BCM313 Introduction

As a passionate sports fan all of my life it has allowed me to gain a valuable amount of knowledge about sport, and in particular, rugby league. This has let me build a skill to be able to write about sports games and evaluate them in an articulate way. As a BCM student, a lot of task throughout my degree have allowed me to be able to freely write about this topic which has helped me build up this skill which can hopefully propel me into a sports journalism career.

From a fan perspective, it has let me transition into analysing the game and being able to write about it in the form of being educated at a university level, a two in one bonus! Things such as Digital Artefacts and Media Ethnography assessments and projects that UOW have allowed me to do has let me freely build up this skill and help shape my career of something that I am extremely passionate about.

I am very grateful that I had a chance to lock in an internship with a rugby league team in the USA in which I interviewed one of their players and wrote a story about this athlete.

As I am closing in on finishing my degree, and have locked in on a internship in which involves writing news stories about rugby league, this has been a very valuable couple of years at university which has helped me build up these skills.

The Virtual Reality Rise Contextual Report

As someone who has always been interested in Virtual Reality and the trajectory path that technology is on, this idea for my Digital Artefact came naturally and quite quickly in the early stages of the semester. One thing that has limited myself in this assessment is not sticking to my project timeline, I had plans to weekly blog from week 10-onwards on my development however could not even post one blog.

I shot myself in the foot by not doing this as now I only can rely on Reddit for feedback on my work. I looked at a lot of background sources when it came to my research in order to get the most professional takes possible in my video essay. These were all focused around the 4 headings in my video essay, education, surgery, fitness and e-commerce. A reference list will be provided at the conclusion of this post. I found quotes from professionals in their respective fields of all four of these points in order to solidify my arguments on the positive potential Virtual Reality will be having amongst society in 25 years.

Despite not having a online presence for my Digital Artefact, my weekly visits to Reddit were extremely insightful and I was given DM’s by redditors to read there papers on how VR can effect the future. Although I really wanted to, I didn’t add it into my final video essay as it didn’t line up with my views. My utility was valuable in that aspect however failed in the project timeline aspect. They would be my highlights and lowlights of this experience. If given more time I would have liked to interview or speak to someone online who has worked on developing Virtual Reality equipment and understand the process and to see from their passion and perspective.

I also quoted one of my BCM cohort in my video essay as it was too good to not bring up her great Digital Artefact. Alicia’s beta video talked about how retail stores are using Augmented Reality to change the way people shop. It fitted in nicely into my argument, and I credited her accordingly.

Some prototyping that occurred throughout the semester was a complete 180 degree change in ideas, at first I was looking at how VR can negatively affect children’s growth and social development, after my pitch feedback, I think I made the right decision to look at the positive arguments as they outweigh the negative tremendously.

This helped me sub-categorise into four points like I had in my final result to emphasise the observable patterns that can contribute to the positive future Virtual Reality has on society.

Reference List:

Gao, C, Bai, Y & Goda, B 2019, ‘Are We Ready for a VR Classroom?: A Review of Current Designs and a Vision of Future Virtual Reality Classrooms’, in Proceedings of the 20th Annual SIG Conference on information technology education, ACM, pp. 39–39.

Louise Green, C.P.T, 2020. 6 Ways Virtual Reality Workouts Have Changed My Exercise Game.

‘The future surgical training paradigm: Virtual reality and machine learning in surgical education’ 2020, Surgery.

Images are credited accordingly in the video.

My Tweet Curation! Post D

These weekly screenings have given me an insight into what can maintain a meaningful online presence. I was able to understand and learn how to create engagement amongst my peers via the #bcm325 hashtag. From weeks 6-12, I believe my tweeting-game has gotten better comparison to weeks 1-6.

I was very rusty in the early weeks however by the end of week 12, I was a lot more comfortable online. What was interesting to me was, if you posted academic article links, there would be no engagement whatsoever. However, a skill I picked up was that if you take an online article, have a read through it, and pick out an interesting quote that relates to the weekly future cultures topic. Then lay it out in a format like the Y2K tweet down below, I found that this generated some feedback. Here is another example.

This got me thinking that aesthetics, and being able to stand out was a big indication whether you would be some good engagement. For example, I tweeted a thought that came to my mind and instead of hitting submit straight away, it made more sense to add a GIF too, to get more eyes on the tweet, this lead to 19 likes, 7 retweets and 2 comments.

Adding polls as well as tweets also helped get people engaged and I was also able to get an understanding on how my peers felt about these screenings! Things such as on-going jokes that the BCM cohort were aware of also generated some feedback too! For example, the small glasses meme or the Simpsons making a satirical parody meme. Being aware of these and keeping an eye out for them was a good way to help my contribution.

Also, relatability is massive, no matter what platform of social media you are on if you can be relatable to an audience they will engage with you, such as here. Something my feedback told me was to contribute through commenting and retweeting more, and getting more discussions flowing through the students. Here are some of my favourite re-tweets, favourites and conversations hyperlinked and shown below.

Overall the best outcomes of tweeting comes down to having a great balance of humour, relatability and Chris’s lecture content. To reflect on my favourite screenings, the films that I enjoyed the most where definitely the films I had the best engagement and contribution too.

A good evaluation amongst my tweets was to link a existential issue within the world and to be able to convey that in a simple form either through a meme or a GIF. (In the BCM325 subject, where we watched existential and dystopian films each week, it wasn’t very hard).

A lot of skills were developed in this subject, such as real-time tweeting and being able to think critically about texts and film. However, there was a lot of fun coming out of it as well as watching some great cinema and interacting with my BCM cohort online.

Peer Engagement! Post C

Comment 1: Hussein Hijazi

A recommendation of an iteration in Hussein’s project that I would like to see was for him to reach out to graduated students about their lives after grad! His DA focuses on breaking down the stigma of having to go straight into employment right after you graduate. So I thought it would be interesting to organise a small interview with some ex-students. (Preferably reaching out to them via Twitter through hashtags and/or through the Digital Media Society). This would add another level to his DA with real-life student examples to help current-students be at ease.

I also provided a weblink for Hussein that can give him a bit of background research for his blog post series that focuses in on the stigmas that can be broken down. This way he can focus on one blog at a time, with a different topic for each blog.

Hussein’s choice of project is very well-thought out, with a large pool of stakeholders, which is students graduating. That is a large audience to accommodate for which means he will be able to get a consistent loop of feedback.

Comment 2: Stephanie Jory

As Stephanie was looking at the future of e-commerce and online retail shopping, I decided to recommend her some sub-reddit groups as she said she was struggling to find a niche audience and some consistent feedback. I also dropped a comment about how helpful Reddit was to my DA in shaping my notes about VR, with redditors commenting their opinions on my work. If she combined her DA marketing on Twitter, Reddit and other social media platforms, it is a good combination to gain some meaningful feedback.

Something interesting that I thought would work well in her DA is in her final blog post of the semester, she should look at the distinct differences between online marketing for brands and traditional marketing that would see in person or in a public place. Social Media has allowed this phenomenon to exponentially grow as there are tools and software made simply for marketing your business, for example Shopify.

I also suggested to the fact that she should investigate into why online shopping has become so fastly growing, this could be a interesting point to bring up in her final blog post in her DA.

Comment 3: Alicia McFadden

I started off by applauding Alicia for the layout and structure of her DA, it was very aesthetically pleasing and the visualisations simplified her points and made her project idea, the use of Augmented Reality in shopping, very clear. Alicia wanted to look at how COVID-19 has also burdened online businesses and how the use of these VR and AR softwares can help benefit their business through the use of technology.

Alicia spoke on how she was trying to use Reddit as a source of engagement and gain some meaningful feedback. She also said that she couldn’t find anywhere where her DA fits amongst the platform. I went and found some sub-reddits that may be useful to her and told her to consider these, and post your youtube videos in here to see if you acquire some feedback.

I also alluded to the fact that QR codes have been becoming more mainstream in the past year, due to COVID-19. This may be an indication that Augmented Reality is quite close to being introduced everywhere, retail, hospitality, hardware etc. As I am focusing on VR in my DA too, it has been really good to see some excellent ideas in other students work that may be important to future society.

My Contribution to the Group Game.

Mutants vs Androids is Ben, Sean, Rachel and I’s tabletop creation that we have been iterating and tweaking for several weeks in order for it to be in its quintessential form. Our original idea in Week 5 was to create a tabletop game that was based in the setting of Japan vs America, where you take either side of the countries and try to take them down. Massive inspiration from the movie, “The Last Samurai”, where the plan was for a battle that took place after the final battle scene from the film. However, in the first week of prototyping we all came to an agreeance that there may be too many potential cultural appropriated connotations attached with this style of setting and game world.

After speaking with Richard about this predicament that may arise with our title, he said it would be easier for us to make our game more fantasy/sci-fi based in order to remove any potential social/political commentary. This made our game more balanced and can further extend our audience to sci-fi fans and the niche of fantasy and dystopia. This way the game setting had really no limitations as we could make our title become anything in those large categories. After the four of us brainstormed on this, it was best if we based our board game on a dystopian, post apocalyptic earth setting where mutants and androids are fighting over Earths soil.

One of my contributions to our tabletop was the idea and design to place random item cards across the board before the opening move of the game. These item cards are three abilities your respective team can utilise. For example, androids have teleporter, where the character can teleport to anywhere on the map but only has one use. Laser strike, a linear attack throughout the whole course of the grid that is only in a straight line. Plasma Grenade, a heavy damage weapon that can only be thrown two blocks ahead. Mutants have Poison Gas, it lasts for two moves and damages enemies in a 1 block radius, lasts two moves. The rest of the card attributes are shown down further in this blog.

This is obviously massive inspiration from monopoly where you can pick up the cards when you land on the right part of the board. It is the same principle as the Item cards from that franchise and I believe the anonymity of the card placing really adds to the strategic elements of your attack.

These are randomly placed by your own team but you do not know which ones are which and where they are placed. These item cards add further damage to your opponents and propel yourself closer to winning. Shown below is the abilities each team can possess. The colour of blue is the android team and the opposing colour of pink is mutants territory.

The background research and inspirations evident in this game can be found quickly once play testing commenced. Our movement system can be compared to traditional tabletop games such as Chess, and also Civilisation VI. Where it is a back and fourth, turn to turn movement based concept. Ben, Sean and I had also spoken before in previous lessons till week 5 about some of our favourite games and the Fallout series was a game title that we all knew very well. That set the tone and setting for our idea as we based a lot of our characters attacks off of that franchise. That is highlighted down below in my item cards design brought into our game.

Item Cards

To further establish our game in a professional matter, I looked at the ways our inspirations (such as chess) had and the ways it kept players interested and engaged. Chess has a turn by turn playing mechanic which can allow the players to develop a analytical way of thinking and playing. For example, players who are experienced in the game of chess are able to think about their subsequent moves on the chess board while their opponent is having their turn or they themselves are taking their turn. This background investigation led me to figuring out a game loop mechanic which was put in place which was to keep the players engaged and willing to keep on competing through the four dependant movements which is; Move, Attack, Use an ability, Use an Item Card. This cycle helps scaffold the game nicely especially for younger audiences. Keeping them engaged with the game also producing a faster gameplay experience.

To tie that in with Androids vs Mutants, using this four choice turn system simplifies that playing experience while also giving players the ability to think critically about their subsequent moves in order to gain one up on there opponent, inspired from the gameplay mechanics of chess.

Along with the designs of the game rules sheet and the design of the item cards (further below in the blog), one of the other considerable contributions I made to the group was finding names for some of the individual six playable characters.

The Prototype Rules Sheet for Androids vs Mutants
The Android Attributes
The Mutant Attributes

Once we as a team decided what strengths and weaknesses each character for each respective team had, I categorised each character and Google’d synonyms depending on what the character was like. For example, the character of ‘Commodious’ is a strong, brute character which has lots of strength against enemies but his movement and defence is weak. I went through synonyms for the word “Strong” and commodious was one of the listings. It sounded tough and brutal so it had to be included. We all took turns at doing this and brainstormed together on names which really fit the characters and gave a bit of charm to the game.

Ben and Sean did the first original play test of the game so it will make more sense for them to speak on those areas where they felt like there should be change, there blogs are linked down below. All four of us brought different elements to the table and that allowed us to put together a prototype that we were able to “play”, which seemed like an enormous task at the start of the semester, however, it was a good way to get us to think critically about game media and game experiences.

Rachel’s Blog

References:

The Virtual Reality Rise – Beta

My Digital Artefact has gone under some iterations since my last pitch update. I believe with the feedback I have received from Reddit, my video-essay project along with accompanied blogs can have a positive impact on stakeholders and people interested in the topic of Virtual Reality’s trajectory.

As I Progresso into the later stages of the semester, I have been accumulating information, data and subjective opinions which will contribute to a video-essay that will be published in Week 13. These aspects include, future education methods, fitness and exercise regimes and also surgery and medical procedures.

Lovin’ the Live Tweeting, Self Evaluation Summary. BCM325

To evaluate my tweeting over the semester…. It was extremely evident that the more humorous, clever and relevant your tweets were, the more engagement that you would receive from your peers. I had a lot of dead tweets such as this one, which was an article link that focused on background information. A correlation I have watched happen over the past 5 weeks is that these types of tweets didn’t generate as much engagement due to it not standing out from the 400 others you see on the #bcm325 twitter feed. Another correlation I have summarised is that tweets with photos and GIF’s really stand out to your peers, and as I am going to show later on, this really is a helpful tool to get eyes onto your work.

After doing this task for five weeks now, looking back at my Week 1 work I can definitely see where I was rusty. My biggest engagement was this tweet below, which wasn’t related to the subject work, but more of a humorous joke that I felt like most tweets were taken out of peoples high-school essays. The art-deco time period and aesthetic has always stood out to me, so this tweet here is one that I felt was important to share with my cohort.

My tweets were getting more consistent in quality when week 2 came around, I had a rough idea on what would generate good feedback and also a good combination of lecture and content material. I also did some background research in the first 30 minutes of class before the screening started. This helped me research some links and online articles that I could save for times throughout the screening. For example, this was one of those in Week 2. I did a lot more retweeting and commenting as I felt I was underutilising it, as seen below.

I tried experiment the levels of engagement with different platforms of tweets such as using polls to experiment whether that would generate more feedback. Onto Week 3, and more and more the weeks go on, I got a hang of what will work and what doesn’t. This tweet was some good engagement for an article tweet which meant that I was increasing the interest in my work.

In week 4, focusing on Blade Runner, I started focusing and concentrating my tweets on how they can correlate to todays world. I heard Chris say this in his vlogs almost every week when he talks about what film we will be screening. ‘Make sure your tweets address how the future is portrayed and how its similar in the current world today’. Below is my most engaged tweet this semester, which highlighted how Blade Runner’s portrayal of 2019 holds up to what is surrounding us in todays world.

The Kings Cross tweet somehow reached an audience outside of UOW, with random accounts liking, retweeting and commenting with no correlation to BCM325, this may have to do with the #BCM325 hashtag trending each Thursday! The same mindset of linking my tweets to the concept of the screening vs todays current world was still strong going into Week 5. Here is my favourite tweet from Week 5’s session, a great article talking about the philosophy of the character of Motoko. I grabbed an excellent quote out of it to headline my tweet and I feel as if it was the perfect fit.

Overall, I feel I am building a strong foundation with my tweets and can hopefully continue into Part 2 of this Assessment at the end of the semester.

Engaging with my Peers DA’s

Blog Comment 1: https://afreckledmess.home.blog/2021/03/19/the-future-of-social-media-marketing-the-pitch/#comment-218

My first comment was on Rachel’s DA, which focused on how her business is the centre of how influential social media marketing will be in future years to come. I found this really compelling simply because Rachel was able to tie in two massive projects in together as one. Online businesses such as YKTR, (one of my favourites) can give her an extremely valuable insight into how to grow her business in the years to come and also contribute to a sustainable social utility. I also went on to talk about her production value in her pitch is extremely high level which definitely helps convey her ideas in her project to her audience. This also makes the blog and pitch blog look very professional and well thought-out.

A suggestion I gave Rachel was to potentially find a way to implement the FEFO principle into her Digital Artefact. This concept allows her to quickly iterate and have a controlled feedback loop so she is able to produce the best possible DA she can.

Blog Comment 2: https://yidiii.wordpress.com/2021/03/15/bcm325-da-pitch-about-vr-fitness-games/#comment-120

Yidi’s DA focuses on using virtual reality as a tool for weight loss in the next 20 years. I started by saying that my DA was focusing on VR technology too, however mine was focusing on the negative effects in years to come. I also suggested to her that I will be referencing her DA in my video essay as a tool to use as a discussion argument on the long term negative vs positive effects of Virtual Reality technology. Something that stood out to me was Yidi buying a headset for her studies in this project. She is fully-immersing herself in the content of her concept which will only benefit her studies. She can get the most accurate and detailed research as to why this is an affective method of futuristic fitness techniques.

A suggestion I left on Yidi’s blog was to research the different workout programs on VR, and ways they can help different strengthen parts of the body, such as calisthenics, cardio-respiratory endurance and muscular endurance. I also left a youtube link which might be helpful to her and her studies about weight loss in VR technology.

Blog Comment 3: https://throughmyeyes2626.wordpress.com/2021/03/19/the-future-of-politics-where-will-we-be-in-50-years/#comment-162

Comment was awaiting moderation*

Madeline’s Digital Artefact talked about the future timeline and landscape that politics will hold. This stood out as a really unique style of DA and it was very obvious this is a topic she is passionate about. I also alluded to the fact that this Digital Artefact idea lives outside my traditional expectations when talking about futuristic concepts. For example, in my DA I am speaking on a topic that a lot of people thing about when talking about the future, “advanced technology”. Whereas, Madelines DA is a unique and refreshing topic, IMO.

Madeline has a well-constructed plan on her public utility and her method of gaining feedback. This is through her establishing that political literacy can have a truly large impact on your life and Madeline states her DA is designed to educate the younger generation to become more politically engaged.

A suggestion I gave to Madeline is to look at how the relevance of social media may have an impact on political campaigns in the future. As social media is such a growing phenomenon, I suggested to do some research on the patterns leading up the 2016 presidential election and the Meme Warfare era. This could play a large role again in the future of politics which is why I believe it would be a good addition to her research in the political landscape.

JRNL301 Explainer, Breakdown in COVID-19 Data

COVID-19 Map: Coronavirus cases, deaths, vaccinations by country, is a BBC News published explainer that is written and designed by ‘The Visual and Data Journalism Team’. After some researching, the team that creates and covers data journalism for BBC News is 20 journalists, designers and developers, ‘Data Journalism at the BBC’. This team also creates all the graphics, interactive visualisations that appear on BBC’s websites.  These valuable skills form visual journalism, which is an effective tool to present data and information to a wide range of audiences. Although I could not find where its references which journalists worked on this article, I found that Amanda Farnsworth is the head of Visual and Data Journalism for the BBC News.

This story analyses the spread of the COVID-19 virus around the world using verified data that is publicly accessible on the internet. Although this story covers the worlds management of COVID-19 and the fatality rate of the disease, it is constantly being updated with relevant and new sources of data in order to be as precise and accurate as possible for the readers. This helped add validity to the article as well as keeping everyone up to date on the worldwide pandemic.

The data shown on this article comes from different sources that are attributed accordingly. For example, it includes information gathered from Johns Hopkins University, information from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, national governments and health agencies. This piece of information is located at the bottom of the article, and it indicates that this is all publicly accessible, references correctly and is clear of its origin.

The points that are being made by the data are established by the subheadings, these rhetorical questions make all the figures more understanding and make the flow of the article clearer. These sub-headings are designed to show the audience that this virus still threatens, this is backed up with the visualisations of the graphs. As data is objective information with no room for subjectivity, it is extremely useful in making its points. Ion context with this article, it is especially effective due to the severity of the coronavirus fatalities worldwide.

This article is littered with effectively communicated visualisations that have pleasing aesthetics and are simple to interpret. These graphs, charts and maps are all very unique in their own ways in showing statistics on coronavirus cases. For example;

These data displayed in these charts and graphs are easily accessible to its original source through embedded hyperlinks leaving readers to be able to easily access all the data. Some of the ways the author has used this data is to show where the highly prevalent and high-risk areas are around the world. These are drawn from national governments and the author and data team have collectively put together this visual information. Interactive charts have been produced with the most salient data out of the whole website. Below is a screenshot of an interactive video/gif chart that highlights the exponential growth of COVID-19 through different countries over time. This data visualisation easily shows the poor management USA have had of control over the coronavirus.

Although the story does feature lots of visualisations that make the readers experience better, there is also plenty of statistics throughout the story that are quoted too. One aspect of the DataJ story focuses in on the continents alone and the management of COVID-19. Each subheading goes into depth about how many cases, fatalities and worst affected countries in this continent. For example, it is broken down that there is recorded more than four million cases and one hundred thousand deaths in all of Africa. These same statistics are shown for each continent. This format helps widen the readers audience to get an insight about what is happening in places that may not get prime news coverage. This one story is a part of a mini-series of stories that relate to the COVID-19 virus under the umbrella of BBC News.  This is addressed at the bottom of the article that easily shows were readers are able to find more information about COVID-19.

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