9.S93 IAP 2013: Baby webcam -- adapting developmental research methods for online testing


In this project-based course, each student will transform a protocol for a developmental into an experiment families can take part in over the Internet. Classes during the first two weeks of IAP will introduce methods for developmental research from a practical standpoint, cover MIT’s new “baby webcam” system for recording subjects’ responses online rather than bringing kids into the lab, and provide a workshop introduction to Javascript accessible to novice programmers. Students will be matched to individual projects and will be responsible for the development of an online experiment. At the conclusion of the course you will have access to a cutting-edge technique in developmental research as well as experience in experimental design and web programming.

Schedule (subject to change)

Monday Wednesday Friday

Jan 7

Intro: why baby webcam; developmental methods; projects/course plan.

Choose papers for Wed.

Programming pretest

HW: presentation of selected paper (five to ten minutes—cover motivation, procedure, results, and what you think the main challenges in doing this online would be)

Jan 9

Paper presentations

Select projects

Counterbalancing discussion and example outline

HW: skeleton outline of your project

Jan 11

Discussion of outlines

Paper presentations (new students)

Data coding demo

Example expanded outline

HW: revised outline with stimuli list and coding instructions

Jan 14

Start html/css/js assignments in class

Get set up for programming: go over specific systems (jswcam library, directory structure, setting up your sandbox)

HW: finish intro coding assignments; one-paragraph blurb about your project for parents

Jan 16

More Javascript techniques & making stimuli (in-class exercises)

Experiment flow; Sticking in html blocks; Converting video, etc.

HW: proposed timeline for project; prepare questions for kid day

Jan 18

Javascript part 2 (sorry, Kid Day is postponed to later in IAP)

Set up meeting times

Rest of IAP

Individual projects—creating stimuli, programming. Meet with Kim 2x/week.

We’ll schedule one final (lab) meeting around Feb 1 where we walk through each experiment before putting them online. We'll also have a demo day in Westgate (W85) to have families actually try out our experiments with us right there to see how it goes and note any problems/advice.


Recommended reading

Aslin: What's in a look? (Overview of infant looking time methods)

Class notes

Day 1: Intro

Day 2: Counterbalancing, example experiment outline

Day 4: Getting started with the example experiment code

Day 5: More technical Javascript notes (we got ~halfway through)

Papers for replications

A: Teglas et al. - 2007

B: Southgate - 2009

C: Kirkham, Slemmer, Johnson - 2002

D1: Maye, Werker, Gerken - 2002

D2: Aslin, Saffran, Newport - 1998

E: Xu, Spelke - 2000

F: Yuan, Fisher - 2009

G: Kovacs, Mehler - 2009

H: Schulz, Bonawitz, Griffiths - 2007

I: Pasquini et al. - 2007

Baby webcam resources

Current incarnation of baby webcam

Download your own sandbox

(coming soon) Overview of writing an experiment

(coming soon) jswcam library doc

Programming resources

HTML introduction

JQuery documentation

Mozilla's excellent Javascript guide and reference

W3 CSS markup validation service: enter your CSS to check for errors

Codeacademy javascript tutorial

Video - Dive into HTML5: a good reference for converting videos for compatibility

Sample batch file for making webms with ffmpeg

Sample batch file for making ogvs with ffmpeg2theora

(coming soon)PHP

(coming soon)MongoDB

Useful software