Online Technologies Lab

Online Technologies Lab

“We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.”
– Stephen Hawking

The Online Technologies Lab (OTL) is an interdisciplinary lab with collaborators from the University of Southern Indiana, DePaul University, and the University of Illinois Chicago. We are interested in the ways humans interact through and with technology. Our lab utilizes an assets-based community psychology framework that emphasizes the voices of the particular communities studied. Recently, the members of the Online Technologies Lab have turned their attention to the fighting game community (FGC), an understudied gaming community whose members communicate via both on- and offline methods.

OTLOnline Technologies Lab also shortens to OTL, which not accidentally resembles an emoticon that, like orz, represents “kneeling on the ground in defeat,” as defined by Know Your Meme. We have a particular, sometimes self-defeating sense of humor, and try not to take ourselves too seriously. Online Technologies Lab, then, represents what we study, while OTL represents what it is like to be in the lab in a rather tongue-in-cheek way.

We have a lot of fun.

Current work

We launched an online survey in 2016 and are now analyzing the data, which is both quantitative and qualitative in nature. We have also conducted a follow up study featuring interviews from tournament attendees and are currently in the process of finalizing transcriptions of those interviews.


Bolded names are current or former OTL members.

Collins, K., Reed, J., Steltenpohl, C. N., AlSamaani, A., Jordan-Zamora, A., Ryan, K. & Keys, C. B. (2017). Community psychology online: Virtual sense of community among gamers. Symposium presented at the 2017 Midwest Eco Conference in East Lansing, MI.

Steltenpohl, C. N., Reed, J., Keys, C. B., Yau, J. C., Callaghan, M. N., & Reich, Stephanie M. (2017). Making connections, online and offline: Community psychology and technology. Symposium presented at the Society for Community Research and Action Biennial in Ottawa, Canada.

Reed, J., Steltenpohl, C. N., Collins, K., Blight, M., Zinn, M., AlSamaani, A., Zinn, M., Keys, C. B., & Jason, L. A. (2017). Discoveries in the digital age: Implications for community research. Symposium presented at the Midwestern Psychological Association Annual Meeting 2017 in Chicago, IL.

AlSamaani, A., Steltenpohl, C. N., & Keys, C. B. (2017). Benefits and drawbacks of membership in the Fighting Game Community. Poster presented at the Midwestern Psychological Association Annual Meeting 2017 in Chicago, IL.

Steltenpohl, C. N., Reed, J., Keys, C. B., Vaclavik, D., & Callahan, S. (2016). Gaining Entrée into the Fighting Game Community. Paper presented in symposium “Building bridges: Gaining entrée into communities” at 2016 Midwest ECO Conference in Chicago, IL.

Community & Media Reactions

DePaul University seeks fighting game community members for psychology research. Game Informer.

Some Preliminary Results to that FGC StudyReddit.

Our Members

Join the Lab

Open Science Framework