Starting Fall 2017, Aubrie Adams will begin teaching at Cal Poly as a faculty member in the communication studies department. Adams is currently a doctoral candidate at University of California, Santa Barbara slated to graduate this June with a doctorate in communication. She specializes in new media and interpersonal and digital communications.
Adams’ work includes co-authorship of the book “100 Greatest Video Game Characters,” academic articles on video game narratives and their effect on behavior and a master’s thesis on teachers’ use of emoticons in communications with students.
As part of her dissertation, Adams co-developed a training simulation game called Veracity Education and Reactance Instruction through Technology and Applied Skills (VERITAS) designed to teach law enforcement personnel and civilians how to tell if an individual is lying or telling the truth.
“Our training simulation game debunks these myths about deception detection and teaches users research-based approaches to making credibility assessments,” Adams said. “For example, cues like inconsistency with other statements, negative language and greater cognitive load [thinking hard] are more reliable indicators of deception.”
According to Adams, VERITAS makes use of dialogue trees, nonverbal cues, story-based scenarios and immediate feedback to build police officers’ interpersonal communication skills. The project was funded through a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant and further funding for a virtual reality (VR) adaptation of VERITAS is currently pending.
Adams was hired through the communication studies department’s search for faculty to fill positions in digital communications and culture.
“Their goal was to seek out a scholar who could enrich their curriculum by improving the digital competencies of students,” Adams said. “This is a broad area of course, but my research expertise in new media and interpersonal communication fits nicely as much of my research examines computer-mediated communication, text interaction, video game research, game-based learning and social media.”
Though there are no final plans for which classes Adams will teach in fall, it is possible that she will be instructing Media Effects (COMS 419) and Communication Theory (COMS 311).
COMS 419, aside from being an upper division elective in communication studies, can fulfill students’ requirements within the media arts, society and technology and science and risk communication minors. These minors are interdisciplinary programs provided through the College of Liberal Arts’ science, technology and society program that draw from every college at Cal Poly to provide students with a perspective on the intersections between science, technology and the liberal arts.
“Without a doubt, teaching and research in digital communication requires an interdisciplinary approach,” Adams said. “Cal Poly’s interdisciplinary science, technology and society minor seems like an excellent opportunity to continue pursing interdisciplinary lines of investigation.”