The shelves of Dr. Dorina Kosztin’s office are full of colorful toys and apparatus, all demonstrating the power of science. As a physics professor, she is particularly fond of these toys because they show the practical, real-world dimensions of her field, well beyond the abstract equations and formulas typical of textbooks. Indeed, Dr. Kosztin has devoted her life to making physics a more accessible subject for students. Through her ongoing work, she has initiated major changes not only for programs in American institutions but in the very foundations of its classrooms.
Imagine waking to a bright, sunny day, but not really being able to see. Some people go their whole lives without witnessing that vivid red ball from their youth or the facial features of a loved one. Kristina Narfström, a veterinary ophthalmologist at the University of Missouri, is doing research that promises to provide some light at the end of the tunnel.
So-Yeon Yoon admits that while she has always liked computer games, even as a young child, she has also always enjoyed painting and drawing. Yoon describes her watercolor paintings and how for her the creative process is “very addictive”: “I like colors and creating something beautiful, and creating things on the computer actually gives the same kind of fulfillment.” She is attracted to three-dimensional (3-D) images and experimenting with different textures and colors. Thus it is perhaps no surprise that Yoon found herself drawn to the field of architecture and interior design—“a perfect match” in which her creative desires and her interest in computers could merge. Today, the assistant professor of Architectural Studies focuses her research and teaching on the areas of Human Environmental Psychology and Interior and Architectural Design. Her current research combines information technology with interior design and architecture, a composite field in which she applies technology, particularly virtual reality (VR), to interior design problems.
The segmented boundaries between radio, television, and newspaper that have long been associated with journalism are beginning to blur. The Edward R. Murrows of today are giving “more” by converging yesterday’s journalism with tomorrow’s technology. At the MU School of Journalism, more and more students are taking the opportunity to become more than just print journalists or broadcast reporters; they are classified as a new breed known as “convergence journalists.”
Huge halls full of students can make it a challenge to keep a physics lecture interesting. Dr. Kosztin uses technology to coax her students into becoming more involved in their own learning experience.
Another treatment involves inserting a small microchip to replace the dead photoreceptors and get the electrical juices of the eye flowing. This device, known as an Artificial Silicon Retina (ASR), is conceptually similar to a bionic eye. The ASR was designed more than 15 years ago to enhance human vision. Narfström hopes that her research will improve the chip.
John Miles Foley explains how the two centers—the Center for the Studies in Oral Tradition (est. 1986) and the newer Center for eResearch—are cooperative ventures: “All of our activities at both centers have in common the philosophy of sharing intellectual content (knowledge, art, ideas) across barriers…to make it as easy as possible for everyone in the world to participate.”
Yoon teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Architectural Studies. Her courses tend to focus on emerging technology (including Interior Design, Visual Design, Computer Graphics and Design, Photoshop, 3-D Computer Animation, and Web Graphic Design). Asked how she manages to stay at the cutting edge of technology, Yoon replies that she relies on her students: “Teaching is an essential part of my research, because I can use my students’ help.”
Yoon’s work combines architectural and interior designs with information technology. Applying the latest computer initiatives, Yoon studies how technology can assist people–for example, by improving their decision-making process.
Because of her lifelong interests, So-Yeon Yoon was drawn to the field of architecture and interior design. It was “a perfect match,” one in which her creative desires and her interest in computers could merge. Today, this assistant professor of Architectural Studies teaches focuses her research and teaching on the areas of Human Environmental Psychology and Interior and Architectural Design. Yoon’s current research combines information technology with interior design and architecture. That is, she applies technology, particularly virtual reality (VR), to interior design problems.
Education is one area in which virtual reality holds great potential. “Some people don’t have access to the real world, but they can take advantage of this virtual environment, which is generated in 3D,” Yoon explains. That means students can meet in the Louvre Museum in Paris, and walk around the buildings and study the art. Because the program employs a multi-user-based system, students can interact with each other in a virtual world. “So we are exploring the possibility of using that technology to deliver our studio courses,” says Yoon, who someday hopes that students will be able “to create and critique in a virtual environment without actually meeting the person face-to-face.”
Yoon recently published Impact of Desktop Virtual Reality on System Usability: A Case Study of Online Consumer Survey Using a VR Integrated Decision Support System (2004). The book offers basic knowledge about VR technology and focuses on the dimension of human-computer interaction. For example, she addresses the utility of VR software, how users actually interact with the tools, and what kinds of advantages can be expected when adopting this technology.
McKean describes the process of starting the convergence sequence, and what needs to be done to expand the program.
McKean explains how the new journalism sequence was created in 2005. He says convergence teaches the “best ways to teach digital media skills to our students.” After looking at the strengths and failures of other journalism sequences (for example, magazine, photojournalism, news editorial, and broadcast), McKean and his colleagues were able to construct a curriculum that would introduce all sorts of media skills and apply those to reporting, editing, and producing.
McKean talks about his background in journalism and what inevitably brought him to become chair of the newly created convergence sequence at the Missouri School of Journalism.
McKean explains the concept of the backpack journalist, an all-in-one journalist who can do anything without the help of others. “The backpack journalist idea is one notion of how convergence works;” however, he proclaims, “nobody can do everything equally well, and nobody can go out on any given story and do everything and come back with a really compelling story.” A major part of the convergence sequence is to prepare students to be able to work in many different mediums of storytelling, but also to understand the importance of teamwork.
Unlike students in other sequences at the Missouri School of Journalism, convergence students work for media outlets across the country, including CurrentTV, MSNBC, and ESPN.
In recent years, McKean has helped universities in other countries start their own journalism sequences. He says the experience has opened his eyes up to the barriers to journalism in other countries and what other institutions must do to clearly report news and information.
McKean says because of the current technological age, many young journalists have grown up with multimedia platforms (such as facebook, cell phones, and blogs), and there is an unconstrained desire to implement many of those media with the news. “I think students that are coming to us now do not want to be shackled by one way of telling stories, ” McKean says.
McKean says a journalist who can tell a story in multiple media bridges the gap between the audience and the reporter. “They have to interact much more closely with the audience and not just assume that they are passive receptacles for the content that we create,” McKean explains. “There are multiple correct ways to tell the story depending on the story itself and the content that is available to tell it.”
For many newsrooms, convergence is still a new idea being tinkered with on a daily basis. “They are increasingly realizing the need to have reporters with a convergence mindset. That is just a practical survival instinct,” McKean says. “But it is still difficult to try to do all of those things, and do them well, in an environment."
The convergence sequence is broken down into classes, each introducing essential skills for a convergence journalist. The classes range from a basic fundamentals course introducing convergence to reporting, editing, and a capstone.
Gompper discusses using radio telemetry, infrared cameras, and track plates as non-invasive techniques for tracking various animals.
American mainstream misunderstanding of Amish communities, particularly their institutional rite of passage called rumspringa and their rules for the use of technology.