Center for Communication Research Outreach
Members of the center are involved in a variety of projects that have direct applications for service to the wider community. Here are some examples:
Meta-analysis of the Positive Effects of Sesame Street
Zhongdang Pan and Louise Mares are working on a project that analyzes and synthesizes research that Sesame Workshop (formerly Children's Television Workshop) has conducted on the impact of Sesame Street all over the world. The project examines the conditions under which Sesame Street’s international co-productions (sometimes targeting areas of extreme economic deprivation) have stronger or weaker effects.
Evaluation Research for Fusion Science Theater
Fusion Science Theater is an innovative program which includes the elements of drama to make create science presentations that are fun
and exciting as well as educational and inspiring. Under a Planning Grant from the National Science Foundation, Joanne Cantor, with help from Communication Arts graduate students has demonstrated that Fusion Science Theater shows not only entertain children, they teach them important scientific concepts and increase children's positive attitudes toward science and their confidence in their ability to understand science. Click here for the Summative Evaluation of the Fusion Science Theater Planning Grant. We are now involved with the Fusion Science Theater team in submitting an appication to NSF for five years of further funding to increase the scope and reach of these Science Investigation Shows.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Presentation to Promote Student Focus
Joanne Cantor has developed an interactive presentation titled, "Thriving on Campus and in Cyberspace: Staying Connected While Succeeding in School." Based on her book Conquer CyberOverload, its aim is to help students make the most of their time and their talents by making them aware of how their brain responds while multitasking and while experiencing information overload. Her ongoing research evaluates the impact her presentations have on students' attitudes and their ability to get things done.
Louise Mares recently gave a talk at CineKids, an international children’s film festival in the Netherlands. She spoke to children’s TV and film producers and programmers about how children understand media content. She also spoke to a local parenting group in Madison about the impact of various types of media content on young children.
Joanne Cantor has been giving presentations about limiting digital distractions to business, professional, and student groups in Wisconsin and around the country.