My Recent Activities: ResNet Historical Research and YouTube Analysis

Please accept my apologies if this blog is not being updated as often as one might hope or expect. Please do not have any expectations for update frequency – when there is something is interesting and appropriate and I have the time, I’ll write about it. Contributing to the rather low frequency of updates recently has been my quest to leave my full-time job and return to school full-time in the fall to pursue a doctorate. That is not a process that one lightly begins or finishes and it takes time to apply, evaluate offers, figure out financial aid (i.e. graduate assistantships), visit campuses, etc.

In the meantime, here are two interesting projects on which I am collaborating with others:

  1. Qualitative content analysis of programs presented at the ResNet Symposium from 1995-2006. In the past few years, the ResNet Applied Research Group (RARG) has conducted some pretty intensive research. I would characterize our past research as “outward looking” as we have examined issues that affect and define residential computer networks. I would characterize our current research project as “inward looking” as we’re examining the ResNet Symposium itself. As with all of our research, I think that this is an extremely important part of the continuing professionalization and maturation of both the organization and the profession as a whole. Further, I think that this particular research effort will make a huge contribution to the historical study of both residential computer networks and student computing support in higher ed in general. I hope that we, collectively, can continue this kind of research and extend it further to help us understand where we have come from so that we can understand where we’re going. We’re also running into some very interesting methodological challenges with this research as it appears to be pretty unique in many way; we’ve only found one other similar research project and we’re borrowing most of our methodology from media analysis, specifically David Altheide’s Ethnographic Content Analysis methodology.
  2. Analysis of YouTube and its impact on and recommendations for student affairs practitioners. A colleague and I are working together to write an invited article for a non-peer-reviewed student affairs publication describing YouTube and related issues. It’s a very interesting topic and I’m very excited to be a part of this effort. There are tons of potential topics to discuss in this article and I think that narrowing down our list and keeping our article to a manageable size is our biggest challenge. Leaving aside core student affairs issues such as student development and the interaction of YouTube with student affairs administration and policies, other issues that may be discussed include media literacy, citizen journalism, increasing bandwidth demands, legal issues, public representation of institutions, and the general growth of social networking. I hope that we can find a way to not concentrate on just YouTube but on all similar sites but finding a balance between generalities and specifics will be quite a challenge.

I know some of this has been a bit vague but I’m sure that you can understand that all of these are works in progress. I’ve got other things brewing and I will announce them as appropriate.