Conference publications

Visual Component in Modern Mediatexts about the Movie


The report is available in the author's edition.


The functional potential in the report of visualization tools in the mediatexts entering a modern film discourse is characterized.
The presented supervisions reflect one of the actual tendencies in modern media — a tendency to functional specialization of verbal and nonverbal components of the mediatext which promotes its compacting,on the one hand, and provides interaction with target audience on the other hand. Visual components of the text are considered as elements of its kreolization that optimizes communication due to expansion of combinatory opportunities in the mechanism of formation of the communicative strategy corresponding to this or that target audience. Visualization tools are the effective “packing” tool of part of the contents of the mediatext: they prevent information overload of the reader, bringing a pragmatical component of the text out of the verbal area.
It testifies a need of classification and detailed studying of the sign subsystems functioning in structure the kreolized mediatexts, the most widespread in the sphere of advertizing and infographics. Detailed studying of the kreolization mechanism of texts and in other spheres of media taking into account the channel of distribution and genre — thematic specifics that promotes studying of methods of data introducing obtained during cognizing of reality, strategy of their representation, formation of public opinion.

In the situation of information overload there is a need in the structuring of the data stream, what is connected with a trend towards an improvement of visualization mediatext tools. Research-ers operate the term “text creolized” emphasizing structural linguistic syncretism, inhomogeneity of modern media texts, the heterogeneity of its iconic material that combines verbal language and code elements of nonverbal communication.

Creolization verbal mediatext means are various non-verbal components (paralinguistic means of writing) affecting the interpretation of a media by audience. “Verbal and mediatext components are closely related and can be combined with each other on the basis of a variety of complement: enhance, illustrations, separation, opposition and other principles which form a kind of integrity, an indissoluble unity, which is the essence of the concept “mediatext” [Добросклонская, 2008]. Graphic design and color of the text, various iconic elements and others are among such components. 

Familiar subsystem require classification and detailed study. The most attractive material for studying creolized texts are advertising and infographics. Detailed study of the methods of creoliza-tion texts also in other areas of media, taking into account the distributing channel and genre and thematic specificity is also important because it promotes the study of methods of “presentation of the material obtained in the course of knowledge” [Тертычный, 2009: 23]of reality, its representa-tion strategies, formation of public opinions, practices of social orientation, cultural and educational practices, methods of fixation of personal valuable propositions.

The researchers confidently say that visualization tools serve communication optimizing, overcoming “hidden stereotypes of literary language” [Ворошилова, 2006], contribute to the nonli-near media reception. Using the combinatorial creolization possibilities expands mechanisms of communication strategies taking into account the target audience.

Operation of creolization elements are determined by pragmatic, genre-inclusive and structural features of the different groups of media texts.

Mass Media (hereinafter — MM) use more and more often unique (peculiar only to MM) and conventional (common to all or a number of MM) nonverbal sign systems.

We have examined the main aspects of functioning of nonverbal relational elements as specific elements of creolization which occur more often today in media texts, an important feature of which is to assess the subject of publication, and the function of orientation in the object area is a key one (reviews, reviews, announcements), as well as the specifics of illustration in this genre group.

In general, the use of relational elements in different types of media reflects the tendency to visualize the pragmatic component of a media. Nonverbal relational elements included into the structure of a creolized media texts detonate certain qualities, characteristics and features of the sub-ject of saying. As a special case of the general trend, relational elements at the same time become part of the “graphic standards” inherent in this group of media texts [Анисимова, 2003: 8].

Graphic standard – a model “being an example of the historical practice of the visual embo-diment of a particular type of text” [Анисимова, 2003: 8]. It is a component of the broader concept — communicative and pragmatic rules “uniting linguistic and non-linguistic rules for constructing texts in certain types of situation with a specific intention to achieve optimal pragmatic impact on the recipient” [Анисимова, 2003: 9].

The semiotic approach is the most effective to study the nature ofpolycode messages as sign systems (which include mediatexts too). We’ll explore the specifics of operating of such systems in an environment of mediatexts, the object of which is the area of cinema. The movie is one of the central parts of the mass audiovisual communication responding actively to the key issues of the day, reflecting relevant socio-cultural processes and history, serving as a translator of cultural codes and stereotypes, affecting the world. Study of analytical information about the movie, presented in different types of media, is an urgent task as media education and journalism schools.

Magazines “The Hollywood Reporter”, “Total DVD”, “РусскийРепортер” (RR), as well as online resources, “КиноПоиск” (, «IMDb» (www. and «Rotton To-matoes» ( were used as empirical data which use these elements in vary-ing degrees of activity. Each of these MM has made its own sign systems that interact with the ver-bal text, and in some cases are also the primary source of audience views on the subject (specific movie).

The code of film text is characterized as destabilized or disturbed, code of aesthetic message: “Message from the aesthetic function is ambiguous primarily in relation to the expectations of the system, which is the code itself” [Эко, 2006: 99]. But it is precisely in this destabilization its essence and value manifest. Activities of a critic, according to Umberto Eco, is precisely to “reconstruct the situation and the code of a sender, to understand how meaningful form copes with a new meaning, to refuse from arbitrary and unjustified interpretations accompanying any process of interpretation” [Эко, 2006: 122].

Expressed in verbal interpretation of the text of the film by a critic as “a story about the expe-rience of individual viewing” [Эко, 2006: 108] includes, on the one hand, a heterogeneous journa-listic code, on the other hand — codes of aesthetics and film studies. Verbal critical text is peppered with “aesthetic information” [Эко, 2006: 108], rooted in the material itself. Interpretation which is made by a cinematographic critic is embodied in а certain rhetorical form, which is understood as a non-rigid system of means that objectifies this or that content. It also leads to ambiguity of the journalistic expression. 

Nonverbal relational elements in the structure of a media are designed to automate perception, simplify recognition, differentiation of the object by audience provides an unambiguous understand-ing of the utterance.

We consider them as signs of functioning within a specific MM and forming systems based on syntactic connectedness (juxtaposition). Regarding a verbal part of a media they may vary the degree of organization and autonomy. These subsystems are made by means of mass communication for the formalization and objectification of value correlations concerning the subject of publication (the movie).

Perceiving the message generated by visual sign systems, the recipients interpret it according to their own experiences, individual values. Even without reading the text, the recipient already forms an idea of some of the characteristics of its contents and defines further behavioral strategies, including identification with the reference segment of the audience. Thus, the non-verbal elements are relational tools of calibration between expectations, preferences of the audience and characteris-tics of the film.

Using non-verbal relational elements facilitates an interpretation maximum and a message, represented by such elements, is almost equivalent to the mathematical expression.

Film review is a kind of mediatext, which subject is a film having a visual nature. Traditionally (starting with the first editions of the movie), a film frame is a necessary component — the most common type of illustration of the film review object. In rare cases, instead of the film frames pho-tos from the set or posters are used.

Film frame can talk about the color scheme of the film, the actors playing the main role of the scenery in which the action develops, time or era of action, site of action (India, desert, futuristic world), film genre (western, thriller, musical, road movie) and, in some cases, and aspect ratio of the screen image. Purposeful choice of one or the other film frame may be an attempt to transfer the mood of the film, aesthetics (steampunk, noir).

Illustration in film review is not only a source of additional information, but also a way to at-tract attention. Sampling frames are often made based on competitive terms of magazine photogra-phy composition, color scheme, plot, star system.

Marked features reflect a general tendency to enhance the visual component of media lan-guage in the media convergence, associated with the natural desire to optimize communication and improve its efficiency: integrating visual components into a verbal text “dramatically lowers the threshold (extent) of efforts required for acceptance of a message” [Кара-Мурза, 2007: 115].

Thus, the non-verbal relational elements being creolization elements, form a new graphical standards aimed at compacting of verbal parts of the text, removing it beyond the pragmatic aspects of the content in the genres of review, review, announcement, an important feature of which is the assessment of the subject publication, and orienting the reader in the target region is a key function. Along with this massive and social and political publications, craving to reach a wider audience, as well as network resources, more actively than film studies press use creolization elements that is stipulated by the specification of the distribution channel.

Creolization elements help minimize the amount of verbal text, being an effective tool for “packaging” of the content, preventing information overload, bringing from the verbal area a pragmatic component of the text. Submitted observations reflect one of the latest trends in modern media — the tendency to functional specialization of verbal and nonverbal components of a media that, on the one hand, promotes its structuring, and on the other — provides an interaction with the target audience.

1. Анисимова, Е.Е. Лингвистика текста и межкультурная коммуникация (на материале креолизованных текстов): Учеб.пособие для студ. фак. иностр. яз. вузов. – М.: Издательский центр «Академия», 2003, – 128 с.
2. Ворошилова, М. Б. Креолизованный текст: аспекты изучения. Политическая лингвистика. – Вып. 20. – Екатеринбург, 2006. – С. 180-189 –. – Режим доступа:
3. Добросклонская, Т. Г. Медиалингвистика: системный подход к изучению языка СМИ: современная английская медиаречь. – М., 2008 –. – Режим доступа:
4. Кара-Мурза, С.Г. Власть манипуляции. – М.: Академический проект, 2007. – 384 с. 
5. Тертычный, А.А. Социальное познание в журналистике (методология, методы, мето-дика). Монография. – М.: Факультет журналистики МГУ, 2009. – 185 с.
6. Эко, У. Отсутствующая структура: введение в семиологию / У. Эко / пер. с итал. Ве-ры Резник и Александра Погоняйло. – Санкт-Петербург: Symposium, 2006. – 538 с.

Assalam-like-um: construction of national identity through social network (case study of ethnic networks Russian migrants from Central Asia)


The report is available in the author's edition.


The report attempts to identify the role and function of social networks, in particular «VKontakte», in translation and reproduction of national identity, national cultural codes of communication in the example of Russian social network migrants from Central Asia.

In foreign ethnology relevant problem of formation of ethnic and civic identity is a discussion between primordialists and constructivists. Within the European tradition primordialist approach embodies E. Smith defines ethnicity, as a community of people with the name of separating myths about ancestors having common history and culture associated with a specific territory, and having a sense of solidarity. In the context of ethnicity primordialism objective considered as characteristic of the individual, either due to historical developments, or biological evolution. Constructivist approach to the nature of ethnicity as an intellectual construct express works by such renowned scholars as Ernest Gellner (" Nations and Nationalism ") B. Anderson (" Imagined Communities " ) and E. Hobsbawm. According to the logic of constructionism ethnicity, as an intellectual construct elite broadcast on potential representatives of the ethnic group through various means of mass media, education, government rhetoric and other social institutions. In domestic ethnological interpretation of ethnic traditions identification as a conscious choice or forced «their» social group as " imposed " sociality are devoted to the Russian constructivist V. Tishkov. According to V. Tishkov ethnic groups are the product of the process of nation building. 

Undoubtedly the process of the " project of modernity " is well embedded in the explanatory diagram constructionist approach as sets the context of human life trajectory of modernity as a change — of constructing various types of identities. Marginal migrant situation is further exacerbated in terms of having to choose between the conflicting attitudes of the social environment of children of migrants and displaced persons who are forced to absorb the process of socialization as ethnic Position parents and members of the diaspora, and the message of civil and national identity posed by teachers and peers.

Russian scientists A. Lukina, revealed how such morphological forms of Russian culture as realistic literature, journalism, drama theater, painting acted as media intermediaries to form a «project» of the Russian nation in the XIX century.

In order to identify the roles and functions of social networks in national reproduction and ethnic migrant support, we have examined the phenomena of ethnic groups in the most popular Russian social network «Vkontakte», monitoring was performed on key ethnonyms Central Asian nations — Kirghizies, Uzbeks, Tajiks.

In the course of monitoring revealed 236 Kyrgyz ethnic community in the network «Vkontakte» (the first place in number — an open group " Kyrgyz iFace!» with 1945 participants, followed by the " Kyrgyz kyzdar " with 1485 subscribers, the third place — «⊗ KYRGYZ EL ⊗ » with 1498 participants, in fourth place — " Yenisei Kyrgyz "( Altai, Khakassia, Tuva, Sakha, Shor ) with 1072 participants). Kyrgyz ethnic groups names indicate their thematic and cultural diversity, " “Kyrgyz in Tomsk " ( Public Group — 25 members), " Kyrgyz Renaissance ", " Kyrgyz abroad ", "! Marry only kyrgyz/ marry only kyrgyz women!! "," Kyrgyz REP "," Kyrgyz SSR ( Kyrgyzstan Sovettik Sotsialistik Respublikasy ) "," I do not Kirghiz, I – Kyrgyz”.

In search results of network «Vkontakte» on request " Uzbeks " were identified 501 ethnic community ( in the first place — an open group «Uzbekteam 1 — Ozbek, Uzbeks, uzbek, uz, Uzbek " with 6529 participants, in second place — club " MAINE MAN UZBEK «with 3163 subscribers, in third place — a group of» Uzbek movie " with 1136 participants"). Examples of names of ethnic groups again emphasize variety and unexpected antitraditionalist and youth modernist «advancement » of certain groups: «Uzbeks in Tomsk » ( closed group — 85 members), " For all clear Uzbeks and Uzbek women of the world", " The clearest glamorous Uzbeks " " Modern Uzbeks ", " Uzbeks in vogue in any weather ", «Society speculating Uzbeks », " Uzbeks are taxis’’.

Most network «Vkontakte» Tajik ethnic community found a total of — 985 ( first in the search results — website «Tajiks and Tajik women » with 6804 subscribers, in second place — Internet book «Tajik -Persian classical poetry » with 5044 subscribers, in third place — club " Cheerful Tajik" with 3261 member). Names ethnic Tajik groups also astonishingly varied, humor and self-irony: «Tajiks in Tomsk » ( closed group, 14 people ), «Tajiks around the world », " The clearest Tajiks ", " Tajik — sounds good! ", «How not cool, Tajiks — cool » group KVN team" ‘’Electric tadzhiki "," We Tajiks — united and invincible nation ", " Tajiks sport "," Study, the student — Tajik in Moscow ", " Tajiks world, unite! " Tajiks [ in ] Ivanovo "," Tajik doctors Vkontakte ", " Time to change stereotypes – Tajiks of financial University"," I'm probably heavenly Tajik all build castles in the air ". Ethnic communities names themselves testify to a wide spectrum of attitudes and approaches of participants from religious traditionalism to modernist emancipations ."

Preliminary qualitative content analysis of virtual ethnic backgrounds showed that ethnically organized groups in a social network «Vkontakte» perform the following functions: translation of national culture ( religion, poetry, music, painting, dance, cuisine, arts and crafts ) through the use of graphics, audio and video; preservation of the national language competence through communication in the tape activity, groups and communities, including often in the national language ( in writing Cyrillic ); coordination between national communities and offline announcement cultural and national events, national and religious holidays (such as Nawruz ); assistance and services in the field of cultural adaptation and legalization, employment, recruitment of workers ( including on a commercial basis ); maintaining cultural ties with their historical homeland diaspora, national broadcast news Occasion; emotional support compatriots and the expression of ethnic solidarity.

Figure. Ethnic mosaic visual images in ethnic groups social network «VKontakte».

In the ethnic community of the peoples of Central Asia in the social network «VKontakte», as even a pilot semiotic analysis used a very similar visual- discursive rhetoric and symbolism prescription and reproduction of national identity through an appeal to common values, emotional images, nostalgic memories, familiar conventions of ordinary consciousness and national emblems.

Content analysis of the most numerous ethnic groups of Central Asian nations shows that the following paradigmatic elements and rhetorical devices through which a prescription is ethnic identity:

  • appeal to Islamic values, Quran, Sharia law ;
  • appeal to Islamic unity, anti-Americanism, Muslim fundamentalism ;
  • sermon restrained chaste behavior of Muslim women, traditional values patriarch of male dominance ;
  • exaggerated deference to age, motherhood, children
  • reference to national music, movie clips
  • use of visual images and characters — national identity ( images of animals — the eagle, wolf, donkey, images of brave — heroes, landscapes steppes and mountains, national culture artifacts felt shoes, hats, cap, skullcap, etc.)
  • availability of historical projections, appeals to the heroic past and national mythology, the achievement of national culture (in particular in the field of poetry, literature, architecture, handicraft production of household goods );
  • reference to national and state symbols — brand ( flag, anthem) / national " harping " symbols of globalization;
  • an appeal retrospective to the idea of Soviet friendship of peoples, ideas of ethnic tolerance .

It should be noted as a negative fact, the invasion of the ethnic groups of nationalists and fascists with appeals and posts anti-Islamic, fascist and xenophobic content — as a consequence, the transformation of public ethnic groups in closed, virtual ethnic segregation.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the analysis of the content in the ethnic community network «VKontakte» demonstrates (sometimes within the communication in a virtual ethnic group ), the presence of two opposing trends: ethnic segregation, craving for Muslim fundamentalism, aggression toward Western values and lifestyles, and simultaneously, secularization, gender emancipation and behavioral assimilation, which is a natural consequence of transit migrants from traditional societies of Central Asia into the Russian relatively modernized society.

Virtual Learning Environment As A Means Of Intercultural Interaction


The report is available in the author's edition.


The paper grounds the necessity of application of virtual learning environment as a means of intercultural interaction and summarizes the experience of international intercultural interaction carried out at the Institute of Psychology in USPU within the “Global Understanding” project (East Carolina University, USA). The project has been realized in USPU since 2012. The paper considers organizational and technical requirements of arranging virtual learning environment. It also analyzes educational opportunities of the project with respect to development of competences crucial for successful self-realization in the global world.

Key words: virtual learning environment, global understanding, competences.

Intensive information exchange shifts former ideas about borders between countries and continents, therefore involving us in international interaction more extensively, as well as directs us towards establishing mutual understanding with representatives of other cultures. Within the given context it is important to lay emphasis on creating virtual learning environment for intercultural interaction.

Virtual learning environment provides students and teachers from countries worldwide with unique opportunities to synchronously communicate with one another. They develop competences necessary for effective interaction, understanding, studying other cultures, which allows to achieve successful integration into the global community. These competences may be defined as “global competence”. 

Virtual learning environment (from the technology perspective) is information space of interaction of educational process participants which results from information and communication technology and includes all the complex of computer media and technologies and allows to monitor and manage contents of learning environment as well as participants’ communication 
[1, С. 5].

Virtual learning environment (from the organization and communication perspective) is a complex self-adjusting (implies correction of participants’ behavior and actions regarding changing conditions) and self-improving (implies gradual establishment of effective interrelation, its improvement while acquiring more complex types of interrelations) communicative system which provides feed forward and feedback between students and other participants of educational process 
[1, С. 6].

Creation and further use of such environment allows not only to carry out training in the convenient place at the convenient time regardless students’ and teachers’ location but also realize academic mobility through virtual mobility, which unlike space mobility promotes extending educational process with the help of Internet-based technologies (Skype, videoconference, chat rooms). 

The advantages of the virtual learning environment are the following:

Flexibility. Opportunity to carry out educational process in the convenient place at the convenient time regardless students’ and teachers’ location. 

Cost-effectiveness. Decreasing education expenses, which is especially relevant when educational process involves students from several countries. 

Interactivity. Use of Internet-based technologies in educational process allows to extend opportunities of interactive forms of education. The role of interactive classes is defined by the main objective of the basic educational programme, contingent of students and contents of particular disciplines. On the whole, they should substitute not less than 20% of in-class activities [3].

Mobility. Virtual mobility is a form of academic mobility which unlike space mobility (which implies full-time education in an educational establishment) promotes extension of educational process through the use of Internet-based technologies (e.g., electronic education), establishing modern educational networks in the sphere of continuous education. Therefore, virtual mobility may be considered an opportunity for both students and teachers to move virtually in educational space from one university to another, to acquire knowledge and transfer it, exchange experience, overcome national restraint [5].

A bright example of virtual learning environment as a means of intercultural student interaction is an intercultural educational project “Global Understanding”, which has been realized at the Psychology Institute, Ural State Pedagogical University (USPU) since 2012.

Establishing such an environment at USPU is rather successful not only due to modern technology support (videoconferencing equipment which allows synchronous broadcast, computer technologies, etc.) but also thanks to purposely designed information resource (the website of the project «Global Partners in Education», which includes learning portal (virtual lectures, information materials, collaborative projects) and discussion board for the project’s participants (forum, blogs).

The “Global Understanding” project initiated by East Carolina University (Greenville, USA) unites universities from more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, North and South America and Europe. The aim of the project is to provide young people with opportunities to acquire experience of immediate intercultural interaction though establishing virtual learning environment (synchronous videoconferences in mini-groups, individual chat rooms, e-mailing) [4].

The “Global Understanding” project is realized through one term cycles. Each group of students includes 12-16 people majoring in all sorts of courses. The basic requirements are: 1) the English language proficiency which allows to use widespread words and word combinations to describe reality and express thoughts; 2) high level of motivation for regular attendance and active interaction with partner-students.

Each term participants of the project interact with students from 3 partner-universities, during 
3 weeks with each of them. Collaboration is carried out through various forms enumerated below.
On-line videoconferences are held twice a week. Those are real-time group discussion of one of the topics of the course syllabus (e.g. college life).

Chatrooms – during each class session a group of students is divided into two subgroups: the first subgroup participates in the videoconference while the other interacts individually in chatrooms within the assigned topic.

Out-of-class e-mailing between partner-students is carried out individually trice a week. Students ask one another questions about their cultures, discuss topics of collaborative projects and coordinate their joint research. 

Self-access studies include reading newspaper articles about their partner-university’s culture (the links are provided by the professor) as well as writing summaries of the articles, which should include the key points of the article and questions for their partner students. 

Collaborative project is a result of virtual collaboration between two or more partner-students from the two countries which reflects their common and culturally-oriented points of view on a given topic (e.g. what my life will be like at 35). Students present their projects during the last videoconference link. 

The contents of the “Global Understanding” project include the topics which are basic for each culture such as family and cultural traditions, meaning of life, stereotypes and prejudices. That provides ground for intercultural interaction. However, approaches to solution of these questions reflect particular features of each separate culture, which enhances better understanding. 

Analysis of forms and contents of the project allows to define educational opportunities of interactive intercultural collaboration. While defining these opportunities the authors take into consideration the following statements:

– being one of the essential social institutes the system of higher education cannot function effectively without taking into consideration ongoing processes in the society and worldwide;
– the modern world witnesses active processes of globalization which result in establishing connections and building interrelation among various countries in such spheres as economy, politics and education. 

The two statements mentioned above allow to logically conclude that it is crucial that during their professional training students develop the so-called “global competence”, which would make it possible for them to successfully integrate themselves in the global community [2]. From the authors’ point of view, it is such new forms of educational activities as organized on-line interaction of students from various countries that allow to effectively solve this task. 

1. Building skills of establishing and supporting contacts with representatives of others cultures. During intercultural interaction students acquire experience of immediate intercultural collaboration with representatives of other cultural groups. Part of such experience is understanding of some cultural peculiarities which may manifest themselves in the process of interaction (habitual means of greeting and farewell, manifestation of emotions in speech, particular or vague manner of speaking, non-verbal means of communication). Awareness of such peculiarities as well as ability to take them into consideration during establishing and supporting contacts with representatives of others cultures enhances students’ readiness to build professional relationships with colleagues from other countries.

2. Enhancing mobility level as part of professionalism. Immediate intercultural collaboration with representatives of other cultural groups promotes correction of false stereotypes and prejudices regarding other cultures. Image of another culture becomes more realistic, which makes prerequisites for enhancing students’ mobility as a skill to bring changes in their lives (changing job, place of residence) without crisis experiences). High level of mobility (professional, geographical, intercultural) implies readiness to become part of new staff (which may be culturally diverse), change place of residence (including country) to extend professional opportunities as well as achieve self-realizationдля goals. 

3. Acquiring experience of collaborative activity in an intercultural virtual team. Virtual teams are becoming a more and more popular form of collaborative activity in developed countries. Participants of the “Global Understanding” project acquire such experience working with their partner-students on the joint collaborative project. They face difficulties typical of such a form of interaction (time zones differences, lack of face-to-face contact, virtual influence on their partner) and learn how to deal with them.

4. Improving language proficiency. Enhanced interrelation between countries resulted from globalization leads to more complex problems of global character. Effective solution of such problems requires participation of experts with culturally diverse backgrounds who may find solution optimal for all the participants. The necessary condition to be part of such teams is to speak the common language. 

Besides educational opportunities intercultural interaction allows to conduct research: 
1) personal changes of participants which take place during intercultural interaction; 2) intercultural differences. In 2013 within the “Global Understanding” project the authors piloted investigation of changes of Russian students’ stereotyped views on American students as a result of virtual interaction between them [6]. The following tendencies were singled out: the image of the partner-country’s culture became more personified and partners themselves were considered as more inclined to interpersonal communication. This result may be viewed as an indirect proof of the possibility to enhance tolerance level during intercultural interaction, as an important quality necessary for life in the conditions of concurrence of various cultures and values.

Research of intercultural differences implies establishing scientific contacts with colleagues from partner-universities for collaborative planning of the research as well as data exchange. Experience of personal interaction of professors from partner-universities while arranging joint on-line classes within the “Global Understanding” project promotes development of such scientific contacts. 


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2. Krylova S.G. Obrazovatelnyi potentsial mezhkulturnogo vzaimodeistviya 
// Pedagogicheskoe obrazovanie v Rossii. – 2013. – №4. – P. 19-25.
3. Makurova (Abdulova) E. V., Rudenko N. S. Virtualnaya obrazovatelnaya sreda kak uslovie razvitiya mezhkulturnoi kompetentnosti // Pedagogicheskoe obrazovanie v Rossii.– 2012. – № 6. – S. 120-123.
4. Minyurova S. A. Opyt realizatsii mezhdunarodnogo kulturno-obrazovatelnogo proekta posredstvom sozdaniya virtualnoi obrazovatelnoi sredy // Byullyuten Uchebno-metodicheskogo obiedineniya vuzov Rossiiskoi Federatsii po psihologo-pedagogicheskomu obrazovaniyu. – 2013. – №1(4). – S. 68-73.
5. Tyrtyi S. A. Virtualnaya mobilnost kak odno iz napravlenii razvivtiya edinongo obrazovatelnogo // Pedagogicheskaya nauka i obrazovanie v Rossii и I za rubezhom: regionalnye, globalnye I informatsionnye aspekty. – 2008. – Vyp.1.: elektronnyi zhurnal. URL: (data obrascheniya: 20.03.2014).
6. Мinyurova S., Krylova S., Rudenko N. Assessment of the Socio-perceptive Component of Students' Intercultural Competence in the Global Understanding Class: a Pilot Study of Russian Students' View of Americans // Global Partners in Education Journal. – Vol. 3. – No. 1, April 2013. – pp. 36-48. – URL: (data obrascheniya: 20.03.2014).

Virtual Image of The Modern University. Communication Audit of The Strategies for Visualizing


Authors: Nurgaleeva L.V., Feshchenko A.V., Kulikov I.A.

The report is available in the author's edition.


This text discusses the specifics of the research of projects of the visualization based on communicative audit. Furthermore, there are some features of approaches to the assessment of a complex structure of virtual image of University corporations using communicative methods of auditing are shown. It is noted that this method is an important aspect of creating new assets, reputation and brand policy of the modern University. Moreover, through the work, aspects of conducting and training research at the Department of Problems of Humanitarian Informatics of Tomsk State University are opened. They are connected with the development forms and communicative aspects which are associated with the formation of a virtual image of modern University Corporation. It is provided a brief description of the major research projects and their results in this area. Research directions in the development of communicative methods of audit such as the analysis of communicative efficiency, artistic aspects of web information and the usage of modern tools of web analytics are singled out. All these methods of communication audit formed the basis for the study of peculiarities of formation of virtual images of the University’s corporations. Also, it can be noted that the high dynamics of development tools and imaging technologies create the preconditions for the emergence of a new paradigm for the presentation of information in the educational environment. For example, it is talked about the formation of a special sensorium of University Corporation which is formed base on the usage of new technologies for studying the characteristics of psychological perception of the space and its effect on psycho-physiological state of the people.


The purpose of this paper is the analysis of the estimation methods of visualization strategies selected by the University Corporation for formation of competitive models of communication in a network environment. As the assessment method is chosen as the most appropriate communication audit specifics of network models underlying the formation of a virtual image of the University. It is an important component of the humanitarian examination of contemporary forms of knowledge and information. Defers to the research and teaching expertise of the Faculty of Humanities Informatics problems of Tomsk State University over the past ten years. It aims at training professionals who know technology of the communication audit and were experts in the field of information society. One of the important research areas of faculty is rendering strategies, assessment of select to create a virtual image of a modern University.The value of this approach is linked to the increasing importance of design of modern imaging models as an important resource for effective communication and development research practices in the field of humanitarian expertise [4].

The content of communication audit

Consider the basic tasks and objectives of communication auditing and then move on to the discussion of its features in the development strategies of visualization of the University Corporation. Communication audit is one of the most modern means of supervision and corporate representation formats. It is based on control principle of feedback. The basic method of communication audit is an analysis of internal and external information flows. It allows you to recreate the characteristic features of the image, in the eyes of its staff and/or various community groups. The involves of the the communicative audit possible identification and analysis of message formats, the information contained in the three streams: external, outgoing, and internal. It is known that any organization can be described by a set of identification characteristics and attributes that allow you to perceive and evaluate her as a person.The ability to establish relationships, hone your own communicative style, willingness to take on responsibility, creativity, capacity for observation and perception, our own attitudes, tolerance, openness to all these qualities can be attributed both to the individual and the collective. They can all speak parameters analysis of communication audit. Corporation under this approach «could», and it produced the communication flow is evaluated from the perspective of its adequate image or in terms of identifying the main factors governing the activities.Today in the creation of such descriptive models of great place is a virtual image of the corporations, which is composed of many components. The parameterization is one aspect of communication audit. 

Comparison of results data analysis applications, external, outgoing, and internal documents, comparing them with reference to the organization, to get answers on many strategic issues for managing the internal and external activities of the corporation. A combined analysis of information flows of corporate activities should help to identify hidden problems and development potential. By applying the methods of structural analysis, you can get an idea about the different aspects of the work of the organization, its real image, emerging conflicts and how to resolve them. In the course of the communication audit may be problems of effectiveness and transparency of management, assess the ratio of declared parameters and mission, etc. [1]

A similar analysis is aimed not so much at full rated current communicative situation, how to investigate the potential success of corporate activity. Assessment of the current image, for example, can serve only a preliminary step of the communication audit. Its impact is manifest in full measure only manages to identify the basic elements of corporate ethics, the preconditions for developing a successful brand or a new model of effective communication that would enhance a preferred image-model Corporation. Competent application of approaches the communication audit allows to increase professionalism in the use of different corporate governance, identifying the focus of collective action on the system, or system of knowledge, determine the level of personal and social competence.

The communication audit of work in recent years, organizations and independent experts. There are special rating systems to evaluate the features of the public conduct of the Corporation. However, the need for specialists who are ready to conduct of the communication audit on a professional basis, increases from year to year. This is due to the fact that a growing number of virtual offices, educational institutions, rapidly changing technology, presentation and effective organization of group and research activities.

Communication audit of the virtual image of the University Corporation 

Methods of communication auditing as a complex form of monitoring of the impact of corporations on the formation image full competitive can be applied to the analysis of various aspects of the submission and exchange of information the University Corporation. Communication audit allows you to get a detailed understanding of the emerging reputation capital University, the degree of openness of its management, the success of scientific and educational policy and development prospects of specific directions of its activity. The same is true for the study of the strategies of visualization. It is important to emphasize the importance of developing literacy strategies of visualization in the development of the University Corporation. Their implementation is closely linked with the development of the formula for success. Visual supports in many «position», and it is increasing year by year in the socialization of the University Corporation. Imaging technology is an important tool for situation analysis, research practices, effective communication of brand and model. 

Communication audit as a way to test comprehension of selected strategies and tactics of the University Corporation, in many aspects, including the assessment of its virtual network image corresponding to the modern criteria of effective communication. It consists of many items, allowing you to build a communications network, represents the ego-different forms of the University Corporation to a global network environment. One of the important policies of visualization is development of University websites as centers of open and effective communication, contributing to the strengthening of the image not only at the regional level, but also at the global level.Wisely planned site University Corporation is a powerful management site that provides network the unity of managerial, scientific and educational ties and relationships, personal and social representations, supported by dynamic Web analytics tools. This area of work is worth a serious search for appropriate social and psychological mechanisms of regulation of behavioral relations of internal models, and resource development University Corporation, including the improvement of its competitiveness.

Towards the creation of such complex control sites was passed a difficult way. If at the initial stage of site developers and experts network resources were for the most part criteria of transparency, focusing more on presentation goals and growth of public activity of corporations, then the next step to the fore were advancing the development of communication capacities of University Web-representations [3, 13]. This phase corresponds to more modern means of group work, based on evolving computer networking technologies. During this period, it made sense to talk about the communication auditing network resource as a significant form of control, management and future development of virtual representations of the University Corporation.

Today brings new challenges. They are associated with the choice of competent rendering strategies through the use of modern means of data processing and analysis. Actively changing the presentation of Visual information and its effective use in different areas of the life of the University is an important aspect of developing the ideas of the development of University communities as ambitious corporations [5]. Trend analysis visualization becomes a stage for special University sensorium with flexible communication links, mobile and open to man, his complex psychological world and social priorities.

The practice of forms of communication

For twelve years at the Department of Humanities Informatics problems of the Tomsk State University is research work on studying the theory and practice of communicative auditing, including and auditing corporate University. There are training courses aimed at the comprehensive coverage of issues relating to the Organization and conduct of the communication audit of network resources and, in particular, sites of University corporations. It is about shaping attitudes about usability, psychological aspects of perception, characteristics of artistic communication in a network environment and ethical orientation of Web content in your organization. The formation of such knowledge among students is regarded as an important direction of development of new models of training.

Here are some examples of projects by students of Faculty of Humanities problems of Informatics based communication audit. A content analysis of University of Tomsk are sites, beginning with the 2004 season. Research with application approaches of the communication audit was complicated by the fact that no site evaluation standards are developed. In addition, the network environment is a free modeling environment with constant changing technological possibilities. Most clearly it changes are committed in the field of Visual representation and exchange of information. A problem in conducting an the communication audit is to identify sites of performance evaluation system of University communication site, which should take into account the specificity and focus of research and educational activities in terms of their interaction.The concept of effective communication of such an environment has its principal features. In particular, the evaluation of Virtual University offices of corporations is important to a variety of formats and visualization tools of communication as an independent field of study. The first of the pilot study was to examine the characteristics of communication models leading the University of Tomsk site [12]. As the object of the study sites were selected from leading corporate University of Tomsk city:

TSU (, ТPU (, TUSUR (, TSUAB (, SSMU ( Program of research consisted of several stages. Theoretical phase focused on analysis of the evolution of the communication aspects of universities, from the 11th century to the present. In addition, examined problems associated with the development of the University Corporation in a form of an open communication space. 

Practical phase consisted of primary data collection and analysis to explore the content of University sites. The preparatory phase of the peer review was the establishment of the documentation for a description of the selected objects. It was composed of the following types of documents: Passport sites; certificates of sites developed for the communicative and preventative examination. The Panel was provided criteria for assessing effective communication University Corporation and searched methods of peer review sites and their adaptation to the challenges of the study. The analysis is based on the methodology proposed by St. Petersburg State University of culture and arts and the widely known method of information of heuristics developed Ja. Nils, L. Rozenfeld [1, 6, 9, 14]. In it we have relied on the well-known principles of usability. Based on the analysis of different approaches to classification and assessment of site content has been developed its own methods of evaluating the content of University sites. The results of this work were published and showed the fruitfulness of the selected areas of research [7].

Today is the need to use the new modern methods of studying different forms of human interaction with reality, including a visual component. One of the methods of this kind is the videookulografii (or eye tracking-tracking of eyes). It is used in combination with classical ways of exploring the views of respondents (surveys, interviews, tests), used in a wide range of tasks. To conduct such studies used stationary and mobile tracking system. They allow you to identify effective and ineffective elements of the presentation of information (for example, in navigation and Visual design) and to make appropriate changes, increasing the level of user-friendliness of the site. The advantage of this method lies in the flexibility to monitor the effectiveness of the changes made to the Visual and structural components of Web pages. Researchers working in this direction, exploring the effectiveness of individual items and entire sites and social networks [15-18]. In addition, mention should be made of the work, going in the direction of evaluation perception of various forms of content (for example, studying the perception of different types of charts). The results of such studies are useful in the preparation and filling of the content of presentations, websites, documents and printing products.

Evaluation of the aesthetic features of sites in the context of the communication audit

Today, in the assessment of communicative efficiency of University of one of the most important places are starting to take the aesthetic parameters of the model sites, training and information material. The global network environment involves the development of a new experience of artistic expression and identification. Selection criteria for determining the level of artistic communication and understanding of the psychological patterns of development of the artistic context in the presentation of information is the basic prerequisite for the implementation of the forward-looking strategies for the development of the University's ethical corporations. A key principle of ethical-aesthetic high-level network models is to find equivalence between images of thought, a psychological perception of information and art practice. The problem of aesthetic ideas are relevant and to form a virtual contemporary of the University.

The problem research of the artistic context of electronic communications environment is one of the important subjects of humanitarian assessment of the Visual, with important theoretical and practical significance. The tradition of expertise in this area only is formed. Study of the methods of communication audit showed that there is a problem of the estimation of the artistic aspects of Web content. In addition, the complexity of the evaluation in this area is that much when selecting the right models and techniques of communication audit in this area is based on intuition and presupposes the existence of a conceptual experience of artistic strategies in a network environment, and a good knowledge of it technologies. The communicative level of artistic expression in the modern world has consistently high status. Is no exception and e-environment of the communication exchange.Network product developers and experts agree that the functional and aesthetic qualities of the webdesign are closely linked. Language network communications among researchers include names such as d. Wine, j. Nielsen, t. Sachs, Circle, etc. [2, 5, 8, 10, 13, 18]. They have developed techniques for heuristic evaluation network and expert presentations, but they did not include aspects related to the study of artistic features of sites. In these circumstances, the students of our Department have been forced to develop methods for assessing artistic aspects of information organization in network format, drawing attention to the mix of styles, compositional and coloristic language features hypermediatext, the integrity of artistic sites. The result was a group of criteria for artistic expertise network presentations.

Similar problems are faced by the experts in the analysis and evaluation of the virtual image of the University. Communication audit this part requires the presence of professionals with a high level of artistic vision and knowledge of various technologies of modern representation of information and understand the strategic importance of aspects of visualization of the different sides of universities adequate presentation, because this is an important mechanism for identifying, positioning and development strategies of University corporations.

Sampling sites in Canada, America, Australia, Vietnam, Korea, China showed that at the moment we are actively seeking aesthetic models of virtual presentation University corporations, including arrays of methodical, educational information. In this area there is a propensity to use multimedia formats of high artistic level. Search of aesthetic models in this field is closely related to ergonomics and focuses on the features of the intersensory perception of the information. The evolution of art forms in the virtual models remains the leading trend of modern imaging. This process is a large experimental and research professionals in many fields [15-18]. The development of appropriate models of peer review based on communicative practices audit is an integral part of this activity. It aims at identifying new trends in data visualization, including presentation models of University corporations.

The Visual aspects of network intelligence

Within the framework of the training course «Online Analytics» by students of the humanitarian problems of computer science research NITGU two different aspects of the virtual image of the University Corporation (2012-2013).

1. Analysis of the effectiveness of the Visual presentation of information on the corporate sites of the TSU. The evaluation criteria used by the basic principles of Web usability (Nielsen, j. Circle), as well as the rules and trends of network marketing communications. As a result of synthesis of various evaluation criteria, the site has developed a checklist (check list) of the several dozen rules of visual content on a Web page. Validate multiple corporate sites TSU has allowed to discover the possibility of improving the Visual image. Using a prototype Web site (balsamiq mockups) developed several schemes that take into account these defects in usability. Some schemes implemented and proven effective.

2. Study of internal and external information flows. As an object of study selected a networked community of students of Tomsk Universities (TGU, TPU, Sibgmu, EVENT) in social networks and the references (discussion, reviews, news) on the universities of Tomsk in social media. Communication audit of network communities of universities was carried out using the service JagaJam. The study found differences in the patterns and characteristics of perception of the image of the University students of different universities. Analysis of communicative responses and behaviour of communities enabled to formulate recommendations for the PR-services of universities to increase the loyalty and the degree of involvement of students in internal corporate communications. Outer stream was used for the analysis of automated system of monitoring social media IQ Buzz. The data obtained allow to see the real image of the University, to identify and measure the estimated relevance to corporations (positive, negative and neutral.


Communicative, being one of the most effective tools for Analytics enables you to evaluate the effectiveness of internal and external communication channels, identify target audiences not covered or lack of completeness of coverage of communication channels, especially the communication policy, etc. Its methods can be successfully applied to study the features of the virtual image of the University. Skills of the communication audit can be an important aspect of training of modern professionals. Methods of communication audit are required to tool that rapidly growing sector as humanitarian expertise and information management. Noted that the high dynamics of development tools and imaging technology creates the preconditions for the emergence of a new paradigm in information education and research environment.This points to the imminent change of standards rendering communication flows in University corporations. We are talking about the formation of a special sensorium science and education. Its formation is associated with the skillful use of new technologies related to different aspects of data visualization. They will increasingly take into account psychological perception of space and the effects of the psycho-physiological state of the people.


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An Examination of the use of Social Media for Public Relations and Reputation Management at a Canadian University


The report is available in the author's edition.

Presentation of the report


The use of social media by students is often studied. But, how can universities best use social media to promote their brand and enhance the student experience? Very little research has been done about the use of social media by higher education for recruitment, student satisfaction, and brand reputation. This is a case study of how one university in Canada is using social media to engage students and to enhance brand reputation.

Social Media Use and Universities

Since the advent of Facebook in 2005, and the subsequent development of other social media platforms, organizational leaders and communicators have considered how best to use social media to achieve organizational objectives. In higher education, around the world, a prevalent use of social media has been for teaching and learning (Dabbagh & Kitsantas, 2012; Wodzicki, Schwämmlein, & Moskaliuk, 2012; Laru, Näykki, & Järvelä, 2012). About 80% of faculty in the United States has integrated some form of social media into their course work, including the use of Facebook, blogging, podcasting and video sharing (Moran et al., 2011). Social media has also been examined as a tool to facilitate students’ transition into college life (DeAndrea, et al., 2012) or for community building to enhance learning (Top, 2012). 

Universities use social media to maintain their own daily business activities with their many departments and faculties, conducting administrative activities, and achieving organizational objectives. These activities are largely conducted by various administrative departments, academic units, and faculty members acting independently without any central university controls (Davis, et al. 2012). One hundred per cent of colleges and universities surveyed in the United States in 2011 were using some form of social media in their daily business affairs, mainly Facebook, Twitter and/or a blog, and mainly for the purposes of recruiting and for admissions (Barnes & Lescault, 2011;, 2010). A more recent study showed that Facebook was the most widely used and most successful form of social media used in higher education (Davis et al., 2012), followed closely by Twitter and YouTube (Rios-Aguilar et al., 2011). Higher education has also used social media for crisis communication (Dabner, 2012).

Social Media Use among College Students

Half of all social media users are between the ages of 25 and 44 (Pingdom, 2012); some 84% have Facebook accounts, and 25% use Twitter (Noel-Levitz, 2012). The vast majority of students, both in the United States, and in some other countries have a profile on Facebook (Davis et al., 2012; Hussain, 2012).

With the widespread of social media, has come a growing awareness of the potential harms and risks including unwanted exposure, privacy and surveillance issues, unanticipated use of personal data, personal disputes and disagreements, accidental leaks of information, and potential denigration, slander, and libel issues (Grimmelmann, 2009); there has also been a growing concern for the inordinate amount of time students can spend on social networking sites (Davis et al., 2012).

In spite of the widespread use of social media, “little is known about the benefits of its use in postsecondary contexts and for specific purposes (e.g. marketing, recruitment, learning and/or student engagement” and ongoing study is needed (Davis et al., 2012, p. 2).

This is a case study of the use of social media by a Canadian university to build community and enhance student relationships. Data was gathered through a personal interview with the developer of the social media program and observation. This study is examined through the lens of North American public relations scholarship and thought, with a focus on practice one Canadian context, and is rooted in democratic traditions. This case study has its theoretical grounding in brand communities from the business literature; and two-way symmetry, organization-public relationships, and communitarianism from the public relations literature.

Literature Review

The relationship between an organization and its public can be considered a brand community. Brand communities is conceptualized as “a specialized, non‐geographically bound community based on a structured set of social relationships among admirers of a brand. It is specialized because at its center is a branded good or service…. Brand communities are participants in the brand’s larger social construction and play a vital role in the brand’s ultimate legacy (Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001).

Public relations scholarship has consistently been centred on a concern to sustain mutually satisfying professional relationships between an organization and its publics (Cutlip et al., 1999; Grunig & Hunt, 1984). Two-way symmetry is a popular paradigm that attempts to define and describe an aspect of ideal public relations practice that deals with the nature of communication between an organization and its public. Ideal practice has been considered as communication flow in two directions between an organization and its public, and where communication is balanced with respect to mutual adjustment by both parties (Grunig & Hunt, 1984). This has been suggested as a preferred and ethical model of practice because it attempts to manage conflicts and seeks harmony; however, it is recognized by scholars and practitioners that it is normative, is often overly idealistic, and may not suitable for all situations, particularly if the two parties have two competing and opposite missions (e.g. an oil company versus an environmental group, or a pro-choice versus a pro-life group). But, two-way symmetry nevertheless remains a strong and dominant paradigm among public relations scholars and a sought-after ideal whenever possible for the purpose of producing mutually satisfying and beneficial relationships with one’s publics and to maintain organizational legitimacy and social harmony. 

From this value of producing mutually beneficial organization-public relationships (OPRs), emerged a stream of scholarship that sought to identify variables indicative of the successful OPR (Ferguson, 1984; Bruning & Ledingham, 1999; Broom, Casey, & Ritchie, 2000). During this time, Kruckeberg & Starke (1988) argued that the public relations process could be used for community-building. They posit that, through a process of communication, individuals can overcome isolation and develop networks and relationships based on shared interests and, through connection and communication, they can work toward problem resolution. Kruckeberg and Starke thus argue that not only can public relations help organizations achieve organizational objectives; it has an active societal function toward improved relationships and community-building.

One of the core reasons that organizations engage in the pursuit of mutually beneficial relationships is to maintain organizational legitimacy by protecting and enhancing brand reputation (Fombrun, 1996). Many CEOs view reputation management primarily as the function of the executive with assistance from public relations. Public relations advisers are there to “ensure that the leadership of the organization communicates effectively with all of the stakeholders, both by coaching management into a better communications performance and by helping to articulate messages that matter” (Murray & White, 2005, para. 14).

This is a case study of one Canadian university’s efforts at utilizing social media for two-way symmetrical communications to maximize brand reputation and build a brand community to enhance organizational reputation.

Case Study


Founded in 1910, Mount Royal University is a public university located in Calgary, Alberta in Western Canada. Universities in Canada are those institutions of higher education that grant degrees (bachelor’s, master’s, and/or doctoral). There are alsocolleges, which grant two-year diplomas. Universities and colleges can be either public (administered by the provincial government) or privately owned and operated. MRU is one of about 100 universities in Canada and 6 in the province of Alberta. There are also a myriad of technical and vocational institutes across the country. About 1.8 million of Canada’s population of 35 million people attends university. Mount Royal University has about 15,000 full-time students and about 10,000 non-credit students. With about 14 faculties and about 450 full-time faculty members, it is one of Western Canada’s premiere undergraduate universities. MRU regularly ranks high in surveys of Canadian universities, particularly in the categories of student satisfaction and active learning (Conner, 2012). MRU’s mission and vision is centred on quality teaching and an enhanced student experience, so it is a high priority for MRU to seize any opportunity to improve student engagement and student satisfaction as one of its most important publics; hence, the use of social media has become an attractive option to explore.

Social Media Development at Mount Royal University

It is not uncommon for organizational leaders to embark cautiously with regard to social media and to feel somewhat skeptical. Some leaders are usually more positive and enthusiastic about it than others. Such was the case at MRU when marketing and communications coordinator Karen Richards began to explore the possibilities. With the support of a few administrators, she has been able to explore the world of social media for higher education at MRU since 2007, and has successfully built a brand community of some 25,000 across a half dozen social media channels. She credits her success to a strategic effort at engaging and building a vibrant brand community across time with slow and careful planning and a commitment to two-way symmetrical communications. All quotes from her were gathered by interview on April 15, 2014.

Her success led her to a full-time position as Word-of-Mouth Marketing Strategist at MRU, a position she largely carved out. Her title has been carefully crafted. “Word-of-mouth marketing is not about promoting. It’s about meaningful, long-term engagement with possible prospective students to alumni,” says Richards.

The work of the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Strategist is varied. Richards makes regular posts and blogs across the various channels. She monitors social media conversations and engages in problem-solving. If a student has posted a negative comment, for example, Richards will intervene to see if there is anything she can do to problem-solve or create better satisfaction. She may correct a misperception or answer a question. Richards also assists professors with their online presence. She recommends that professors use blogs. Online faculty engagement can enhance the professor-student relationship and benefit faculty members professionally (Northam, 2012).She also engages in social media measurement and analysis utilizing Hoot suite. 

The purpose of social media at MRU has been to spread positive word about the institution and to build a sense of community among students and stakeholders. It is Richards’ job to make sure that MRU’s positive characteristics are disseminated, tweeted about, re-tweeted, that conversation about MRU on social media platforms is accurate, that students feel a sense of belonging and ownership over the channels, and that external stakeholders get a sense of the quality of the relationships between the university and its students. Mount Royal University currently has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. 

The evolution of MRU’s social media thrust evolved somewhat also out of practicality. With the advent of social media platforms, many internal departments began to want their own Facebook page or blog post and administrators were left with the question of whether or not they felt comfortable throwing the social media sphere open to any or all on campus who wished to utilized the MRU name and brand. While administrators could not halt use, they decided to harness the force and request departments to come under centralized guidance in order to protect the brand and provide cohesive messaging. This request was largely supported.

“Once we sat down with people and explained the commitment, time, and energy needed to maintain a social media account and that we could provide support and guidance centrally, people saw the benefit,” said Richards and thus, she was able to secure a good deal of cooperation.

According to Richards, the foundation of a good social media plan is to first become clear about one’s social media philosophy. “For us,” says Richards, “we consciously decided that we would not use social media to sell things, but, rather to enhance relationship-building with our publics.” 

Next, she made a commitment to enter the world of social media thoughtfully and carefully and not risk any huge error. She started by studying each social media channel to note its own unique abilities and capabilities and create a strategy for social media use and timing. “The number one problem that people can fall into is to jump on social media just for the sake of jumping and to not carefully weigh out the effects of each channel. Certain channels are good for certain things.”

MRU began with Facebook. Richards says Facebook has been effective for building community. Students will ‘like’ the Facebook page and MRU will make regular posts about the goings on around the university and to notify of events. The audience for Facebook has largely been students. Facebook was also used by various internal departments who were looking to promote themselves. There are currently 8,000 members on MRU’s Facebook pages. The tool has also attracted potential students. Many high school students will ‘like’ the page and follow the news as they contemplate their choice of college or university. 

Richards surveyed the environment carefully before moving forward to another channel. “I watched the channels closely and then, once I was comfortable with their purpose and capability, I would slowly add another channel.” From Facebook, Richards gravitated toward Twitter.

Twitter has produced a reach of stakeholders that goes beyond those interested in Facebook, and largely attracts an external audience. “Twitter has attracted individuals and organizations interested in what MRU are doing because it meets their own informational and organizational needs,” said Richards. She cites such followers as political parties, environmental groups, educational groups and those interested in reaching the college-aged audience. “We have other universities following us, media follow us for news, politicians follow us to see what public opinion is; we have people interested in knowing what the university is doing and what students are doing whether related to youth, Aboriginal issues, careers, or sustainability and environmental groups. Any groups interested in what we’re doing really, even arts and music.” Richards says MRU puts out a wide variety of information about student life, academic research, events and speakers on Twitter. “Twitter provides a view of the breadth of activity at MRU and I make sure that my tweets demonstrate that.” Richards notes that with 8,000 followers, if each has a reach of 200, the re-tweets have a potential to go to hundreds of thousands. 

While she was developing MRU’s social media strategy and channels, she developed and fine-tuned a set of social media guidelines. This is where MRU has been cutting edge in the Canadian market. Until 2011, says Richards, no other Canadian university, and many in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with whom she had professional association, had social media guidelines. MRU was able to provide leadership and direction in this regard. She gathered a group of 10 MRU representative including faculty members, alumni, and information technology personnel, to research and develop the document. At the time, they could not find any resources related to social media guidelines for higher education, so they reached into the corporate world for inspiration. Seizing some ideas, they whittled away at them until they were able to settle on guidelines they felt suited the higher education context. “We wanted to do it first in our area and do it well,” Richards says. 

After two months of dialogue with faculty, staff and students that consisted of discussion, consultation, surveys, and focus groups, Richards discovered a general caution toward social media use and a welcoming of guidelines. Privacy issues were of a major concern and staff wanted to see consequences for infractions. It should be noted that the guidelines were created to inform marketing and communications only, and not for faculty use in the classroom, out of consideration for academic freedom. Social media guidelines can cover such topics as philosophy, values, civility, privacy, respect for the audience, obeying terms of service, authenticity, copyright, obeying terms of service, and legal issues, among others (Petroff, 2010).

After establishing Facebook and Twitter accounts, Richards embraced LinkedIn. This channel has been a good source for the organization to post a professional presence and for faculty to post their professional backgrounds. The audience for LinkedIn is professional organizations and also individuals interested in knowing more about faculty members. LinkedIn serves as a good source for business, career, and donor contacts. 

In response to a high demand by internal departments for video representations, Richards established a university YouTube channel. All of MRU’s videos are in a central location and are consistent with the MRU brand and key messaging. Video provides an immediate visual experience and allows communication across platforms. “I can tweet a link to the students for a video about the recreation centre, for example. Students like hearing and seeing; whereas, a brochure takes a long time to get to them and they may never see a brochure. But, because students have mobile devices, the video can reach them directly. Video and mobile work well together,” says Richards. 

In 2012, after a year of observation and planning, Richards integrated Instagram. She noted that students were using it and she noted that it fit the MRU brand; whereas, for instance, Richards passed on Pintrest because it functions largely as an ecommerce function and the MRU philosophy about social media was that they were going to use it for relationship-building and not for commerce. “Instagram provides an opportunity for students to share what they are doing in the moment by taking and posting casual photos. For MRU, I capture moments around MRU and post,” says Richards. She will often ‘like’ other students’ posts and she notes the excitement that students feel when the university acknowledges their communication. “This meets one of the values in our social media guidelines for responsiveness,” notes Richards. “The one thing we try to avoid in the university-student relationship is the feeling or comment that ‘nobody ever gets back to me’. This is the death knell in social media relationships,” she notes. MRU’s Instagram account has 500 users and is growing daily.

In the process of posting and tweeting, Richards encourages the use of a social media calendar where she plots the key events on campus from major speakers to fun events to final exams to graduation. The student life cycle is recorded and plotted. She uses this information to create timely and relevant postings. 

Richards’ future plans include integrating Google Plus. “I’m keeping my eye on it and I have a placeholder on it. It’s not extremely active but I believe it is important for MRU to have a presence on it and that it’s important to secure the name on larger platforms. Additionally, we are transitioning over to Gmail, so I’m thinking ahead,” notes Richards.

Richards notes a core purpose to the entire social media exercise. “We want to be responsive and identify and fix problems toward mutual satisfaction [in the manner of two-way symmetrical public relations]. She provides the following example:

An example that I think is great is with an initiative called 'Student Spaces'. In 2008 there were numerous complaints from students on the MRU Facebook page (which coincided with anecdotal complaints recorded for years) that there were not enough spaces on campus to quietly read or study. I brought the complaints on Facebook to the attention of the VP of Student Affairs and Campus Life, and he struck up a committee made up of student association representatives, myself, and a library representative. We engaged in some research to identify specific problems. We approached some of the students who had complained on Facebook. They provided feedback on what they were unhappy about, what they wanted, what their current habits were etc., with regards to studying on campus. This research led to organizational action and adjustments. There were a few main outcomes came out of this year-long process (all of which was updated and communicated on the MRU Facebook page so students knew we were looking into it and taking action).

For one, the Student Spaces committee discovered that students do not typically go out of the building in which their program is located and so were not aware of numerous spaces on campus they could go to. We did an exhaustive audit and compiled the information into a website so students could see that if they were willing to leave their own building, there were options on campus. We categorized the spaces as ‘multi-purpose’, ‘individual’, and ‘quiet’, so they could best choose what suited their needs. We also re-categorized a few more spaces as ‘quiet’ based on feedback from students. We embarked upon a two-year communications and marketing campaign to let students know about the spaces and the website. 

Administrators also secured a budget that allowed us to upgrade many spaces with new furniture, plug-ins for laptops and better lighting. Also, the library realized the extent of students’ unhappiness about the Library not being a quiet enough space to study, and implemented their own 'group' and 'quiet' areas within the library. (K. Richards, personal interview, April 15, 2014) 

Tips for Success

Richards offer the following key tips for success:

  • Before embarking on using social media as an organization, develop a philosophy about social media use. A philosophy will help guide decision-making.
  • Consider an overall strategy about why you want to use social media and which channels will best suit your organizational goals. Avoid the temptation to simply jump in and use channels indiscriminately.
  • Develop social media guidelines. Many organizations jump into social media use without the careful consideration of guidelines for use. In the construction of guidelines, be aware of institutional policies, student codes of conduct, and academic expectations.
  • Proceed slowly and thoughtfully. Consider which channels to adopt based on organizational goals and objectives and consider what it will take to maintain each channel. Each channel an organization adds represents a commitment of time, energy, and resources. Richards recommends 5-7 hours of time each week per channel. She recommends 3-4 posts per week on Facebook, 5-10 tweets on Twitter per day, and one monthly or bi-monthly blog as guidelines for best practice. “Unless one is prepared to dedicate people to maintaining the site, it is wasted effort and one risks producing the veritable social media graveyard of old sites with out-dated information, which hurts the brand,” she notes.
  • The development of a social media calendar is a key to ongoing success. One should be sure to create a calendar with all social media channels and plan the schedule tweets and posts. “It’s often easy to start on a channel, but more difficult to maintain – one often encounters writer’s block. This can be remedied with a social media calendar,” said Richards. With a calendar, one can examine university events and plan entries and plan posts that are relevant and meaningful to the audience.
  • Be responsive. Social media, is after all, by definition, social and relational. Use the function to engage in two-way symmetrical relations and consider where the organization can make adjustments toward enhanced relationships.


Richards confesses that this is a job she has largely carved out of her own interest and with the key strategic backing of a few supportive leaders. It can be a challenge to get the support of every administrator, but insists that all it takes is a few key supporters in administration. 

It is not always a smooth process; there has been some disagreement along the way. Some internal departments may wish to engage in social media without any guidance. The key here, says Richards, it to sit down and speak with them. “You can set a vision, pose relevant questions, provide guidelines and let them know about the commitment it will take to do this,” she says. “Often, they are not aware of the time and energy required to properly maintain one social media channel.”

Additionally, Richards cites the temptation to become enamored with tactics without considering an overall strategy. “One can get caught up in the toys and all the bright and shiny things available to use. One can get overly-excited and choose the wrong platform. A blog might be better than a tweet or email, or a website might work better. One can’t just go to the tactic first; one must think through the strategy.

As the brand community grows, so does the potential for problems. Grimmelmann (1999) notes the myriads of issues that can erupt in the social media world, including the possibility for potential abuse by universities searching public sites for such information as preferences, activities, and geographical region. Issues of privacy and ethics by all participating parties surround social media use.

With some 25,000 members across all these at MRU channels, issues related to conduct and speech, privacy and spam have developed. Students may become frustrated and make threatening or non-flattering comments about the university or faculty. Students may post photos or make comments that have the potential to violate privacy law. Students may become distressed and make comments that reveal mental instability (even involving the threat of suicide) and the ability for anyone to join conversations or to track information has created more spamming. All of this has led to the creation of more policies.

Outside studies show that many faculty report that the downside to using social media is simply the time it takes to monitor for negative content, maintain the site, and keep it current (, 2010). If communications are more centralized, these tasks can go to designated personnel and be kept off of faculty and staff. Studies also show that many faculty members will not adopt come social media channels simply because they don’t feel confident or well-trained in the technology (Moran et al., 2011). Professional development opportunities and resources need to be given to support the use of social media among faculty either for teaching and learning, or to promote their own work and thus, promote the university.

On a positive note, Richards feels comforted in knowing that a large majority of the MRU community is connected via social media especially in the event of a crisis. MRU also has a Social Media Crisis Communication Plan. Studies show that only some 20% of companies worldwide have a social media crisis plan (George, 2012, p. 33). In the event of an emergency, the majority of the community can be communicated with.


As the use of social media and the array of social media sites continue to grow, organizations will continually be faced with the questions of whether to use them, which ones to use, and how to best utilize them to support organizational goals and objectives. Organizations my continue to stumble into the fray, simply diving in and becoming enamored with the tools and tactics, without strategic planning such as evaluating against organizational purposes, considering strengths and weaknesses of each platform, and understanding the necessary commitment of time and resources to create a successful experience. This can lead to incorrect utilization, or under utilization, disillusionment, and premature abandonment. 

For organizations to achieve success in the use of social media, they need to consider their philosophy about the use of social media. Also, ongoing dialogue and consultations with faculty and other stakeholders help to pave the way to adoption; this may need to be supported with training and professional development to secure participation and sustain interest. From this, goals and objectives can be developed to support that philosophy. A carefully-constructed set of guidelines that does not negate existing organizational policies and law, need to be developed to guide practice and for consistent messaging. Human resources and budget needs to be allocated to guide and monitor social media efforts for organizational cohesion and consistency. Time needs to be dedicated to responding to target public concerns and to correct any misinformation. Also, channels need to be carefully and properly selected – not all channels are created equal and each serves differing purposes. A careful analysis of organizational goals and a wise matching to an appropriate social media channel are necessary for success.

As social media becomes more utilized, problems such as are common to human communication may emerge. Issues of proper conduct, appropriate speech and potential for spam will likely emerge. Organizations need to consider these eventualities and prepare for them as early in the process as possible in order to successfully manage them. Grimmelmann (2009) suggests some policy interventions such as public disclosure torts to protect private information, rights of publicity, reliable opt-out options, greater predictability and consumer protection regarding glitches and changes on sites, prohibition on activities that provide rewards for recruiting and membership, an education about privacy risks.

As with any communication effort, there are positives and potential to achieve objectives, in spite of the difficulties. Social media has the potential to audiences in ways that print cannot. It is immediate, it engages a broad array of the senses, and it is a very direct way to communicate with one’s audiences. Its ability to produce two-way symmetrical communication makes it an example of its potential for public relations excellence.

Universities will continue to wrestle with if, and how best, to use social media, particularly since one of its major publics, students, are among the biggest consumers of it. It seems inevitable that institutions of higher learning must engage with the use of social media to promote their brands and to communicate with target audiences. Additionally, social media’s potential as an effective method of communication for crisis communication management, leaves universities little choice but to engage.


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Management Problems in New Media


Authors: Efremov E.A.

The report is available in the author's edition.


The article reveals the characteristics of the " new media". The author notes the development of coverage sociogenesis occurring in society and the problems associated with this process. The necessity of formulating and solving problems in the field of social control in the sphere of visual communication. Reflected reflection of contemporary sociologists, philosophers and cultural about the current state of visual communications. Disclosed the risks and successes in the development of «new media» today.

Keywords: new media, visual communication, visual communications, visual media, control by visual means of communication.Scope of my research activities within the department of public relations and media policy is social control by visual means of communication.

The sphere of my scientific activity within chair of public relations and media policy is social management by means of visual means of communication.

Such means is the architecture, the architectural environment, fine and monumental arts, a sculpture, television, printing editions, advertizing, fashion in all its manifestations and so on.

New media also treat the sphere of visual means and are the strongest control facility from all listed above.

It is considered to be new media digital media, social media, i.e. a form or images which can be described, having used mathematical function, and designate communication process in digital, network, interactive technologies. H.M. — can be transferred from one format to another; they can exist in an infinite number of versions and as a fractal, are under construction by the modular principle [1].

The processes of a mediatization occurring in society are today sotsiogenezy which causes radical structurally functional shifts and demand new forms and approaches to management of changes [2].

Today, having come into the subway, it is possible to see a large number of youth who hold smartphones in the hand, tablets, laptops are more rare and are occupied with studying of their contents. The senior generation reads electronic books.

The most part of youth is engaged in SMS in correspondence and video games, the others watch movies and read.

The perception of modern new media is based on a new reflexive platform, than that which was created during the previous eras therefore their main users is the youth [3].

The problem of modern social management consists in filling by a necessary content visual means of communication. The content has to is combined with values which are necessary for society: education of identity of the citizen, his creative, moral, ethical and esthetic qualities.

In social communications visual measurement becomes priority over all other control facilities.

Earlier in private space of the person the power had no real possibility of continuous control of attention of certain subjects. In this regard, control of attention of people in the public spaces, equipped material visually was provided with means of architecture, fashion, works of art; auditory — bells, drums of exclamation, a pipe; odorality — by means of a voskureniye of aromas; temporality – mass corporal presence at meetings which was or compulsory (court, military collecting), or voluntary (a feast, a carnival, theater).

In the course of history control over feelings of citizens was exercised generally by means of physical rigid or mediated in the course of history control over feelings of citizens was exercised generally by means of the physical rigid or mediated coercion. 

Modern control system, using technical innovations, is able to afford latent, tempting methods of control over attention and feelings of the person, riveting on itself attention of people in their daily occurrence. All capacity of screen media is directed on it.

The power uses screen culture, both in the private sphere of the person, and in public space of the city and agglomeration in the form of boards рекламны, digital monitors, at movie theaters, an Internet cafe, personal computers, smartphones, multimedia HDD and SSD stores, portable DVD players, the tablets available 24 hours per day.

The modern visual environment offers professionally made, superfluous, figurativeness which regulates emotional reactions, desires, a choice, forcing out independent designing of reality.

In the middle of the 20th century the French philosopher Rolan Bart will pay attention to operating properties of visual figurativeness, its huge potential of a mifosozidaniye, structuring reality by means of media, their rhetoric, pragmatics and semantics.

The view of visual technologies of the Italian architect P. Verilyo is interesting, to the expert in area material visually to programming of local spaces. In the essay «Sight Car» it expresses высль about the political status of visual technologies.

The French culturologist and the sociologist Jean Bodrilliar spoke screen figurativeness, having noted that the world which was imprinted by the camera camera, is other reality, not the natural world, and a blende, game of visibilities and visions. 

It should be noted that fact that the analysis of visual rhetoric, unlike the analysis of the contents of texts, the phenomenon more rare and demands a certain qualification. «Vizualnost» is way of a certain production of the values transferred in visual expressions, and are the text, same obvious, as well as the written text which can be used in that, or other value.

The visual means are today the most effective way of communication, control, management and information especially as in a today's condition of society when people in the behavior and decision-making are guided not by things, and for images of things [5]. 

Images of things, or the ideas, the politicians created artificially by means, advertizing, determine by the cinema, new media formation and normalization of the political, social, ethnic, gender relations today. 

Power task – creation of the image, capable to carry out function of management by the emotions having impact on decision-making of the individual while a problem of visual means of communication is formation of a certain foreshortening, a look on those, or other things.

The risks in the management of the society by means of visual communication include lack of attention and control of the sector by the authorities: 

— when the government takes place commerce, the consequences may not be predictable; 
— when the content of broadcast content meanings, does not correlate with the accepted norms and values common to all mankind; 
— when absent or weakly represented the social aspect; 
— when there is no idea of the formation and development of identity.

«New media» have today huge communicative opportunities, however face big problems which are caused by that the transferred message can be incorrectly interpreted, being instantly intercepted by the opponent and is subjected to processing [4].

Also gradual loss of writing, isolation of the individual belongs to risks from others at physical level and carrying out time in front of the monitor.

On the general background of falling of intellectual level: from education – to television, cinema and universal development of the entertaining and game range based on low reactions and calculated on underestimated level of a discourse, the main danger to become a problem of education of young generation.

Friedrich Kittler — the German theorist of electronic media, the historian of literature, notes that fact that for business and the power ordinary people became absolutely unimportant, and the self-presentation becomes their last hope.

New media can't solve all problems of which the mankind dreams, they allow to overcome loneliness, but do it by means of not real, but imaginary socialization. In it consists their strong and weakness at the same time.

At this conjuncture the task of the power consists in protecting the citizens from negative impact of alien ideologies, development of civic consciousness, love for the country, safety in the field of information, communicative technologies.

Positive in development of «New media» it is possible to consider that some of them, for example Twitter and Facebook achieved unexpected and important result — created the standard for political and social campaigns of the future [6].

The political institutes aren't able to ignore today activity which occurs in their space.

If to look objectively, it is possible to summarize that social networks as a whole woke social and political activity at the earth population.

The people began to express the opinion, to unite in communities, even if and in virtual space.


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4. Fedorov AV Information security in the global political process. M., 2006. 8p.
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From Mappa Mundi to Lorem Mappa: A Retrospective of Map Communication


The report is available in the author's edition.


Maps as a means of visual communication date as far back as humans were able to sketch locations in the dirt. This presentation will, however, begin in the Middle Ages with the iconic mappa mundi. It can be argued that the mappa mundi predates the earliest maps in its apparent dismissal of real world accuracy, the intent being to communicate a summary of medieval knowledge. We know, however, that maps have always served several purposes, figurative and literal, ceremonial and practical. Contemporary maps are no exception. Examples of map communication models dating from the 1950s will be used to illustrate that maps, regardless of media or method, have not changed in purpose. The term lorem mappa will be introduced as a moniker for electronic or Internet-based maps. These lorem mappae, whether interactive, dynamic, static, or network-based, all serve to communicate place-based information. In spite of the technological framework on which many contemporary maps are based, thelorem mappa and the mappa mundi are more similar as vehicles of communication than conventional wisdom might suggest.


Maps have always been a powerful means of communication. They have communicated knowledge, power and direction since the earliest humans used a stick to sketch places in the dirt. They represent human knowledge of the known world at any given time. Historically that known world was, by current standards, limited, but to those living in that limited world, it was vast. Their sketch maps represented what they knew of their environment. Very early maps such as those constructed in 4,500 BCE by the South Sea Islanders were practical, but highly schematic, representing patterns of prevailing winds and currents. During the Bronze Age, early Europeans sketched the dwellings, paths, water ways and hunting grounds constituting their environment. 

Maps also represented power, either implicitly or explicitly. Implicitly, they represented power because those drawing the map had either the skill or the knowledge or, indeed, both to do so. This in and of itself is power; that ability, whether in the form of skill or knowledge, is not ubiquitous. Maps could also be used to define power explicitly, communicating territorial rights, claims and acquisitions. Maps constructed for the purpose of communicating direction such as the location of particular ocean currents or hunting grounds, while seemingly utilitarian could also implicitly communicate knowledge and power. Consider the person who discovered the location of a particular hunting ground. He exudes power because he has valuable knowledge that he can either choose to share or not by communicating the location by sketching a map. He is, perhaps, admired and envied for his adventurous, intrepid nature at locating the hunting ground.

In addition to location information and assistance in navigating the unknown, maps have, also, had ceremonial and ritual applications. At no time was this perhaps more apparent than the Middle Ages. Thus, this retrospective will consider maps from the Middle Ages and the more contemporary maps of the mid-twentieth century through the present. The maps from the Middle Ages are used to represent early maps even though they are more sophisticated in terms of the permanence of the media than those of humans hundreds of thousands of years ago. Their purpose as vehicles for figurative communication has not, however, really changed since the earliest use of maps. I use medieval maps as a starting point because they are extreme in their representation of the world and examples are easily found. I end the retrospective with contemporary maps because I argue that map purpose has not changed. It has expanded, in the case of medieval maps, considerably beyond the purview of what was then the known world, but the purpose of maps is still to communicate; albeit in a greater variety of media and to a larger audience.

The Mappa Mundi

There are numerous examples of maps from the Middle Ages, known generally as mappaemundi, or medieval world maps. Thesemappaemundi date from about the fifth to the fifteenth centuries. While some maps from the Middle Ages were functional, such as the portolan charts used by mariners, maps of land were often more figurative. Some, although certainly not all, of these maps have been categorized as T-in-O maps because the main waterways formed what appeared to be a T in the midst of a circular O-shaped landmass. Jerusalem was typically located in the center with Paradise, or the Orient, located at the top. Europe was located on the left and the continent of Africa on the right. The Mediterranean Sea was the upright part of the T, while the Don River on the left and the Nile River on the right formed the crosspiece of the T. Surrounding the landmass was the river Oceanus. 

It is, however, important to recognize that while general histories of geography and cartography have reduced medieval maps to this category, there is tremendous variation within this category and other categories of mappaemundi beyond the tripartite schema of the T-in-O map. (Woodward 1985). There were zonal perspectives of the world based on climate, which can be attributed to the writings of ancient Greek geographers. There was a quadripartite view that added an area inhabited by Antipodeans, or present day Australia and New Zealand, which was considered unknown due to the perception that the sun’s heat was too intense for human inhabitation. There was also a transitional view of the world that reflected the profound change in perspective between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries or the transitional years between the medieval and Renaissance periods. These maps, while still constructed in a circular frame, were based on the portlolan charts used for maritime navigation. (Woodward, 1985)

At the risk of perpetuating the uninformed nineteenth-century view of medieval maps, I will use the tripartite or T-in-O map perspective as representative of mappaemundi, in general. It is not that I want to portray medieval maps as simply static and a reflection of what tends to be perceived as an uninformed society. Rather I want to use them as an example of the intent to communicate the world with an acknowledged center. That is a center acknowledged from the perspective of the map maker and his patron. This perspective, I will argue, has not changed. Even maps designed for the purpose of communicating airline distances, for example, are often centered on a particular location. Indeed, for distances to be proportionally correct from the point of interest and for all points on the map to be at the correct direction from the point of interest, a map using an azimuthal equidistant projection must be centered on that location. While maps, then and now, were most likely created with the intent to communicate the center of the world as revolving around a particular place-based agenda, it is also likely that the map maker and patron recognized that Jerusalem or Sydney are not the center of the world, but a perspective from which to understand the world.

T-in-O maps varied in the details depending on where they were created. In the case of the Hereford Mappa Mundi, for example, the British Isles are visible in the northwest portion of Europe with local landmarks filling the land area. The remainder of the map was filled with drawings of Biblical references, including Moses, as well as creatures from mythology, such as Charybdis and Scylla. Known places tended to be represented by the divine, including images of Christ, God and the Saints, while unknown places were illustrated with demonic and fanciful creatures that reinforced the prevailing view that these places were considered “off the beaten path,” and should, therefore, be avoided. For the most part, these maps were not used for navigation, but rather represented a summary of deeds and public iconography. (Woodward, 1987). Thus, these maps were first centered on the divine and then focused on the contributions of the local or what were perceived as local. Geometric accuracy was not the goal. Indeed, there is evidence to show that the information included was simply limited by the size of “the page.”

While geometric and geographic accuracy are now more often than not a key component of maps, the need to center them on “local contributions” has not changed. If anything, technology has made it possible to re-center the world with greater ease, the geographical and geometric accuracy following by default, as it were. I can now easily enter the coordinates of my location in Fredonia, New York and create a geographically correct representation of the world centered on that location. Thus, the world revolves around me, so to speak, just as the world was communicated as centered on Jerusalem in the Middle Ages.

The Map as a Communication Device

During the Middle Ages, maps were primarily created by illustrators or scribes who did not directly experience the areas they mapped. Instead, the information on maps was brought by travelers, pilgrims, explorers and soldiers, in the form of verbal descriptions that were translated, so to speak, by the illustrator into a graphic form. The illustrator or scribe was more often than not an artist rather than a cartographer. The role of the illustrator was to document geographical information, if not for the purpose of planning pilgrimages then certainly as symbols of secular and spiritual influence. Indeed, Mappaemundi were often created as the introduction to manuscripts. (Woodward 1987) In much the same way a table of contents serves to outline the contents of a book, so, too, did a Mappa Mundi provide an overview of what was to come in a particular manuscript. To a certain extent, we still create maps for this purpose. We want to assist the reader in visualizing the written word. 

If the map communication model that became prevalent in the 1950s and 1960s is applied to the cartographic process of the Middle Ages, the illustrator is given the information verbally by the traveler probably in the form of an itinerary. It was up to the illustrator to put this itinerary in graphic form, thus creating a map. The map was most commonly included as a supplement to a manuscript. The “message” communicated to the manuscript reader was figurative in nature. Those reading the manuscript were not likely to engage in travel themselves, but use the map as a means to visualize the secular and spiritual world. Evaluation and feedback were not a specific goal in the process. For one thing, the production of a map was highly labor intensive; it was unlikely the illustrator would be available or willing to make changes to the map. For another thing, that was, again, not the purpose of the map. This was not a process of information-sharing in the sense that the illustrator shared his research and incorporated feedback to improve the accuracy of the final product. Instead, these maps were an end in and of themselves. The information was communicated and it was up to the map reader to interpret and make sense of it.

Norman Thrower, the noted geographer and cartographic scholar, defined a map as, “A representation, usually on a plane surface, of all or part of the earth or some other body showing a group of features in terms of their relative size and position.” (Thrower, 1996, 245) Such a definition can apply to a sketch map in the dirt as well as a map in a medieval manuscript and a map on the Internet. This definition does, however, suggest maps are accurate reflections of the world. We know this is improbable. A map is, instead, an abstraction of reality. We cannot truly represent the world around us. We are unable to see all that is there and, even if we could, why would we, when we could experience the world directly? Of course, the answer to that is that we cannot experience all places at all times, thus a map provides us with an abstraction, a selective reflection of another’s perception. Indeed, this selection is necessary or we would be overwhelmed by detail, or, in other words, overwhelmed by reality. For many of us, this is a satisfactory alternative to being there.

Beginning with the Mappa Mundi, or medieval map of the world, to what I will call the Lorem Mappa, or the contemporary internet map, maps have been one of many ways humans have communicated visually. There have, since the 1950s through the early 1990s efforts to model the process of communicating through maps. Arthur Robinson (1952), among others, viewed the map as an example of graphicacy. Where literacy and articulacy represent communication through written and spoken language, respectively, graphicacy is the communication through graphic devices. Robinson and his colleagues compared the cartographic communication system to that of a typical communication system whereby there is a cartographer (encoder) between the real world (source) and the map (signal) and the map reader’s “eye-mind mechanism” (decoder) between the map (signal) and the use of the map by the map reader (recipient). (Robinson and Petchenik, 1975; Robinson et al., 1978) Thus, the cartographer was either given information or had information himself to be communicated. He would undertake the cartographic process, including generalization, symbolization and production. (Buttenfield, 1995). Guelke (1977) concurred, but sought to stress a thorough understanding on the part of the cartographer of the phenomena to be mapped in addition to improving cartographic quality. “The goal of enhancing a map user’s understanding of reality cannot be achieved by cartographers ignorant of the phenomena they map. Before a phenomenon can be mapped effectively it must first be understood by the cartographer.” (Guelke, 1977, p.143)

Lech Ratajski (1977) saw the communication model of cartography as a useful starting point, but found that it did not address the change that occurs in the quality of information as it is transmitted, so to speak, from the real world to the map reader. Ratajski sought to mathematically model not just the loss of information, but also the efficiency of emission and ultimately perception. Equipped with this additional information, the cartographer is better equipped to create a map that will minimize information loss by maximizing the efficiency of emission.

Konstantin Alexeevich Salichtchev (1978) was critical of the communication interpretation of cartography because it did not take into account the “cognitive value of maps.” While he found it useful for the “perfection of map language,” he did not find it a sufficient foundation for explaining the cartographic process. As Guelke asserted and Ratajski suggested, Salichtchev stated categorically that the map reader’s interpretation of the map is as important as the components of the communication model.

More recently, that communication model of the 1950s and 1960s has come under further criticism for not taking into account the role of visualization (MacEachren 1995, 3-11) and the inherent bias on the part of the cartographer (see for example, Wood (1992) and Crampton (2001)). Tsou (2011) has sought to expand the traditional map communication model to reflect the proliferation of interactive web-based mapping. For him, the significant difference between traditional cartographic communication and interactive web-based mapping is the user interface, which provides the direct connection between the map user and the source of the data. Most recently, Tsou and Leitner (2013) have suggested a research framework that moves beyond the purely cartographic focus to one that considers the importance of place as the connection between time and information.

In terms of the role visualization plays in map communication, it is the unique ability maps, graphics and images have to make spatial relationships particularly visible. MacEachren and Fraser Taylor (1994) use visualization to model a continuum rather than a separation between the map maker and the map reader, where the continuum varies depending on how the map is used. Their Cartography Cubed (C3) model contains three dimensions ranging from private to public, highly interactive to minimally interactive and the presentation of “knowns” to the revelation of “unknowns.” All three dimensions can utilize the exploration process rather than just the product to be presented. 

Arguably, those making maps have been engaged in visualization ever since the first map was sketched in the dirt with a stick. For the purposes of the Cartography Cubed model, there are, however, important differences. For contemporary maps in a new media environment, visualization refers to the added capabilities of interactive mapping software to explore data sets for spatial patterns, analyze spatial relationships, synthesize the results of an analysis, and present or communicate the new spatial knowledge (Kraak and Ormeling, 2010).

By the 1980s and 1990s a post-modern view of the map was occurring that sought to deconstruct maps exposing their inherent bias as artifacts of power and selective knowledge. The work of J.B. Harley, Denis Wood, John Pickles, Michael Curry, and Matthew Eddy is, as suggested by Crampton (2001), a scholar of critical cartography himself, largely representative of this perspective of “maps as social constructions.” (Perhaps not coincidentally this was the time computers began to be used more and more to make maps; the notion that anyone could make a map triggered a critical view of maps as a means of communication. The power was no longer in the hands of a few.) Merely viewing maps as a means of communication obscured the potential underlying bias of the map and the map maker. In other words, can maps be analyzed as “politicized documents?” (Crampton, 2001) This point of view does not necessarily remove the communication component of the map, but it is a more nuanced and critical view of maps. Maps should no longer be viewed as objective end products. (Wood, 1992) So, in a sense, we should view contemporary maps as subtle (or perhaps not so subtle) vehicles of propaganda. Just as the Hereford Mappa Mundi had an overt agenda, so, too, does a contemporary map have, at least, an underlying one. That agenda is, necessarily, rooted in cultural, historical and political interests.

The Lorem Mappa

At this point, I would like to introduce the concept of the lorem mappa, which I have chosen to loosely mean Internet or electronic map in the parlance of the Middle Ages, were such things in existence then. The lorem mappa would include any electronic maps whether accessible on the Internet or not. Thus, a lorem mappa could be a map viewed in a stand-alone desktop software package, such as QGIS or CartoDB, for example. The challenge may be, then, that the variety of maps has increased dramatically, making it difficult to apply a single model to all. 

There are desktop software packages that can be used to create maps privately and then shared publically. There are online web map services that are highly interactive and allow the private creation of maps. Some map services act as navigation aids while others facilitate the visualization of tabular data and narrative descriptions. Just as traditional print maps created for presentation do, they all endeavor to communicate information, but, as the Cartography Cubed model offers, there are differences in the extent to which the map reader is also the map creator, the extent to which visualization is employed, the extent to which known and unknown information is revealed, and finally, the extent to which any of that information is shared. Regardless, all of these map services are increasingly capable of providing their users with cartographically responsible options in terms of design in the form of visual variables, data classification, symbology, and generalization, among others. From a post-modern perspective the same underlying issues regarding cultural, historical and political influences are evident. The choices available to users of these services are limited. Thus, users are forced to design their maps within the confines of limited color, projection, classification, scale, and style, among other, choices. Even when operating within those confines, the resulting map takes on the values of the user, whether consciously or subconsciously.

To accommodate the proliferation of interactive web-based mapping as a communication, a variation on the original communication model has been suggested (Tsou, 2011). This model emphasizes what is termed “near real-time feedback,” whereby the map that is created is an amalgamation of the data provided by the database, the mapping utilities available in the web map server, the interface for the data and the utilities, and finally, the decisions made by the user. This model allows for the user to change her mind at every step along the way. There is no need to wait for a new map to be designed, drafted and published. The web map server and browser components facilitate the visualization. Thus, depending on the user’s decisions, she can choose to present or explore data either privately or publically, interacting with it based on the visualization tools. 


The challenges for making sense of maps given the increasing array of new media available to us are exciting to some in terms of the options available to us, yet daunting to others in the potential for the proliferation of self-centered or agenda-centered views of the world. Just as maps were considered as vehicles for religious dogma in the Middle Ages, so too can contemporary maps be considered as vehicles for furthering biased agendas in the guise of an electronic map. Maps, just like the written word, are often accepted without question. Just because spatial information is displayed against the backdrop of what appears to be a geographically and geometrically correct base map, does not mean that information is accurate or free from bias. Esri’s Story Maps (, for example, are arguably modern versions of the Mappa Mundi. They are constructed around the specific interests of an individual or organization. The map maker is free to choose from a variety of base map choices and then upload geotagged images and data for display. The resulting maps may be shared widely or kept private. The images, for example, may include pictures of people without their consent, thus, potentially, invading their privacy. In addition to the potential for conveying dubious information, there is also the potential for harm by communicating an individual’s location at any given time.

Is there a model that best represents the myriad formats in which map information can be communicated? Or, has map communication become so complex in the context of new media that there are limitations to the sense that can be made of maps? Is a new research framework emerging in which maps are considered along with machine learning, computational linguistics, data mining, and so on as components of knowledge discovery in cyberspace? (See for example, Tsou and Leitner, 2013) It would seem to me that such a research framework does not dismiss or minimize the role of communication of maps, but rather strengthens their exploration and research capability. Such an interpretation fits neatly into MacEachren’s and Taylor’s Cartography Cube. If anything, it can be argued that maps are more important than ever in communicating place-based information and that new media provide the dynamic ability to present real world change in real-time.


It is easier now, more than ever before, to manipulate the world around us through new media. Our need and craving for information about the world around us has not changed, nor, fundamentally, have the role maps played. What has changed is the ubiquity of maps and the ease with which they can be created. Although there are still barriers to access, the relative ease with which maps can be created and accessed behooves us to be more critical in terms of communication effectiveness, map maker bias, potential audience, and level of interactivity.
Regardless of whether maps are presented as sketches in the dirt or on cave walls, as elaborate illustrations on animal skins or papyrus, or as pen and ink on paper or as digital displays, maps are still used to communicate. Just as a verbal message can be laden with fact or fiction and everything in between, so too can a map. The critical eye with which maps should be created and used is no different than that which should be used when considering information of any type.


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Converting Scientific Knowledge and Creating Innovation Environment


Eduard V. Galazhinskiy
Rector of National Research Tomsk State University (TSU),
Professor, Doctor of Psychology,
Academician of the Russian Academy of Education.

Economic growth has been slowing down. It has been taken into account and paid attention to by business, government, and university community. Today each of these institutions tries to contribute to the economic development. Economy of innovations has special potential in places where business, government, and universities co-exist and co-operate. We may call such places “spaces of consensus” based on mutual interests.
These places are rare for Russia as well as for the other countries. Considering Russia, Tomsk is obviously one of such unique places. Consensus has not been fully reached yet but it still has a potential to be reached. We should not miss the chance to do that. So far, Tomsk is the only Russian regional center where two leading national research universities are located. The sphere of education and science has a city-forming status here. Besides, Tomsk region was the first in Russia where the law on innovation activity was adopted.
Therefore, Tomsk State University admits its responsibility for developing the regional economy. It is the University’s third role to contribute to creating innovation products and technologies and to evaluating projects, products, and technologies developed by the other companies. 
Tomsk State University considers innovations to be a conversion of scientific knowledge into economic, environmental, and social welfare that improves the quality of life for people and a society. We may say that innovations are some sort of an interface between a university and business and between a university and a society in general. We must learn how to convert our scientific knowledge, because we are a real Research University.
Today the process of turning knowledge into product is technological. There is a certain set of actions and an algorithm in decision-making process that cannot be mixed up. Besides, people with particular skills must be involved in it. This algorithm should be taken into consideration when planning the entire scientific and educational process. Such approach might seem contradictory to the essence of a classical university such as TSU.
The role of a classical university seems to be undergoing great changes. It used to have a production of non-material social goods – intellectual potential - as its basic function. At present, a university is some kind of an “economic trigger”. But is this a brand new view on a classical university?

If we turn to the memoirs by Professor Vasiliy Florinskiy, who was directed by the Emperor to taking on the whole project of establishing the first university in Siberia, we will understand why the first University was founded in Tomsk. Florinskiy explained his choice very clearly.  At that time, Tomsk was a center of the largest Russian province, which contained the territories of Krasnoyarsk, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, and even part of Kazakhstan. It was an important junction point with well-developed manufacture, commerce and economically active population. That is why it was promising in terms of the future development of the whole Siberian region. It was a winning argument for the special commission that voted for Tomsk to become the first University City in Siberia.
Thus, Vasiliy Florinskiy believed that Tomsk Emperor University had to solve not only socio-cultural problems but first and foremost economic ones. He tried to convince the Emperor of the ability of Tomsk to become a force for progress that would use its research instruments to improve the life and the economy of the Siberian region.

Over the next years, at Soviet and Perestroika times, we moved from that track and concentrated on the function of the social welfare. This function plays an important role too. But from the historical point of view, the logic of social and economic development of the region and the country was more important. Therefore, the idea of converting scientific knowledge into technologies and production is not brand new. At least, for our university. In other words, it is in the TSU’s genes.

Our plan for the next several years is to build a system of companies oriented towards improving the quality of life for people and the society, as well as towards producing goods with the help of state-of-the-art technologies. Those companies should value highly qualified specialists with certain professional skills, systems and critical thinking, high level of culture, and a set of moral values that would keep them from trading country’s interests and participating in corruption schemes.

There are such companies that need such people. For example, Gazprom Space Systems. And they have troubles with finding employees. We will train such people, as it is one of the main functions of a classical university. We should reorganize our education technologies in order to be able to educate as many people as possible. That is why business partners and the University organize joint Master’s Degree programs, departments, and training courses.

I can see at least a dozen of such innovation companies we can and should deal with. I have met their managers and they told me that they really needed new specialists, technologies, and developments. But collaboration with these companies requires revolutionary changes in the system of the university management. We must achieve results of high quality within particular timeframes no matter how difficult it might be. There is no other option. It is not a free ride anymore, it is strictly designated.
To have all that done, we are trying to analyze the types of innovative products demanded on Russian and international markets. It is clear; we should simultaneously follow several directions: adaptation of results of our fundamental research (crystallization); task-work assigned by certain companies; development and amplification of new educational programs and technologies, as well as of projects of development of the social sphere.

The latter does not imply financial profit for the University. However, it refers to the university’s social responsibility and improves its reputation, which leads to finding new strong partners. Partners who need new scientific developments and research, as well as people of a special type our university is famous for. Only in collaboration with such partners, we will be able to achieve our ambitious but realistic goal – to enter the list of top-20 universities by the year of 2020.