Guest Lectures from Renowned Scholars

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On Oct.26, School of Media and Communication invited three guest lecturers, including Francis Steen, professor from the department of communication studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, Nicholas Bowman, associate professor of communication studies and research associate at the Interaction Lab at West Virginia University as well as Michael Prieler, distinguished professor at the School of Media and Communication at Hallym University to present their new media related research and findings.


To kick off the event, Francis Steen shared his presentation, titled: Modulating Meaning: the Power of Multimodal Communication. Steen’s research on multimodal communication aims to expand the life of communication research through different techniques and tools. Steen said that because most studies focus on printed text, which can be stored and systematically studied, studies on human communication conveyed through non-verbal modes, such as facial expressions, postures, and gestures, are impoverish. With the aim to enrich this area of human communication, Steen co-founded the Red Hen Lab, a global big data science laboratory and consortium that has a international network of scholars studying multimodal communication.


Prof. Francis Steen

The second speaker, Nicholas Bowman presented on NUIS (natural user interface system) and mapping the future of VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality). Bowman said objectively, NUIS should be more comfortable and effective, but gamers still prefer abstract controllers, which allows users to operate in game by pressing buttons, over controllers that are concrete, which uses more natural movements to control the game. Bowman suggested that it could be because humans have already gotten used to the abstract controller that it has become natural; or it could also be because NUIS require gamers to imitate real-life movements to complete the action in-game, while gamers don’t actually want to take physical action, instead they enjoy the challenge of using a novel and abstract controller.


Prof.Nicholas Bowman

Michael Prielers presentation introduced the challenges of global advertising. Prieler said while standardized advertising content works in everyday themes, such as hunger, thirst, affection, and universal human motivation, such as desires to be healthy and safe, there are cultural aspects where standardization is challenged. The main reason, Prieler said, is because of ethnocentrism; as humans, we interpret things we see based on knowledge of our own culture and believing that our own culture is superior. Prieler said some of these cultural challenges include the role of women, non-verbal language, as well as colors, signs and other symbols.


Prof.Michael Prieler

The lecture hall of B407 in School of Media and Communication was filled with Chinese as well as international students and some faculty members of the school. It's a rare opportunity to have all these great minds together in the same room and everyone has learnt a great deal from their expertise.


Guest Lecturers information

Prof. Francis Steen in Department of Communication Studies, University of California, Los Angeles has Ph.D. degree in University of California, Santa Barbara. He is Director of the digital NewsScape Library of International Television News and Co-Director of the Red Hen Lab, an international network of scholars studying multimodal communication. A central area of his research is how the news engages in a process of reasoning about the causes of events, and about how to intervene and take control of the future.


Prof.Nicholas Bowman is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Research Associate in the Interaction Lab at West Virginia University. His research relies extensively on experimental and observational research methods to better understand the functional role of technology in human communication. He has published over 100 original research reports, journal articles, and book chapters exploring the human-technology relationship. He is the editor of Communication Research Reports and an Associate Editor of Journal of Media Psychology


Prof. Michael Prieler is Distinguished Professor at School of Media and Communication, Hallym University. Most of his research projects have focused on diversity in the media (particularly representations of gender, race/ethnicity, and age). In addition, he has conducted research in the areas of advertising, new media, and health communication. He is in Editorial Board of Sex Roles (Springer) and MOMENT – Journal of Cultural Studies.

(Written by Mercy Tee, edited by Lutong Zhang)