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Derek Lackaff - Elon University. Elon, NC, US

Derek Lackaff Derek Lackaff

Associate Professor of Communication Design and Associate Director, Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning | Elon University


Derek Lackaff is an expert in several digital contexts of social interaction and communication.


Derek Lackaff is an Associate Professor in the School of Communications where he teaches and mentors the next generation of interactive media professionals in the iMedia MA program. Lackaff researches several digital contexts of social interaction and communication, including democratic participation and endangered language revitalization.

He is also Associate Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, where he helps faculty pursue teaching excellence through individual consulting, workshops, and collaborative projects.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Teaching and Learning

Civic Technologies

Social Media

Minority Language Technologies





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Accomplishments (1)

Fulbright Award

Derek Lackaff, associate professor of communications and associate director for the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, will join the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen for the 2018-19 academic year.

Education (3)

State University of New York at Buffalo, College of Arts and Sciences: Ph.D., Communication

La Trobe University, School of Communication, Arts, and Critical Enquiry: M.A., Media Studies

University of Nebraska-Lincoln - College of Arts and Sciences,: B.A., Political Science & International Studies

Media Appearances (3)

International exchange of perspectives are more important than ever

University of Bergen  online


Fulbright is a prestigious grant programme which supports study and research mobility between the USA and approx. 150 participating countries. One of those who has passed through the eye of the needle during the 2018-2019 application process is Derek Lackaff, who is normally an Associate Professor of communication based at Elon University, North Carolina, USA. He conducts research on and teaches subjects such as media and communications technology and digital media.

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Buying time: Better Alamance launches county’s first timebank

The Times-News  online


Dr. Derek Lackaff, associate professor of communications at Elon University, founded Better Alamance in 2012 as a way to get students more involved with the outside community. It was his 12-person sophomore honors class, Building Better Communities with Civic Technology, that decided to bring the timebank model to Alamance County.

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Building a Better Alamance one idea at a time

The Times-News  online


“The hope is to get the community thinking about ways of participating, about the way the community is going,” said Derek Lackaff, Better Alamance founder and Elon University professor. “This is an interesting model to increase citizen engagement, to draw on ideas and people.”

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Articles (5)

Local languages, global networks: Mobile design for minority language users Proceedings of the 34th Annual International Conference on the Design of Communication


Minority and indigenous languages have a complex relationship with contemporary communication media. Social media, in particular, provide new venues for language use and revitalization, but also subject minority languages to inhibiting technological and social pressures. The present study contributes to a better understanding of social media and language use dynamics via an analysis of a survey of Irish language users (n= 617) and their sociotechnical contexts. We develop a typology of social, linguistic, and technical factors that provide a theoretical and analytical foundation for future work. A complex interplay of social and technical factors impact minority language use in social media, and we suggest potential interaction design strategies for language activists and technologists to promote more effective engagement.

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Case Study: Better Reykjavik—Open Municipal Policymaking Civic Media: Technology, Design, Practice


Following an economic crisis which swept away much of their wealth, international regard, and trust in established political institutions, Icelanders were in a unique position to experiment with radical new approaches to governance and citizenship. As one of the world’s most highly developed nations (95 percent of Icelanders are “regular users” of the Internet, the highest percentage in Europe), 1 several Icelandic grassroots initiatives attempted to leverage digital platforms to improve governmental access, transparency, and accountability.
Better Reykjavik (Betri Reykjavík, https://betrireykjavik. is) is one such socio-technical initiative designed to promote citizen participation and collaborative problem solving in city governance. Better Reykjavik is a website that allows citizens to submit policy proposals to the municipal government. These ideas are publically accessible, and may be debated by other participants and revised. The public is also encouraged to make a simple vote on each proposal—support or oppose. Over time, a body of proposals emerges, each idea refined by debate, with the aggregate list ordered by the number of votes it has received. Better Reykjavik is an “e-petition” or “open innovation” website that enables citizens to submit, debate, and prioritize policy proposals and ideas. Launched in 2009 by grassroots activists as a platform for a frustrated citizenry to express their views about how to move forward, the project was subsequently endorsed by a new political party, the Best Party, that went on to win the Reykjavik municipal government election.

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An analysis on communication theory and discipline Scientometrics


This research explores the structure and status of theories used in Communication as an alternative for Communication discipline identity research and characteristics evaluation. This research assumes that communication theories are not only ongoing practices of intellectual communities, but also discourse about how theory can address a range of channels, transcend specific technologies and bridge levels of analysis. It examines widely-cited theoretical contentions among academic articles and the connections among these theories. Network analysis suggests that framing theory is the most influential of the identified theories (ranking first in frequency and degree, closeness, betweenness and eigenvector centrality) and serves to link other communication theories and theory groups.

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Exploring the relationship between perceptions of social capital and enacted support online Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication


Online social networking sites enable users to connect with large, heterogeneous groups of people. While extant research suggests individuals benefit psychologically from the perception that they are well connected, little is known about the nature of tangible resources embedded in these online networks. In this study 49 participants sent 588 requests for instrumental help to their Facebook friends to determine the accessibility of networked resources and online social capital. Almost 80% of these modest requests went unanswered, and perceived bridging and bonding capital did not explain enacted support. However, people who occupied socially prestigious positions were the most likely to benefit from their friend's help. These results suggest that expansive mediated networks may yield limited instrumental benefits.

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New Opportunities in Personal Network Data Collection Human-Computer Interaction: The Agency Perspective


One of the central challenges of ego-centric or personal social network research is the quantity and quality of data that is required from research participants. In general, collecting data about increasingly larger ego-centric networks places an increasing burden on respondents. However, the recent development and increasing ubiquity of web applications that rely on social graphs present interesting new opportunities and challenges for data collection efforts. This chapter addresses this emerging context for social research, and reports the results of an experimental evaluation of an online computer-assisted self interview (CASI) survey tool called PASN (Propitious Aggregation of Social Networks). Personal networks acquired via the PASN tool were found to be larger and more diverse than those produced using standard survey methods, yet required significantly lower time investments from participants.

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