This July, selected rising high school seniors (students between their junior and senior year) will be on campus to explore the role social media has played in transforming our society - from politics and international relations, to arts and humanities, management, science and technology.
Take a peek at descriptions from the 2013 sessions.
Chasing Reality: Social Effects of Social Media in Hypermodern Japan
Session Leader: James Mark Shields, Comparative Humanities & Asian Thought
Since the 1970s, Japan has been at the cutting-edge of new technologies, and the recent surge in social media is no exception. And yet, the enthusiastic embrace of social media and related technologies among Japan’s urban youth has come at a cost, with a number of various new problems related to addiction, suicide, fear of human contact, absenteeism, and "compensated dating". On the flip side, social media has also given rise to new discourses of romantic relationship (as seen in the Densha Otoku or "Train Man" phenomenon) and has given greater exposure to those who identify as "otaku" (fans, usually men, obsessed with manga/anime/gaming). This session will explore and attempt to understand the social effects of social media technologies in contemporary Japan.
Do Birds of a Feather Flock Together on the Internet?
Session Leader: Karl Voss, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Social networks allow us to be connected to people from around the world in a variety of different ways. These kinds of networks have the potential to build relationships between people of widely varying backgrounds. Given all of this potential one might ask, “Do we use social networks to make connections between people who are dissimilar from ourselves or do we use these tools to find people with whom we already have a great deal in common?” We will look at how to understand and measure the connections between people in networks. This can give us some insight as to what kinds of communities people are forming in the social networking world and whether birds of a feather are in fact flocking together.
Here, There, and in the Cloud: Social Media and Study Abroad
Session Leader: Erik Lofgren, Associate Professor of East Asian Studies
The rise of social media has been accompanied by its fair share of evangelists proclaiming it as the salvation, and doomsayers decrying it as the end, of civilization as we know it. Both positions articulate some dimension of the truths surrounding this disruptive technology. One academic area in which the changes have been particularly pronounced is study abroad. What changes have “connectivity” wrought in this experience traditionally marked by separation? What benefits might students see from the ease of communication such technologies offer? What forces seek to undermine the benefit of living in a different culture? We will explore these, and related, issues in an effort to understand the potentials and limitations of social media in the international context of living abroad.
Political Campaigns on the Cutting Edge
Session Leader: Atiya Kai Stokes-Brown, Associate Professor of Political Science
How has social media changed American campaigns and elections? How are candidates using these technologies to reach supporters and attract new voters? And what do these changes mean for democracy and the democratic process?
In this session, we will examine the transformation that is taking place in campaigns and elections today and where they are headed in the future. We will focus on current trends and assess how national, state, and local campaigns are making cutting edge changes. We will also explore whether these changes have the potential for harm and manipulation as well as hope and increased participation.
The Sneeze Heard ‘Round the World
Session Leader: Marie Pizzorno, Associate Professor of Biology and Cell Biology/Biochemistry
How do the web, social media, and other ways to use the internet influence disease epidemics? Using the blogger character in the movie Contagion as an example, can we predict how news of an epidemic would spread around the globe? On the other hand, how do epidemiologists and other scientists who are interested in tracking outbreaks use the internet in their work?
This session will involve discussing topics like these and examining some of the tools on the web, both fun and serious, that allow us to predict how viruses spread in a population, how news of an epidemic can spread, and how diseases can be monitored around the globe.
Social Engineering Design
Session Leader: Margot Vigeant, Associate Dean of Engineering
The engineering design process is the method by which engineers bring new products, processes, and ideas to the market. Everything from the Golden Gate Bridge to Facebook is a product, at some level, of engineering design. In this session, we'll try our hands at design with the goal of creating new and better networks, and even make use of these tools in our design process.
You Can’t Hide!
Session Leader: Xiannong Meng, Professor of Computer Science
What is the impact of the online world on all of us? Whether it is your academic work, your professional career, or your personal life, the online social networks such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and others have changed the world as we know tremendously!
We will examine first how online social networks such as Twitter and others affect how we live and how we behave. Your daily activities on social network such as Twitter reveal who you are and what you do, even if you think you hide some information from the rest of the world. These social networks are able to compute the likelihood of where you are based on your friends on the social networks even if you do not participate in all the online activities.
In the second part of the session, we will explore the technologies that enable these social networks to keep track of us and to figure out what we do even with limited amount of information. We will explain in common terms the knowledge of computer science and mathematics along with other sciences that are needed for social networks to accomplish what they do now in terms of tracking and analyzing the behavior of the participants.
What Happened to My Privacy?!?
Session Leader: Eric Santanen, Associate Professor of Information Systems, School of Management
Privacy is a topic that everyone is familiar with. Ask anyone you know, “Is privacy important to you?” and the response will most likely be “yes.” Now, ask that very same person which technologies they have actively chosen NOT to use or NOT to adopt because it threatens their privacy and you will likely get a very different answer, or worse yet, no answer at all.
Your privacy and personal data is a valuable commodity on the open market. As soon as someone gathers new data, there is an instant market for that data -- and EVERYONE is willing to pay for it. But privacy is a commodity like no other. Once “spent” you cannot “earn” more. It simply cannot be replaced. This session will explore the impacts of social media and technology in general on your privacy.
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