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A new beginning, a new topic.

After a week of swapping, changing and generally giving up on finding a topic for my BCM311 topic. I have finally come to the decision of re-visiting an old BCM topic that i have loved, but really looking further into it and specifically focusing on its affect on the education and university system.

My topic will endeavour to reveal the hidden costs of media in the education and university system. This subject will look into the topical debate in which media technologies are viewed as more sustainable then traditional pen and paper methods and what effect both methods have on the environment and in turn society.

The image below is a capture from both the 2005 catholic Pope reveal and the 2013 reveal. This capture portrays how much technology has enhanced media in just 8 short years, but what i want to find out is what effect is this having on our global environment.

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I chose to specifically look at the education system as a result of this image.

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It’s amazing how relatable this photograph is, especially being in university myself.

Although my topic is still in its early stages of planning, I’m very keen to get a move on with it. But i want to hear from you! What are your thoughts on my topic? Is it actually interesting? What do you have to add?

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Greater Internet Dickwad Theory

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It’s 2013. Access to the World Wide Web has never been easier.  The introduction and popularity of User Generated Content (USG), social media and general media strategies has not only made conversing with friends and family easier then actually talking to them in person (what? Who does that anymore), but its now never been easier to interact with companies, organisations, celebrities and even people who you just plain don’t know.

Audiences now have an opportunity to add comments to issues, news stories and debates. Our relationship with the media has dramatically changed, say goodbye to the days of one-way communication, and say hello to the bigger and better two-way communication between the audience and the media. We truly have earned our ‘prosumer’ title.

This seems to good to be true…

To what extent is this growth an improvement? Sure accessibility and participation are better then ever, but does this also reflect how easily accessible ‘trolling’ is? And by trolling I don’t mean this cute little fluff ball from the 80’s.

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The best possible definition of Trolling is from Urban Dictionary:

“Being a prick on the internet because you can. Typically unleashing one or more cynical or sarcastic remarks on an innocent by-stander, because it’s the internet and, hey, you can.”

The most recent example of trolling that has been publicly addressed is on Australia’s number 1 radio show on ‘2day fm’ – The Kyle and Jackie O Show (click here to listen to the segment). This new weekly segment highlights the comments that these ‘pricks’ on the radio stations Facebook page, just because they can.

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What does this mean for the future of conversation online? This anonymity online is allowing trolls to be ruder then ever. This obviously is not morally right. I can’t help but think, would you say this to someone face to face? Or are you just hiding behind the security of the Internet?

Organisations are now either underestimating this risk of online dialogue and conversation or they are extremely aware of the risk and are mediating by turning all sources of 2-way communication off. The prominence of a “read/write web” (Martin, F 2012) is causing organisations and individuals to re-adjust and consider specific strategies to reduce the overall risk associated with online communication.

So what’s the future for mediating online conversation? How do we find the balance of free speech and to put it bluntly… shutting those pricks up.

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Technology – Enhancing The Lives of Our Population?

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According to Stella Young, people with disabilities make up a whopping 20% of the Australian population, that’s 3.96 million people! And this proportion is increasing, particularly as the population ages.

With this significant number, one would think that the availability and access of our growing technological society would make our lives easier, however, what is ironic is that these technologies may be bringing in new forms of exclusion to those with disabilities.  According to the University of Wollongong Lecturer Tanya Dreher (2013), these technologies may make it more difficult for participation, interactivity, connection and access.

‘If we are now possessed of greater knowledge about disability and design, why is accessible and inclusive technology so difficult to bring about?’ (Goggin & Newell, 2007).

People with disabilities adopt, use and consume a wide range of technologies in unexpected and innovative ways, often unforeseen by the designers, manufactures and promoters of these technologies and change for this has proven to be frustratingly slow (Groggin & Newell, 2007).

For example, the launch of the first iPhone raised much concern to disability advocates as these new smart phone features lacked what older models had eg. The screen has no raised buttons for the visually impaired.

However, the later models of the iPhone have adapted many features that were of concern to these advocates. (Click here to view a video of their first improvements for the iPhone 3). These features have actually enhanced the lives of those living with a disability. More and more applications are being developed everyday for these people and in fact are improving their lives.

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This example makes me question the validity of the critic’s arguments. Are these arguments out dated? Or are we still not focusing enough attention on such a large sum of our population.

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SHOW ME THE CULTURE!

There has been an ongoing debate about whether there is an accurate representation of Australia’s claimed ‘multicultural society’ on Australian television dramas. As Australian’s we pride ourselves on being such a diverse and multicultural country in which people from all corners of the world can call this country home – no matter what religion, race, culture or gender they are.

Does this acceptance transfer from reality to our TV screens? Is there a misrepresentation, absence or disrespect for race and culture in Australian media?

Well according to Paul Kalina (the Sydney Morning Herald, 2012):

“The overwhelming message is that opportunities for actors who are, or look like, “ethnics” are significantly lower than for whites and that Australian TV networks are failing to represent the racial and ethnic make-up of what is one of the most culturally diverse countries on the planet.”

You can’t help but side with Paul just by turning on your TV to see the famous Australian TV drama ‘Packed to the Rafters’ that portrays a “typical Australian family”, their circle of friends and neighbours.

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To frankly state the obvious there is an evident absence of race and diversity in Australian family drama. Packed to the Rafters is not the only Australian drama that represents this ‘White Bread Media’.  There are many others and there are certainly more to follow. Dreher (2014) argues that this idea of ‘white bread media’ alludes to the White Australian Policy within Television in Australia.

However, some Australian dramas are catching on… long running Australian soap opera ‘Neighbours’ has adopted an Indian family to their cast to slowly seep diversity into the Ramsay Street community. Although this hasn’t been well received by some with critics calling the new addition a classic case of ‘tokenism’.

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The blogosphere has been going crazy with the addition of tokenism to Neighbours, commentators explaining that it seemed like Neighbours producers were simply plotting the family into the storyline to convey to their audiences that they show some form of diversity. The usual lifespan of a ‘token’ character/s on a soap opera of film usually isn’t very long, they’re basically there just to say “we tried it”.

This theory of tokenism can be easily turned on its head when we view this debate from another perspective. Portraying a multicultural community on a television drama is always going to be criticized and that comes with the burden of representation. This burden explains the difficulty portraying a politically correct race without discrimination or misrepresentation. And in this day and age, there is always someone complaining about how a race is portrayed on a television drama or worse, people being offended by the representations portrayed. The lack of presence by multicultural communities in Australian television dramas could definitely be explained by the fear of the burden of representation.

So is it better to have absence then misrepresentation?

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The Great Debate: Online Vs Offline Education

Welcome to the digital age of universities. Let’s play a little game of spot the pen and paper…

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Tough isn’t it? The digital age of universities is here to stay, so to what extent do we embrace it?

It seems that more and more aspects of university are moving online, academically and socially. Facebook, the most popular and influential social media platform was created just for this, to take the entire social experience of college and put it online (The Social Network, 2011). Academically, basic university face-to-face communication and discussion has shifted to emails and online learning forums.

Universities all over the world are embracing these digital advancements to learning including: online assessment submissions, video and audio recordings of lectures, and online journal articles. However, it doesn’t stop there, students now have the option to do their entire university degree off campus without any face-to-face contact on online universities such as ‘Open Universities Australia’ and ‘MOOC’ (massive, online, open, courses).

Will this be the same?

Although this sounds great for the modern day, on the go, time poor society we have grown into, will the quality and experience be unchanged? A paper from Brown and Duguid (1997) explores the negatives to this newfound flexibility of universities:

“Students in dislocated, virtual campuses are unable either to engage fully with a range of communities, as undergraduates should, or to participate in particular ones, as graduates must.” Brown and Duguid (1997).

This leads me to the importance of credibility, is there a difference between holding an online degree in comparison to a traditional on-campus degree? If so, which holds the higher value for potential employers? There are many arguments over the credibility of online university courses, especially in terms of MOOC.

“Traditional programs have been around for hundreds of years, but online programs are relatively new [and] employers tend to be less familiar with them” - Marc Scheera career counsellor and educational consultant.

However, employers in 2013 are becoming more aware and accepting of online university courses. A whopping 83% of executives in an American survey said that online degrees are as credible as a traditional campus-based program.

Where do you side?

 

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The Fine Line of Professional Journalism

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The future of journalism usually has negative connotations attached to the phrase, and why shouldn’t it? The facts are all there: decline in the print of newspapers, decline in advertising property and the decline in readership worldwide (O’Donnell, 2013). However, is this actually the case?

Although there seems to be influential evidence, journalism is bigger and better then it has ever been. Journalism can no longer be measured on print media usage alone; convergence media has brought about new forms of delivery including online media on desktop and mobile devices. As a result, this has been a challenge for traditional journalists to keep up with the constant adaption.

Journalism is one of the fastest changing professions and industries in today’s society. The growing participation of the public and the creation of user-generated content, demonstrates the move from an everyday user to a ‘prosumer’ culture. This now challenges the professional culture and position of traditional journalism.

Quant (2011), further explains this concept by suggesting 2 approaches to journalism segregationists and integrationists.

“Another way of considering these different approaches is to think about journalists as primarily either segregationists or integrationists” (Quandt, 2011 p.169)

Segregationists believe that these ‘prosumers’ should be kept apart from traditional journalism, keeping the trust and professionalism. Integrationalists believe that prosumers should be mixed with professionally produced material.

Admittedly, I believe that journalism should follow an Integrationalists approach. Today anyone can be a journalists, this blog could even be seen as journalistic material. The age of citizen journalism is already here and instead of running from it, traditional journalism needs to work together to produce professional content with valuable resources. For example ‘Wikileaks’ is now seen as an imperative part of the future of journalism, as it reveals controversial information in bulk loads that journalists then filter through and reveal a succinct newsworthy story.

Working together using both traditional forms and new citizen journalism resources on convergent new aged technologies can only see the future growth that is journalism.