I read on on the blog of Whitney Phillips, the English PhD graduate who misrepresented the flame trollers on 4chan as “trolls”, an article by her that she is apparently running a “new course” on New Media.
Well Whitney Phillips, welcome to the world of Multimedia Studies! I did this module over ten years ago! In fact I did two courses on New Media – One called ‘New Media Cutures’ and one called ‘New Media Societies’.
They were put together as a way to bridge the Multimedia Computing modules accredited by BCS – the Chartered Institute for IT with the Media Studies and Media Practice Modules. The pioneer behind this course which I completed, the BSc(Hons) in Multimedia Studies was Dr Mike Reddy, now a Senior Lecturer at Newport University which is merging with Glamorgan where he designed the course.
Mike Reddy’s degree has spawed many PhDs and other leading professionals. One of the leading advocates of using Activity Theory in Participatory Design, Dr Steve Harris is one such example.
Multimedia Studies is now taught at many universities, and even has its own Wikipedia article.
This lack of appreciation of existing concepts seems evident in Whitney Phillips’s work. I was in fact talking to my sister, a PhD supervisor, about how I think literature surveys should be an important part of the PhD process and regularly updated throughout the programme of study. Had Whitney Phillips done a literature survey she would have come across my work on trolling and new media culture, including this paper, first published in 2008, which in my view her PhD appears to be a replication of. You can see the stark similarities in the table below.
|Whitney Phillips’s 2012 PhD Abstract||Extracts from my 2008 Research Chapter|
Anyone involved in education knows that everyone has their own learning style. That is, an approach to study that helps them learn at an optimal level.
Being autistic, I can get very bored doing assignments that have no relevance to me or the real world in terms of something that is useful. Traditional approaches to learning styles would say that makes me a pragmatist. But now that I have four degrees, I find this too simplex. In terms of Honey and Mumford’s learning styles paradigm I am high on all the different learning styles, because I like doing things meaningful and interesting (Activists), I like thinking about things and making systems (Theorist), I like to think of what I have done and what I can do better (Reflector) and, as I said, I like learning things which have practical application and relevance to me (Pragmatist).
Why is this important? Because I think universities discriminate against people, albeit lawfully in most cases, by looking for reasons to mark people down, than find reasons to help them pass.
Many people hate essays and dissertations - I used to hate the former and like the latter, but only because I was getting poor grades in the former and higher in the latter. Now in many cases I excel at them both, but there was one dissertation I didn’t do well on, which wasn’t the case with any of the others. In the others I could write pretty much as many words over the word limit as I wanted, and I was given a viva, which meant I was asked questions on it. I wasn’t given a viva and I got marked down for things that I think that I wouldn’t have if I had been given the chance to do one, and the examiners raised with me the criticisms in their assessment.
It is on this basis that I think that whenever someone’s grade is marginal, such as a marginal fail, or where a distinction could be given instead of a merit, etc., then rather than it be marked by another member of staff, the university allows for the reservations of the examiner to be raised with the student so it can be determined whether there is something similar to ‘sampling error,’ where what was expected of the student wasn’t clear to them, and if it had been they could have got the higher grade.
It might be that if this improves standards and outcomes it could be used more frequently for all assignments. The benefit of that would be is that if the student didn’t write the assignment themselves then it would become apparent, meaning plagiarism could be more easily detected. And equally, those who did write it, but missed things out, can still show that they had the requisite knowledge even if they didn’t communicate it in the first instance.
Having helped my university tutor, Doctor Mike Reddy, with the development of the JISC plagiarism checker as one of the students of his class which discussed plagiarism issues, it is something I think still isn’t being addressed by universities, who would be better off spending more time on teaching students how to write, than telling them what to write and them not knowing how to!
There are around 7 billion people in this world, if one person doesn’t want to be my friend or I theirs there are around 7 billion others to choose from. It doesn’t matter whether people in one’s locality are one’s friend or not, there is a global village of potential friends who can offer more reciprocity than those in one’s immediate surroundings.
There are a few friends I have had – which were what I call good friends – that I regret losing the ‘good’ part of that friendship with. Unfortunately for me, when a good friend is demoted to either being a friend, acquaintance or person from the past, it is hard to regain the trust. These are some of the people I wish that wasn’t true about:
- Dr John Morton – Was my election agent, and one of the few Atheists I could speak with about the origin of the world and humans debate without him being biased. He stopped being friends with me when I gave him a fright when in a delicate emotional state
- John Evans – Was a fellow member of the Cardiff Mixed Speakers Club, who I had a lot in common with intellectually and in terms of journeys he’d been on that I wished to. One day he made me feel that the membership of someone else in the club who wanted his role as well as mine was more important than losing my membership.
- Dr Mike Reddy – Was the only lecturer throughout my studies whose modules I got distinctions in all of. He and I have fallen out of being good friends on a number of occasions because he says something which offends me and I retaliate, ‘like-for-like‘. He’s never learned his lesson, nor I mine.
The comments of Tory education spokesman William Graham that degree-level exams should be about recalling facts (BA students set their own exam questions, Western Mail, June 30) shows just how out of touch the Conservatives are with education.
I also take issue with his suggestion that Dr Reddy of the University of Wales, Newport is wrong to pilot a new method of setting exams.
As a recent graduate, I believe that degree-level exams should be less about recalling knowledge and more about assessing the skill of the student at tackling the problem posed in the exam question. Therefore it shouldn’t matter whether students know the questions, it should be more about whether they know how to answer them.
Dr Reddy is right that the current method of lecturers dropping hints to students of exam questions is flawed. It discriminates against students with impairments such as autism, as they often don’t have the ability to pick up the subtle clues from the lecturers. Dr Reddy‘s scheme is fair and appropriate, as it favours not the students that cram the night before the exams, but those who have developed analytical skill throughout the course.
A University of Glamorgan graduate has been nominated for an award for using mobile phones to teach people with autism and social phobia. Jonathan Bishop, of Heol-y-Parc, Efail Isaf, has been nominated for the New Statesman Bright Sparks award in the special educational needs category. The award will go to the product or project that best removes the barriers to achievement faced by people with special educational needs.
Mr Bishop’s entry uses mobile phones to teach the meaning of emotions and common phrases individuals with autism and social phobia while they are participating in social situations.
Dr Mike Reddy, of the University of Glamorgan, who supervised the project said that the system, named PARLE, could be effective at helping people with autism take part in social situations. He said: “What is deeply significant about this work is that it would serve to be inclusive, rather than attaching social stigma to participation in a social situation because of the innovative use of mobile phones.”
Research on the system carried out at the University of Glamorgan has already been published in an international journal, but as Mr Bishop explains, more is necessary to determine the system’s usefulness. “We were only able to test a small part of the system two years ago, but new research methodologies mean we can now get a complete picture of how people benefit from the system.” Mr Bishop is looking for volunteers to take part in the new study. If you have a form of autism such as Asperger Syndrome, any type of social phobia or are someone interested in learning more about emotions you can get in touch via Mr Bishop’s web site at http://www.jonathanbishop.org.uk/parle.
Bishop, J. (2004). The role of persuasive technology in educating heterogeneous user groups. MSc Thesis, University of Glamorgan.
The purpose of undertaking this project was so that the author could develop further the ideas that came out of doing his degree dissertation and joint project about developing virtual environments for enhancing real-world communities. The author’s degree dissertation and joint project led him to become interested in the role of technology in improving people lives through providing opportunities for them to change and adapt their behaviour to meet individual and collective goals and it is this desire to discover new ways of using technology to allow people to reach their potential that has directed his current research.
This Masters dissertation addresses two key issues; firstly, how technology can be used to encourage individuals to develop specific attitudes and behaviour, and secondly, how technology can be used to allow an increasingly heterogeneous population access education without their individual differences being prejudiced. To address the first issue the author decided to focus on the use of persuasive technologies, which rely on the cooperation of the user to achieve a particular goal or outcome. This builds on his degree work on recommendation systems and reputation systems and his published research into using suggestion technology, which all require the user to make individual choices, with the goal of the system being to provide users with choices and not make decisions on their behalf.
To address the second issue, the author decided to focus on two types of user groups, those that form part of the ‘Net Generation’ and those that come from bilingual communities. The Net Generation is the group of individuals born between 1977 and 1997 who are enthusiastic towards the principle of persuasion, as they have come to value technology that provides them with choices, meaning they are more likely to accept the technology. Whilst the majority of Internet users do not speak English as their first language, the majority of Websites are designed around the culture of the English language, limiting the persuasiveness of them to bilingual groups, which means that there is scope for improvement in the development of persuasive hypermedia systems that are used by bilingual users.
Download it here.
Citation Cite as: Bishop, J. (2003). The Internet for educating individuals with social impairments. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 19 (4), 546-556.
Synopsis Investigates the social and practical implications of using Internet technology to deliver information relating to participation in a social situation.
Download from: This Link.