College announces funding for new media technologies laboratory
The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications has received preeminence funds from the University’s Office of Research to build a lab focused on examining responses to new and immersive media technologies, Dean Diane McFarlin announced today.
The lab, yet to be formally named, will be housed in the 21st Century News Lab space and will be open to faculty and students pursuing experimental research.
“The lab’s chief goal is to examine the many ways in which users engage with information from myriad platforms and devices that would ultimately lead to an enhanced consumer experience,” said McFarlin “This focus on engagement and overall consumer experience has substantial importance for industry and society.”
Professor of Journalism Sri Kalyanaraman, a preeminence scholar who began at UF this fall, created the proposal for the new lab. Kalyanaraman, an expert on the psychology of technology, worked on the proposal with other CJC faculty members and with input from colleagues at other UF colleges and other universities.
The funds will be used to acquire technology and equipment to conduct experimental research, programming expertise, student and staff training, data collection and analysis and expert consultations. This infrastructure is expected to provide a significant impetus to pursue external funding, including federal and foundation grants as well as from industry partners.
“We also expect the lab to help us advance the intellectual mission of the College and to attract graduate students and faculty interested in this type of research,” McFarlin said.
The lab will also be an asset for designing and testing messages for various CJC units such as the Innovation News Center, the STEM Translational Communication Research program and The Agency.
The lab will be both a dedicated research and teaching space. The lab will be divided into four areas: a space for conducting experiments in immersive virtual environments (IVEs), a second space for conducting experiments on other media platforms (computers, tablets, etc.), a reception/post-study space and a research space with workstations for stimulus development.