Workshops – IR16 – 21-24 Oct 2015

This year’s conference workshops will be held at the conference venue on Wednesday, October 21st. For a description of available workshops, see below.

The option to participate in the conference workshop day is included in the cost of conference attendance, though space is limited. You can indicate which workshop(s) you would like to attend when you register. (Additional Note: the conference workshops run at the same time as the doctoral colloquium – if you intend to apply to the colloquium, you should not plan on participating in the below workshops.)

All-Day Workshops (9 AM – 12 PM, 1 PM – 4 PM)

Digital Methods in Internet Research

Organizers: Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, Tim Highfield, Ben Light, and Patrik Wikstrom (Queensland University of Technology); Tama Leaver (Curtin University)

This workshop offers the participants hands-on experience of a number of cutting-edge data-driven research methods and their applications in media, cultural and internet studies. The participants will be introduced to research methods for collection, analysis and
visualisation of both quantitative and qualitative data; they will learn about the benefits and limitations of using these methods; and how to apply the methods in their own research projects.

Half-Day Morning Workshops (9 AM – 12 PM)

Network Analysis for Qualitative Researchers: Using Media Cloud to Find Intersectionality Frames in Online Media Coverage

Organizer: Whitney Erin Boesel (Berkman Center for Internet & Society; MIT Center for Civic Media)

This hands-on workshop will demonstrate how the open-source platform Media Cloud can support and advance qualitative studies of framing and influence in online media, using case studies drawn from 18 months of collaborative work with reproductive justice (RJ) advocates. We’ll cover using Media Cloud to see patterns in previous media coverage of a topic (and how to determine the cause of interest spikes); how different media outlets have framed controversial issues in different ways (and whether that framing has shifted over time); and how competing narratives do (or don’t) interact with each other in a media landscape. We’ll also explore the kinds of complex query structures needed to use Media Cloud when looking for frames that don’t have a unique linguistic signifiers, as frequently happens when looking for traces of reproductive justice interventions in mainstream media. (For example: Just how many ways are there to talk about pregnant and parenting young people without saying “teen pregnancy”?)

By the end of the workshop, attendees will have accounts on Media Cloud Dashboard, and will be able to find, track, and measure the spread of complex ideas over time. We’ll also talk about possibilities for more in-depth future collaboration. Along the way, we’ll see how humor publication ‘The Onion’ is influencing debates around abortion; how the website ThinkProgress has become a central hub of dialogue around comprehensive sexual education; and how MTV contributes to the stigma surrounding young parents, but in a way even reproductive
justice advocates hadn’t realized.

Please note: Participants should bring laptops, but no previous network analysis or programming experience is required!

Using Social Media to Support Learning and Assessment

Organizers: Vanessa Dennen, Kerry Burner (Florida State University); Paul Nixon, and Rajash Rawal (The Hague University)

The main focus of this workshop is twofold. First, it supports the development and sharing of ideas for using social media to support learning and assessment. Second, and related to the first focus, it addresses the need to develop, communicate, and model classroom policies that are aligned with institutional policies, that help ensure that social media use is academically productive, and that all learners feel comfortable participating.

To address ways of using social media to support learning and assessment, we will provide a framework to help participants visualize the types of communication and knowledge activities that might be well suited to social media use. Examples will be given of each type. Then we will conduct an activity in which participants work collaboratively to develop activity and assessment ideas to support each of the different types of communication and knowledge activities.

To address class social media policies, we will discuss core areas of concern (e.g., privacy/safety, attribution, identity management, etiquette) and facilitate a brainstorming session on different

#FAIL! Things That Didn’t Work Out in Social Media Research – And What We Can Learn From Them

Organizers: Katrin Weller (GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences), Luca Rossi (IT University of Copenhagen), Karine Nahon (University of Washington and Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya)

This is the second workshop in a new series. Our aim for the series is to collect cases in which approaches for social media studies did not work out as expected. This will deepen and refine our understanding of how to use properly social media methods, help saving time and effort by preventing researchers from making again the same “mistakes”. We
also want to help researchers to make public “unsuccessful” but labor-intensive work that may not easily be published in classical formats, so that they can get credit for this and help others at the same time.

The proposed workshop has two main objectives. It will

… provide a platform for expert knowledge, which is currently
inaccessible to the wider public – by focusing und the pitfalls and
drawbacks of social media research which can hardly be published in
traditional journal formats.

… enable discussions on methods in social media research on an
interdisciplinary scale, by applying a new workshop format inspired by
the “world cafe” approach.

Half-Day Afternoon Workshops (1 PM – 4 PM)

Theatre of the Oppressed Techniques for Internet Studies Scholars and Teachers

Organizers: Dylan Wittkower and Jenifer Alonzo (Old Dominion University)

In this half-day workshop, attendees will participate in three activities based on Augusto Boal’s practice of Theatre of the Oppressed. Theatre of the Oppressed practices seek to enable participants to embody assumptions, societal relationships, and invisible systems of power, allowing participants to recognize and dissect oppression in even its most invisible forms. This workshop aims to (a) provide participants with a new perspective on frequent
objects of inquiry among internet scholars, and (b) provide experience with techniques that participants may later use with students in a classroom setting. The workshop is designed to be of value to any scholar or teacher in the interdisciplinary field of internet studies, but may be most valuable to those doing theoretical, ethnographic or autoethnographic, and engaged or activist research, and to those training students in introspective and qualitative modes of inquiry.

Imagining the Future of Creative Free Cultures

Organizers: Erika Pearson, John Egenes, and Adon Moskal (University of Otago)

Those involved in what is termed the “free culture movement” endorse the idea of allowing the modification and distribution of existing creative works—intellectual property—through the use of the networked digital ecosystem of the internet, and via other media. This movement generally sanctions active modification and repurposing of content, and objects greatly to what are considered to be over-restrictive copyright laws.

Scenario planning involves identifying key factors or drivers for change (or stasis) within an environment, and then hypothetically ‘playing them out,’ considering possible outcomes of different decision pathways to end up with narratives that describe positions across the range of potentials. These narratives are then used in decision-making, lobbying and policy development as ways to imagine desirable and undesirable futures, and to help identify key factors or decisions that may lead to those narratives becoming history.

This workshop proposes applying a scenario planning exercise to the developing free culture movement to create among the participants a multidisciplinary scan of the future of creative free cultures which can then be disseminated out to practitioners, policy0makers and others to help guide towards desirable and avoid undesirable futures in free culture.