MakerSpace video tutorials: Peer review

Concept

My friend Clancy, beside his main duty as a student, is one of the mentors at UOW MakerSpace Club, a place for creating, sharing, learning with technology and art, based inside the campus library. Since the MSC has been establishing various technological facilities available for public use such as the 3D printing machine, VR or embroidery machine, there is an emerging need to inform the university community about its existence as well as how to make the best use of it. Realising this demand, Clancy decides to centre his DIGC302 project around the idea of introducing the public about MSC in the form of a video series. Each video is around one minute in length, is filmed from point-of-view perspective using 360-degree technology and is made viewable on VR devices. The main platform used to share these videos is Youtube and below is the first video about 3D printing machine:

 

Methodology

In order to get the footage for the video, as he tells me, Clancy takes advantage of some specific events. For example, during Open Day at uni, he was able to introduced about MSC to many visitors (mainly students), encouraged them to experience the available technologies as well as asked them for the consent to film their using the facilities. However, sometimes the filming opportunity comes quite spontaneously as he randomly sees someone using the tech and decides to film. After acquiring enough materials, he then talks to the MSC Coordinator, Nathan, and other mentors who are in charge of different technologies to understand about them (because he is specialised in VR) to write the script for the videos. Based on these scripts, the video materials are then rearranged into the most logical order. The video is then uploaded to Clancy’s personal Youtube channel and sent over to MSC Media team to gather initial feedback. Finally, he makes some adjustments if necessary and uploaded the final version to the MSC Youtube channel, ready to be publicised.

Utility

As Clancy tells me, his project has a three-fold utility. First of all, it contributes to the promotion of the MakerSpace Club. Due to the fact that MSC is a relatively new community, it has not been really well-known among campus. Therefore, Clancy hopes that through his project, people will know more about the cutting-edge facilities available as well as MSC in general. Secondly, this project is useful for students who are lack of understanding about various technologies of MSC. In particular, after watching the videos, different students may find themselves interested in different facilities and can apply for a full in-person induction at MSC. Finally, Clancy also finds this project valuable for himself. As mentioned earlier, he is specialised in VR so other technologies such as the carving machine or embroidery machine are a bit unfamiliar to him. Therefore, by spending time learning, talking to experts and making videos about them, he becomes more knowledgeable in those areas. Moreover, the whole video series can be used as a part of his professional portfolio, which can be shown to employers when he gets into the workplace in near future.

Trajectory

First of all, I want to talk about how Clancy’s project has been progressing in terms of concept. According to our conversations at the very beginning of the semester, the original idea is to make videos of the full induction for each of the facilities at MSC. However, this does not seem to be useful due to the fact that a full induction normally lasts around an hour and no one wants to have a VR headset on the face for that long. Therefore, the concept has changed from ‘induction’ to ‘introduction’ as the videos only provide some basic information about the technologies, which provokes people’s interest and encourages them to come visit MSC for an in-person induction. Secondly, Clancy also made some adjustments to his methodology. Originally, he edited the video right after filming. However, working with 360-degree videos is a real struggle as there are a lot of settings to remember. Therefore, by filming a bulk of material and editing all of them later allows him to avoid forgetting any setting.

Feedback

In my opinion, Clancy is doing a good job by putting himself in the audience’s position. As mentioned in the Trajectory section above, he has changed the concept from the full one-hour induction to one-minute introduction, which makes the video more user-friendly. I consider this is a really important element for every project because one of our main goals is to best serve our target audience. Secondly, I give credit to Clancy’s consultation with experts in MSC facilities that he is not familiar with to acquire understanding about them. By doing this, he not only understands more about them but also knows which should be shown to the audience to maximise the utility. Another good point is in the methodology as Clancy spends a lot of effort in the pre-testing phase. When the video is filmed using the 360-degree camera, the footage is streamed to his phone. However, it appears differently when put into the computer for editing. Therefore, he has to test his shooting so many times to make sure that the final product is well tailored.

Suggestions for improvement

The first recommendation of mine is that Clancy should pre-test the videos to ordinary students besides MSC members. In this way, he might have a sense of what the audiences really want to see. Clancy can do this by gathering a focus group which can give him consistent feedback or uploading the videos onto his personal Facebook page. Additionally, in order to better promote the videos, he might consider reaching other groups within UOW that are working on the same stuffs. For example, the video about the Carving machine can be sent to the Mechatronics group to get feedback as well as to promote it to their audience. Clancy also asked me whether more sophisticated editing effects might improve the quality of his videos. In this regard, I consider he can give it a try but he has to make sure that no matter what effects he uses, the big idea of the project must be consistently maintained.

To Clancy:

If you are reading this, it means we have reached the final stages of our projects as well as the semester. I just want to say thanks for your time spending with me sharing ideas and feedback. I really appreciate how you have trusted to ask and valued my recommendations. Your suggestions to my project have been really useful too. Wish you best luck with the remaining of your project and the upcoming plans of yourself.

Lam.

Advertisements

BCM212 Final Project Reflection

For the final project of BCM212, I researched about how students make decisions to study at UOW and their majors, as well as how those decisions influence their perception about future careers. In this short blog post I will explain what I did to engage and represent others in my research in terms of ethics, and what I learned from doing it.

First of all, according to Lassiter 2005, an important element in ethical research is that researchers have to be granted consent by participants and to provide protections of participants’ privacy and confidentiality. In order to gather findings, I conducted both online surveys and interviews. In the first page of my survey, I clearly informed the respondents that by turning to the next page, they allow me to use the data for the purpose of this research and they can choose not to participate if they do not want to grant me the consent. All the answers were collected anonymously so the privacy and confidentiality were guaranteed. About my interviews, when asking the interviewees to participate, I informed them clearly that I would film and publicize the interviews, but only for those reading my research report (more details can be found in my Progress Update here). Therefore, I was granted full consent from the interviewees, and in return I provided protection to their privacy by setting the video setting to private on Youtube, so it can be viewed in my report only.

iStock_000012880248XSmall
Credit: Baycrest.org

Secondly, as stated by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, ethical research practices must aim to achieve honesty, fairness and accuracy. As stated above, I filmed and publicized the interviews. Because the interviews were all quite long, I had to edit the footage to highlight the most important points. Therefore, I had to make sure that the editing process only aims to achieve convenience for audience without any intention to stage. Before putting the video into my report, I showed it to all my interviewees so they can see that I made no major changes apart from trimming down pauses, embedding background music or categorizing the answers into a more logical order. About my survey, all the figures published in my report were totally based on the data analysis on the website where I set up the survey without any adjustments. The only thing I did was aggregating them and presenting in the form of charts and graphs. I also tried to achieve fairness by not leaning towards any particular argument or interest, but instead I initially indicated my personal considerations and used my findings to reflect back on them. Any unexpected point that came out of my prior anticipation was also clearly stated.

respectlogo
Credit: respect-mag.com

Finally, I want to share my experience from doing this research. The first thing I learned in terms of research values is Accountability. According to UOW Human Research Ethics Committee, objectives of a research include protecting the welfare and rights of the participants and bringing about benefit. I have explained how I engaged and represented my participants in the above paragraphs to justify how I protected their rights. Moreover, I also tried to make my research outcome beneficial to certain people. By discovering the factors influencing students’ decisions to choose UOW and majors in relation with their future careers, I hope to support my UOW peers to be more confident in what they are doing or make any necessary adjustment. I also expect that my research can support future students to decide whether UOW is the best place for them.

2a12f72ce5f276109d428067e6b7ef70
Credit: Pinterest.

The second research values I have understood is Flexibility. I am aware that planning is crucial in research because it allows me to keep track of my progress. However, there are always times when things come out of control. For example, my video editing took longer than I thought and I was a bit freaked out that I could not finish all the work in time. This challenge pushed me to reallocate my schedule flexibly to compensate for the lack of time. But I still do not  know whether I made it right, because I will be submitting everything in an hour and I’m still writing this one. However, I suppose staying in this ambiguity and uncertainty can be tolerated :P, said Dugan 2013.

Creativity-2
Credit: sophieandrews.com.au

Another values I obtained is Creativity. Although I’m not a visual expert, I somehow managed to present my survey findings in form of graphs and charts, in an desperate attempt to be creative and make it easier for readers. I also tried to make a highlights video of the interviews to make my report more interactive and less boring (if it is full of words). If it does not work, maybe I’m not creative enough, but I tried.

It feels good writing these last lines as I’m finally able to rest.

.

.

It seems like I can’t rest, I still have exams. T.T

References:

Dugan, M 2013, Tolerating Ambiguity, Known Innovation, viewed June 5th 2017, <http://knowinnovation.com/2013/04/tolerating-ambiguity/&gt;.

Lassiter, L 2005, The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Media Alliance Code of Ethics, abc.net.au, viewed June 5th 2017, <http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/0921_meaaethics.pdf&gt;.

UOW Human Research Ethics Committee, viewed June 5th 2017, <http://www.uow.edu.au/research/ethics/UOW009378.html&gt;.

 

About me

Hi all,

My name is Cuong Lam and I am studying the Bachelor of Communication and Media studies at the University of Wollongong – Australia.

As a part of my degree, blogging is an essential aspect. Therefore, this blog will be the main platform where I upload contents relating to my course throughout my studying here in Australia. This is also where I share my opinions about my everyday matters to the public as well as updating the progress of whatever projects I am working on.

Here are my contact details for anyone that concerns:

Email: bcl987@uowmail.edu.au
Twitter: @clamxcat

I hope to make as many friends and receive as many feedback and comments as possible on my blog.

Thank you.
Cuong Lam.

Humans and animals relationship: we all share this world.

We humans are living a world that are homes of millions of other creatures. We are fully aware of this, but we are also aware that we are the most superior among all species. Indeed, human beings are ones that have developed themselves comprehensively in terms of both physical and mental aspects, which can be seen in our civilization today. With all the achievements going far beyond other animals’ capability that we have gained, we can proudly say we are the most developed.

No matter how developed and superior humans are, it cannot be denied we are also animals. It is the same as a $600,000 Rolls Royce Phantom and a $20,000 Toyota Corolla, they are both cars no matter what. Therefore, human beings have to view the relationship between them and all other species as co-existing, as we all share this world together. However, humans tend to assume that they are as superior as they can exploit other animals in order to serve their purposes, which can be defined as “speciesism” (Horta 2010) . I am not talking about the fact that humans eat other animals, because that is how life works. The strongest stay on top of the food chain, and vice versa. I want to mention the way we look at our relationships with other animals and the way we treat them in regard with that relationship.

are-humans-animals

Species tend to pay attention and have a good impression on ones that are similar them to some certain degree. That is how they realize members of their communities as well as of communities within the same lines (Coppinger 2017). As what you can see in this video, the baby tiger and the house cat get along well with each other because they can recognize that the other are in the same Felidae lines (the cats family) , although they are different species. Humans are no exception. We are interested in seeing animals imitate us in terms of expression or gestures which are visible elements (Charles 2017). In return, animals understand that and they do attempt to impress humans in certain ways. Let’s look at several examples:

It was not 100% accurate, but no doubt we can say they did try 100% of their ability.

This is a really touching short film featuring an old Japanese woman living alone with two cats. Her husband passed away years ago and this is still breaking her heart now. Understanding that their owner still feels upset thinking about her husband, the two cats learn how to perform human-like gestures in order to cheer her up. Obviously this film is staged to a certain degree, but it cannot be denied that the emotions it conveys are genuine.

The two examples clearly show that our pets in particular, and animals in general, do want to co-exist with humans in a respectful way. We like them to perform like us, and they do understand that. Therefore, in order to make our relationship with other species a mutual and co-existing connection, we should do the same in return (Howard 2014). “Instead of respecting their wildness, humans want to hold, cuddle, feed and photograph orangutans; they want to treat orangutans as if they were human … [which has] caused them to become endangered by a rampant pet and zoo trade” (Sowards 2011). This is not how it should be working. Animals show their respect by allowing humans to perform natural habitats and even adapting themselves to it, so why can’t we do the same ? We want to express our love to orangutans, but we are doing it the wrong way. We want them to be happy, but how can they be happy when feeling uncomfortable not being in their natural status ?

Humans and all other animals co-exist in this world, that is obvious. In order to co-exist harmoniously, humans have to know how to respect other species, especially when we are the superior. Try to understand them, and if possible, adapt ourselves to it. This can be seen in this another video, when humans finally try how to please cats, but in cats’ way.

It did not work 100%, but at least they tried.

Reference:

Charles, N 2017, ‘Written and spoken words: representations of animals and intimacy’, Sociological Review,  Vol. 65 Issue 1, pp. 117-133.

Coppinger, B 2017, ‘Studying audience effects in animals: What we can learn from human language research’, Animal Behaviour,  Vol. 124, pp. 161-165.

Howard, D 2014, Human and Animal Relationships, Springer, New York.

Horta, O 2010, ‘What is Speciesism?’, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental EthicsVolume 23, Issue 3, pp 243–266.

Sowards, S. K 2011, Gender representations in orangutan primatological narratives: Essentialist interpretations of sexuality, motherhood, and women, Berghahn Books, USA.

BCM212 Research Proposal

In order to accomplish BCM212: Research Practices in Media and Communication this semester at UOW, I have to actually conduct a research. Therefore, in this post I will briefly explain my idea, purpose and approach to this project.

1ex3pd
This is really frustrating. It’s just week 3 😦

First of all, I will indicate the idea of my research project. As a young person and a student, future career is always among my greatest concerns and I strongly believe that my peers share the same interest. Therefore, choosing the field of study at university level is an essential decision because this is one of the very last stages before we get involved in the working world and the knowledge we acquire at school takes up the most space in our baggage to start this journey. However,  while some graduates apply what they have learnt into their jobs, others keep changing work areas sharing no relation to their degrees. Therefore, I want to examine how university students make their decision to declare major and to what degree do they consider their fields of study important to their future career.

honey-badger-meme
In some senses, maybe I  applied to UOW only because the campus is smoke-free.

Secondly, let me explain how I came up with this idea. Before I came to Australia to study Communication and Media, I used to be a Business student back in Vietnam, my home country. With the desire to become a businessman, I spent two years on this degree until realizing it was totally unsuitable and gave up. Following my elder brother’s suggestion about the media field which I had never thought of before, I started to research about it, then felt curious and came here. Therefore, I thoroughly understand that there are always potentials for us to be interested in something that stay out of our understanding. This is what Emily Graslie mentioned in her TED speech: ‘You will not feel curious about one thing if you do know it exists’. I relate this idea to the notion of reflexivity as students may make decision to choose field of study based on either their perception of themselves (Soros 2009) (what they like, what they are good at, etc) or perception/recognition of others about them (Taylor 1992) . A person can think of him in one way based on someone’s reflection on him but that perception can change if he comes up with other reflection of someone else.

a8ccd7e58d074b4e4b966b34291ffc8d0648dca74de1f1aa49d6432294d1a738
Somehow true ?

Finally, I will propose my possible approach. My main method will be directly interviewing students within UOW and conducting online survey. The questions will be designed to figure out the following:

  • What factors brought them to the decision to choose their current field of study, and whether those are objective or subjective.
  • Have they ever thought of (or felt curious about) studying something different from their current major.
  • To what degree do they think their current major will be relevant to their future career and why they think so.

blog_3

Above is my brief proposal for my upcoming research project and it is still early to say whether I will stay with this idea until the end because I may again feel curious about something else based on other reflection 😛

Reference:

Soros, G 2009, General Theory of Reflexivity, Financial Times, viewed March 8th 2017, <https://www.ft.com/content/0ca06172-bfe9-11de-aed2-00144feab49a#axzz425HnJh93&gt;.

Taylor, C 1992, “Multiculturalism and the politics of recognition”, Princeton University Press, USA.

Blog Reflection.

Throughout the process of studying BCM288, I have come up with a range of topics which provide me with a comprehensive knowledge about transnational media and culture. In this blog, I will briefly summary my understanding achieved from the course.

First of all, I have understood the meaning of this field of study to media audiences. This is the era where communication is so developed that people are no longer want to stay solely within their native culture and network anymore. Beyond that, they want to approach a range of different cultures and perspectives. Therefore, it is witnessed that different types of media with various content and origins are being enjoyed by audiences with diverse backgrounds. MasterChef, an Australian series creating a huge wave in India or If you are the one, a Chinese dating reality show being famous in Australia are several dominant examples. This phenomenon sets the foundation for ‘intercultural communication’, in which media content is able to approach a massive and diverse amount of audience by conveying universal values. It is understandable because according to Rohn 2009, universal values ‘can be detached from any culture’.

mca4_ten_rd
Credit: Photobucket.

Secondly, knowledge about transnational culture and media is also beneficial for media producers. Due to the fact that audiences are looking for transnational media product, producers have to seek ways to satisfy that demand. As a result, cooperative events such as film festivals are established to provide producers with chances to meet, interact and exchange ideas (Stringer 2001). These kinds of events also promote co-production, which can be understood as the collaboration of producers to create hybrid products once they have achieved a common understanding. Film festivals varies from large and broad events namely Cannes, Berlin or London film festivals to small and centralized ones in Busan or Istanbul. Moreover, co-production can also attract government’s investment on cultural and media industries as producers are able to show their potential by working together (Kwon and Kim 2013).

palais-des-festivals-de-cannes
Credit: 48hourfilm.com.

Finally, I am taught to overcome barriers to be a part of cosmopolitanism. According to McLuhan 1964, with the help of technology and the Internet, the world is transitioning into a ‘global village’ where global citizens communicate across barriers. Stated by Waldron 2000, cosmopolitanism is when “all human beings belong to a single community”. Therefore, the Internet and other digital communication tools are providing me with not only opportunities but also responsibility to know, sympathize and support what is happening around me in a large scale. Wider news coverage about world issues raises the awareness of people about being more updated to be able to realize, understand, maintain what is good and fix what is not.  Virtual cosmopolitanism is a great movement for young people to turn social media practices, which used to be considered daily activities, into something really meaningful by broadening their network, achieving cultural understanding and forming new ‘third cultures’ (McEwan and Sobre-Denton, 2011).

global-village-aiesec-surat
Credit: wslr.org.

To conclude, studying BCM288 allows me to understand the importance of transnational media and culture, which is essential to me as a person and in my future career working in the field of media. The subject raises my awareness that although there are still gaps and challenges in co-production or media piracy, the benefits of being actively engaged with intercultural practices to be a cosmopolitan and a global citizen are still significant.

References:

Kwon, S H and Kim, J 2013, ‘From censorship to active support: The Korean state and Korea’s cultural industries’, The Economic and Labour Relations Review, 24(4), pp.517-532.

McEwan, B and Sobre-Denton, M, 2011, Virtual cosmopolitanism: ‘Constructing third cultures and transmitting social and cultural capital through social media’, Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 4(4), pp.252-258.

McLuhan, M 1964, Understanding media: The extensions of a man, McGraw-Hill, New York, USA.

Rohn, U 2009, Cultural Barriers to the Success of Foreign Media Content, Peter Lang, Frankfurt, Germany.

Stringer, J 2001, ‘Global cities and the international film festival economy’, Cinema and the City: Film and Urban Societies in a Global Context, pp.134-144.

Waldron, J 2000, ‘What is cosmopolitan?’, The Journal of Political Philosophy, vol. 8, no. 2, p./pp 227-243.           

 

Twitter hashtag: a new level of cosmopolitanism.

We are living in a world of cosmopolitanism, which can be understood as “all human beings belong to a single community, based on a shared morality” (Waldron 2000). This ideology can be reflected in many aspects of our lives, from entertainment to politics. People with different backgrounds from various geographical areas are turning into global citizens in a “global village” (McLuhan 1964) to be more aware of events happening all around the world. With the help of high technology and the Internet in particular, cosmopolitanism has developed significantly both in form and scale. This short piece of writing will explain the matter of cosmopolitanism in term of social media practices with the case of one of the most dominant social network, Twitter.

cosmo-slow
Credit: discoursesonliberty.blogspot.com.

With the development of the Internet, social media are becoming a great way for people to gather information in order to stay updated to latest news and events. Furthermore, social media also function as a tool to express sympathy, advocate and support others. Twitter, a dominant social network beside Facebook, is a great platform for such activities. Each tweet (or post) is limited in 140 characters only, which makes it seem to be worthless at first sight. However, Twitter has another small function but is able to create huge influence, the hashtag. By simply attaching the keywords with the letter # in their tweets, users are able to connect with others using the same hashtags and follow the topic created in real time. Short posts allow instant information update and with a huge amount of short posts with hashtags, people are able to capture the big picture in seconds.

hashtag
Credit: resourceaholic.com.

Thanks to Twitter and hashtag, cosmopolitanism is developing significantly by crossing many boundaries. People are allowed to connect to ones that are millions of miles apart from them by using the same hashtags. Time can be saved as one single message can be disseminated to a huge amount of people tracking those hashtags. As a result, the influence does not stop at the virtual aspect. Let’s take the example of Ukraine protest since 2014. By using Twitter and the hashtag #euromaidan, protestors are able to connect to others in a massive scale (Bohdanova 2013). People supporting the revolution from all over the world are kept informed by reading tweets posted on a secondly basis. Support from money, food, equipment to medical assistance are gathered by messages sent through Twitter. As a result, the protest exists and develops healthily in spite of government’s pressure (Bohdanova 2013).

mass-demonstration-in-euromaidan
Credit: xoxol.org.

To conclude, cosmopolitanism can be promoted through not only formal channels like conventional media but also informal ones such as social media. In the case of Twitter and the #euromaidan, it can be seen that cosmopolitanism can totally develop significantly in term of citizen journalism. What it needs is the medium, or connection, and the hashtag is a great tool to utilize it.

Reference:

Bohdanova, T 2013, How Internet Tools Turned Ukraine’s #Euromaidan Protests Into a Movement, Global voices, viewed November 1st 2016, <https://globalvoices.org/2013/12/09/how-internet-tools-turned-euromaidan-protests-into-a-movement/&gt;.

McLuhan, M 1964, Understanding media: The extensions of a man, McGraw-Hill, New York, USA.

Waldron, J 2000, ‘What is cosmopolitan?’,The Journal of Political Philosophy, vol. 8, no. 2, p./pp 227-243.