My ideal career path is to work in a research university where I can continue my on-going study of opinion dynamics, and to share my understanding of computational communication (e.g. human online behavior, network science, and data journalism).
Computational Communication (CC)
Computational communication is part of computational social science (pdf). Further, there are mainly two aspects of computational communication, including both communication network science and data journalism.
I have drafted one article to outline the emerging framework of computational communication (In Chinese, click here to read). To embrace the trend of “Computational Communication”, we have organized one google group to discuss issues relate with data crawling, analyzing, and visualization using various programming tools (Click here to see the google group).
“Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” (Issac Newton)
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” (Einstein)
Social events are thought to be too complex to capture the nature since there are too many competing mechanisms. However, it should not be used as the excuse of giving up finding the universal law. We live on our digital traces, and further human dynamics & Internet make it possible to quantify the human behaviors in general, and communication behavior in specific.
My understanding of study could be described as a sandglass metaphor. Metaphor serves as the structure of comparison. Just like the sandglass, academic study start with a broad topic which is always a specific and significant puzzlement. Gradually, scholars should narrow down the research topic to draw your study on a general but significant theoretical issue, and to investigate it with a new perspective. Eventually, you can handle the research question which has important theoretical implications. While, this part of logic is corresponding to the introduction part and literature part.
When you have finished your finding part, you should head towards the discussion part. Despite of justifying the expected and unexpected result of your findings, the most important part of discussion is to generalize your findings by talking with prior relevant findings, propositions and established theories. Following this line of logic, the conclusion is only a natural part of this conversation.
As a junior faculty member, I plan to teach some introductory courses on basic statistics, network analysis. To be specific, I want to teach three courses, both theoretical and practical.
First, writing for ssci journals. The idea comes from CC Lee’s class, in which he enlighten me to write in a logical way. The practice works for everybody. Even you have been a senior professor, or you are just a phd students who learnt little about the tradition of research. I was inspired to share my understanding of how to construct the structure of the paper, and how to polish it to get published.
Second, I want to teach social network analysis for both the theory and the application. There isn’t a steep threshold, so it could be attended for everyone. However, for the undergraduate, I will focus on the applications. While for the graduate students, I will put emphasis on theory.
Third, I want to give a class of market research in the perspective of media analysis, which will focus on the method of data collection, data analysis, and strategy consultation.
Teaching is one process of self-presentation, through which you represent the long-living knowledge of human kind. It really matters what you are thinking about your teaching philosophy. For me, according to my understandings of teaching, I would like to highlight the equality of teaching and learning, the nature of human beings, and being open-minded.
1. Everyone is equal
Respect Your AudienceA good lesson I learnt from this class come with a question: what should you do when your students did a good job? If not, what will you do? Reflect about the answer. Do you want to reward or punish them? Remember your answer in heart.
I would like to introduce Skinner’s box invented by Frederic Skinner, which contains levers that an animal can press, stimulus lights, electric grid, and food pellet. Following the logic of behaviorism, when the subject correctly performs the behavior, the chamber mechanism delivers food or another reward. Or else, the box delivers a punishment for incorrect or missing responses.
Thus, you may realize that you are treating your students as passive experimental subjects. The beginning point is never to treat your students as experimental rats, and even animals deserve your respects. Students are human beings who have their own feelings, emotions, and values. The first step of teaching should be to learn to respect your audiences, even though they behave passively, or make no progress.
2. Understanding human nature
Effective teaching is to impose a set of values & beliefs on the student. The most important part should be teaching the students how to learn. The best way of learning should be acting according to the nature of human beings. Everyone had been a curious kid who wanted to explore every part of the world. Just like the cat is curious about the fish (sometime, for eating, while sometimes just for fun), human beings, in the nature, are curious about the part of knowledge they are interested in. The second step of effective teaching should be inspiring your students to fulfill their interests in the learning process.
I was always not surprised about the story of Thomas Suarez, the 12 years old kid who made two iphone Apps by learning python, java, and c. Little Thomas has been fascinated by computers and technology before kindergarten. What the teacher should think is how could we contribute to the audiences’ real interests, rather than beat around the bush complaining why the students have no passion in the boring class.
3. Being Open-minded
The world is always changed by new comers. The teacher will finally find his or her understandings about the cutting-edge scientific study are not perfect. The best way is not to constrain the students from challenging the tradition. Being open-minded, sit down, and enjoy the new outline drawn by the young people.
My motto is “follow your logic”, which is a rational approach working in most parts of my life, especially in my academic career. The most important part of research is the logic which determines your research method and your theoretical work.
Finding a Job
Research faculty in Hong Kong Chronicle
Research faculty in Macau, Chronicle
Research faculty in Singapore, Chronicle
Research faculty in HK, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, New zealand Chronicle