Buzzworthy Changes in Fall EMAC Course Options

network-782707_960_720If you’ve already looked at the summer and fall schedules in Coursebook, you probably noticed that we have quite a few changes. We have many new courses in the 2016 catalog. Starting this fall, we have Networked Identities (EMAC 4350), Emerging Media and Identity (EMAC 6350), and Social Science Perspectives of Emerging Media and Communication (EMAC 6375).

We also have some courses that look new but aren’t: EMAC 2321, EMAC 2322, EMAC 3326, and EMAC 4326 have new prefixes. They automatically replace the old ATEC prefixes, so don’t panic if you don’t see the ATEC prefixed courses that appear on your degree plan. Also, some COMM-prefixed courses now have EMAC prefixes, such as EMAC 3300 and EMAC 4314.

Undergraduate students on existing degree plans may substitute the following courses for prescribed electives: Storytelling for New Media I (ATEC 3346) , Design II (ATEC 3384), Strategic Design (ATEC 4357), Interaction Design II (ATEC 4363), Time-Based Art (ARTS 3376),  Photography: New Media (ARTS 3379), Child Development (PSY 3310), Psychology of Gender (PSY 3324),  Social and Personality Development (PSY 3332), and Psychology of Prejudice (PSY 4324).

The fall schedule also includes quite a few special topics courses. The following course descriptions may help you chose which sections best fit your interests:

  • EMAC 4372 Privacy in the Age of the Internet (Banner and Cardenas): Internet of Things (IoT) devices are collecting data about our personal lives – where we travel; what we buy; how much we move; what our bodies consume – at unprecedented volume. This class considers these developments in relation to inequality; gender, race, class, and disability; constructions of normative health; information ownership; and state, corporate, and workplace surveillance. We will also explore the technical dimensions of the IoT and the challenges it poses for existing law and policy. Coursework will include weekly readings and responses, and in-class exercises will include examining IoT objects, for example fitness trackers and other wearables; smart home devices; baby monitors; the Bellabeat; the iWatch; and others. Cross-listed with Computer Science, the course culminates in a collaborative project between EMAC and CS majors. Pre-reqs: EMAC 2321 and EMAC 2322 or permission of instructor.

  • EMAC 4372 Social Media Campaigns (Johnson): Social Media Campaigns will explore the influence social media has during the 2016 presidential election. The class will explore past and present presidential campaigns, comparing and contrasting how media influence public opinion.

  • EMAC 4372 Communication, Media, Information, and Technology (Lee): This course will challenge the way you think about your relationship with those around you and the world. Specifically, you will come away from the course with knowledge of how communication, mass media, and emerging media shape your perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors.

  • EMAC 4372 Ethics in Emerging Media (Lester): Emerging media require critical thinking and ethical behavior among professionals responsible for messages in all areas of mass communications. After an introduction to the history and practice of ethical behavior, this course will consider ethical examples and analyses of visual messages found in such fields as news, documentary, design and editing, informational graphics, cartoons, advertising and public relations, movies, television, computers, augmented reality, gaming, social media, global perspectives, and activism.

Finally, undergraduate students planning to graduate in Fall 2016 need to submit their capstone proposals for registration in EMAC 4380 by March 30. Graduate students planning to graduate in Fall 2016 need to submit their capstone proposals for registration in EMAC 6390 by April 15.

 

PhD Student Receives Publishing Fellowship

IMG_0540 2

 

Charles Lilly, a PhD student in the School of Arts, Technology and Emerging Communication, has received a Society for Scholarly Publishing Fellowship.

The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is a nonprofit organization formed to bring together the scholarly publication community and to facilitate new developments in the field. SSP members represent all aspects of scholarly publishing — including publishers, printers, librarians and editors.

Lilly, who is researching experimental publishing platforms, credits the fellowship to his advisor Dr. Roger F. Malina, who holds the Arts and Technology Distinguished Chair.

“Dr. Malina is a pioneer in the publishing field. Through his many years leading the reputable journal Leonardo, published by MIT Press, he has always looked for ways of reinventing scholarly communication,” Lilly said. “He has challenged me to identify emergent trends and new problems in how the academic community shares and communicates about research.”

Lilly is a member of Malina’s ArtSciLab, where students produce a podcast called Creative Disturbance, which features discussions on art, science and technology.

“Creative Disturbance is an example of how scholarly communication is leaving the printed page, the static form. Research findings, scientific breakthroughs, artistic invention might be better expressed in multimedia, images, sound, gaming or interactivity. As technology advances, it’s important that the academic publishing community isn’t trailing behind in using new tools,” he added.

The ArtSciLab is also in the process of building a new publishing platform called ARTECA with MIT Press and Leonardo. Lilly said the digital aggregator will bring a number of resources – over 200 books and 300 journal issues – into one place for students and researchers who are interested in the intersection of arts, humanities, science and technology.

“ARTECA creates a digital environment for a community of practice. It will feature not only resources, but tackles some contemporary problems in academic publishing like open access or the best way to feature multimedia-based scholarship, for example,” he said.

Lilly, who is former editor-in-chief of UT Dallas’ literary journal Reunion: The Dallas Review, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in literature from UT Dallas.

As part of his fellowship, Lilly will attend the SSP Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, this summer where he will be assigned an industry mentor and connect with other fellowship recipients.

Game Lab Fosters Innovation

2015-04-02-21_47_55-push-and-pull-1050x592

A creative director mimics running in slow motion as artists around him take notes, brainstorming ideas for character movement. Executive producers meet with the engineering team in the corner, reviewing the latest software build. Level designers in another room sketch the many environments to be included in the game.

This is a typical day for students enrolled in the Game Production Lab course — more commonly known as Game Lab. The course, which has been offered since 2008, serves as a hub for collaboration and creativity while giving students the opportunity to see what it’s like to have a profession in gaming.

“Most, if not all, of the students in Game Lab want to go into the game industry and are considering that as a career,” said Michael Breault, a clinical professor in Computer Game Design and co-teacher of the course.

The course, which is one of the highest-level production courses offered to undergraduate and graduate students, operates on a semester-by-semester basis. Around 50 game projects are pitched to Breault and a handful of other faculty.

From this pool, eight are chosen for live pitches. Then, two are developed during the following semester. Typically, 20 undergraduates and 10 graduates are chosen for the course. For Breault, who helped develop the successful “Dungeons & Dragons” board game, the Game Lab’s team-based environment is an especially important component of the course.

“The students get to work with all these different people — not just people who have different specialties, but different personalities,” he said. “It’s very different from developing a project on your own or with your friends, because there are people you may not get along with. You have to work with them and make sure everybody’s pulling in the same direction. It becomes a very honest appraisal of how much these students like the game industry.”

Monica Evans, who received the first ever Ph.D. from the ATEC program and went on to establish the Game Lab course when she returned as a faculty member, pointed out the student driven nature of the course.

“The games that come through are pitched by the students, and are developed by the students,” Evans said.

Students are placed on one of two projects for the semester and serve as directors, producers, engineers, artists, animators and narrative designers. After eight weeks of initial development, there is a public presentation in which the creators put their game on computers so anyone in the university can play it.

A survey is provided so the creators can receive feedback. At the end of the next eight weeks, the components of the game are finalized and the team begins to polish and debug the game.

“It very much mimics the stages a real game goes through,” Breault said.

Because of the amount of effort that students put into the course, Evans noted students become extremely invested in their work.

“Most of the games (created) in the last few years of Game Lab have gone on to be in production outside of the classroom as well,” she said.

For example, Michael Stewart — a recent ATEC graduate — helped create a game called “Push and Pull” during Game Lab’s spring 2015 semester and later received offers to publish it, prompting him and his team members to continue developing the game.

Stewart and his partner, Dean Soeder, came up with the idea for “Push and Pull,” a game about creatures who use the power of magnetism to move objects, during the fall of 2014. After several rounds of bug testing and polishing, they presented their prototype to Scott Swearingen, another faculty member leading the course, who then suggested pitching the project to Game Lab for full production. In addition to successfully lobbying the idea, Stewart and Soeder managed to convince the faculty to have all 30 students in the lab work on their project, rather than splitting the students between two projects.

“I was the lead director, which meant I was (involved) with every aspect of the game,” Stewart said. “I was building a bridge of communication between all the different teams.”

Part of the challenge for Stewart was ensuring that his vision for the game was consistent with the visions of his team members.

“The first thing I did with my team was making sure that everyone felt like this game was theirs, not just mine,” he said.

For Stewart, there are exciting opportunities ahead in the world of gaming. He is currently working towards obtaining his MFA from the ATEC program, is serving as a teaching assistant for the undergraduate Game Design I class and is collaborating with the Perot Museum to develop educational games for children. In addition, “Push and Pull” was recently featured at PAX South, a popular gaming convention that took place in San Antonio this year. Stewart said he attributes part of his success to the skills he gained in Game Lab.

“It allowed me to sharpen my soft skills, especially in terms of working with people,” he said. “I learned how to work on a team and lead a team at the same time.”

For Evans, who created the course, Game Lab has evolved to become one of the highlights of the ATEC program.

“It’s one of the things I’m proudest of,” she said. “Game Lab is one of the ways in which all of our students can come together and make something spectacular.”

Reprinted from The Mercury

Professor and PhD Student Advance Anticipatory Research

UT Dallas Professor Mihai Nadin continues to advance the emerging and significant field of anticipatory studies with the publication of two new volumes in the highly respected Springer Cognitive Systems Monograph Series:

9783319225982Learning from the Past. Early Soviet/Russian contributions to a science of anticipation. Cognitive Science Monographs. Cham, CH: Springer. 2015
http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319194455

 

9783319194455Anticipation Across Disciplines, Cognitive Science Monographs. Cham CH: Springer. 2015
http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319225982

 

The work of Nadin and an international cadre of researches is joined in Anticipation Across Disciplines by UTD PhD student Asma Naz with her paper, Design of an Interactive Living Space:  Anticipations of Spatial Articulation in Computer-Mediated Human-Space Interaction.

This paper proposes design possibilities of an interactively modifiable space intended to support the lifestyle of neo-nomads. The design combines embedded computing technology with traditional architectural space-making techniques. It constitutes of a single interactive space that constantly articulates itself to produce a variety of aesthetic and emotive spatial qualities.

The integration of the virtual in the architecture for the neo-nomads (the guys who make the Silicon Valley the most exciting place on earth!) is creative and quite unique.

 

About Anticipatory Research at UT Dallas

With the recruitment of Dr. Mihai Nadin in 2004, the antÉ—Institute for Research in Anticipatory Systems (aIRAS) continued its activity at the University of Texas at Dallas. The website www.anteinstitute.org provides details regarding the Institute’s goals, membership, activities, and accomplishments. Since the beginning of its activities, the following accomplishments are on record:

The AnticipationScope™: The first known applied method for quantifying anticipatory characteristics. Conceived by Dr. Nadin and implemented with the collaboration of ATEC’s Motion Capture Lab and faculty members from Computer Science and the School for Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Data generated in the AnticipationScope has supported 35 articles in peer-reviewed journals, three Masters degree projects, one PhD at UT Dallas and one in Europe. Two additional PhD projects are in progress.

Project Seneludens

Dedicated to the study of aging and how it affects anticipatory performance. Experiments were carried out, with IRB approval, with over 150 subjects to date (age between 6 years old and 94 years old). Of particular interest was the visit of Germaine Acogny (“The mother of African Dance”).  She performed her traditional program (in which almost everyone in her village in Senegal participates). The movements were captured in the AnticipationScope. These served as a movement prototype for the elaboration of a game, Amazing Grace. The game was entered in an international competition and internationally reported.

Play’s the Thing: A Wager on Healthy Aging, a study inspired by this experience, was published in 2010 in Serious Game Design and Development

Members of the Olympic Gymnastics team were tested in the AnticipationScope. Work on defining their Anticipatory Profile™ led to several publications, including “Anticipation – The Underlying Science of Sport. Report on Research Progress”.

In 2008, Dr. Nadin organized a special session on Anticipation and Risk Assessment within the framework of the conference Decision-Making Under Uncertainty (organized by Professor Alain Bensoussan, School of Management). Based on this session, a special issue of the journal Risk and Decision Analysis (www.nadin.ws/archives/1149 and www.nadin.ws/archives/958) was published.

The special issue dedicated to anticipation of the International Journal of General Systems (IJGS) provided an annotated reference bibliography on anticipation. The introductory article, Anticipation and Dynamics, was named IJGS Best Article of the Year 2010 by Taylor and Backwell Publishers. A second special issue of the IJGS (2015) was dedicated to the early contributions to a science of anticipation by scientists from Russia/USSR.

In collaboration with the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study, the Anticipation Across Disciplines Study Group was established in 2012. In this framework, three international conferences took place from 2014-2015. In writing to the participants, Dr. David Daniel (at that time UTD President) stated, “I am very proud that the Institute for Research in Anticipatory Systems at UT Dallas was able to play a vital role in bringing together such an esteemed international community. Generous funding from the Thyssen Foundation, German Science Foundation, and from the European Science Network is gratefully acknowledged and serves as an expression of the significance of the subject.” In this spirit, Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, President ad interim, provided assistance related to publication and the Institute’s continued international activity. (Conference details can be viewed at www.anteinstitute.org  and www.nadin.ws/ante-study )

Faculty members of the UT system and from Texas A&M were invited (Dr. Frank Dufour, Dr. B. Prabhakaran, Dr. Daniel S. Levine, Roozbeh Jafari). Asma Naz, a Ph.D. candidate at ATEC, presented a paper at the second conference. Within the second conference, Elvira Nadin, Research Associate at the Institute, organized an event, Art in Progress, focused on anticipation (an article of the same title appears in the second volume).

So far, two volumes have been published:

Learning from the Past. Early Soviet/Russian contributions to a science of anticipation. Cognitive Science Monographs, Vol. 25 (508 pp.). Cham, CH: Springer www.springer.com/fr/book/9783319194455)

Anticipation Across Disciplines. Cognitive Science Monographs, Vol. 26 (373 pp.). Cham, CH: Springer (www.springer.com/fr/book/9783319225982)

The third volume, Anticipation and Medicine, will appear in 2016.

Funds from the Thyssen Foundation, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German National Science Foundation), the Metropole, as well as by the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg, the antÉ Institute, and UT Dallas supported the conferences and publications.

The Institute provides data regarding anticipation to researchers world-wide, and supports new initiatives in education. In October 2015, Dr. Nadin met with faculty members at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg to discuss the focus on Anticipation in Cognitive, Literary, and Cultural Studies. A keynote address was delivered at the conference Modern Trends in the Neuroscience of the Human Brain, N.P. Bekhtereva Institute for the Human Brain of the Russian Academy (St. Petersburg, Russia; see http://www.nadin.ws/archives/2652), as well as at the Summer School in Semiotics at Tartu University (Estonia; see http://www.nadin.ws/archives/2627).

Further contacts are in progress: the UNESCO Chair in Anticipation Studies, and a newly established graduate program, Anticipation in Engineering, at the University of Reading (England).

Currently, the focus is on experimental work in association with Duke University, in support of Asma Naz’s research focused on creating a new architecture for the “neo-nomads.” In keeping with the belief that medical practice is the best testing ground for anticipation, the Institute is also researching issues of Anticipation and Medicine (in collaboration with the Bemer Group, https://deutschland.bemergroup.com/de). In parallel, predictive and anticipatory computing forms another concrete objective of the Institute’s.

The Institute maintains a vast international network of leading scientists. It also actively draws the attention of the Texas government to the significance of anticipation for the economy, environment, education, social policies, among other areas.