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The professor’s room – Christopher Jennings

An occasional series that gets within the inner sanctums of academia – because clever people have interesting rooms.

By Cory Phare

August 2, 2017

Chris Jennings in his office

Back in the heady days of the early World Wide Web, Christopher Jennings enrolled as a student in the first multimedia class offered at the school where he now teaches. And as an associate professor in journalism and technical communications, he remains intrigued by the intersection of creativity and technology, reflected in his collection of contraptions, post-punk posters and one peculiar spokespet puppet.

  1. I was in New York City with my stepson for Father’s Day when we stopped into one of those little toy stores off Times Square. That’s where he bought me these “Penguin Bowling” and “Thumb Sumo” games as a gift. NYC is always a good time.
  2. This is Alexander Graham Bell’s original diagram of a telephone from 1876. Bell initially came up with the idea because his wife was deaf and he wanted to help her hear again; it ended up also becoming a concept that led to hearing-aid development. When students are on their phones, I say, “Hey, this is where it all came from.”
  3. If you’re doing user-interface and usability testing, this brainwave starter kit will measure whatever you’re looking at across a whole spectrum of EEG (electroencephalogram) categories, from gamma all the way down to theta. It helps to identify focus and meditative states; I initially found it at a gaming conference I was at with students.
  4. Oingo Boingo is one of the top live bands I’ve ever seen! [Singer] Danny Elfman has gained notoriety for soundtracks to Tim Burton movies now, but the band had an ’80s ska and post-punk energy with some of the best lyrics of the time.
  5. Being someone who teaches interactive media and technology, I’m blown away by the innovation and creative spark at Burning Man. It’s amazing to see this completely open, accepting community created from nothing in a desolate environment ― I try to get there as often as possible; this is an inverted color picture I took there at night.
  6. This wolf is the first piece of art I ever bought from a vacation in Vancouver after my high school graduation. It’s on metal and tinfoil, and is either light or dark depending on where you’re at in the room when looking at it.
  7. Someone had picked up this Pets.com talking puppet on a discount when they (the company) were in their final days; they gave it to me as a white-elephant gift one year, and I have it now as a keepsake. It even still talks – with the voice of Michael Ian Black!

p.s. Calling all faculty and staff members…
Do you have an interesting office – and would you like to feature it in our series? Just email Cory Phare.

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