Graduate student Ronald Wilson poses for a photo with his data visualization poster from a December 2014 class poster session. This semester, many iSchool classes will come together for a joint poster session in Hinds Hall on Friday, April 24.
By: Diane Stirling
Students from a diverse range of classes and representing undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral research topics from throughout the School of Information Studies (iSchool) will present informational posters about their learning and discoveries at a school-wide poster session on Friday.
Posters will be on display throughout the lobby of Hinds Hall and in the ground floor iCafe from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM. They will serve as a starting point for conversations between students and visitors about apps that have been devised, the ways data can be meaningfully visualized and interpreted, and many other topics that are the day-to-day classroom and research focus of students in a wide range of pursuits throughout the iSchool.
It’s the first time that a large, coordinated showcase of projects and classes has been planned on a single day as a organized effort, rather than individualized poster sessions, and dozens of students are expected to be represent their work. The idea for an all-School poster session came about after Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Research Jason Dedrick noticed that faculty from several different classes had announced open postersessions for their classes around the same date. Dedrick thought combining the sessions would provide a good opportunity for the school to showcase the range of topics students are working on, and provide a convenient way for employers who interact with the school, and who often hire iSchool students, to see in a holistic way the latest types of research and class work being undertaken.
Classes participating in the poster session include: IST 400/600, Mobile Application Development and Design; IST 719, Information Visualization; and IST 722, Data Warehouse. In addition, a number of Ph.D. students also will be exhibiting summaries of their research.
“It’s a chance for iSchool students to show the exciting work they’re doing in their classes, and also to highlight Ph.D. student research,” Dedrick said. “We’re hoping folks from the iSchool and across campus will visit to learn what we do here, especially emphasizing the hands-on work that our students have the opportunity to do,” he added.
Assistant Professor Jeff Hemsley, whose IST 719 Information Visualization class members are participating, said he believes the event will highlight “the diversity of interests, backgrounds, and skills of our students. Those who attend will see this reflected in the wide range of poster topics: sports, education, health, finance, climate, ecological diversity, politics and many others. It is always exciting for the iSchool to showcase our students’ work, but doing it in such a visual and concentrated way will be unusual,” Hemsley added.
Assistant Professor Carlos Caicedo said the poster forum lets students showcase the Android device mobile apps they have been developing in his IST 400/600 Mobile App Development and Design class. The event also serves to let other students know “that if they want to build mobile apps, there’s a course for that at the iSchool,” he said. His class teams will be presenting posters depicting the concepts for their apps, as well as the techniques used to develop them, and in some cases, will be demonstrating their newly-created mobile applications.
Data Mart Illustrations
Adjunct Professor Michael Fudge, who teaches IST 722 Data Warehouse, said six teams representing 30 students will be participating. Students’ posters will illustrate data marts they have built this semester using actual iSchool data sets. The data represent enrollments, drops and adds of classes, wait list information, and tracking of free software downloads accessible to iSchool students. It’s one of the first time his students have worked with real data sets, so the appearance of the data and the analyses students are providing represent “some compelling data warehouse visualizations,” Fudge said. Since his class has not done poster presentations before, he has been guiding them about the type of visualizations that interest audiences--“something that’s eye catching and compelling that you can share; then when you get their interest, then you can discuss all the details and logistics that went into preparing the visualization,” he noted.
The all-school poster session is a great idea, Fudge added, because it provides an event where students are likely to have a large audience attendance–something that is both “exciting to students and imperative to their morale,” for the event. As a larger, coordinated function, this also provides a focused event to draw the interest of employers, staff, and university employees who can drop in “to come see the good work we’re trying to do here,” he added.
Open to Everyone
Representatives of employers who regularly partner with the school, and other companies who have interest in the students and their educational pursuits, have been invited to attend, according to Sarah Weber, director of employer relations. The event is open to everyone in the iSchool, and to the campus and local communities.