Posts Tagged ‘Project’

h1

Class 4: Project briefing

October 18, 2018

John started class by reminding everyone who hasn’t already done so to send in a link to their blogs. To date there are ten blogs outstanding. You are reminded to read the module website page about assessment and note that your blogs will be assessed after this week, again after week 8 and, finally, at the end of the module. It is important also that you read and understand the criteria for assessment.

There was some discussion about the elevator pitch and questions about how to go about it. Some of you were unclear about just what was expected so John explained that this was simply an exercise to give you the opportunity to have your avatar stand up and make a presentation – just to give the experience. He suggested you could talk about your choice of avatar costume, your interests and skills or anything that you feel like. LouHug, bennagle, Whimseyy and PeterKeane all got the task over with – others will be called on at random over the next few classes!

Most of you had read the Group Project brief so John started the discussion by reviewing the assessment criteria. The importance of ensuring you know exactly what you are being assessed on can’t be overstated. There is no point in working really hard on something that yields no benefit so, read (and regularly re-read) the assessment criteria for the Group Project given on the Module Assessment page. John recommends reviewing the criteria at least once a week and after each group meeting.

We considered precisely what was expected under each criterion noting that the actual content of the project is only one of the six criteria. John also emphasised that the main learning from this project is about team dynamics and group work. You should expect to run into difficulties when working together: some individuals will work hard and contribute while others may not; some will never turn up to meetings; others will go off on tangents and produce work that is not relevant. DON’T WORRY. That is a very common experience in group and team work. It is exacerbated when you are working online. The point of this project is to allow you experience it in a safe environment. Your task is to observe this behaviour, reflect on it and offer a critical response informed by your understanding of how group dynamics and the roles to be played by team members. Your mark will be based on your own work and is not dependent on your team mates’ contributions.

The content of the project was selected to give you an opportunity to consider your role in contributing to society as you emerge as educated professionals. Despite the pressure to earn a living and compete you need to consider your wider responsibility to the global community of this planet as a citizen. We have been warned that we are exhausting our resources and will be faced with the consequences in the coming decades. It is your generation that must start the search for a new way of engaging with one another and our home planet. The references given in the brief offer some starting points for your consideration.

Bernard Stiegler

French philosopher Bernard Stiegler, whose writing is referenced in the project brief, is currently in Dublin for the DIT GradCam hosted Inter-Nation – European Art Research Network conference in the Wood Quay Venue.

Most of you have met, or at least attempted to meet, in your groups since last week and some teams have set up Facebook groups for communicating. For the next class you are to meet in your teams to talk about the project and how you might approach it. Remember, you are still at the ‘Forming’ stage of your team – getting to know each other and learning how to work together. You should begin the ‘Storming’ stage by starting to brainstorm ideas for the project. Don’t worry about deciding on any one idea this week – just talk about a range of interesting approaches you could take.

You should continue to meet regularly to work on the project and your blog-writing should reflect on these meetings and your progress on the project.

Remember to join the class Facebook page so that you can keep in touch with developments between classes, such as the poll about the day for next weeks class. The following week is Review Week so there is no class. Use this time to get started on your project – the presentation date will be will be around the corner before you know it!

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Read: the texts given in the Group Project.
  2. Meet: in your teams to discuss the project and brainstorm ideas for development.
  3. Write the fourth post: to your blog reviewing this meeting (or, reflecting on why the meeting didn’t happen).
h1

Group Project: Warning!!!

October 17, 2018
earthrise

This photograph of earth was taken from lunar orbit by astronaut Bill Anders in 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission. Nature photographer Galen Rowell declared it “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken”.

 

As you prepare to leave college with your degree the prospect of seeking a fulfilling career will become increasingly important. Much is being written now about the changing nature of work. As long ago as 2012 Forbes suggested that Job Hopping is the New Normal for Millennials. But, the Guardian newspaper reported that the trade unions in Britain are concerned about the abuses of the gig economy suggesting it results in lower wages. TUC wants clampdown on ‘poverty pay’ in gig economy jobs revealed that almost half of adults aged 25 or over were earning less than the minimum wage.

The World Economic Forum report on The Future of Jobs 2018 provides a comprehensive analysis of trends on an industry-specific and country-specific basis. In the section on Strategic Drivers of New Business Models it concludes that the unfolding of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is resulting in a variety of new and emerging jobs while the more traditional job roles are declining. But, there is some good news for you as the Economist reported in 2016 that people working in creative fields are less susceptible to automation in Automation and Anxiety.

Taking a more holistic perspective raises deeper concerns for the future of not just work, but the entire ecosystem of society. French philosopher Bernard Stiegler suggests that the world is heading rapidly towards a dead end thanks to the consumerist model. Speaking in London this year he argued that a radically new approach to shaping our society is required. Rather than allowing capital and technology to dictate we need to bring epistemological, technological, artistic, judicial, social and economic questions together in order to shape the future.

In 1992 the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a Warning to Humanity suggesting that vast human misery would ensue if we did not change how we are impacting the planet. They ‘feared that humanity was pushing Earth’s ecosystems beyond their capacities to support the web of life.’ Last year the warning was updated when 15,000 scientists from around the world published World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice.

This is a real challenge to you, individually and collectively, as you consider emerging into society from college. For this project you are asked to consider how you might address the problems facing society while earning a living and living your lives. Do you accept the premise of the World Scientists? Can you see ways in which it is possible to work for a more sustainable engagement with our planet?

You will work on this project in your groups to present your findings in an entertaining, informative and lively manner using whatever medium and format you wish as long as it can be stored for later review (e.g. a talk, short film, narration+visuals). Each team will also present its project live in Second Life. The presentation should be no shorter than five minutes and no longer than ten minutes. You are encouraged to use visual, audio or any other aids to support the presentation during which each member of the team must take part.

Each participant must also describe the progress of the project in a weekly blog post with particular emphasis on their contribution to the project. (What are you bringing to the group and how does it fit into the team’s work?) Discuss the details of the project and also the issues that arise in working collaboratively online. How easy is it meet up virtually and plan the project? What difficulties arise in development? How easy or difficult is communication? What particular problems arise and how do you deal with them? Focus on the experience rather than writing a ‘correct’ post or having an answer for every difficulty.

See page 6 Module assessment for assessment criteria applying to this project.

Important note: If you use images or sound be mindful of copyright, particularly as presentations will be posted to the module blog.

Presentations should be no less than 5 minutes and no more than 10 minutes in duration.

Your presentation can be made in the DIT campus or any appropriate venue selected by the group. Presentation date is normal class time of 8:00 pm on Thursday 13th December.

ADDITIONAL READING:

Automatic Society 1: The Future of Work by Bernard Stiegler, Translated by Daniel Ross from La Deleuziana – Online Journal of Philosophy, ISSN 2421-3098 No. 1/2015 – Crisis of the European Biopolitics [Accessed on 19 October 2018]. This is the introduction to the first volume of Stiegler’s book and introduces his argument on the need to reshape society.

Taking on the mounting challenge of climate change by Mike Hayes in The Irish Times (Sponsored Profile by KPMG) 18 October 2018 [Accessed on 20 October 2018]. “This is the biggest issue that has ever arisen in my professional life … We’ve got to act now or else it will be too late. The question is if we are going to do anything different in response and, if we are, what?”

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov, 1956. Audio version on YouTube [Accessed on 20 October 2018]. This short story asks the question “How can entropy be reversed?”

 

h1

Class 3: Team work and collaboration

October 11, 2018

We began class this week by reviewing the Elevator Pitch discussed last week. John admitted he had forgotten to refer to it in the main summary of the class so added it as a comment later, with a link to an article from the Harvard Business Review describing an elevator pitch. You should all prepare a 30 second pitch on any subject you wish. I will call on you at random to deliver it over the next few classes.

John went on to identify the groups in which you will work for the module project. He assigned you to one of five groups each with six members. You are asked to try working online and avoid working together in Real Life (RL) if you can, so that you get as full an experience of online collaborative working as possible.

JOC - 101318 - project groups
.

As class progressed it was noticed that some students are having a few problems logging in to SL or getting their voices working. John asked you to help each other sort out these issues outside of class, if you can.

Many of you have sent links to your own blogs to John and these have been posted to the module website – please have a look at the blogs and comment on each other’s posts. You can find a link to them to the right on this page. Those who haven’t yet sent a link to John should do so as soon as possible but at least before next week’s class. You were reminded that the first assessment of your blogs will be after that class – if you haven’t already done so make sure to read the page on module assessment.

LouHug shared the Facebook group he created for us to communicate outside of SL. Second Life 18 is a private group and will be active only for the duration of the module this semester.

John gave a talk on Team Building to the class. Normally, this is delivered by Sitearm Madonna, a graduate from the module with extensive experience of online collaboration but I didn’t have time to contact him in advance. Hopefully, he will be able to join us for a later class to share his wisdom. In the meantime I, rather cheekily, used his excellent slide show Virtual Collaboration Tips and Tools to illustrate my presentation. We discussed the content of slides 2 to 5 in some detail; we just touched on slides 6 and 7 and will revisit the content in the other slides in a later class when it will be more relevant.

For now, you are asked to review the Form, Storm, Norm, Perform paradigm in your own teams to help form a bond. Also, consider the roles within the team you may be best at playing.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Meet in SL: in your team groups.
  2. Write the third post: on your blog describing the first meeting of your team or, if the meeting did not occur, describe how you tried to facilitate the meeting and why, in your opinion, it didn’t happen.
  3. Read: Living Structures in Second Life Virtual Worlds Projects by Sitearm Madonna. [accessed 13 October 2018].
  4. Read: Painfully Coming to Grips with The Medium is the Message an amusing and accessible introduction to the philosophy of Marshall McLuhan. [accessed 13 October 2018].
  5. Optional reading: Extrapolating on McLuhan: How Media Environments of the Given, the Represented, and the Induced Shape and Reshape Our Sensorium provides a deeper analysis of McLuhan. [accessed 13 October 2018].
h1

Class 5: The group project

November 8, 2017

Glenn and John started the class by thanking you all for your attendance on Thursday last week and apologising for the change in schedule to those who were unable to make it. Then Locks Aichi joined us for a discussion about the brief for the group project #MeToo.

We started by asking you to reflect on last week’s discussion about Marshall McLuhan which had strong contributions from class members as everyone had read the assigned texts. This was informative in the context of the project so John asked for feedback on what the class felt was expected of them for the project. As you were a little shy to contribute at first we asked for thoughts on what the title #MeToo might mean.

Some of the points raised were that it was easier to engage in this debate online as you only needed the hashtag; and how the medium made a difference in a single month when the issue had been raised originally many years earlier, prior to the coming of online social media. It was pointed out that the anonymity of the internet gives a certain level of comfort to speak up on issues where people might usually have been less ready to speak out. It also can be easier to type than to speak and many are more comfortable about coming forward that way: the greater the momentum the greater the impact. There was a sense that the internet supports greater transparency while at the same time results in greater opacity.

For some of you the hashtag aroused different feelings – #MeToo raises the question of the difference between harassment and assault and whether the use of the hashtag, as part of disclosures of both, conflate the issues unhelpfully. The use of the hashtag was also identified to have removed the taboo around talking about this. Strikingly, Uma Thurman demonstrates a particularly sophisticated understanding of the medium when she responds about standing with those who are affected but not being ready to give a ‘tidy soundbite’. Clearly, she is aware of the permanence of whatever might be said and is not prepared to respond in anger. The impact of the medium is becoming obvious and is a cause for concern when people are ‘tried’ by the masses rather than an objective process. The danger of the bandwagon effect also becomes obvious.

So in considering all this, where is the accountability…? The court system supports due process; the tradition of mass media is only to publish articles when facts have been verified. Whether or not we see this being adhered to there is, at least, an agreed process. The question now is where are the checks and balances on the web? The legal profession struggles to address the age of social media…. the question of who is responsible for defamatory remarks on social media is constantly evolving. As the discussion reached this critical point Glenn referenced the movie Circle (2015) which considered this issue.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. View: Fake It – to control your digital identity. In a 2013 TEDx Oxford presentation Danish journalist Pernille Tranberg, who wrote the book Fake It – Your Guide to Digital Self-defense with the German journalist Steffan Heuer, explains what happens with your data, what it can cost you now and in years to come. [Accessed 12 November 2017.]
  2. View: The Power of Privacy. In this 2016 film by The Guardian, Aleks Krotoski travels the world to undergo challenges that explore our digital life in the 21st century. Watch her be stalked and hacked, fight to get leaked documents back, dive into open data and live in a futuristic home that monitors her every move. [Accessed 12 November 2017.]
  3. Read: Who’s watching me on the internet? Technology Correspondent for the BBC, Rory Cellan-Jones writes about our digital footprint and explains data trails in iWonder 2016. [Accessed 12 November 2017.]
  4. Read: Poetics of Relation (1997) by the philosopher Édouard Glissant. He argues against the ‘obviousness of a transparency’ from a post colonialist perspective but it seems to resonate with the discussion in class. Or, you can read a summary of the argument here. [Accessed 12 November 2017.]
h1

Class 3: Team working

October 25, 2017
Sitearm Madonna on team working

Guest speaker Sitearm Madonna talks about team work through poetry!

This week we were rejoined by the second year group of students on the BA in Visual Art and their course leader Joseph Jacotot (aka Glenn Loughran). This group took the module last semester and enjoyed it so much they wanted to return! They were made welcome by the current group and we had one of the highest numbers of students ever to gather for a class in SL.

Guest speaker Sitearm Madonna (a veteran on this module) spoke about team working, both in Real Life (RL) and in online and virtual environments. His slide deck Team Operations Tips can be reviewed again and, indeed, it is recommended due to the richness of the content. There was only time to touch on it in class. Site speaks from a lifetime of experience working on various teams – some of which he didn’t wish to be a member, others where he was happy to participate and many of which he led. For me the take away point was about the need for constant confirmation that every member of the team is on the same page. Never assume that people agree when it comes to understanding either the project on which the team is working or the decisions that emerge from meetings. This is evident in team work in RL but it is exacerbated in the online environment where our usual human communication cues are missing. Glenn touched on a point that many of you discussed in your blog posts: the importance of voice in online communication. In RL much of our understanding is based on body language, often unconsciously interpreted, which lets us know when individuals in a group reach understanding, consensus and agreement. In the online environment all of this has to be transmitted through voice and text. Therefore, regular reflection as a group is necessary to prevent difficulties.

The issue of leadership in groups and how to encourage it was addressed and Sitearm emphasised the importance of understanding all the roles necessary for group development and progress. He reminded us that members need to flexible when it comes to stepping in and out of the roles as needed. So, the burden and responsibility of leadership actually falls on each member of the group and should be exercised when needed. Here also, the importance of ensuring that the whole groups is aware of the roles they are inhabiting at any time is critical. Negotiation around roles will help this process.

Sitearm provided entertainment during the question and answer session as he changed avatars from The Saint to Sitearm Madonna the elegant lady to a butterfly to artwork and, finally, burning man.

John referred to the #MeToo group project brief asking you all to read both the brief and the assessment criteria very carefully. By now the class was running a little over time so there were no questions directly on the project. We can discuss it in more detail next week. Referring to the first task to be undertaken before the next class John talked about the range of online tools that are available, many free of charge, to support teams and make up for the lack of fact-to-face (F2F) engagement. They cover all aspects team work from communications (Facebook, WhatsApp, We Chat etc), to project management (Trello, Padlet, Google sheets etc), collaborative note taking and writing (PBwiki, Google documents etc).  You should review some of them and there may be others you are familiar with or have used before. Share you experiences with the group.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Decide: among your group what tools you will use for planning your project (how you will stay in touch and share information, etc.).
  2. Write the third post: on your blog explaining your choice of communication tools and reflect on how the group arrived at the decision.
  3. Read: Living Structures in Second Life Virtual Worlds Projects by Sitearm Madonna. [accessed 27 October 2017].
  4. Read: Painfully Coming to Grips with The Medium is the Message an amusing and accessible introduction to the philosophy of Marshall McLuhan. [accessed 27 October 2017].
  5. Supplementary reading: Extrapolating on McLuhan: How Media Environments of the Given, the Represented, and the Induced Shape and Reshape Our Sensorium provides a deeper analysis of McLuhan. [accessed 27 October 2017].
h1

Group project: #MeToo

October 23, 2017
alyssa-milano

Actor Alyssa Milano initiated the phenomenal response to the revelations around Weinstein.

The interweb, internet or web as we know it today is one of the most powerful tools of our time. Infact, when we consider it as a medium it is almost impossible to reflect on how much is has impacted our lives and influenced how we interact, with whom we engage and when. As far back as 1977 Marshall McLuhan declared that ‘the medium is the message’ which has been highlighted in many topical occurrences.

Watch: this two-minute introduction to McLuhan’s basic thesis from the Open University

To explore the mechanisms of this still new medium of the web, we will use the topical #MeToo meme created last month by actor Alyssa Milano following the revelations concerning unacceptable behaviour towards women by Hollywood motion picture producer Harvey Weinstein. His behaviour has resulted in his sacking by the company that carries his name and his expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Closer to home and earlier this year George Hook, radio presenter on Newstalk, was suspended from his job following his comments on a live broadcast concerning the rape of a young woman.

The multiple abuse allegations against Weinstein have led to #MeToo trending as women report that sexual abuse is a common experience in their lives. The hashtag has become a rallying point for those who remained silent, sometimes for years.

Perhaps the darkest aspect to emerge from these revelations is that Weinstein has been behaving in this manner for decades and it was pretty much common knowledge in entertainment circles. Put this together with Hook’s question about ‘women who put[s] themselves in danger’; the American President excusing his lewd and vulgar comments as acceptable ‘locker-room banter’; and the revelations some years ago concerning the former Italian Prime Minister’s ‘bunga bunga parties’; and it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that our society supports a culture of men who secretly prey on women.

The #MeToo hashtag is an example of how rapidly a topical incident can trend globally on social media. MeToo was originally founded by US activist Tarana Burke in 2007 when she started the campaign to serve sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities. Now, it has been transformed into a global phenomenon. The aim of this project is to explore how the internet and its components impacted the emergence of the story and its increasing reach.

  1. Track how a local Los Angeles issue became a global phenomenon in a matter of days and present a timeline of its evolution.
  2. Demonstrate how it tapped into, or reflected the zeitgeist.
  3. Explore how it resulted in women around the world saying ‘me too’ and how this has been amplified, why they are doing so and what outcome is expected.
  4. Consider how the zeitgeist could be leveraged to change the latent acceptability of such behavior in society using the medium of the internet and it’s components.

Present your findings in an entertaining, informative and lively manner using whatever medium and format you wish as long as it can be stored for later review (e.g. a talk, short film, narration+visuals). Each team will also present its project live in Second Life. The presentation should be no shorter than five minutes and no longer than ten minutes. You are encouraged to use visual, audio or any other aids to support the presentation during which each member of the team must take part.

Each participant must also describe the progress of the project in a weekly blog post with particular emphasis on their contribution to the project. (What are you bringing to the group and how does it fit into the team’s work?) Discuss the details of the project and also the issues that arise in working collaboratively online. How easy is it meet up virtually and plan the project? What difficulties arise in development? How easy or difficult is communication? What particular problems arise and how do you deal with them? Focus on the experience rather than writing a ‘correct’ post or having an answer for every difficulty.

See page 6 Module assessment for assessment criteria applying to this project.

Important note: If you use images or sound be mindful of copyright, particularly as presentations will be posted to the module blog.

Presentations should be no less than 5 minutes and no more than 10 minutes in duration.

Your presentation can be made in the DIT campus or any appropriate venue selected by the group. Presentation date is normal class time on Thursday 6th December.

Reading list:

Explore one of the responses to #MeToo such at #HowIWillChange created by Australian journalist Benjamin Law. The meme #NotAllMen, which predates #MeToo and has been appropriated by various groups for their own ends, is also worth exploring. [accessed 22 October 2017].

Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood’s Oldest Horror Story. Maureen Dowd delves into the story for the New York Times, 14 October 2017. [accessed 22 October 2017].

George Hook should be challenged not silenced. Kitty Holland writes in The Irish Times that difficult as it might be such opinions need to be challenged so that society can improve, 14 September 2017. [accessed 22 October 2017].

Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversations about women in 2005. David Fahrenthold reports for the Washington Post on 8 October 2016. [accessed 22 October 2017].

#MeToo. Wikipedia traces the origin of the trend. [accessed 22 October 2017].

The Woman Who Created #MeToo Long Before Hashtags. Tarana Burke was originally inspired to develop the ‘Me Too’ campaign in the US when she met a thirteen-year-old girl who had been sexually abused in 1997. [accessed 22 October 2017].

h1

Digital Utopia: the show

May 17, 2017
Snapshot_022

The class photo, with everyone in their finery!

The joint show between DIT students and artists from Virtual Ability Island was a great success. There was so much work exhibited that it burst outside the gallery walls to the surrounding spaces. Turnout for the opening was also great with many friends from VAI coming along to see the work and party afterwards.

As part of their final assessment for the module the DIT student groups spoke about their collaborative artworks, introducing them to the assembled guests with confidence.

John and Glenn thanked you all for your enthusiastic engagement and hard work over the course of the semester. We also thanked Gentle Heron and everyone at Virtual Ability Island for their support.

Snapshot_012

Students presenting their work.

Snapshot_106

DIT individual student work is on show also. The exhibition continues throughout May.

Snapshot_110

Snapshot_107

Snapshot_104

Snapshot_103

Snapshot_102

33881505004_cd15b4d4c0_o

34561981132_f1da452590_o

34561980652_ce7a2e5e5d_o

The evening ended with a party and dancing.

 

%d bloggers like this: