All posts by Valeta Wensloff

MSU business-IT students help area companies on new tech projects

Posted on: September 21, 2016

East Lansing, Michigan – September 19, 2016 – Nearly 20 teams of Michigan State University undergraduate seniors are ready and waiting to help mid-Michigan businesses and nonprofits solve their digital problems. As part of their final course in their Information Technology minor, the students are required to work in cross-functional teams on a real-world IT (information technology) project. They just need a few more “clients.”

Professors Constantinos K. Coursaris and Wietske van Osch, who are teaching the course through MSU’s Department of Media and Information, say the students are capable of taking on a wide range of technology-related projects, because each team will comprise of students majoring in business, media and information, and computer science and engineering. A short list of recently completed and successful projects follows:

Websites and Web Content Management Systems
Student teams designed and implemented content management systems for clients such as the Lansing Old Town Business and Arts Development Association and TechTown, Detroit’s research and technology development park along the Woodward corridor.

Database and Workflow Systems
Student teams also help with “back end” office operations. For example, one team designed and implemented a new membership database for the Michigan Kiwanis Club using Microsoft Access and another team used Microsoft InfoPath to design and implement a workflow system for a petroleum distribution company.

Wireless Web Access
A student team created a prototype for the Oakland County Mobile Services system to format website information for smaller screens on mobile phones and PDAs.

Video Production
Students produced promotional videos and DVDs for clients ranging from St. Johns Public Schools to Walnut Hills Country Club.

Social Media
Students created a comprehensive social media strategy, initial presence and maintenance plan for Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub.

To submit a project for consideration, please contact Dr. Coursaris via email as soon as possible and no later than September 25, 2016, at

Professors Coursaris and Van Osch are now accepting proposals from area organizations (business, government or nonprofit) to have student teams take on projects for the fall 2016 academic semester, starting in September and ending on December 9. The ideal project is “hands-on,” with a well-defined outcome that can be achieved by three to four students in 8-10 weeks.

To submit a project for consideration, please contact Dr. Coursaris via email by September 25, 2016, at

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World-class New Colleagues

Posted on: September 6, 2016

We are excited to welcome eight world-class colleagues to our department! They are part of an amazing group of 28 tenure system faculty and professors of practice hired by the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and will and add depth and breadth to our research and creative faculty.

Our new members of the research faculty are (in alphabetical order):

David EwoldsenDavid R. Ewoldsen, elected an ICA Fellow in 2016, joins us from The Ohio State University. He received a joint Ph.D. in psychology and speech communication at Indiana University in 1990. David engages in the scientific study of the psychological processes involved in the selection, uses, interpretation, and effects of mediated communication. His recent research has included media and racism, adolescent risky behaviors, cooperative video game play, how people comprehend media messages, motivations for seeking narratives, and the psychology of entertainment.

Keith HamptonKeith Hampton joins MSU from Rutgers University where he was the Endowed Professor in Communication and Public Policy and Co-Chair of the Social Media & Society Cluster in the School of Communication and Information. Prior to Rutgers University, he was a member of the faculties of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and at MIT. He is broadly interested in the relationship between new information and communication technologies, social networks, democratic engagement and the urban environment.

Natascha JustNatascha Just will be joining the department’s faculty in January 2017. Until her departure to the U.S, she will continue to be a senior research and teaching associate in the Media Change & Innovation Division, Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research (IPMZ), at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Natascha has a Ph.D. in communication science from the University of Vienna, Austria. Her research and teaching interests are in media economics and policy, with a particular emphasis on Internet economics.

Elizabeth LaPenséeElizabeth LaPensée is jointly appointed in the Department of Media and Information and the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC). She expresses herself through writing, design, and art in games, transmedia, comics, and animation. She is Anishinaabe, Métis, and Irish, living near the Great Lakes. She designed and created art for Honour Water (2016), an Anishinaabe singing game for healing the water. She also designed and programmed Invaders (2015), a remix of the arcade classic Space Invaders inspired by art from Steven Paul Judd.

In addition, several professors of practice have joined our creative faculty in film and media production as well as games and interactive media:

Jeremy Gibson BondJeremy Gibson Bond will be teaching game design and development at Michigan State University. Since 2013, he has served the IndieCade independent game festival and conference as the Chair of Education and Advancement, where he co-chairs the IndieXchange summit each year. Jeremy is the founder of ExNinja Interactive and the author of Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development: From Concept to Playable Game in Unity and C#. Prior to joining the MSU Games faculty, he taught as a lecturer in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and the Interactive Media and Games Division of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.

Ricardo GuimaraesRicardo Guimaraes is a concept artist and illustrator with extended work experience for the entertainment industry. He joins our faculty from Rio di Janeiro, Brazil. Ricardo’s illustrations have been showcased at ImagineFX Magazine and Ballistic Publishing's EXOTIQUE, among many others. His clients include Blizzard Entertainment, Square Enix, Ghost VFX, and many others. Joining MSU as a professor of practice, he will teach, among others, courses on concept design for students in the film and games focus areas and 3D graphic design. He will also contribute to the work of the Games for Learning and Entertainment (GEL) Lab.

Carleen Ling-An HsuCarleen Ling-An Hsu graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she studied film and television and from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her films for HBO, PBS, the Learning Channel, BBC, and Channel 4 (in the UK) cover a wide range of subjects from the obesity epidemic in America to gender identity in Thailand to faith healing in Africa. She joins MSU as a Professor of Practice in our department jointly with the Film Studies Program in the Department of English. Carleen’s documentaries have been recognized for their exceptional storytelling and original content with a Royal Television Society Award, a Genesis Award, a Foreign Press Association Award for Best Documentary, a nomination for a national News and Documentary Emmy, and two prestigious George Foster Peabody Awards.

John J. ValadezJohn J. Valadez is a Peabody Award winning filmmaker who has written, directed and produced many nationally broadcast documentary films. His films address such diverse subjects as the false imprisonment of a leader of the Black Panther Party, Latino poets in New York City, gang kids in Chicago, the history of affirmative action, segregation in America’s schools, Latinos in World War II, the evolution of Chicano music, Latino civil rights, and the genocide of Native Americans in the Southwest. John grew up in Seattle, taught photography in India, and studied filmmaking at New York University. He will be joining our department as a Professor of Practice with a joint appointment in the Department of English and at WKAR.

This fantastic team arrives just in time for the launch of our new undergraduate degree. The innovative modular design prepares students for a digital media age in which convergence has blurred traditional boundaries among media sectors. Transmedia knowledge is increasingly an asset. In our program, you can specialize in one of several focus areas (film and media production, games and interactive media, graphics and animation, creating human-centered technology, media and information management, and society policy and research) or you can combine knowledge from two or more areas to broader your future employment opportunities.

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MSU Graduate Certificate in Serious Games: Now with Badges!

Posted on: October 13, 2015

Serious Game Certificate Badges

by Carrie Heeter, Professor

The MSU Graduate Certificate Program in Serious Games now comes with badges. You earn one badge for each of the three courses, as soon as you successfully complete the course. And you earn a composite badge when you complete all three courses and earn the certificate.

You can post the badges you earn directly on your personal web site and your linked page, with a link to this web page describing the badges and criteria. We also award the badges through Mozilla’s Backpack badge system.

Instructions on how to obtain the digital badge will be provided upon successful completion of each course. If you already completed a course or the certificate but did not receive instructions on how to claim your badges, contact Carrie (

In fall 2012, MSU launched our fully online graduate certificate program in serious game design and research. We were experienced online teachers and we were clear about what courses to offer and key concepts, skills, and theories that would provide a great foundation for serious game design.

I didn’t realize how amazing it would be to get to teach passionate, diverse, incredibly expert “students” from across the US and around the world.

  • Many are K-12 teachers or university professors.
  • Some are doctoral students.
  • They teach or study computer science or english or history or art or math or  education or HCI…
  • Some work in the game industry.
  • Some are corporate trainers.
  • Some work in Fortune 500 companies.
  • One designs exhibits for a science museum.
  • Another creates visitors experiences for fisheries and wildlife centers.

As the program enters its third year, we’ve learned a lot.

  • We’ve been fine tuning ways to encourage each learner to approach class assignments to optimize their personal learning goals.
  • We’ve been refining ways to connect classmates with each other so they benefit from each other’s ideas and experience.
  • We’ve refined assignments and approaches to ensure that our courses, along with being full of content and projects, are sensitive to busy professional’s lives.

Wizard CarrieSo, if you’re passionate and awesome and interested in learning more about designing and studying game to change the world, apply to our program. Find more information here. If you have questions, email me, Professor Carrie Heeter,

The deadline to apply for admission for Spring 2016 is November 15!

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Net Neutrality, the Open Internet and the Need for Relevant Research

Posted on: February 26, 2015

On February 26, 2015, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued its latest attempt to secure an open Internet by establishing net neutrality rules. The latest Order, whose full text will be released to the public after the Commission vote, reclassifies Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Verizon, Earthlink, and ACD Net as telecommunications service providers (common carriers). Under these rules, ISPs will be subjected to non-discrimination obligations and may not offer paid prioritization to content providers. Common carrier services, addressed in Title II of U.S. communications law, are potentially subject to detailed regulation, although the FCC elected to forbear from the vast majority of rules that had historically applied to public utilities, promising that no price regulation, universal service fees, and taxes would be imposed.

Title II obliges service providers to provide their services on a non-discriminatory basis to all who have a reasonable request. This is the legal framework under which fixed and mobile telephone companies and their broadband services operated until 2005, when they were reclassified as nearly unregulated information services. Cable companies were never subject to such non-discrimination obligations. Non-discriminatory access and an obligation to serve everybody are key tenets of everybody interested in an open Internet, a debate that had been unfolding over the past decade under the heading of “net neutrality”.

There is unanimous agreement that an open Internet is desirable but there are wide differences as to how it could be safeguarded and particularly concern among stakeholders about the chosen approach. Interestingly, the positions of business and users are divided within these groups. Wireline ISPs are vehemently opposed to the new rules, several mobile service providers (including T-Mobile and Sprint) have signaled that they are indifferent, and many high-tech players such as Google as well as numerous high-tech entrepreneurs support such regulatory intervention. Many players in the business community and some cyber libertarians believe that ISPs voluntarily will keep the Internet open and that today’s rules are a historical step backwards, subjecting the Internet to unprecedented and undesirable government intervention.

So what are the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed approach? The biggest advantage of the chosen approach is that is puts FCC authority on a solid legal footing. The other alternative, creating the ability to monitor and safeguard an open Internet within the information services framework is more difficult to construct legally and two prior attempts were overturned by the appeals courts. In that sense, the FCC chose a robust framework. The biggest risk is regulatory creep. Even though the agency promises to apply only light-handed regulation, there is a high risk that stakeholders will gradually (ab)use the regulatory process to tweak Internet policy in their own favor, leading to gradual regulatory expansion that would undermine the dynamic Internet. The most effective, yet most elusive way forward would have been for Congress to endow the FCC with solid legal foundations to safeguard an open Internet. In that sense, the FCC chose a feasible, but third-best solution to support a desirable policy goal.

It remains to be seen whether any of the dire forecasts and enthusiastic predictions will materialize. It is unlikely that the new Order will improve access speeds, increase investment, and accelerate the rollout of Internet access to rural and unserved users as supporters of the Order claim. It is also unlikely that the fears project by opponents, including higher broadband prices, slower access speeds, lower investment, higher broadband taxes, and slower innovation will result. The Order seems to have a beneficial effect in that it will safeguard free speech and access for small entrepreneurs to the web. Most likely, the Internet as a dynamic place and the many players participating in it will adapt to these rules and muddle through on a going-forward basis.

What is needed, and seems to be absent from the Order, is a systematic monitoring of the effects of the Order as it is implemented so that these conflicting claims can be evaluated and, if necessary, mitigating policies can be adopted. Faculty in the Department of Media and Information has a long tradition of generating relevant research. Several of our researchers have studied the issue of net neutrality. Johannes M. Bauer and Jonathan A. Obar published a paper in The Information Society that clearly identified the benefits of an open Internet, the potential risks if all safeguards are eliminated, but it also warned from a simplistic approach that would favor one set of goals over others. The present model is a far cry from such a nuanced approach.

In this tradition of relevant research, the Quello Center for Media and Information Policy under the leadership of its Director William H. Dutton, is launching a Network Neutrality Impact Study, bringing in a network of MSU researchers from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences (Johannes M. Bauer, Steven S. Wildman), Social Sciences (Jay Pil Choi), and Law (Adam Candeub). The goal is to provide a non-partisan, unbiased assessment of the short-, medium- and long-term implications of this far-reaching Order to inform practitioners in business, government, and the public at large. Our hope is to contribute to preserving the openness, free speech, and the dynamics of the Internet.

Johannes M. Bauer
Professor and Chairperson

Watch Dr. Bauer's net neutrality interview on WLNS TV.

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Video Students Document Spartan Stampede

Posted on: February 24, 2015

Spartan StampedeFor the second year in a row, Media and Information video students documented the annual Spartan Stampede, which is hosted by the MSU Rodeo Club and showcases premier athletes from the ranks of the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA).

This experience, led by Media Information student producer Jessica Niskar and overseen by Broadcast and Systems Information Engineer Brian Kusch, gave 15 students the chance to get live event production experience.

Spartan Stampede 2To prepare for the event, the students met several times to learn the details about rodeos, how to properly approach the videotaping process with regards to a fast-moving live event, and the general breakdown of how to create a successful production.

A month before the event, Niskar's crew scouted the location, then planned their approach. They learned how to work within the parameters of the location, setup and run the equipment, and crew the event. Over three days, the crew worked 30 hours to complete the production.

Following in the footsteps of ESPN, the students decided which stories and themes to follow, and edited those stories accordingly. The students are currently working on the final edit of the Stampede, which will be available online.

For more photos of the event, see the Media and Information Flickr account.

Spartan Stampede 3


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Poor Decision Making Can Lead to Cybersecurity Breaches

Posted on: February 15, 2015

Rick Wash mainRecent high-profile security breaches, such as those at Target, Anthem Inc. and Sony Pictures, have attracted scrutiny to how the seemingly minor decisions of individuals can have major cybersecurity consequences.

In a presentation at this year's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the largest science gatherings in the world, Assistant Professor Rick Wash discussed how social interactions affect the processes behind personal cybersecurity decision making.

"We all have small supercomputers in our pockets now," said Wash, who has a joint appointment in the School of Journalism and the Department of Media and Information. "Regular people like you and I make a lot of important security decisions on a daily basis."

He said the Sony hack is a great example of smart people making poor choices.

"A lot of people were making bad decisions, sharing passwords, etc., that led to this event," Wash said. "But what's the reasoning process behind these decisions?"

Wash's research shows that how people visualize and conceptualize hackers and other cyber criminals affects their cybersecurity decision making. As people make personal assessments about the risks of their behaviors, these impressions – formed from the influence of media, interpersonal interactions and storytelling – have a great impact.

"People tend to focus on a picture they have in their head when conceptualizing hackers and virus makers," Wash said. "I have found two of these pictured individuals to be the most common and easily recognizable: The teenager on a computer in their parents' basement or the professional criminal in a foreign country. Those who picture the teenager tend to make better decisions in cybersecurity."

He said people's familiarity with the concept of a teenage mischief-maker allows them to readily visualize that person as a legitimate threat, and act accordingly. Those who visualize a foreign hacker believe they are professionals and are more likely to focus on more lucrative targets.

By identifying the social behaviors and rationales behind the decision-making process, this research can in turn help to influence effectiveness in the development of the science of cybersecurity.

Wash's presentation was part of a panel of six researchers exploring the social aspects of cybersecurity. The panel, organized by Indiana University, was titled "Holistic Computing Risk Assessment: Privacy, Security and Trust."

"We're all looking beyond the technological issues," Wash said. "It's about people and society and how it all comes together."

AAAS is the world's largest general science society. Its annual meeting brings together thousands of scientists, engineers, policymakers, educators and journalists to present new research and developments in science and technology. This year's conference was Feb. 12-16 in San Jose, Calif.

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World Usability Day Sparks Academic-Industry Conversation about Creating Engaging User Experiences

Posted on: November 21, 2014

The 10th Annual Michigan World Usability Day (WUD) Conference was held on Thursday, November 11th at Michigan State University (MSU). Hosted by MSU Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting (UARC), the event attracted approximately 150+ attendees representing organizations from government, academia, and industry. The purpose of WUD is to draw attention to the work people are doing to ensure that technology products and services are easier to access and simpler to use. The Michigan event was one of 133 events held in 40 countries around the world.

The event featured five talks, each of which was centered on the theme of “engagement.” Topics included engaging users on mobile devices, leveraging incentives and rewards to create engaging user experiences, building a culture of usability and user experience in the workplace, and thinking critically about how to make mobile content accessible for everyone.

A lively conversation thread was hosted on Twitter using the hashtag #MiWUD. An estimated one-third of the attendees tweeted during the sessions, expanding WUD’s reach to over 44,000 accounts Twitter accounts and generating more than 450,000 impressions. In addition to seasoned usability/accessibility practitioners and IT professionals, WUD attracted a significant number of Michigan State University undergraduate and graduate students who used content from WUD to complement their classroom learning.

World Usability Day was made possible by the generous support and sponsorship of TechSmith, Michigan Usability Professionals Association, and MichiganCHI as well as UARC’s partners at Michigan State University, including the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Department of Media and Information, Information Technology Services, Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, and the Office of University Outreach and Engagement.

Visit MSU’s Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting website for more information about WUD 2014 and updates about the 2015 conference. You can also view the Twitter hashtag #MiWUD for inspirational tweets and photos!

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Co-operative Course Enhances Oakland County's Digital Offerings

Posted on: October 23, 2014

Most university courses depend on the standard lecture-to-students order of operations. Rare is the course which steps outside those boundaries, but one such class is ITM 444, a "Capstone" course that is part of the Minor in Information Technology (I.T.) at Michigan State ( Groups of students use their knowledge from previous courses to work together to solve a high-level technology challenges for local companies and government organizations. Dr. Constantinos K. Coursaris and Dr. Wietske Van Osch teach the course, bringing together approximately 70 students every spring semester that spans January through May.

itm444-ckcThe I.T. Minor is designed to provide students with a broad, multidisciplinary understanding of the role and basic mechanics of information technology in contemporary society. Students develop core competencies in their primary area of study and broaden their horizons as they interact with others from different academic backgrounds. Students completing the I.T. Minor are well prepared for employment in technology-oriented environments and understand the evolving impact of information technology on society. The I.T. Minor is comprised of an educational trifecta between departments in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences; Eli Broad School of Business; and the College of Engineering.

Case Study: G2G Marketplace for Oakland County

itm444-wvoOne returning client, Oakland County Department of Information Technology, recently successfully launched the G2G Marketplace with the help of four ITM 444 students: Alex Dietrich, Cody Hall, Cody Szostek, and Jerold Lewis. G2G Marketplace ( or "Government to Government Market" is a website which allows "government partners and approved vendors to government agencies through an online store experience." In other words, government officials can use the site to research and purchase systems and solutions to their technology needs. The website brings together pre-approved vendors to expedite the search and pricing/quote process. Completely free, G2G Marketplace is geared towards smaller government bodies, such as cities, townships, and courts.

The students' process was extensive. First, they utilized a survey to investigate how much interest government entities might have in such a project. After they found that interest was high, they analyzed how that interest fit in and was served (or not served) by the G2G assets already in development. From there, the students developed a prototype of the Marketplace. This allowed Oakland County I.T. department to test the structure for usability and clarity to be certain it met the needs of the county.

“Students are not operating in the ‘safety net’ afforded by mock projects or fictional clients; these are real world IT challenges faced by small to large organizations, from greater Michigan and at times beyond. In this context, students are given a unique educational opportunity to both learn and apply project management principles and tactics, and in the process acquire skills that will help them in both their personal and professional lives.” said Dr. Coursaris.
Dr. Van Osch added, “In addition to getting the real world IT project experience and learning all associated challenges, it offers a great resume builder and opportunity for obtaining references or even a job right out of college. Factors that all help to explain the excellent placement rates of students from the IT management program, allowing 3 out of 4 students to obtain a job upon graduation”.

One benefit to this project, and the ITM 444 class involvement, was the high quality vs. low cost of utilizing student involvement. The students spent about 400 hours from the initial survey through the prototype - normally the survey-to-prototype process would be quite costly. The final website was completed by the Oakland County I.T. team in September and is now available for use.

The project has received praise for its efficiency, including being a "Best of the Week" article in Government Technology Magazine.

Students often use their ITM 444 project as part of a portfolio. In Cody Hall's case, this led directly to a market research analyst position, while for Alex Dietrich it meant being tapped by Chrysler as a Data Center Network Planner.

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Our Technologically Mediated Lives

Posted on: September 8, 2014

by Shelia Cotten

I feel very lucky to do what I do. I study technology use across the life course and the impacts of technology usage on health, social life, and educational outcomes. My research has involved thousands of elementary school children, hundreds of teachers, and thousands of older adults, not to mention a range of age groups across the life course. In some of my research I have worked with colleagues to train older adults who are in assisted and independent living communities to use computers and the Internet to improve their quality of life. Older adults are at higher risk of loneliness, social isolation, and depression than other age groups. Helping them connect to the Internet to communicate with others, find information, and overcome geographical and social boundaries has a range of positive impacts on their quality of life. I hope to extend this work with older adults in high poverty communities and those with specific types of health conditions.

Rather than focusing on older adults, I want to share with you some brief thoughts about technology use by and for others at the other end of the age spectrum. Here, I’m referring to infants, babies, and even the fetus and embryos prior to birth. Before a baby is born in today’s society, the baby’s digital life has already begun. Whether it is from ultrasound pictures, baby bumps, or pregnancy test photos that are stored on computers, mobile phones, or in the cloud, posted on Facebook, pregnancy progression websites, or emailed and forwarded to friends and family members, a myriad of information is conveyed about babies before they are even born. As babies are born, grow into infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers, and continue to progress through the life course, even more information is shared through a variety of technological platforms and applications.

In these early stages, much of the digital information is shared by parents, older siblings, other family members, and friends, with little to no knowledge of this by the child. We know that sharing digital information like this can enhance social support and social integration among social ties. However, we know little about the long-term effects of sharing this type of information on the youth as they progress through the life course. Privacy issues, identity creation and work, online safety and security, and the impacts on future development are only a few of the issues that we know little about in our technologically mediated world.

Given the rapidly changing technological world in which we live, we need more people to study not just what types of individuals are using various technologies or how they are using them, but also to focus on the impacts of technologies in general and as people move through the life course. By gaining an understanding of how different types of technology use affect our lives, hopefully we can begin to design interventions to improve quality of life for varying groups in our society.

Technology is constantly evolving and researchers are only in the infancy stage of understanding the impacts of technology use on individuals, groups, and our society more generally. I encourage others to think about ways to further our understanding of the impacts of our technologically mediated lives and how we can harness the power of technology to enhance health and well-being for everyone.

Examples of some of my research:
Shelia R. Cotten, George Ford, Sherry Ford, and Timothy M. Hale. Internet Use and Depression Among Retired Older Adults in the U.S.: A Longitudinal Analysis. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological and Social Sciences, 69(5): 763-771, 2014. Doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbu018.

Shelia R. Cotten, Daniel Shank, and William Anderson. Gender, Technology Use and Ownership, and Media-Based Multitasking among Middle School Students. Computers in Human Behavior, 35: 99-106, 2014.

Shelia R. Cotten, William Anderson, Brandi McCullough. Impact of Internet Use on Loneliness and Contact with Others Among Older Adults: Cross-Sectional Analysis. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 15(2): e39. Doi: 10.2196/jmir.2306, 2013.

Reynol Junco and Shelia R. Cotten. No A 4 U: The Relationship Between Multitasking and Academic Performance. Computers & Education. 59(2): 505–514, 2012.

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Welcome students and faculty!

Posted on: August 27, 2014

As the Chairperson of the Department of Media and Information I want to extend a very warm welcome to all new and returning students! You are joining a dynamic, interdisciplinary and energetic community of researchers, creators, and teachers united by a passion for all aspects of media and information. A member of the iSchools Consortium, our department offers an environment of engaged learning and scholarship. Our creative and research faculty explore and study the next frontiers of media and information technology, innovative applications and services, and create arts and culture.

Teaching is an integral part of our mission and we passionately work with undergraduate and graduate students. I invite you to take advantage of it and become an active member of our community of learners. Engage in department activities (we always look for student representatives to create a better department and college), join one of our student groups (MSU Telecasters, ASCOT, Spartasoft), play in the Media Sandbox, and attend the many talks given by entrepreneurs, professionals and leading thinkers in the field.

The department’s main energy comes from our world-class junior and senior faculty. All of our professors had a busy and productive summer. Their work during the past months will greatly benefit future teaching and further enhance the vibrant learning environment in the department. Presenting all achievements would be a rather long document. So let me highlight but a few of the impressive activities of our faculty with more to come on an ongoing basis.

At the outset, I would like to welcome to our three new faculty members. William H. Dutton joined us from the University of Oxford to become the Quello Chair and Quello Center Director. Taiwoo Park relocated from the Korea Information Society Development Institute (KISDI) to MSU and Young (Anna) Lee joined us from Fordham University in New York. We look forward to working with you and to your contributions to our teaching and scholarship!

Literally all our faculty members and many graduate students presented their latest research at leading national and international conferences during the summer, including at the ICA in Seattle (several presentations including Robert LaRose, Shelia Cotten, Wei Peng, and Robby Ratan); CHI in Toronto; SOUPS; CPR LATAM in Bogotá, Colombia; AEJMC in Montreal, Canada; IAMCR in Hyderabad, India; and the ASA in San Francisco. Several of our students won prizes for their papers (Hsin-yi Sandy Tsai, Young June Sah). Robby Ratan presented his work to researchers at Google and on a lecture tour in Europe. Steve Wildman share his media economics insights as a visiting professor in Hamburg, Germany.

Many of us continued to work on externally funded research grants at home and abroad, including work in Malawi (Chip Steinfield, Susan Wyche), Tanzania and Zambia (Jenny Olson). Brian Winn worked on NASA and NIH-funded projects; Shelia Cotten continued her research on technology use across the life course funded by NSF and NIH, and Casey O’Donnell was busy with an NSF-funded project. Mark Levy finished the final report documenting his work on the uses and effects of mobile technology on women entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Indonesia. Wei Peng and Robby Ratan continued their experimental studies, while Carrie Heeter developed innovative approaches to cybermeditation.

Emilee Rader and Rick Wash continued work on their NSF-funded grants in the BITLab. As part of these grants, Rick and Emilee make Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) available. These well-paid summer internships take much time to organize but they offer great opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in cutting-edge research. Work starts early in the year and continues through the spring when more than 180 applicants have to be reviewed, work has to be organized, and the young researchers have to be trained and guided in their efforts. Katie Hoban, one of the undergraduates, won a Distinguished Poster Award at the SOUPS conference.

In addition to ongoing research, several grant proposals that had been submitted earlier in the year were recommended for funding. Constantinos Coursaris serves as a co-PI on a large award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI0; Susan Wyche’s work has received funding from USAID; and Brian Winn and the GEL Lab received additional funding from the Frankel Jewish Academy. Jina Huh’s NIH K01 proposal was recommended for funding, as was the NSF proposal by Wietske van Osch and Chip Steinfield.

Department faculty was active in several summer programs. Amol Pavangadkar inaugurated a highly successful summer program in “Bollywood”, India. Constantinos Coursaris and Wietske van Osch led study abroad programs in Japan and South Korea. Troy Hale participated in the Media summer Program in London. Others taught on campus. Amanda Krueger and her team, including faculty members Andrew Dennis, Casey O’Donnell, Lisa Whiting Dobson, Jon Whiting, and many others provided an exciting experience for more than 200 middle and high school students who attended this year’s Media Summer Camps. Valeta Wensloff, Patrick Shaw, and David McCarty taught our online summer courses, important to allow students to continue their studies even while working on distant internships, while Bob Albers delivered his introduction to Story and Motion on campus.

Faculty affiliated with our department won several awards. William H. Dutton was named the 2014 winner of the William F. Ogburn Career Achievement Award, presented by the Communication and Information Technologies section of the American Sociological Association (CITASA). Troy Hale won another Emmy this summer, bringing the total to 20! Several Media Sandbox students, some from Bob Albers’ Fiction Film course and others from the Documentary Film course, showed their short films at the Traverse City Film Festival.

Welcome to our new students and welcome back to all others! I look forward to working with you this coming year!

Johannes M. Bauer
Professor and Chairperson

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