Emerging Media Initiative @ Ball State University
Emerging Media Initiative @ Ball State University

August/September 2010

Latest Headlines

Emens fills for David Letterman’s return, presentation with Twitter’s Biz Stone

By Sharon Hernandez, Student Journalist, Ball State Daily News

You don’t have to be a Twitter fanatic to appreciate the power of social media – especially when a conversation on Twitter begins with David Letterman and includes the site’s co-founder, Biz Stone.

More than 3,000 Ball State students and faculty cheered, applauded and tweeted their approval and questions during “A Conversation with David Letterman and Biz Stone” Friday night at John R. Emens Auditorium [on Ball State's campus].

It was a good turnout for a campus in which many students say they’re not Twitter users. A survey conducted by students and faculty last year showed that Facebook users on campus largely outnumbered Twitter users. Maybe it doesn’t matter when the subject of emerging media – a Ball State hallmark – comes to campus.

“There was this real push and this real idea that technology was the solution to all of our problems,” Stone said. “It’s ultimately about what people are going to do with the technology, not the technology itself.”

Letterman set a light tone, using his standard joke about the Ball State mascot: “the cardinal, the fiercest robin-sized bird in the animal kingdom.” In his typical fashion, the “Late Night” host revealed that he had forgotten his socks and had borrowed a pair from Roy Budd, President Jo Ann Gora’s husband.

Letterman was a gracious, fun host, even if he did confuse tweets and “twits.”

Usually students are asked to turn off their cell phones when they attend speeches, but for this event Gora asked attendees to use their cell phones to tweet questions or reactions.

Stone’s speech focused on his life experiences and how they affected him. He discussed how Twitter was created and how he thinks something as simple as Twitter has more functionality than just posting what a person is doing.

Biz Stone

“We need to realize that we’re a global citizen. We’re not just a citizen of a state or country,” he said.

“It’s my sort of hope that by connecting more people together and sharing our information, we’ll all be more comfortable with people and there will be some kind of alignment, and we’ll work together and shine light on injustices, work toward better versions of healthcare and all these other things.”

The conversation served as inspiration for many to think about how technology has many more uses.

Freshman telecommunications major Stuart Hotwagner said the conversation and Stone’s insight on how Twitter can be used influenced him to start his own Twitter account.

Hotwagner, who did not have a Twitter account because he didn’t think it was useful, went to the conversation because he was curious about what Stone had to say about social media, not because he was a fan himself.

“I liked how he said that with the future of social media and Twitter he hoped it would make people feel like a global citizen,” he said.

So New: In Which I Interview the (Co) Founder of Twitter

Blog post by Brad King, assistant professor of Journalism and Emerging Media Faculty Fellow

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone discusses various topics about social media with journalism professor Brad King in the Letterman Building. About 30 students were invited to the forum.

I left Wired in 2002.

There were jobs in between. A book. MIT. But I really built my career at Wired and I’m beginning to realize exactly how long ago 8 years is in modern time. Not to ruin the ending, but it’s a long time.

These days, I’m a professor at Ball State University, nestled in tiny Muncie, Indiana just about an hour northeast of Indianapolis. It’s a wonderful life. I love my students. I love my colleagues. I even love my administration.

But I do, on occasion, miss being in the middle of things. I miss chasing stories. I miss covering the world of emerging technologies as they smash into the culture. I miss being on the pulse of the Next New.

So I was thrilled on Friday to have the chance to interview Biz Stone (@biz), the epically cool co-founder of Twitter.

He was on campus as part of the Letterman Speaker Series, hosted by BSU graduate David Letterman. As part of that, the university gathered 25 students in LB (Yeah, that’s the Letterman Building) 121 to listen – and participate in – an hour-long session.

Brad King

I’m sure the video will be posted in the next few days so I won’t spoil it; however, my pal Sean happens to be the vice president of communication for Twitter and he didn’t disappoint. He gave me the inside scoop on Biz’s life outside the office. (“How do you know all of this,” he asked as the session closed.)

And if he holds true to his word and comes to South by Southwest Interactive next year, I promised to take he and his wife to The Salt Lick.

No matter, though, because for just a bit today I had the chance to get back in the game. And it was good.

Digital Corps offers app development summer camp to middle schoolers

[vid url="http://emergingmediainitiative.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/adventurecamp.flv" class="alignright"]Ball State’s award-winning Digital Corps offered students entering grades 6, 7, or 8 the chance to create their own video games for the iPhone and iPod during two week-long summer camps in July. The first camp was held on the Ball State University campus in Muncie, and the second camp was offered at the Ball State University Fishers Center near Indianapolis.

Sixteen campers applied math, logic, reasoning and art skills as they created graphics and “taught” them how to move using iPod/iPad/iPhone game creation software. The camp was led by six student instructors from the Digital Corps, with Emerging Technologies professionals in the role of facilitators. The campers demonstrated their video game creations at the end of the week for parents, siblings and members of the Ball State community.

The success of the camps has led to plans for expanded offerings in Summer 2011.

Summer immersive-learning course explores Japanese religions and emerging media

[vid url="http://emergingmediainitiative.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/japanclass.flv&rel=0" class="alignleft"]

This summer, Dr. Michael Roemer of Ball State’s Religious Studies and Philosophy Department led six students on a two-week journey through Japan’s religious festivals, ceremonies and holy buildings.

But the journey did not end upon their return to campus. During a final week of the course, the students translated their memories, blog posts, photos and videos into a robust website (http://jpnreligions.weebly.com) where they relate histories of the shrines, temples and festivals they visited, glimpses into daily life in Japan, and each student’s “top ten” experiences from the trip.

The website was built completely by students to benefit students across the world who have interest in Japanese religiousness. It will continue to be populated by students of Roemer’s fall upper-level Japanese Religions course, with expanded content in the mythologies, glossary and resources areas.

Roemer also challenged the students to recreate virtual models of ancient Japanese holy buildings on the Ball State island in the virtual world of Second Life. Ball State’s Institute of Digital Intermedia Arts provided basic training on building in the Second Life environment prior to the trip, and the students documented architectural features, textures and ceremonial practices while in Japan. With no prior experience with Second Life, they are developing a Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple based upon actual sites in Japan, where Second Life avatars can explore and even practice some of the religious rituals, such as meditation.

The students presented their work to more than 50 fellow students and faculty in the Center for Media Design on Friday, September 17.

Insight and Research unit opens new Media Lab

[vid url="http://emergingmediainitiative.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/neweyetracking.flv&rel=0" class="alignright"]

In June, the Center for Media Design’s Insight and Research unit acquired a house just off Ball State’s campus in Muncie to serve as its new media research lab. A team worked throughout the summer to convert the existing house, with two living rooms, home office, kitchen and dining area, into a facility equipped for interactive TV and advanced design-usability research while maintaining the feel of a naturalistic living space. Researchers use a variety of methodologies, including eye tracking at 10-foot (i.e., television) and 2-foot (i.e., personal computer) distances, and on mobile platforms.

IDIA to contribute to animated feature film

Whoever heard of a fird? by Bach Othello.

By Jaclyn Goldsborough, student journalist, Ball State Daily News

It’s a film about a “fird.” Well, actually a herd of “fird.”

But what is a “fird?” It’s a new children’s animation film combining the talents of the Ball State Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts (IDIA) and Bach Morris Technologies Corporation (BMTC).

IDIA and BMTC are partnering to create the children’s animation film, “Whoever Heard of a Herd of Fird,” along with at least 21 jobs.

The lab is part of a $2.4 million project with BMTC, a developer of interactive children’s toys and media from Kokomo, Indiana.

John Fillwalk, Director of IDIA, said that the institute has been planning on making an external commercial company out of the lab while also producing an opportunity to train students and keep them in Indiana after graduation, which is why the group was happy to hear from BMTC.

“They had seen our work that we have done through the lab and they contacted me months ago,” he said. “I did a retreat with them to show what we are capable of doing and they liked what they saw.”

Mark Morris, chief operations officer at BMTC, said he worked with Ball State for one reason. “It had everything to do with John Fillwalk and his team,” Morris said. “We will be able to ‘develop’ the talent within Indiana. While BMTC will be securing talent from around the world, we are planning on making these individuals available to the IDIA students as well. Our long-term objective is to not only create several animated feature films in Indiana but to create long-term, highly skilled workforce of 3-D modelers, animators, technicians and to eliminate Indiana’s ‘Brain Drain.’”

Morris said the project would create a minimum of 21 jobs with positions including producers, writers and directors. The project will take approximately 14 months to complete.

The film, based on Othello Bach’s 1984 book “Whoever Heard of a Fird,” will be ready, tentatively, for release in the second quarter of 2012.

EM Fellow receives grant from the National Science Foundation

Mahesh Daas

Mahesh Daas, Emerging Media Faculty Fellow and Department Head of Architecture has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation of $49,924 to support the development and implementation of the workshop “Defining the Opportunities and Challenges for Research in Materials and Manufacturing for Extreme Affordability (RIMMEA)” to be held on Ball State’s Muncie campus on January 20-21, 2011.

Much research in materials and manufacturing targets the context and conditions of the highly developed, top-of-the-pyramid markets. However, the majority of the world is characterized by resource-infrastructure-poor markets, where affordability is a top concern.

The workshop, to be developed in collaboration with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and funded in part by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), will bring together experts from architecture, design, engineering, science and technology from around the world to rethink and retool interdisciplinary research to focus on the topic of extreme affordability.

Daas hopes that the workshop will help to establish a research community for further development of RIMMEA research. He plans to use established organizational networks such as ASME, IEEE, Engineers without Borders, OperationUSA, and The Honeybee Network to disseminate learning from the workshop, and to integrate results into the educational agenda of classes at Ball State.

Interactive TV thought leader to present at Ball State in October

Dale Herigstad

Later this month, Ball State will welcome Dale Herigstad, Chief Creative Officer at Schematic, Inc. for the next installment of the David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series. The internationally recognized thought leader will present “The Future of Interactive Design” on Tuesday, October 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Ballroom.

With an extensive background in broadcast design and branding, Dale has pioneered a unique spatial context approach to designing advanced navigation systems for Interactive TV and connected screens. From this work are emerging new content mediums that blur the line between TV and games—and, in fact, Dale is currently engaged with a variety of Schematic teams to redefine what television is becoming.

Gestural ComputerDale was a part of the research team that developed the visionary gestural interfaces that first appeared in the film “Minority Report” and is now leading development work in the rapidly emerging world of gestural navigation for screens at a distance.

He has taught Motion Graphics at California Institute of the Arts, Art Center College of Design, and UCLA. He is active with the AFI Digital Content Lab, is a member of the TV Academy, AIGA and ITA and received one of the first ITVT Interactive TV Leadership Awards. Dale has 4 Emmy awards and is currently working in London, managing Schematic’s new innovation practice for UK and Europe. He serves on Ball State’s Emerging Media Initiative National Advisory Board, and recently guest-edited the Spring 2010 issue of Media, focusing on the increasing interactivity and richness of content within the multiple screens that frame media consumption (see May 2010 EMI Update).

TechPoint announces Measured Marketing Initiative in Indiana

On September 21, Indiana’s statewide technology initiative, TechPoint, announced a national campaign to position Indiana as the national leader of a fast-growing, emerging technology business category coined “measured marketing.”

Techpoint Logo

Companies in this category provide a platform or service for digital marketing via email, social media, search, video, mobile and other rapidly evolving technologies, and they provide clients with return-on-investment tracking. More than 70 measured marketing companies call Indiana home, including ExactTarget, Aprimo, Compendium Blogware, Right On Interactive, ModalLogix, Marketpath, Cantaloupe TV, IMAVEX and Formstack.

With the support from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), TechPoint will conduct a national media relations campaign drawing attention to Indiana’s thriving measured marketing businesses. The campaign will highlight advantages of doing business in Indiana, such as technology-related tax credits and exemptions, access to major research universities, and very reasonable costs of living, to help attract talented professionals and measured marketing technology companies to Indiana.

Ball State and the Center for Media Design (CMD) has been a key partner in developing the measured marketing concept and advancing a community of executives around this emerging economic micro-cluster. The CMD’s Insight and Research (I&R) unit is providing research and other support for the campaign.

David Ferguson

David Ferguson, associate vice president for emerging media and executive director the Center for Media Design, said Indiana’s leadership position in measured marketing could blossom into an economic growth engine similar to the state’s health care information technology microcluster.

“The growth of Indiana’s measured marketing technology companies has been dramatic during the past decade,” Ferguson said. “Indiana’s tech sector actually gained jobs while most industries were laying-off employees during the recession. This was due, at least in part, to the growth of the state’s emerging measured marketing microcluster. Conditions for continued growth — such as a qualified workforce, appropriate incentives and tax credits from the state, and a cooperative spirit among the industry — are very favorable.”

For more information on measured marketing technology companies or Indiana’s Measured
Marketing Initiative, please visit www.indianameasuredmarketing.com.

In the News

  • The State-of-the-University Address: the Risk and the Reward (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

    Adobe LogoPart of the reason for the university’s recent success is that it has taken advantage of its niche in Indiana. With about 21,000 students, Ball State is big, but nowhere near the scale of Purdue University or Indiana University at Bloomington. Which also means it doesn’t face the political pressures and arms-race mentality that exist at most flagships.

    So instead of trying to compete with its Big Ten neighbors, Ball State has focused on core strengths like emerging media and immersive learning projects, in which students work in interdisciplinary teams to solve problems in the community. That approach was evident in Ms. Gora’s address.

  • Design and ‘Wow’ Factor Woo iPad Users (min Online)

    “Some people were skeptical about how good the iPad would be for reading long form content like books or magazines,” said Mike Bloxham, director of insight and research for Ball State’s Center for Media Design. “Our findings indicate the opposite is true. People talked about curling up with the iPad; they enjoyed the screen and resolution and the portability of it — these things seem to be major selling points.”

  • 2010 R+D Awards Citation: Bitmaps (Architect Magazine)


    Wallpaper is not everyone’s cup of tea. So in response to a client’s interest in developing 3D wall paneling, PROJECTiONE of Muncie, Ind., set out to invent a system of ornamental tiles. The result is Bitmaps, a modular solution achieved through the use of vacuum-form technology and a reusable mold.

    Jurors enthused over the surface’s “decorative power,” derived from a pattern of carefully controlled dots (either raised, flat, or imprinted in the surface). The design team prototyped the system using bubble wrap, then refined the idea with a High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) mold. Positive, negative, and flat plugs were milled and inserted manually into the mold, which forms the dimpled panels in .06-inch-thick white polystyrene. Surfacing and milling were performed on a three-axis CNC router, and oriented strand board backing provides needed rigidity. “The joinery is quite beautiful, very sophisticated and adept,” juror Frank Barkow said.

  • Augmented Reality To Be A Reality? (MediaPost Raw)

    Mike BloxhamIn a morning panel on mobile trends and change agents, Mike Bloxham, who leads Ball State’s media lab, expressed guarded optimism about the much-hyped technology of augmented reality, which he believes marketers or merchants will be able to use to make certain types of offers to elicit certain interactions, though he was admittedly hazy on the details. Anything besides scanning a QR code to see the completed 3D version of a Lego model?

    But Bloxham pointed out that however mobile marketing technology and use develops, two key issues will be the user context and privacy. For mobile, “battery life is the white elephant in the room” he pointed. (Oh, there it is, I see it now.) He points out that the TV, which never has any power-draining issues, is the standard consumers use for judging other platforms. Bloxham also say privacy legislation is coming and it’s something marketers should get out in front of by focusing on opt-in rather than opt-out as a standard for programs.

    “If you don’t think people will opt in, you’re making the wrong offer,” he said.

  • Documentary looks at BorgWarner’s final days (Muncie Star Press)

    Ball State University documentary filmmakers last year learned something about the BorgWarner Automotive factory that local news reporters have known for decades.

    They wouldn’t let media inside the sprawling factory, and the management was not talkative.

    But the university still was able to produce an engaging hour-long film, Changing Gears, End of an Era, chronicling the final days of the historic automotive transmission-maker and the downfall of Local 287 of the United Autoworkers union.

  • Why call when a text will do, more generations ask (Lafayette Journal and Courier)

    Mike HanleyMichael Hanley is an associate professor of journalism at Ball State University and director of the university’s Institute for Mobile Media Research. He said phone use is decreasing the most and text messaging is growing rapidly, especially among young adults 18 to 24.

    He said the older the person is, the more they are still calling to talk. However, those calling percentages are also decreasing.

    “Texting at all age levels is really growing the fastest,” he said.

    Hanley said the most surprising growth is among those age 60 and older.

  • Ball State to create a task force to discuss how Internet is changing higher education (Muncie Star Press)
  • Incentives Bring Animated Movie Production to Indiana (Inside Indiana Business)

On Campus

  • September 2: EM Media Innovation Grant Reception, Schwartz Complex.
  • September 8: EM Roundtable – “Establishing an agenda around mobile platform and content research and creative endeavors at Ball State,” Center for Media Design, BC 220.
  • Japan Class PresentationSeptember 17: Student presentation, “Japanese Religions and Emerging Media,” Center for Media Design, BC 220.
  • September 17: David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series, Emens Auditorium. “A Conversation with David Letterman and Biz Stone” featuring BSU alum David Letterman and Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone.
  • September 24: EM Digital Feed, Atrium Studio. “Commercialization at Ball State” featuring Wil Davis, interim president of the Ball State Innovation Corporation and Michael Goldsby, director of Ball State’s Entrepreneurship Center.

On The Road

  • August 1-4: Matt Wilson (Geography) attended the first annual Qualitative GIS conference in Cardiff, Wales. He was invited to present about the EMI-supported GIS Workshop and a recent publication in the edited book, Qualitative GIS (Sage).
  • Roundtable LogoAugust 18: TechPoint Foundation Measured Marketing Roundtable, at Aprimo Marketing, Indianapolis. Insight and Research’s Mike Bloxham and Michael Holmes presented results from the CRE Media study to industry executives.
  • August 26: Mike Bloxham (Insight and Research) presented on the panel “Four Mobile Change Agents for 2011″ at the Mobile Insider Summit Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, NV.
  • August 31: Michelle Prieb (Insight and Research) moderated the panel, “The Social Generation: College Students Speak out on Social Media Issues” Mobile Insider Summit Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, NV, with panelists from local colleges including University of Nevada – Reno and Sierra Nevada College.
  • September 1: Mike Bloxham (Insight and Research) moderated the panel “GAME SHOW: Extreme Makeover: Social Media Edition” at the Mobile Insider Summit Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, NV. Panelists, which included Anna Banks, Executive Director, Organic; Chris Boudreaux, Social Media Management Practice, Converseon; and Eric Forst, Head, West Coast Business Development, Visible Technologies, reworked the social media presence and strategies of brands in need of crisis management.
  • September 14: The Institute for Digital Education and Entertainment premiered their documentary, Changing Gears (highlighted in the March 2010 EMI Update) to a public audience at the AMC Showplace 12 in Muncie. More than 180 people attended the viewing, and the film received a very positive response.
  • September 24: Emerging Media Innovation Grant recipients Paul Gestwicki (Computer Science) and Brian McNely (EM Faculty Fellow in English) led the tutorial session, “Effective teaching practices using free Google services” at the 2010 Consortium for Computing Science in Colleges—Midwest, Franklin College, Franklin, IN.
  • Roundtable LogoSept. 24-25: Matthew Wilson (EM Faculty Fellow in Geography) co-facilitated a workshop on participatory mapping using emerging spatial media at the Imagining America conference in Seattle, WA.
  • September 27: Brian McNely (EM Faculty Fellow in English) presented, “Exploring a sustainable and public information ecology” at the ACM Special Interest Group on Design of Communication 2010, São Carlos-São Paulo, Brazil. An article by the same name was published in SIGDOC ’10: Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference on Design of Communication. New York: ACM Press.
  • September 27-29: Mike Bloxham (Insight and Research) attended OnHollywood 2010 in Los Angeles, CA, an entertainment venture summit featuring high-level discussion regarding the forces that are disrupting user behavior and creating new opportunities, content strategies and monetization schemes in video, music, gaming, search and mobile.
  • September 30: Brian McNely’s (EM Faculty Fellow in English) article, “Digital publics and participatory education,” with co-authors C. Teston, G. Cox, B. Olorunda and N. Dunker, was published in Digital Culture and Education, 2(2).

EM Up Next

  • October 6: EM Roundtable – Future of TV. Invitation only.
  • Roundtable LogoOctober 7: Brian McNely (EM Faculty Fellow in English) will lead a half-day workshop, “Innovative use of digital technologies in general and liberal education,” at the 50th Annual Conference of the Association for General and Liberal Studies, Austin, TX.
  • October 7: Brad King (EM Faculty Fellow in Journalism) will be a featured speaker at TEDxCincy, Cincinnati, OH.
  • October 9: John Fillwalk (IDIA) has been invited to present at !D.A.! Digital Art, an international virtual round table in Milan, Italy on the impact of the arts, social media and multi-user virtual environments.
  • October 15: Brian McNely (EM Faculty Fellow in English) will present “Undergraduate research as a programmatic outcome” at the 8th Biennial Thomas R. Watson Conference, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.
  • October 17-20: Mike Bloxham (Insight and Research) will be attending the iMedia Breakthrough Summit in Rancho Mirage, CA and delivering an Insight Address, “Search and Discovery of Content.”
  • October 19: David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series, Emens Auditorium. Featuring Dale Herigstad, Chief Creative Officer, Schematic, Inc.
  • October 21: EM Digital Feed, Atrium Studio, 12:15 pm. “Future of Interactive Television” featuring Dale Herigstad, Chief Creative Officer, Schematic, Inc.
  • November 4-6: IDMA LogoInternational Digital Media and Arts Association Annual Conference, Emily Carr University, Vancouver, Canada.
  • November 5-6: Matthew Wilson (EM Faculty Fellow in Geography) will attend the Critical Geography Mini-Conference in Milwaukee, WI, co-facilitating sessions on critical GIS and technology studies within geography.
  • November 17: Measured Marketing Roundtable, location TBA. Sponsored by TechPoint and Ball State. Invitation only.
  • November 27: TechPoint Innovation Summit, Indianapolis Convention Center. Keynote speaker is iconoclastic technology writer Nicholas Carr, author of the recently released book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.