1. Video interview preparation
You will prepare a proposition relevant to the course content to discuss with your interviewee. e.g. people are now dependent on, or addicted to, their smartphones; or, we will one day talk to our computers as if they were emotional beings. You will explain and expand on your proposition with reference to at least two academic articles. Then you will formulate 6 to 10 questions to put to one other person: a class colleague or someone outside of the class. The questions must be well formed and use excellent English grammar and expression. The questions must be short (one or two sentences) and clear. You may like to try out your questions with a friend for clarity at this stage. Have a look online for good interview questions. You are testing your proposition, not the interviewee. You are seeking insights from their experience and knowledge. It’s good to start with a simple question — perhaps something about their experience with the topic at hand. Assume that you will preface the interview with a brief introduction to the topic.
The submission (the interview preparation) has two purposes: (a) to show that you have coherent ideas, have gained a reasonable grasp of what literature will be relevant, and will get the most out of your interview; (b) to get feedback from tutors on aspects of your proposition and interview questions that could be improved. The preparatory document should therefore be substantial enough to provide a basis for such judgements. It should clearly and cogently set out the topic you will address in the interview. It should clearly and correctly cite two key references that you are drawing on for testing your proposition in the interview.
List of Possible Propositions
You can select from the following propositions, or develop your own. You don’t have to agree with whichever proposition you select. You are testing the proposition through your understanding of the literature, your experience, and that of the person you will be interviewing.
- People are now dependent on, or addicted to, their smartphones.
- We will one day talk to our computers as if they were emotional beings.
- Recent democracy movements in some regions of the world would not have been possible without the Internet.
- The recent growth in radical fundamentalism would not have been possible without the Internet.
- State censorship of online media in some parts of the world is necessary during periods of rapid social and economic development.
- The world is a louder place due to digital media.
- The digital devices people carry around with them affect their moods.
- We need to spend time away from our digital devices to regain contact with the world of nature.
- The singularity is rapidly becoming a reality.
- The best digital design takes account of embodied interaction.
- People are “amusing themselves to death” through online games and entertainment.
- Networked digital devices are just part of consumer culture that reinforces neoliberal capitalist hegemony.
- Digital devices and networks amplify inequalities between the rich and the poor.
- Virtual reality and augmented reality will never replace the real thing.
- It’s not technologies that change society, but a co-dependence between socio-technical systems, practices and cultures.
- Political problems are “wicked” with no possibility of a technical fix.
- Audiences are becoming more receptive to experimental and other musical forms once regarded as marginal.
- Good device and systems design depend on choosing the right metaphors.
- The Wikileaks phenomenon raises major issues about privacy.
- Scientists and entrepreneurs are able to deploy the power of the crowd to gather data, invent and innovate.
- We live in a post-digital world.
- Digital subcultures are a retreat from the real world.
- Big data analytics are changing what we know about the world.
- Some other topic …
2. Your video interview and its writeup
After feedback on your preparation you will plan and organise your interview. The questions you pose in your preparation material (submission 1) will form the basis of your interview. The actual interview may deviate from the questions depending on the responses you get from your interviewee. Think of the video production. How will you record the interview? Where will you conduct the interview? Will it be in one place or will you move around? Will you record the audio with a device independently of the video, for later synchronisation. After the interview you will edit the audio and video, and submit that along with some text explaining the video. This text be an expansion of submission 1, and will include reflection on your findings from the interview.
3. Case study
This is a study of a particular case relevant to media and culture. A case is a specific event or series of events, or product (“product” added for clarification 10 Nov 2016). It is up to you whether you relate this case to your interview proposition. Your first port of call will be news reports on the Internet, but you may draw on other sources. (Don’t just re-tell what’s on wikipedia.) Provide a summary of the case (just one) and the issues it raises, followed by your critical reflection on the case and its implications, with reference to at least two key academic articles. Provide references to all sources in the usual way. Here’s an example case study [added 14 November 2015]. Here are some case study examples. Keep abreast of news reports. Interesting cases are emerging all the time — not all of them make headline news in the UK.
- The impact of the Wikileaks website
- What happened when Edward Snowden leaked classified NSA information
- How Sister Feng (Luo Yufeng) used the mass media to gain fame
- The impact of the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking by journalists
- The restriction of UAVs (drones) at public events
- A kickstarter fund raising success story: e.g. “The Order of the Stick” self-published webcomic
- Moral panic over Facebook mood manipulation
- Uneasy Lies The Mind, the first feature length movie shot entirely on the iPhone
- How One Direction used social media to build its fan base
- How social media was used by campaigners in the Scottish Independence Referendum
- Moral panic over the woman caught on camera putting a cat in a wheelie bin
- How hackers compromised the Ashley Madison website, and the consequences
- What happened when confidential data was hacked from Sony Pictures Entertainment
- The role of digital communications in the so-called Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt, or Libya
- Social media and the case of Peng Yu from Nanjing who was fined for helping someone after a fall in the street
- The success of Jonathan Ive’s design for the iMac
- What happened to Bob Stein’s (Atari) 1981 predictions about the future of networked computing, as revived in his 2012 blog posting
- Gold farming in World of Warcraft gaming workshops
- The role of smartphones in the European refugee crisis of 2015
- Lulzsec and its successors
- Find your own example …