By Ching Lo
The Institute for New Media Studies focuses on the future of gaming, blogs, and thinking digitally
As the INMS works to fulfill the promise of the University's New Media Initiative, Director Nora Paul is working on a series of collaborations with both academic and industry partners.
Game Studies certificate in the worksThe INMS has proposed a collaboration between the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system (MnSCU) and University of Minnesota faculty to create a multifaceted certificate program addressing technology training, critical thinking, and practical application of game and simulation environments. The certificate would require a series of courses in game studies through Capella's online university.
"Game and simulation environments provide important opportunities for training and education, but most institutions provide only coursework in the programming and design of entertainment games," says INMS director Nora Paul, whose proposal includes a focus on the development of game technologists who can craft games and simulations for training and educational purposes.
Paul also notes that a wide variety of disciplinary areas are seeing the potential of games and simulations as important research areas. "Game and simulation software has become increasingly sophisticated and more available for a wide range of applications," she notes. Eventually, Paul hopes interested University of Minnesota faculty will assist in developing certificate materials, which could then be combined into full for-credit courses offered through the New Media Minor track at the SJMC.
Thinking digitallyVisit the INMS website to link to a new feature called Digital Think, an online anthology of essays by individuals at the leading edge of digital storytelling. The site features the work of artists, journalists, bloggers and activists working on and thinking about the "fourth medium," as INMS director Nora Paul calls the new world of digital work.
"The transitional time when a new medium is primarily used to replicate the established medium is playing out," says director Nora Paul. "New story forms which take advantage of the unique attributes of this fourth medium are being developed." The Digital Think website was co-developed by the INMS and the Media Center at the American Press Institute.
The site is designed for "digital thinkers" to share their ideas about story design and function, passing along lessons learned. Contributors also reveal their hopes for how the new medium's role can take part in society.
Conference on New MediaThe INMS will host "New Media Research at the University of Minnesota: An Interdisciplinary Conference on New Media and Internet Studies," on September 15-16, 2005. The conference, to be held at the U's Coffman Student Union, will focus on the new media and Internet research being conducted at the University, in departments ranging from journalism to educational psychology.
According to INMS director Nora Paul, the University's potential impact as a thought-leader in multiple areas of Internet and new media research is just beginning to be realized. "We're hosting this conference to showcase the cutting-edge research being done at the University, to build a network of researchers and scholars interested in the examination of new media and technology, and to foster interdisciplinary collaboration in the seeking and writing of research proposals around new media," Paul says.
The call for papers for the conference is open to all faculty, graduate students and researchers working on projects in the area of new media and Internet studies. Visit http://www.inms.umn.edu/events/past/newresearch_2005/main.htm for more information.
The Making of a "Blogumentary"Blogging culture is one of the hottest topics in the media right now. In the past year, blogs have exploded in size and number, and are influencing public opinion, creating new social networks, and providing "citizen publishers" unprecedented access to publication.
On Feb. 3, 2005, the INMS hosted a lecture and discussion about blogging featuring Chuck Olsen, creator of "Blogumentary," a documentary film about blogging and bloggers. The event included a panel discussion on the impact and importance of blogging with Dan Gillmor, author of "We the Media"; Krista Kennedy, rhetorician and blogger; Shane Nackerud, coordinator of the University Libraries Uthink blog project; and Rex Sorgatz, author of the Fimoculous blog and Wired Rave Award nominee.
To learn more about any of the INMS's activities or collaborations, contact the INMS at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-625-0576.