Current Projects

I haven’t given up on blogging, this has just been one of those semesters. I would like to be keeping everyone up to date, but I just can’t seem to find ten minutes to update my main blog–though I’ve been posting elsewhere. So what is it that is keeping me so busy? Here are the projects I’m working on through the end of the year.

Projects Midway

These are things that are in some stage of completion, though some still require quite a bit of work.

1. National Communication Association conference

I’ll be late for the start of the NCA conference because I didn’t want to miss another set of my grad seminars, but I’m on a flight at an ungodly hour of the morning tomorrow for Chicago to present a paper entitled “Cutting Paths to Political Candidates: Technologies for Social Findability.” I’m not at all happy with the paper (I haven’t been happy with any of my papers this semester), but I’ll decide over the winter break whether to overhaul this one and polish it or roll it into a comparison with the presidential election.

I probably won’t be blogging the conference, since my lappy is still not working properly.

2. Introduction to Interactive Communication Seminar

Tonight was the last “content” day for this class, looking at the effects of search engines. After the Thanksgiving break next week, participants are presenting their briefs on various topics. Like other semesters, the students are blogging. I’ve been pleasantly surprised about two things. First, although there have been blogs that started out good and were consistently good throughout the semester, and blogs that started out struggling and still are, the vast middle has generally gotten better throughout the semester, and I might go so far as to say that the blogs this semester are particularly good as a whole at this point. For a taste, check out I see ’em, five O won, Brophblog, Waxing, or Graduate Interactive Communication.

The other surprise is a lot of use of video in the blogs. Not just original video like this response to a Smart Mobs reading by JennX:

(kudos for battling through the Japanese!) but also other videos from YouTube and elsewhere that are both relevant and appropriate to their work. This is great, since it suggests a crossover to true multimedia, which is really interesting. Having been taken a bit unawares this semester, I’m going to try to encourage students to do this next time around. Very much looking forward to what the seminar participants accomplish in their final projects and I will post the best of those here for my loyal readers in search of interesting stuffs.

3. Virtual Worlds Seminar

This was intended as a projects-based course, and it’s been a rocky first-time through. I may re-offer it as a special topics course again at some point, drawing on some of the things we’ve learned this time about how best to approach things. Earlier in the semester, groups put together their first machinema from Second Life, like this one:

They are now working on several projects, including a furniture shop, an in-word presence for a school, and a mixed-mode organic T-shirt company. I’ll post links to the projects once we get to the end. After some prompting by one of the participants, I’m doing my own little project: a proof-of-concept for a judo dojo. I’ll try to do some videos of the process, though most of that work is going to have to happen when I get back from Chicago.

4. Internet Research Papers

I presented two papers in Vancouver, neither of which I was super-happy with. I got great feedback on both, though, and so I’ll probably take another run at them. One looked at comparisons of coverage of “localized” search engines, the other with the initial in-world wayfinding experience in SL. I’ll probably scrap the work on the latter for a more traditional usability study of SL for new users. But for now, these are both back-burnered.

5. Book about Search Engines

Working on a book entitled Search Engine Society for Polity Press. Still more to do with this, but once there is something more concrete to say, I’ll let you know. This is a broad overview of the effects of search engines on the information society, and how that relationship is evolving.

6. Association of Internet Research (AoIR) Stuff

I’m trying to make myself redundant here, but there are lots of little things that need to be done, from assisting in the upload of papers to upgrading the wiki, to supporting the creation of a new website. Trying to make incremental progress on those when I have little snatches of time.

7. Reviewing a paper for New Media & Society


Early Stage Stuff

1. Hiring a new faculty member

This shouldn’t be so new, since we should be further along on this. I’m chairing a hiring committee for a tenure-track position in interactive communication Quinnipiac University. It’s not too late to contact me if you have mad skillz in the interactive industry and want to teach a group of interesting and bright (see above) grad students. If you want to chat about the position in Chicago, email me ASAP. We officially started reviewing candidates on the first of the month, but we still haven’t made a first cut.

2. Planning two online version of my seminars

We are moving toward an online version of our MS in Interactive Communication program, and to help facilitate this, I’ll be teaching two of my courses online next semester. The introductory seminar and a seminar on the effect of “wikinomics” on the communicating professionals both need to be sewn up shortly.

3. Two research papers

For now, these are under the working titles “Finding Tonto” and “Pavlov’s Blog.” I’ve wanted to do both for a while, but I’m going to try to get the preliminary research done before the end of the year. These may be sent off for the ICWSM conference in Seattle or HICSS. I was talking to a reporter this week about openly blogging my work, and this is that rare thing I won’t blog: ideas that I’m committed to taking on shortly, but I haven’t started the research on. As soon as I get started, I don’t mind writing about it, assuming that I actually have something interesting to say, and that it might be harder to catch up.

4. Walking

I was really doing well on getting to the gym and eating better until I ended up stressed out and overworked starting this summer. Need to recover (somehow) the time to bring this into my life. First step is back to 10,000 steps a day of walking.

5. Next book

As with the papers, I really ought to finish some things before taking on new projects, but I’m at the eary stages of planning for a book on the relationship between creativity and self-government.

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One Comment

  1. Posted 11/16/2007 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    dang, Alex, talk about a full plate. good luck making your way through it all and i hope you get some down time over winter break.

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