While we don’t yet have the formal guest researcher program up and running, we did have a visit from our collaborator Jarrett Geenan this week. He’s working with Sigrid Norris on multimodal discourse analysis, and he was in the U.S. for an applied linguistics conference, so he “stopped by” the Pacific Northwest on his way back from Dallas to New Zealand. Turns out his undergraduate and graduate work so far in English and linguistics is remarkably similar to Shawn’s. Several of the grad students working with Shawn managed to have lunch with him last week, and talk about our different research projects, and life as a grad student in the States vs. Canada (where he’s from), England (Laura’s homeland), and New Zealand.
We also had a chance to chat about the video cameras. He’s still been having difficulty downloading anything useful, as things just come in fits and starts. We’re not sure how the best way to go about diagnosing the issues will be (barring a trip for one of us to be there in person), but maybe we can get the Milestone folks on a screenshare or something. In the meantime, it led us to a discussion of what might be a larger issue, that of just collecting data all the time and overtaxing the system unnecessarily. It came up with the school groups – is it really that important to just have the cameras on constantly to get a proper, useful longitudinal record? We’re starting to think no, of course, and the problems Jarrett is having makes it more likely that we will think about just turning the cameras on when the VC is open using a scheduling function.
The other advantage is that this will give us like 16-18 hours a day to actually process the video data, too, if we can parse it so that the automated analysis that needs to be done to allow the customization of exhibits can be done in real-time. That would leave anything else, such as group association, speech analysis, and the other higher-order stuff for the overnight processing. We’ll have to work with our programmers to see about that.
In other news, it’s looking highly likely that I’ll be working on the system doing my own research when I graduate later this spring, so hopefully I’ll be able to provide that insider perspective having worked on it (extensively!) in person at Hatfield and then going away to finish up the research at my (new) home institution. That and Jarrett’s visit in person may be the kick-start we need to really get this into shape for new short-term visiting scholars.