May 14, 2008

Invitation to attend our online presentation tomorrow May 15 about our online/on-campus research

My advisor, Christina Wasson, and I have been working on a research project for the last year and half that explores students' experiences in the same graduate-level course, taught at the same time, by the same professor, in an on-campus format and an online format. We've presented on this research to our department, at the AAA 2007, and the SfAA 2008. Most recently we were invited by the University of North Texas to present as part of the Center for Distributed Learning's Brown Bag Lecture series.

Tomorrow, May 15, we will do an online presentation at noon CST and you all are welcome to attend! Here's information on how to attend:

Please join us online in Live Classroom this upcoming Thursday, May 15, 2008, from noon – 1:00 p.m. CST for the monthly CDL Brown Bag. This session will be held online, so you can join us directly from your desk!

Christina Wasson, Associate Professor, and Jen Cardew, Graduate Student, in the Department of Anthropology, conducted an applied anthropological study comparing a graduate-level course taught by a single instructor in both an online and face-to-face format. They will discuss how their ethnographic and linguistic analysis of the data shed light onto students' experiences in both formats, and led to recommendations for the design of virtual pedagogy and building community in online courses.

To log into Wimba Live Classroom at noon CST on Thursday, May 15:

a. Go to:

b. If this is your first time to use Live Classroom, click on the "run the Setup Wizard" link to the right and then click "Start."

c. Click "Finished" when you are done.

d. Enter your name in the Participant login box. (There is no username or password.)

e. Click on "CDL Brown Bag Room."

f. Click the "click here" link provided on the screen to enter the room.

May 02, 2008

Update on the "comparing the same online & on-campus graduate course" research

My advisor, Christina Wasson, and I have been doing research comparing students' experiences in the same graduate course for the last year and a half. The data that was collected came from an on-campus and online version of the same course, taught at the same time, and by the same professor.

Our panel was selected to be in the 2008 SfAA Podcasts. It's a coincidence that I was on the panel- a group of people vote on the sessions. You can find the blog post containing the podcast, our PowerPoint, and our paper here.

It was an excellent panel and I really enjoyed it so I recommend you listen to it :)

April 25, 2008

Podcasts of "Working with Govt. Agencies" from the SfAA are available

There was a two part series at the SfAA meeting entitled "Working with Governmental Agencies." The sessions did not get as much attention as I expected them too. After all, Montgomery McFate is one of the most talked about anthropologists in the world these days.

The SfAA Podcast team received permission to record four speakers from this two part panel. McFate's paper is not included. The others are interesting though. You can find them here.

April 20, 2008

First 3 of 17 2008 SfAA Podcasts are available

Presidential Plenary Session in Honor of John van Willigen: The Art and Science of Applied Anthropology in the 21st Century

Preparing Applied Anthropologists for the 21st Century, Part I

Preparing Applied Anthropologists for the 21st Century, Part II

The Preparing Appied Anthropologists for the 21st Century podcasts/blog posts are complimented by a great list of "important points" that the speakers put together. The session organizers, Phil Young and Carla Guerrón-Montero worked hard to put together this fantastic panel and all of the papers were very informative. These panels had a strong focus on students and I think a lot of students will find them to be helpful. The speakers currently have a NAPA Bulletin in-press that will expand upon what they presented at the SfAA.

April 14, 2008

The 2008 SfAA podcasts have begun!

The first of seventeen 2008 SfAA Podcasts is up over at

"Presidential Plenary Session in Honor of John van Willigen: The Art and Science of Applied Anthropology in the 21st Century" including Satish Kedia, Susan Andreatta, Metta Baba, and Erve Chambers is the first one up. I've only listened to portions of it, but I'm enjoying it so far.

One of the best things about having a podcast team this year was that I'm looking forward to the podcasts being published as much as everyone else. Last year I recorded each session so I heard all of them but this year I only recorded five ;)

April 01, 2008

Tentative schedule of 2008 SfAA Podcasts

(x-posted at

I've posted the tentative schedule of the 2008 SfAA Podcasts. I say it's tentative because timely publication of the blog posts and audio is dependent on the speakers to an extent- I need them to submit their bio info for the post as well as electronic versions of the papers and PowerPoints (this is optional, but I encourage it). It's also tentative because I may publish podcasts early if I have extra time to work on the editing. I chose the order based on the ease of coordinating with speakers and the amount of editing involved with the audio files.

Here is the (very) tentative schedule of podcasts for the 68th Annual Meeting of the Society of Applied Anthropology (SfAA).

14 April 2008 Presidential Plenary Session in Honor of John van Willigen: The Art and Science of
Applied Anthropology in the 21st Century

17 April 2008 Preparing Applied Anthropologists for the 21st Century, Part I

21 April 2008 Preparing Applied Anthropologists for the 21st Century, Part II

24 April 2008 Working with Governmental Agencies, Part I

28 April 2008 Working with Governmental Agencies, Part II

5 May 2008 The Scholar-Practitioner in Organizational Settings

8 May 2008 For Love and Money: Employment Opportunities in Medical Anthropology (SMA)

12 May 2008 COPAA International Invited Speaker

15 May 2008 Embodied Danger: The Health Costs of War and Political Violence (SMA)

22 May 2008 Mobile Work, Mobile Lives: Cultural Accounts of Lived Experiences

26 May 2008 Practitioners Rise to the Challenge: A Discussion of Methods in Business

29 May 2008 The Flawed Economics of Resettlement and Its Impoverishing Effects: What Can Social Scientists Do?

2 June 2008 Visualizing Change: Emergent Technologies in Social Justice Inquiry and Action,
Part I: Digital Storytelling and PhotoVoice

5 June 2008 Visualizing Change: Emergent Technologies in Social Justice Inquiry and Action,
Part II: Participatory Mapping and Visual Arts

12 June 2008 SMA Plenary Session: The Political Construction of Global Infectious Disease

16 June 2008 Anthropology Engages Immigration Reform

19 June 2008 Anthropology of the Consumer

American Anthropological Assoc. (AAA) launches a podcast series

This is from the AAA eNews for April 2008:

"Tune in regularly to our bi-weekly podcast for news and updates on the AAA. To listen to the podcast, visit the AAA website and look under the “New Features” section on the homepage. To download the most recent podcast, please visit this site.

To subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, please visit this site"

While I'm sure they will not be quite as awesome as the SfAA podcasts, I can admit I am a bit biased towards the SfAA podcasts ;)

I'll be interested to see how 'successful' the AAA's podcasts are. One thing I noticed in their announcement was they didn't provide an explanation about what a podcast is, etc. If I'm having trouble making these concepts accessible within the SfAA I can only imagine that the AAA will face similar struggles.

Regardless, I appreciate the AAA's move into the 21st Century- I doubt they'll do any sessions from the conference though...

March 20, 2008

My SfAA presentation (about the online course research)

While in Memphis I will also be co-presenting a paper with Christina Wasson about our online-on-campus research that we've been working on for just over a year. The session is on Friday morning (F-10) 8:00-9:50 am in the Nashville room and is entitled "The Scholar-Practitioner in Organizational Settings." Our paper is titled "Theory and Praxis in an Educational Setting: Building Community Online."

Here is the session abstract from Crysta Metcalf
"In this session we introduce and model the concept of the “scholar-practitioner,” practicing anthropologists who explicitly draw on theory in their work and contribute to theory development. Although such an integration of theory and practice has long existed, it has been gaining greater recognition in recent years, especially as more and more anthropologists are applying our discipline in organizational settings. The members of this panel draw on their experiences in both academic and organizational settings, presenting case studies and examples in order to explore the challenges and opportunities inherent in working toward the advancement of anthropological theory in applied practice."

I'm excited about this session because I am co-presenting with my advisor and many of the other women on the panel are the ones that I've followed their work for the last four years. It's quite an honor :)

I'll upload a copy of the paper post-conference but I can let you in on a little secret...
it will be recorded for the SfAA Podcasts. I guess I've done a good job in finding my way into cool panels because this is the second year that my session was selected for the podcasts. I do oversee the selection of sessions but the sessions are picked from suggestions submitted by lots of people.

SfAA Podcasts in Memphis, TN

I'll be headed to Memphis on Tuesday, March 25th for the Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA). While there the SfAA Podcast team will be recording seventeen sessions (tba soon) and the Friday night awards for another round of the SfAA Podcasts!

If you're a fan of the SfAA Podcasts (and why wouldn't you be?) and want to show your support head over to the website and download one of our nifty badges (directions are there on how to do it).

If you're headed to Memphis for the conference then make sure to stop by our info table near registration on Wednesday to pick up some of our cool swag. Sticker Giant is sponsoring the project so we'll have some awesome stickers and other goodies for you.

And you can keep up with me and/or the SfAA Podcast project on Twitter :)

March 19, 2008

Developer-centric tech conferences as a (design) researcher

Back in February I attended the Future of Web Apps (FOWA) in Miami and BarCampMiami held in the same venue. My boyfriend is a developer so he wanted to attend this conference. I decided to go with him since it was semi-close to home and I wanted to learn more about the tech industry.

Essentially, my experience at FOWA was doing participant observation of the developer side of the tech industry. A large part of the speakers and materials covered was over my head since I have a limited knowledge but I learned a lot. I did walk away learning like I knew a bit more about their processes but more importantly I feel like I gained insight into their world. The majority of the talks focused on the development process and excluded user-centered research, or mentions of users in general. To be fair, the audience was likely interested in the former more than the later. I commented to someone that FOWA felt very developer-centric and lacked a focus on users. Their response was something to the effect of "users aren't part of the process." To be sure, they *should* be.

BarCampMiami was useful in that the presenters only focused on the basics of what they were discussing, i.e. OpenID, OAuth, etc. I actually learned about the subjects they presented rather than gained insight into the tech industry.

Last week I attended SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX and BarCampAustin. My experience at BarCampAustin was similar to that of Miami and I learned a lot (and had fun, BarCampAustin rocked!). SXSW was a different experience from FOWA for me though. In addition to gaining insight into and about the development process of web apps, software, etc. I became inspired by listening to the developers talk about their research.

This process of listening to people talk about their experiences to gain insights in/for research is nothing new if you're familiar with anthropology. In listening to the developers, etc. discuss their research I discovered/thought of many ways that anthropological research could help their processes and goals. This is good knowledge to have when you're looking for internships (me ;) or if you want to do consulting work.

All and all, I really enjoyed FOWA, SXSWi, and both BarCamps. Given that most practicing/applied anthropologists will have a professional counterpart (for tech design research it's designers/developers, for medical anthropology maybe it's doctors, for educational anthropologists it's teachers, etc.) and I believe that attending your counterparts' conferences, etc. will be very valuable for you to be able to communicate with that communicate.