Research Talk – Striving toward ubiquitous and life-immersive interactive computing

With the recent advances of mobile and ubiquitous computing technology, we are now having a number of opportunities to create novel interactive applications fit to people’s daily life and specific needs. In this talk, I will share my experiences in designing and implementing novel interactive systems and applications, including mobile hand gesture interaction platform, exergaming platform for swimmers, and games for anxiety reduction using living plants. This talk will highlight several lessons learned from these design, implementation and evaluation processes, from the perspectives of mobile systems and human-computer interaction (HCI).

About the Speaker

Taiwoo Park is an Assistant Professor in Department of Media and Information of Michigan State University. He received Ph.D. from Computer Science Department of KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) in 2014. Dr. Park explores mobile and ubiquitous interactive application and system design, from the viewpoint of user experience and motivation. He believes that true pervasive computing should begin from closely scrutinizing moments of people’s daily and social life, and among these moments, he enjoys to find ‘sweet spots’ to be interweaved with cutting-edge technologies. His recent works have been presented at several premier conferences including ACM CHI, MobiSys, SenSys, UbiComp, and CSCW.

Date: 1st July 2016 (Friday)

Time: 5pm

Venue: Blk. AS6, #-03-38 – CNM PLAY ROOM

Spotlight on Alumni – Erica Ng

Erica-Ng-CroppedErica Ng, is currently Manager (Communications) at Marina Bay Sands. She graduated with an Honours in 2011 and started her career with Marina Bay Sands as an intern. Apart from managing communications, she also leads her department’s internship programme. Here’s what she has to say about her CNM days and her career.

 Tell us a little bit about yourself

I graduated with Honors from the NUS Comms and New Media programme in 2011. This also means I’ve had the honor of learning from the best tutors in CNM then, such as Cynthia Owens, Mary Lee, and Dr Chung Siyoung. I thought I would simply cruise through university life, but it wasn’t until an amazing internship opportunity came my way at the end of my third year.

I was still an undergrad when I chanced upon an internship opportunity with Marina Bay Sands. It was 2010 then and the integrated resort had yet to open. I didn’t know what to expect from the internship, especially since the whole IR concept was unknown to many. But I found pleasure in uncertainty, and I knew I wanted to be part of change. Of course, my decision to accept the internship later turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

I was a part of the pioneer Comms Team at MBS over the course of an extremely fulfilling 6 month internship. When I joined, the property was still being built. From treading on muddy construction grounds wearing hard hats, to ascending 55 stories up in the air in construction elevators, and eventually witnessing the “topping out” of the 3 magnificent hotel towers – it has been an incredible journey for me to play a part in the making of Singapore’s history.

What are some skills that you think that someone aspiring to be successful in your field should inculcate or develop? 

NUS CNM taught me to view and appreciate matters from multiple perspectives, which is an acquired skill that is important and relevant in any industry.  In the world of emails and instant text messengers, we often forget that all it takes is a phone call to best resolve a misunderstanding (or to avoid incurring someone’s wrath!) It is also critical to develop emotional intelligence – which is something that can be learnt the more you interact and tune in to others’ feelings. I would say, stay inquisitive, and look for opportunities to present your ideas or assignments because you will reap bountifully.

You interned during your studies and now, you supervise interns as part of your current job. What would you say to your juniors who are thinking of doing one or are already interning?

As an alumnus I’ve enjoyed working closely with NUS CNM to recruit interns over the last 3 years, and I have to say that our faculty undergraduates are some of the most outstanding individuals we’ve had. Some words to share with my juniors: Your internship is the best (and only) time you are allowed to experiment, so raise your hand and say YES to taking on challenges., no matter big or small. You would be surprised how much you learn about yourself. 1. Start somewhere, because anywhere is better than nowhere. 2. When you finish your work, don’t be afraid to ask for more. 3. Find a mentor you can count on to grow yourself.

What are some of the fondest memories of your days at CNM?

5 years on after graduating, I still find myself missing CNM and all the good people I met and still keep in touch with today. I miss the good old dusty AS7 back in the day where students would cram and turn in assignments last minute on IVLE, the canteen, the lively bazaars at the Central Forum, and even the stress that came whenever we have to bid for modules!

Student video on Pulau Ubin wins consolation prize in Sharing ASEAN Project

Melody Lee’s video titled ‘Falling in Love with the Human Touch’, won a consolation prize in the video competition organised as part of the Sharing ASEAN Project.  The competition was organised in late 2015, by the Ministry of Information and Communications of Vietnam and managed by the Media Development Authority of Singapore, with the aim of capturing the traditions, lifestyles and culture of ASEAN countries.

Melody was in her final semester of studies and studying the Photographic and Video Storytelling module, when the opportunity to take part in this competition came by. The knowledge she acquired from this module, helped her in putting the winning video together. “Beyond the technical skills of film production, I was able to explore social issues on the ground, by speaking directly to the people affected, such as single mothers and elderly workers. Although this video was not produced as a module deliverable, it was filmed with skills and opportunities garnered from the module. The module enabled me to feed my interest for on-the-ground social issues, as well as do something about them – in terms of being a voice, advocating for change, through our videos produced and published on Inconvenient Questions,” says Melody.

Melody-Lee-Low-Res-Video

Her video submission was based on life on the island of Pulau Ubin, which is often dubbed as Singapore’s ‘dying town’. With only about 38 residents and physically disconnected from the modernised and digitally connected mainland, Melody felt that this quaint island depicted an alternate perspective to Singapore.  She observed that although the island was far removed from the digital world, human connection was very strong. “You grab a taxi on through speaking to the locals, and not through booking one on your phone. You enter shops, not just to get your thirst and hunger quenched, but you ask after shipowner’s day, how they’ve been. Residents’ homes aren’t gated and padlocked, but doors lay wide open, beckoning you to drop by and have a chat. They say Ubin is a ‘dying town’, I’d say its alive with human connection,” adds Melody.

Watch Melody’s video here.

Singapore HCI Seminar – Placing diffusion in context: A perspective on the evolution of collectively held knowledge”

Traditional work on knowledge diffusion has focused on the spread of a static, easily delineated idea.  Yet, “an idea” is a convenient label for a ill-defined cluster of concepts and propositions that vary between people and over time. In consideration of this variance, we raise several new research questions, including: How do components of ideas (e.g., a handful of propositions or concepts) spread and influence one another? What causes an idea to stabilize or change, or to become more or less consistent, across a population?  How does the internal structure of an idea interact with social network structure and communication medium to influence its dynamics along the dimensions of stability, diversity, and spread? In this talk, I will contextualize this perspective within broader examinations of knowledge transmission and describe some preliminary research that explores this perspective more directly.

About the Speaker:
Joshua IntroneJosh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Information. He holds masters and Ph.D degrees from the Computer Science Department at Brandeis University. During his graduate studies, he also worked as a scientist at Charles River Analytics to develop decision support platforms for a variety of government agencies. Josh was also a scientist at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, where he served as Chief Architect for the MIT Climate CoLab, a platform designed to crowdsource solutions to climate change. Josh is passionate about trying to make the world a better place by leveraging our collective intelligence, and eager to collaborate with students and other researchers who share this interest.

Spreading kindness with food and social media

‘Roti for Homies’ a CNM student-led project recently won the “Kindred Spirits” certificate from the Singapore Kindness Movement, for being a kindness advocate. The project is the brain child of Honami Lam, who came up with the idea to reach out to homeless people in Singapore, after she listened to the woes of a homeless person one day.

ROH - Kindness Award

Honami was a student in Asst Prof Elmie Nekmat’s class ‘Topics in Media Studies: Social Media’, which focuses on social media theories and strategies to carry out impactful projects aimed at addressing issues in the community. Honami and her group of classmates used crowdfunding and crowd sourcing strategies to raise donations and recruit volunteers. They campaigned for the project on Facebook and also used it to document their interactions and stories that were shared by the homeless people.  The group used the donations to buy basic food and necessities that were delivered by volunteers to homeless people in various locations in Singapore, over a period of time.

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Asst Prof Elmie (right), with some of the group members from Roti for Homies

Prof Mohan J. Dutta receives the 2016 ICA Applied/Public Policy Research Award

Mohan1Prof Mohan J. Dutta  was awarded the International Communication Association (ICA) Applied/Public Policy Research Award, at this year’s ICA Annual Conference held in Fukuoka, Japan from 9th to 13th June.  The ICA Applied/Public Policy Research Award honors a scholar or group of researchers who have produced a systematic body of research in communication studying a particular applied or policy problem for the betterment of society.

The award is a recognition of Prof Dutta’s decade-long collaborations with marginalized communities in developing the culture-centered approach as a framework for addressing needs voiced by members of marginalized communities, for developing participatory processes for structural transformation through grassroots-driven advocacy, for fostering communication infrastructures for listening to community voices, and for co-constructing knowledge claims from the global margins. Under the umbrella of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) that he directs at NUS, Prof Dutta has developed partnerships with communities that work toward addressing locally articulated  and contextually constituted solutions such as building cultural resources of health and wellbeing, building healthcare services, building locally-based agricultural systems rooted in indigenous knowledge, developing culturally-centered communication campaigns, and creating policy advocacy tools that center the voices of marginalized community members in policy spaces.

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Prof Dutta receiving the Award at the 66th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association held in Fukuoka, Japan on 11 June 2016.

CNM @ ICA

Prof Dutta (right, seated) with other CNM faculty members and graduate students at the ICA Conference 2016

CNM Camp 2016 – Recruitment for OGL(s) and Councillors

The organising committee of CNM Camp 2016 is recruiting for OGLs and Councillors. Those interested can sign up here

Want to have a meaningful summer experience? Opportunity knocks! Sign up to be an OGL or a Councillor for our upcoming CNM Masters Camp 2016, and you’ll have the chance to forge new friendships and create unforgettable memories! The camp will be from 25-28 July 2016. All majors are welcome! 

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