Lexie Scott, a third-year Literature, Media, and Communication (LMC) major placed third in the Special Interest Group at the Design of Communication (SIGDOC) international undergraduate student research competition held August 11 - 13 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Scott presented a poster on her research: “A Case Study of the Continuous Course Lab (CCL) as an Alternative Model for Undergraduate Research in the Humanities.”
Scott’s CCL model is distinctly different from traditional models of undergraduate research such as the apprenticeship model often used in STEM fields. A key difference is that the CCL model is course-based, which means that the research is conducted by enrolled students participating in a course and the research is continued from one semester to another. At the end of the semester, students write a report on their research findings and pass this on to the next group of students who pick up where the last class left off.
According to Scott, “The Lab model is particularly useful because students from multiple disciplines are taught humanities research methods and technical communication skills while they work on real-world problems.”
Scott’s class worked on developing strategies to increase consumer knowledge of end user license agreements (EULAs), “those long documents that you never read but always agree to!”
SIGDOC is a special interest group of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). This year’s SIGDOC conference theme was the impact on content and the design of user experiences in different contexts — a theme that aligned well with Scott’s case study on the Responsible End User License REUL Lab.
“We have been putting the CCL research model into practice here at the REUL Lab,” says Scott, who also works as a research assistant in the Lab. “The Lab’s research focuses on making user agreements, privacy policies, and terms of service more accessible to readers. This project has been really inspiring to me because as an end user, I also benefit from the kind of research that the Lab undertakes.”
REUL Lab was established in 2016 and is sponsored through the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center (DILAC) grant.
Reflecting on her work at the Lab and attending her first conference, Scott says, “Before taking the REUL Lab’s continuous course, I never thought I would be capable or even interested in doing research of my own. Now, because of the guidance I have been given by all of the Ivan Allen faculty involved, I had the amazing opportunity to present research at a conference! I would love for other undergraduates to be able to have this same experience.”