The College houses a state-of-the-art “Media Center for the Future” research facility, available to faculty and graduate students interested in the production and testing of media-based messages. It has a 20-seat theater, with seats wired to collect heart rate, electro-myographic response, and skin-conductance response data. The perception analyzer system provides an interactive tool for gathering feedback by using wireless hand-held dials.
The research facility also has message production, editing, and testing equipment and features a cutting-edge nonlinear digital editing suite complete with the latest Intel-based Macs running Final Cut Pro. A 12-seat multi-purpose “focus group computing lab” allows researchers to present media, web sites, and electronic surveys to subjects along with conducting and recording focus groups.
Unique to the College’s research technology is the “Digital Content Analysis” (DCA Lab). The DCA Lab provides media monitoring services through on-demand access to television broadcasts. Features of this system include a permanent, searchable, stream-able archive of television for all 20 channels being monitored, a 200TB RAID server with 1.5 million hours (ten years) of streaming video storage, a transcript search-engine, captured in real-time, to assist in analysis, and the ability to search, view, and catalog stored television via a custom web-interface called “COMMTV.” A coding web application gives researchers the ability to manage workflow by assigning streaming content and transcripts to coders who record their observations to a centralized data-set.
The Department of Communication also boasts a research facility known as the “ILAB“, for studying Interactions, Learning, and Behavior. This residential-style space is designed to help achieve natural and authentic response data from participants while discreetly providing advanced data-collection capabilities. This relaxed “living room” arrangement is equipped with three “pan-tilt-zoom” cameras and microphones, which feed to an external control room and observation space. The room is also equipped with the BIOPAC wireless body response system capable of measuring both heart rate and skin conductance. A large LED screen is available for displaying stimuli, and researchers have the option of using iPads to collect subject response data.
Located in Bowman Hall, the department’s Video Game Research Lab is a space dedicated to understanding the psychological, emotional, and behavioral impacts of video games. The lab is equipped with a 46-inch LG smart TV w/3D capability, three different gaming systems (X-Box 360, Nintendo Wii, & Playstation 3), and a Mac mini computer for data collection. There is a variety of games titles available for research. The catalogue of games includes popular titles like “Halo” and “Call of Duty” to a host of different exercise and active games. This lab is primarily used for experimental research which centers around understanding the potential positive and negative effects of the video game playing experience.
The department’s teaching facilities provide the latest technology for instruction. Each of our five technology-equipped classrooms is equipped with an LCD projector, Windows-based computer, document camera, web cam (for guest lecturers), and ceiling-mounted camera and microphone (for lecture capture). Seating in our main classroom in the Grehan Building allows for both a traditional classroom arrangement and small group meetings when modular desks are arranged as tables.