The heart should lead the head.”  Now, Roger’s father often reminisces that he had it wrong and stands corrected.

While on the faculty of Texas Christian University, he spent a year in Japan as a Fulbright Scholar at Osaka University.  He described it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience another culture with his wife and young children.  Now at Ohio University, Roger was reflective about the similarities between Athens and Bloomington.  Both communities have a small town feel, where the university has a large impact on the town’s identity.  Looking back at his time at IU, he knows he made the right choice.  “I was encouraged to explore different methodologies and approaches by the faculty.  The faculty were truly supportive.  It’s the people here that made a difference.”

Roger Cooper’s Brown Bag Presentation

Active within Structures: Conceptualizing Post-Convergent Media Uses

Abstract: Post-convergence implies that media and communication scholars will increasingly need to develop theories and measures that consider uses, effects, gratifications, and structures across media platforms rather than to isolate concepts to a single media.  Today’s media offer video, audio, and text for users to access when, where, and how they want it.  Individuals use media simultaneously, share experiences and content (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), and can access the same (or similar) content through a variety of delivery systems.  However, although abundant choices and broad access to content transfer considerable power to the use, individuals continue to function within structures that have important influences on us.

Convergence provides an opportunity for scholars to integrate divergent individual-level active-audience theories with (traditionally) macro-level structural theories.  For example, individuals “actively” structure their preferences (e.g., bookmarks, DVR settings) to self-organize their media and communication experiences in content-abundant environments.  This implies that structure can be, at times, an “active” process.  These choices may,in turn, impose or encourage external structures that further influence access and/or choices.  This presentation proposes an “active within structures” conceptualization of media use in converged media and communication environments, and will discuss measurement opportunities and challenges.  Results will be presented from studies that seek to provide explanations of uses in a convergent media world.

Lelia Samson’s Transnational Study Routine

Everyone has a “best place” for studying. For PhD candidate Lelia Samson, her special study place for her comprehensive exams wasn’t just one location—it was over 30 spots on multiple continents. Lelia, who spent part of the summer abroad after the ICA conference in Singapore, found herself studying for the exams while visiting Malaysia, Germany, London, and her home country of Romania, until finally returning to Bloomington for the final weeks of preparation, where she continued to jump from library to library across IU’s campus.

Lelia’s approach to studying was somewhat unconventional. She studied each topic or subject area in only one place, so she would associate each place with what she learned. And did it all sink in? “Sometimes when I think of Paisley, I think of my friend in Nuremberg when I was babysitting for his daughter. I have associations with most of the readings,” she says.

Successfully preparing for the exams, as other PhD candidates could attest, is bound to be no easy task, but Lelia points out that one comforting aspect is the subject matter. “It’s the stuff that you like. Most of the readings are related to what you’re interested in,” she says. In fact, according to Lelia, even the exams themselves were enjoyable. “The exciting part is when you get there. You’ve been stressing out and reading and all of that, and then you get in the room and the questions are awesome because they’re exactly what your interested in,” she says. “In those hours you realize that you actually know and you’ve actually become a scholar. And that’s why I had fun.”

SPR Conference in Portland, Oregon

Last week, Professors Julia Fox, Annie Lang, and Robert Potter and graduate students Rachel Bailey and Bridget Rubenking attended the Society for Psychophysiological Research’s (SPR) annual conference in Portland, OR.  SPR celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary in the City of Roses.

The conference kicked off with an opening reception at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and the science party never stopped. Days were scheduled with themed panel discussions that linked physiological and psychological aspects of behavior. Evenings offered large poster sessions where researchers, including the IU attendees, presented new data in an interactive format. Here’s a list of posters from the department:
“The devil you know: The effects of screen size, pacing, experience and familiarity on attention and arousal responses to camera changes in television messages” -Di Chen and Julia R. Fox
“The effects of trait motivational activation and personal experiences on processing negative, motivationally relevant television content” -Rachel L. Bailey, Annie Lang, Gayle Marks, Sungkyoung Lee, Bernice Pescosolido, and Jack Martin
“The effects of trait appetitive system reactivity and personal experiences on processing TV messages about mental illness” – Rachel L. Bailey, Bridget Rubenking, Annie Lang, Gayle Marks, Sungkyoung Lee, Bernice Pescosolido, and Jack Martin
“Using HRV to measure variations in PNS and SNS activation during television viewing” -K. Jacob Koruth and Annie Lang
Also see pictures below from the week’s events:

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Random Thought:

“I see how it is.  You give Matt 2 minutes and 40 seconds and I only get a minute 30.  Is there not a time limit on these things?”

– Mike McGregor, in reference to the objects in faculty offices series.  Reproduced with permission.


Nicky Lewis: Roger Cooper’s Return and Brown Bag Presentation

Katie Birge: Lelia’s Study Routine and SPR Conference

Special Thanks:

Bridget Rubenking: guest contributor for SPR Conference

Rob Potter: Photos of SPR Conference