Yet another well-kept secret in Minnesota tech and media is the Institute for New Media Studies on the campus of the University of Minnesota. In an effort to reveal that secret, the Institute annually hosts an event to showcase the many resources available and projects under way at the University.
Although not standing room only, this year’s program, held last Friday at Coffman Union, was presented to an interested group who heard information on projects addressing journalism, social media, gaming and art, to name a few. It also showcased the institute’s facilities, which include focus-group rooms and eye-tracking software used in site design and usability studies, as part of i’s quest to provide the ability to do more applied research.
I had a chance to talk with Nora Paul, director of new media studies, about the goals of the gathering. “I think we’re kind of the ‘Yenta’ [referring to the matchmaking character in “Fiddler on the Roof”] for the campus when it comes to new media. We try to make matches.” She notes, too, that the event “brings together seasoned researchers with students.”
Paul, right, adds that the Institute doesn’t want students, or others for that matter, to get “caught in silos” when it comes to new media thinking. In line with that desire comes the offer of the resources and facilities to not only the campus community, but to the community at large to some extent. The Institute appears more than willing to collaborate with the private and education industries.
To find out more about the institute, interested parties — including University faculty, staff and students as well as professionals in the Twin Cities community — are encouraged to join the New Media Research Network as well as follow along on Twitter, Facebook, Delicio.us and Flickr.