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SSHRC Public Outreach grant

March 22, 2011

Building on a 2010 SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis grant on the use of broadband networks in northern and remote First Nations communities, Richard Smith has received a $227,675 Public Outreach grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

The grant is titled "Community-based broadband development and applications in Inuit and First Nations communities." Smith's colleague Susan O'Donnell, at University of New Brunswick, will be co-investigator. Rob McMahon (PhD candidate in the School of Communication) is the primary research assistant. In addition, the project is strongly supported by a group of First Nations and Inuit partner organizations, including Ontario's Northern Chiefs Tribal Council (Keewaytinook Okimakanak, or KO), Atlantic Canada’s First Nation Help Desk, and First Nations Education Council (FNEC), based in Wendake, Quebec.

Broadband-enabled digital networks and technologies offer communities the opportunity to engage in a variety of development projects. First Nations and Inuit communities provide many examples of how technologies are used in health, education, government, and culture and language. Communities, however, need to be involved in the earliest stages of designing and implementing these technologies in order to best support local applications. It is not enough for a community to simply be ‘connected’; a community must also be connected in ways that support sustainable, locally-driven development practices.

Our research will tell the stories of local, "first mile" development practices, countering the assumption implicit in industry-driven approaches that only involve communities at the ‘last’ step in development processes. We will highlight community-based successes through short (three minute) videos about innovative community-based broadband projects made by First Nations and Inuit community researchers; and online resources for communities and policy makers. We will also facilitate national and regional online conferences to highlight stories and engage communities and policy makers. We will also create an interactive website that showcases the videos and provides digitized material that visitors can use to create their own ‘mash-up’ videos.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Not much of a writer on my personal web pages, it seems. Although I have updated them and corrected a few errors between May and now. And I have been blogging elsewhere and even writing in the wikis for my courses (253, 488) this fall.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New meida angst, from 4th c BC:

"' who are the father of letters, from a paternal love of your own children have been led to attribute to them a quality which they cannot have; for this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.'

Socrates, (as quoted in Plato's Phaedrus, ca. 370 B.C.E.) complaining about how the new media of the day (the syllabic alphabet and papyrus) were screwing up the younger generation. This discourse has been going on a long time."

Thanks to Ben Anderson, via Mark Johns

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A new year and new courses. I have two courses this semester, both on Thursday. The first, at 9:30am, isn't really new, although it is going to be a revision of the course from the last time I taught it. The course web site has details, but in a nutshell I am looking at the history of the net and framing that with some current issues and theoretical perspectives. I am going to try to 'rein in" some of the parts of this course that have gotten overly complicated in past years. In particular, I am hoping to push some of the "current events" and theory material over to CMNS 353, taught by Peter Chow-White. I am also going to ease back on the mid-term exam which has (rightly) gotten a reputation of a killer, by cutting out most of the true/false and multiple choice questions and going to more of a short answer format. Finally, I am expanding the range of options for the final project, to allow historical projects. Students will be able to take a technology from the text book and do their final project on that.

The second course is truly new, and a joint venture with my colleague Gary McCarron. The course is on surveillance and the cinema. Gary and I will be looking at two fields of study - surveillance studies and film studies - and connecting the two. While I have used surveillance films as supplementary material in my Issues in an Information Society (CMNS 453) class before, I have never tackled the films themselves as a subject matter. I am really looking forward to this one, despite the possibility that - being new - there might be some "rough edges" to work out.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Again, a month slips by and not much has been posted here. The trip to China was wonderful, and I have a new appreciation for that country, I think. Although I had been to China a few times before, they were always very quick trips. This time I had more time to relax and reflect on what I was seeing. I also noticed dramatic changes since the last time I was there. Most significantly, there are thousands of new buildings in places where there were just farms a decade ago. Cars are more numerous, of course, but interestingly the stinky two stroke motorcyles are gone. I don't know the details but they seem to have been completely displaced by electric bicycles. I guess it is a step in the right direction, but with so many new cars coming on stream it is probably a case of "one step forward, two steps back."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

More than a month since the last "news" posting, so perhaps I am not as newsworthy as I thought I was. Just as well, I guess. Today is my last full day in Vancouver before the trip to China tomorrow. We (my son and I) travel to Beijing and then to Hangzhou. We return to Beijing on the 7th and then back to Canada on the 17th. I am looking forward to it immensely, not least because my daughter is living and working in Beijing and we will get to visit her.

The School of Communication seems particularly smooth-running these days. The process of restructuring and becoming a new faculty seems well under way, and both my own (AoIR) and the UDC conferences have come and gone in October without any major hiccups. Between the two conferences we had almost 600 people in Vancouver courtesy of SFU CMNS. New colleague Stuart Poyntz has started to fit in well, and was most helpful at AoIR, stepping in to introduce one of the keynote speakers.

Teaching is looking like a lot of fun this coming semester. Not only do I get a chance at my "regular" course: CMNS 253, after two semesters of having it in the (very capable) hands of sessional instructors, but I am also teaching a new course, CMNS 428. The latter is particularly fun because I get to teach it with my friend and colleague, Gary McCarron. 253 will be interesting if for no other reason than I hope to make a few changes this year and bring the course back in line with the overall "technology and society" plan for the department. In this case, it means focusing more on the early days of information technology and leaving some of the current issues and events for later exploration in CMNS 353, now in the capable hands of Peter Chow-White.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bill Richards' memorial last night was a wonderful tribute to a great guy. He was such a friend to so many people and it really came across in the room yesterday. I was very moved by the various comments and glad to have known him. He was wonderfully kind to Deborah and I, especially when we were new to the city, and I will not forget him.

The "news" page you are reading now is new, as I have completed my transition from a content management system (Plone, which I was very happy with) for my personal web page to this more "hand carved" site, based on HTML/CSS. I am using the "Coda" software to do the work, which makes maintenance quite simple. I took the look and feel from the university's guidelines, with plenty of help from the library's CSS and layout. In the process of moving to a new system I am leaving behind all my old news. Oh well, it was old news. As I have time I will retrieve some of the more useful items and migrate them here.