Showcasing exceptional student research and development
The iConference, in collaboration with FUSE Labs of Microsoft Research, is pleased to announce the third iConference Social Media Expo. The exposition is designed to showcase exceptional interdisciplinary research and development work from iSchool programs specializing in social media. Students are asked to form teams of 3-5 to conduct a specific research, design, development or community engagement project. Each project should explore a technological solution meeting a concrete need or opportunity around this year’s theme of government open data and social media. (See challenge description below.)
Selection for participation will involve two stages. First, by October 15, 2014, a faculty sponsor must express an interest in participating in the iConference Social Media Expo on behalf of their students with a one page Letter of Interest. See template Letter of Interest below. Second, by December 15, 2013, final projects will be submitted for consideration in the form of 4 page abstracts and a 3-5 minute video.
A panel of reviewers in the iSchool community will select the best student projects to be invited to present at the iConference Social Media Expo. Selection will be based on four criteria: clarity of the expressed need or opportunity; creativity in approach; evidence that both social and technological sciences contribute to the solution; and completeness of the project. Participating iSchools will receive a grant of $3,000 to cover an estimated 50 percent of the cost for their selected team to attend the iConference, with the expectation the school will cover the remaining costs. The iConference Social Media Expo is only open to student teams from member-institutions of the iSchools organization. Although we seek to involve a representative team from as many iSchools as possible, final selections will be made based on each project’s merit. More than one group may be selected from a given school if so warranted by the quality of submissions.
- October 15, 2014: Faculty sponsors for participating student groups submit a one page Letter of Interest (instructions below).
- December 15, 2014: Student groups submit 4-page abstracts with 3-5 minute videos summarizing their group projects.
- January 15, 2015: Student groups are notified if they are invited to participate in the iConference Social Media Expo.
- March 24-27, 2015: iConference Social Media Expo 2015 at the iConference in Newport Beach, California, USA.
iConference 2015 takes place March 24-27, 2015, in Newport Beach, California, USA. It is presented by the iSchools organization and hosted by the University of California, Irvine Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences.
The 2015 Challenge — Government Open Data and Social Media
Government agencies are increasingly adopting an open data approach, making information freely available for use without restrictions – enabling people to “conduct research, develop web and mobile applications, design data visualizations, and more”. (http://www.data.gov). At the same time, an analysis of social media data helps us understand and reflect on historical and real-time aggregate behavior, allowing both organizations and individuals to gain a deeper understanding of their society. These two trends create an opportunity for a kind of large scale conversation – as governing agencies share their data with their citizenry, and as the population at large engages with organizations through tools such as Twitter, blogs, and Facebook.
We ask you, as an interdisciplinary team, to explore new and exciting ways to foster societal awareness and conversation at the intersection of open data and social media.
FUSE Labs as an R&D team would approach this problem with a combination of user research, design explorations, prototyping, real world deployments with usage analysis, or community engagement. We encourage you to explore this space with a similarly interdisciplinary approach.
We expect projects may incorporate user research, design, prototyping, and/or system evaluation around topics such as:
- Finding new relationships through an analysis of open data and social media data
- Collecting and evaluating big social data
- Statistical/algorithmic work for detecting and summarizing societal patterns
- Visualization of societal patterns
- Supporting conversation between community groups and government agencies around open data
Template Letter of Interest
Faculty: Please use the following template for your Letter of Interest, adapted to your particular school, program, or course. The information to be provided by you is in brackets. Once you submit your Letter of Interest, you will receive an acknowledgment. Faculty sponsors are expected to provide some guidance to student groups in submitting their projects, and to review (in short form) submissions from their students. In the previous years, 1-5 projects were submitted from each participating school.
Please send your Letter of Interest via email to Shelly Farnham by October 15, 2014.
Date: October 15, 2014
To: Shelly Farnham, FUSE Labs Microsoft Research
From: [School’s faculty sponsor and primary contact person] Subject: Letter of Interest for the iConference Social Media Expo 2015
I am writing to express interest on behalf of [your program, your school, student group(s)] in participating in the iConference’s Social Media Expo.
About us: [Provide a description of your school, related social media program(s) or course(s) involved, if applicable, and the character of students involved.] Participating student groups: [Provide a description of how you expect student groups to participate: as a part of a class, several classes, independent study, on their own.] We acknowledge that our submission is not guaranteed acceptance; final selections for presentation at the iConference Social Media Expo will be decided by the committee based on merit. We further acknowledge that should our entry be accepted, we will receive a $3,000 US grant, expected to cover about 50 percent travel and conference fee expenses for our school’s participating student group–and that we will make our best effort to cover the remaining travel costs through our own fund-raising efforts. Finally, I agree to provide reviews (short form ratings) of the projects submitted from the student group(s) I am sponsoring.
My contact information is provided below:
[Name] [Title] [Department] [School] [Email] [Phone number]
Shelly D. Farnham, Ph.D. (email@example.com)
FUSELabs, Microsoft Research
University of Washington
FUSELabs, Microsoft Research
About FUSE Labs
Microsoft Research, FUSE Labs is a world-class research and rapid prototyping lab focused on innovation in social technologies, thinking 3-5 years out. The lab works in partnership with product and research teams to ideate, develop, and deliver new social, real-time, and media-rich experiences for home and work. FUSE Labs experiences give users new ways to create, connect and collaborate with the people, information and ideas that matter to them. Learn more.
Questions about the Social Media Expo be directed to the Organizing Committee listed above.