Logo Communicators Forum

About the ForumProgramsBecome a MemberCurrent MembersCommunicator ResourcesCommittees
Board of Directors
Listserv Guidelines
Contact US

University of Minnesota
Communicators Forum

Past Programs

Managing the Frenzy:
Translating Communication Skills to New Media

Tenth Annual Communicators Forum Conference
University of Minnesota
Thursday, May 11, 2000
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Earle Brown Conference Center, St. Paul campus

The pace of change seems to be accelerating. Most of us began our communications careers focused on one or two media-print, television or radio, public speaking. The proliferation of new media-most notably, the Internet-has compelled communicators to translate existing communications skills into new technologies, standards, and skills. As University communicators, we face growing expectations to be conversant with multiple media, some that didn't exist when we began our careers. What other new media will we be using next year, in the next five or ten years? What will institutions of higher education look like? Expert speakers will look at the "big picture" changes in our roles as communicators within the University and the larger society. The concluding session will be a roundtable discussion where panel members will try to synthesize the day's events and attendees will have a chance to make comments and ask questions.

Conference in a nutshell
A thought-provoking and information-packed day awaits you! Communicators Forum is pleased to present nationally known media scholar, distance educator, and science fiction author Paul Levinson. (He writes songs too!) Author of Digital McLuhan and The Soft Edge, Levinson says he "thinks 24-hours a day" about the impact of new media on society. He'll be signing copies of his books after his talk.

We are also pleased to welcome the inaugural director of the University's Institute for New Media Studies, Nora Paul. Paul begins her duties at the University in July.

Choose from sessions on
Knowledge management
Future of education
Future trends in printing and graphic arts

We conclude with a chance to share our own experiences and discuss what we've heard during the day. A panel of Forum members will lead things off.

Plus! Bookstore, vendor fair, bibliography of new media resources, networking, and happy hour and prize drawings.

Conference schedule
Speakers and sessions may be subject to change

7:45-8:30 a.m. Registration and breakfast
Earle Brown Center first floor registration area

8:30 a.m. Welcome and introductions, Laura Weber, Communicators Forum chair

8:45-10:00 a.m. Keynote address - Picking the Winners in Media Evolution
Paul Levinson

New digital media are giving us the option of information any place, any time, we want it-books in Web-connected palm pilots rather than bookstores and libraries, classes via computer screens rather than brick-and-mortar buildings, offices in laptops rather than skyscrapers. But our traditional ways of living and working retain some advantages-printed books come with "batteries included," and make more comfortable beach, bed, and bathtub partners than computers. Historically, new media have not always completely replaced their predecessors-"talkies" all but eradicated silent movies, but radio survived the advent of TV quite well, and indeed thrives today. Sometimes our attachment to earlier media-as in the use of fountain pens by some people-is a deliberate fashion statement, or just nostalgia. Other times-as in the continued success of the analog watch-face in our digital age-the earlier medium serves an important function (analog watches provide a sense of past and future). "Picking the Winners" will examine today's crucial media choices in education, work, and leisure, with an eye towards which media work best in what situations, which will be the dinosaurs and which the dominant media of the future, and the principles of media evolution that underlie and animate these developments.

Paul Levinson is the author of several successful nonfiction books, including Digital McLuhan: A Guide to the Information Millennium (Routledge, 1999), The Soft Edge (Routledge, 1997), and Learning Cyberspace ((Anamnesis Press, 1995). He is president of Connected Education, offering undergraduate and graduate courses on the Internet since 1985, and visiting professor of communications at Fordham University. Levinson has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television shows in the U.S. and abroad and has published more than 100 scholarly articles on the history and philosophy of communication and technology. Levinson is also a science fiction writer; his first novel The Silk Code, was published last year. He is president of the Science Fiction Writers of America. He holds a Ph.D. in media theory from New York University. For more information on Levinson go to http://www.sfwa.org/members/Levinson/.

10 a.m. Break

Vendor fair begins 10:45-11:45 a.m.

Concurrent sessions I
a) A Thirty-Year Education Future
Arthur Harkins
Futurist Harkins will describe what we can expect in the next 10, 20, and 30 years in learning and education. Get ready for wireless technology providing global education 24/365; intelligent agents connecting wirelessly to cranial implants, permitting anticipatory uses of multisensory learning services; and a chimpanzee completing the equivalent of today's community college education. Sounds a little strange? Harkins counsels that instead of fearing and resisting change we should embrace it-the changes he describes will come upon us incrementally, in ways that will only seem surprising in retrospect.

Arthur Harkins, Ph.D., is associate professor of Education Policy and Administration, College of Education and Human Development, and adjunct professor of sociology at the University. His research and teaching interests focus on education in future social systems, strategic leadership, and social and educational futures. He has published articles and made presentations in the futurism field and is a regular commentator on "Nightline" on KTCA-TV and "All Things Considered" on Minnesota Public Radio. For more information on Harkins go to http://edpa.coled.umn.edu/people/Harkins.htm

b) Knowledge Management-What, Why, and How
Daniel J. Willis
"Knowledge is power"-so we've been told. A new discipline known as knowledge management (KM) advocates changing the equation to "Knowledge is power if it can be shared." This introduction to KM lays out the history, benefits, and roadblocks to an effective knowledge management strategy. The discussion will focus on the three keys for exploiting KM-organizational dynamics (culture), process reengineering, and appropriate computing tools.

Dan Willis is a principal consultant in the knowledge management practice for Rainier Technology, Inc., Minneapolis. He joins 20+ years of corporate information technology experience with his recent focus in knowledge management. He was the technical editor for two of the best selling books on Windows-based computing and has done technical course development in both print and video media. Willis is also a member of PC Week Corporate Partners and spends considerable time with current and upcoming key players in the computing and knowledge management arenas.

noon Lunch-Shingle Creek Room
Brief Forum business meeting (12:35 p.m.)

12:45-1:30 p.m. Vendor Fair continues

1:30-2:30 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions II
a) The New Cyberliteracy Laura Gurak The Internet is everywhere. What was once a department of defense technology is now almost a household appliance. Yet communicating on the Internet is not always as intuitive as using a blender! This presentation reviews research in online communication and suggests that effective communication on the Internet involves a new cyberliteracy. This new literacy includes understanding the Internet's key features-speed, reach, anonymity, interactivity-and learning about both the powerful, positive sides and the problematic ones as well. The presentation offers case examples on topics including gender, Internet hoaxes, copyright, and privacy to illustrate the concept of cyberliteracy.

Laura J. Gurak is a rhetorical critic who specializes in the relationship between language and technology. She is associate professor in the Rhetoric Department at the University, where she received her college's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1997. She is author of Persuasion and Privacy in Cyberspace (Yale, 1997) and the forthcoming Cyberliteracy (Yale). Gurak is widely published in rhetoric and technical communication, and she is a frequent commentator on Minnesota Public Radio's "Future Tense: A Journal of the Digital Age." Her long-term projects investigate technology and its relationship to rhetoric, gender, privacy, and intellectual property. For more information on Gurak, check out http://www.rhetoric.umn.edu/Rhetoric/Faculty/gurak.html

c) Barriers to Embracing New Media Communications
Nora Paul
Are you enthusiastic about the potentials for new media, but your colleagues look at it with disinterest, distrust, or disdain? Are you not particularly enthusiastic about new media, but you're not quite sure what is behind your disinterest, distrust, or disdain? This session will explore some of the barriers to embracing new media and its potential for communicators and some ways to clear the barriers.

Nora Paul will be the Director of the Institute for New Media Studies at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication starting in July. She is currently a faculty member of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she is responsible for seminars in the areas of computer-assisted reporting, leadership of online news operations, and news research and news library management. She has been at Poynter since 1991. Previously she was library director, then editor of information services at the Miami Herald, from 1979 to 1991. She holds a master's in Library Science from Texas Women's University. She is the author of Computer Assisted Research: A guide to tapping online information, now in its fourth edition, which is being used in a number of university courses.

c) The Future of Printing and Graphic Arts
Diane Gregory, Dave Hoel, and Shawn Welch
University Printing Services
Printing and graphic design are changing so fast that it's difficult to keep up. Our speakers will let you in on what printers are talking about at national trade shows and conferences, including sorting through e-commerce companies; the advantages of PDF workflow; InDesign, the new Adobe program with the potential to replace Quark and PageMaker; soft proofing; and color and variable printing.

Diane Gregory, Printing Services director, recently returned from the "On Demand" Digital Printing and Publishing Conference in New York, whose focus was on the explosion of e-services and variable print.

Dave Hoel, plant manager, has attended IMPA and has been exploring PDF workflow.

Shawn Welch, art director, has been researching InDesign.

2:30-2:45 Break

2:45-3:45 Panel Discussion-"Managing Frenzy/Making Transitions"
Maria Klein, publications manager/editor, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Michael Moore, communications director/editor, National Center on Educational Outcomes
Terry Mische, Director of Alumni Relations and Communications, Law School
Gayla Marty, communications coordinator/senior editor, Office of International Programs
Steven McCarthy, associate professor, Department of Design, Housing, and Apparel, College of Human Ecology (moderator)

Please see the conference Web site for biographies of each presenter. After each presenter describes transitions he or she has made to new media environments, strategies for adapting to change, or just a few war stories, there will be an opportunity for open mike contributions from the audience.

3:45-4:30 p.m. Happy Hour
Prize drawing by vendors at vendor fair