Muncie, A Potential Smart City in an Information Renaissance

Muncie, A Potential Smart City in an Information Renaissance

Muncie, Indiana thrived during a time in which industry was king. It has since suffered economically through a period of deindustrialization. In losing its strong industrial power, it also lost sight of its identity and vision. Therefore, could developing a smart city initiative be the answer to Muncie’s crisis of vision?

Muncie is poised for a rebirth, or a renaissance, centered around an information economy. As a society we have moved into an era where data and information are now king. There are other cities worldwide with a a dilemma similar to Muncie. They are faced with the question do we innovate or further push our city into economic turmoil?

It is clear that across the globe there are daunting challenges of all types. For example:

Over the period up to 2050 the demand for energy is expected to increase by 80%, for water by 50%, and for agricultural land by 10%.By 2050 85% of all energy is expected to be generated using fossil fuels, leading to a 70% increase in CO2 emissions(Ding, Graafland, & Lu, 2015).

Through the use of technology, and the movement of information, we have the opportunity to anticipate and reduce the problems facing cities in the 21st century. Specifically, it is through the utilization of data analytics or Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which enable the development of more efficient urban development and management.

Cities who utilize analytics and implement IoT and ICT initiatives are referred to as smart cities. Yet, the power of smart cities is held by the people who build them. It is the coalitions that form to support these initiatives who truly have the power to drive change (Ding, Graafland, & Lu, 2015, Pg. 367). Smart cities might be metropoles where data flourishes, but it takes humans to give meaning to data in the form of information and knowledge.

We have entered an era of Information Renaissance and Muncie now has a choice to make. Will they continue to wait for the industry of a past era to return? Or will they seize this opportunity to become a leader in innovation and information?


Ding, W., Graafland, A., & Lu, A. (2015). Cities in Transition: Power, Environment, Society. Rotterdam: NAI010.


Are Pictures Beyond Meaning?

Are Pictures Beyond Meaning?

Visiting Artist Lecture: Scott McCloud

“Comics and the Art of Visual Communication”

Back in October I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Scott McCloud. I first came across his book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art when I was a teenager. He writes about non-linear narratives, visual literacy, and the importance of design in storytelling. At that time, his ideas on design and communication were very influential to me.

Scott McCloud Understanding Comics
Scott McCloud Image from Understanding Comics

There is a beauty in clear communication. McCloud reminded us that you can show something complex with clarity, and in fact it is better that way. When clarity is increased in an image it reduces the mental drag time viewers use to receive or understand information. The goal should be to create a fast visual load time for the viewer.

Scott McCloud Image from Understanding Comics
Scott McCloud Image from Understanding Comics

I found that his discussion had parallels to the field of ICT. Our culture has a long history of visual illiteracy. This is changing due to Web 2.0. Compared to 10 years ago, we now communicate much more through images. This can take the form of ads, infographics, memes, emojies, gif sets etc.  Images in these different forms convey emotion, meaning, or story both quickly and efficiently. A quick Google search for “gif” results in about 2,030,000,000 results.

McCloud reminded us that the future is happening now. Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are here. They are being utilized and developed and visual literacy and good design are related to their success.

Pictures are not beyond meaning. In fact, they are packed with information and meaning. As our culture transitions to  one of visual literacy, images will be used more frequently to send information faster with less mental drag time.

Accenture Challenge: Finding Calm in the Chaos

Accenture Challenge: Finding Calm in the Chaos

Students are consumed by projects and prepping for exams during the final weeks of the semester. At CICS this is no different, but for us this week was also the Accenture Challenge.  Teams were given a problem and presented their solution to a jury of faculty and representatives from Accenture in the form of a consulting competition.

Even though the Accenture Challenge  monopolized most of my time the past several days, there was no shortage of other work to be done.

How can calm be found in the chaos? This depends. Personally, a visit to an art museum or gallery offers the sort of solitude I’m seeking in the midst of busyness. It is a place filled with a peaceful type of quiet. So earlier this week as I passed by the museum I decided to stop in.

What I found was a work that had transformed into another work.

Saint John the Evangelist (Saint Catherine verso), 1568 Marten De Vos, Flemish (1532-1603) Oil paint on wood 91 1/8 inches H; 38 1/2 inches W; 1 3/8 inches D Lent by David T. Owsley

A few years ago the paint began to blister and detach from the gesso underneath. To prevent further damages small patches of tissue paper and water-soluble adhesive was applied. At this time, more funding is required before the next step in conserving this piece. The image was Saint John the Evangelist (Saint Catherine verso) by Marten De Vos.

This temporary solution has created a striking new image. It has become a work of its own and a statement on the fragility of historical pieces such as this one. Chaos should not be feared as it can bring about change and the potential for innovation.

Below are some more works I enjoyed from my visit.



Cite Like a Scholar

Cite Like a Scholar

“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion.”

– T.S. Eliot

Stealing like an artist is something to take pride in. Among creatives it is a common practice to find inspiration from someone else’s idea and to make it your own. This is what it means to steal like an artist.

When it comes to creativity there is good theft and there is bad theft. The author of “Steal Like an Artist”, Austin Kleon, illustrates this in the image below.

Kleon describes good theft as giving credit to the original, whereas plagiarism is passing off an idea or body of work as your own. A student, like an artist, will collect research from a variety of sources and authors. In order to avoid plagiarism, a student is required to synthesize their sources into a cohesive narrative using their own voice. The second step is to properly cite the original authors. This will not only prevent plagiarism but it builds the integrity of the student’s scholarly work.

On the road to mastery there are three roadblocks: fear, complacency, and arrogance. In academia when a student gets caught up in a plagiarism scandal the cause is at least one of the three roadblocks. A student fearful of receiving a failing grade may view plagiarism as a better option than failure. It can also be the result of laziness or ego. Even if the behavior can be attributed to a character flaw, the act of plagiarism will always strip away the credibility of a scholar.

Kleon also presented a TED Talk on the topic of stealing like an artist, which I have linked below. He not only discusses key ideas from his book but he reminds us that no one is original.

It is important to remember to steal like an artist, but to cite like a scholar.


Kleon, A. (2012). Steal like an artist: 10 things nobody told you about being creative. New York:                          Workman Pub.

[TEDxTalks].(2012, April 24). Steal Like An Artist: Austin Kleon at TEDxKC. [Video File]. Retrieved                    from

What is the Mission of the Center?

What is the Mission of the Center?

The mission is to provide leadership.

The Center for Information and Communication Sciences (CICS) fosters leadership through a unique approach to education, research, and experience. In addition, CICS is a professional program in which students do not write a thesis, but instead conduct research and complete frequent team projects with real world deliverables.

As an undergraduate at Ball State University I walked past the center an infinite number of times. Yet as I passed by I never gave it a second thought. What eventually led me back was that in addition to furthering my understanding of this digital world we live in; my goal is to aid consumers and businesses alike in navigating it. I can create solutions but if I lack the skills to implement them, then I will always fall short of my goals. A career that relies on creative problem solving and embracing technological advancements requires an education like what CICS is uniquely equipped to provide.

What truly sets our program apart in the context of higher education, within the United States, are its commitment to its core values of creativity, integrity, communication and service. In addition, another differentiating factor is the expectation that learning takes place in a variety of environments such as:

Immersive Learning

“Is about student-driven projects, lasting outcomes, and community partnerships.”

Social Learning

“Provides social enrichment and the chance to sharpen your networking and interpersonal communication skills.”

Applied Research Institute

“Within ARI are six industry-supported laboratories—Convergence, Networking, Digital Media, Applications, Wireless Innovation, and the Network Integration Center.”

“Within these institutes, faculty provide leadership and offer additional real-world opportunities to apply knowledge from the classroom.”

Another opportunity that CICS provides is the chance to talk with alumni. One piece of advice that stands out came from an alumni who graduated around 2001. Their recommendation was to be wary of specializing in only one skill or technology as we live a world that changes rapidly.

CICS prepares graduates for a rapidly changing, digital environment by providing a framework for knowledge. It is this framework that also allows graduates to continue learning throughout their careers.

It is factors such as: a commitment to fostering leadership, unique learning environments, projects with real world connections, and alumni who are invested in the success of current students that differentiates CICS from other academic programs.



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