academics

Some believe new technologies are powerful forces that dictate social, cultural and political relations. These “technological determinists” focus on the technology itself, questioning whether it produces positive or negative outcomes in society. Others believe people use technologies in ways that suit existing goals and interests. These “social constructionists” think about new technologies as tools that can be seized, adapted and appropriated by the public. While there is plenty of middle ground between these two perspectives, this dichotomy draws attention to a key question in the study of new technologies. Who has the most power: technology or people? This question, and how it has been answered throughout history and around the world, will be central to an upcoming WorldCanvass discussion, featuring University of Iowa faculty from Communication Studies, Journalism & Mass Communication, and Computer Science. The program, “Encountering New Technology,” will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Iowa City’s nonprofit cinema arts organization FilmScene on 118 E. College St. The program is free and open to the public.

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If the phrase "academic research" brings to mind tweedy professors poring over rare manuscripts or bespectacled scientists in lab coats examining glass beakers — you’re probably not alone. Nor is the stereotype entirely wrong; I’ve certainly dressed the part of rumpled geek during my career, to the occasional chagrin of my family. The prolonged and often unglamorous work of studying how social, economic and political forces shaped history, or how the universe operates down to the subatomic level and out at the furthest edges of space can seem mysterious, tedious and irrelevant to people outside of academia.

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Curious about what it's like to study abroad, but aren't sure where to begin? Get your questions answered and kick start your journey at the upcoming spring study abroad fair! You'll learn about short-term and faculty-led study abroad programs all over the world, which allow you to receive academic credit while advancing your UI degree and exploring other cultures. Stop by at any time from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second floor of the University Capitol Centre on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. Whether you're interested in studying, working, interning or volunteering, you'll get the chance to talk to study abroad advisors, faculty program directors, and even former student participants.

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Phil’s Day 2015 is a day to celebrate philanthropy and the impact it has on the University of Iowa. These are just a few of the many UI students who were able to study or conduct research abroad in the past year, gaining invaluable experiences and memories that enhanced their education and lives, thanks to the generosity of private donors. Read on to learn about their unique adventures and projects.

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On "castle rock" in the Bay of Biscay, as I bit into a sort of hand-held omelet, I wondered: who invented this ingenious snack? I mean, who in history was the one to discover that you could even eat an egg, not to mention fry it with potatoes and onions into a graspable food item. The true genius of it struck me because Josu, my hiking companion, had prepared this himself and though I had eaten this same thing in nearly every restaurant in my neighborhood, there was something notable about this one.

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A European study of the effects of study abroad on employability shows that experiences abroad enhance skills such as acceptance of unfamiliar cultures and attitudes, openness and adaptability, awareness of one’s own strengths and weaknesses, ability to make decisions, and ability to solve problems.

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On my third day in Spain, I learned about the expert pickpockets of Madrid. It wasn’t simply through Ibon’s sound advice to get a money belt or to sling packs in front of our bodies where we could see them. No, I had to learn the hard way. I’m blaming it on the fact that I’m from a town where we don’t even lock our bikes. I implicitly trust everybody. However, belief rarely lines up with reality and in less than a week abroad I found myself wallet-free. Still, I’m optimistic that not every lesson that day was lost on me. Before I was so swiftly and silently robbed, I absorbed some stories about Spain’s long and complicated history, which, on more than one occasion, involved miracles.

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Three months ago to this exact date was the day I accepted to spend the spring semester in Thessaloniki, Greece. After sending the acceptance e-mail, I remember calling my mom, my boyfriend, my friends – anyone who would listen – and then wondering how in the world I could ever wait three months to leave for Greece.

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I have been in Spain for roughly two weeks and have spent 25% of that time lost. Maybe this is an exaggeration since many of my meanderings, as Tolkien might say, were spent with intention. However, this was definitely not true of my first day. My first experience of feeling misplaced was immediately upon arriving in Madrid. The second (third, fourth and fifth ad infinitim) have been in Bilbao, a clean and beautiful city whose streets seem to snake like tributaries of the Mississippi river even though I’ve been told by everyone who lives here “it’s so small it is impossible to get lost.” In every Spanish city I have visited so far I’ve found it very easy to lose my way, and the only difference between my first day and today is that now I do it on purpose.

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I don’t know how to answer the questions you’ll ask me about being abroad for four months. You’ll ask if it was amazing, and then you will ask me if I miss it. And I will say there are a few things that I miss in particular – getting to see mountains every day, and I honestly miss hearing the Icelandic language. The landscape is surreal, so I miss that, too. What I could do without is missing my friends and family in the United States. But now I just miss the friends that I made abroad.

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