Introduction and Overview

Hello and welcome to BCM325 Future Cultures.

Please review the lecture video before attending class, the notes are provided below.

Audio Version:

Prezi Slides Version: Here

Weekly Learning Guide: Here

In this lecture, I’m going to provide a brief overview of the subject and a summary of the learning assessments that you are going to be participating in both in class and through your own research. In the following square brackets ‘[ ]’ represent a slide transition.

[Bachelor of Media and Communication]

This subject is designed for students studying Media and Communication at the University of WollongongThis is a link to the course description: https://bit.ly/2F00vWQ

Future Cultures is a third-year subject that is part of the *Major in Digital and Social Media* and I’ll add a link to the description of the major in the details as well:  https://bit.ly/2Voztyb

This subject is designed to accommodate students from other disciplines and degrees, and we welcome you and encourage you to work with your tutor to make sure you are fully prepared to take on the course.

[FutureCultures.blog]

All students in the BCM will be familiar with blogging by now but this may be the first time that you have contributed to a collective subject blog.  We will demonstrate this in class during week one, and you will need to be able to supply the email address connected to your WordPress account in order to gain access. If you don’t already have a WordPress blog, it is free to create an account and you can get started with that now. There are more detailed instructions on how to set up your blog available on the subject Moodle page.

[About Me]

My name is Dr Christopher Moore, and most people call me Chris. I am a senior lecturer in Digital Media and Communication at UoW, and my primary research area is digital and analogue game experiences. I also do research on the public presentation of the self and look at the way we construct our online persona and we will get to that concept later in the session. You will find me [@cl_moore] on Twitter. Follow me and talk to me there, you can also use the DM function if you have questions and want to discuss the subject content. If you have any formal administrative matters to discuss please use my official UOW email which is linked in the Subject Outline. Twitter is going to be where we spend most of our class time during the session, so if you don’t have a Twitter account now is the time to fire up one and you can get a sense of the subject by looking at the #BCM325 hashtag.

[Future]

This subject is concerned with the tension between the representation and the reality of future cultures and the way they have been imagined in the past and the present. We are going to be exploring that tension, by examining the many ways the future has been conceptualised and its actual lived experience. The primary purpose of the subject is to consider the relationship between media and communication technologies, practices and industries in terms of how they contribute to the way we think about and plan for the future.

[The formal Learning Outcomes for the subject are:]

1. Be able to critically analyse and discuss the implications of the texts, technologies and practices relevant to the digital environment using an appropriate theoretical framework;

2. Express clearly, in digital and oral form, a sophisticated analysis of the issues related to the future of digital technologies while drawing on primary and secondary sources;

3. Demonstrate advanced digital literacies in the preparation and delivery of a digital artefact on a topic inspired by issues raised in the subject.

[Choose Your Own Adventure]

In this subject, you will pursue an independent research task investigating issues related to the presence and use of computers and networks in all aspects of contemporary social life, including communication, education, business, art and entertainment. Through your research you will develop advanced knowledge of the history and current conditions of cyberculture and the rise of new technologies: from 3D printing and virtual reality to robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence, and consider what these developments mean for the media and communication industries. This research will be materialised in the form of a digital artefact. A digital artefact is a project that is student driven and entirely defined and decided upon by you.  The project can take many forms from a series of video essays to a robot, a VR simulation or a podcast.

This video series is not intended as a traditional lecture, and this subject is not contained within the three-hours of face-to-face time we get to spend together each week. There is much more to this subject than can be crammed into a traditional structure and so I invite you to think about it in terms of the ‘choose-your-own adventure’ format. There are weekly topics and a short lecture to accompany each one available via the subject Moodle page, but there is also a great deal more on offer via the subject blog.

To start visit ‘the stack’, [https://futurecultures.blog/the-stack/]

The stack is two things, first, it is a list of assorted topics, ideas, concepts and case studies that are relevant to the subject. It’s also populated with the video essays from previous BCM325 students, who chose that form as their digital artefact for the subject.

Then head to the podcast ‘bunker’ [https://futurecultures.blog/bunker/] There you will find examples of podcasts from myself, and a collection of excellent podcasts from previous students.

Finally, in the Blog Menu, you will find a range of lecture posts, some short, others longer, on topics that I have covered in lectures from previous years. Some of the blogs are contributions from student’s Digital Artifacts: like this literature review on cryptocurrencies by Eddie in 2017 that was updated by Pearl in 2018.

My plan is to continue to make videos and podcasts that are relevant to this subject and build a collection of resources for you to explore.

[Learning Assessments]

This subject has a number of interconnected learning assessments, which involve the movie screening and the live tweeting, blogging, the pitch and beta video presentations for your digital artefact, and the final artefact. The details regarding due dates, word counts and assessment criteria can be found in the subject outline, which is available via the subject Moodle page.

[Live Tweeting]

Each week during our class-time we are going to be live tweeting our responses to the screening of a classic science fiction text relevant to the weekly topic. The live tweeting exercise is designed to give you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to engage in research, critically evaluate a text and engage in discussion in real time. There is a page on the subject blog devoted to live tweeting prompts to help you develop your approach – it’s on screen and in the description below: https://bit.ly/2A7PYZ8

The recommended number of in-class class live tweets is about 10 and you should also be engaged in at least 20 other interactions, including re-tweets, favouriting, replies and engaging in meaningful discussion. Of course feel free to use memes and gifs, but we are also looking for detailed critical engagement.  Don’t forget to use the hashtag #BCM325 in your tweets and when looking for the tweets of others.

[Blog Post 1]

Your first blog assessment is due Week 6. Blogs are posted to your personal WordPress account and reblogged to the subject blog. In your first blog post, you will curate your most prominent live tweets and interactions during the screenings from Weeks 1 to 6. You will repeat this for blog post three, due week 12, covering your live tweeting contribution for Weeks 8 to 12.

Blog Posts 2 and 4 are responses to the video presentations, but in order to discuss those, we first have to address the major research project for this subject in the form of the digital artefact.

A [Digital Artefact], or DA, is an independent process through which you acquire and demonstrate skills in conceptualising and developing a public media project.  You can continue a DA from previous subjects but there are a couple of stipulations that you must address as part of your Future Cultures DA work. First, the DA must be publicly available throughout its development; Second, the DA must have meaning and utility for users and stakeholders outside of the subject, it must anticipate an audience; Third, you have to address the Future Cultures DA challenges, which is the DA must address the future in some way. The DA must consider the future in the next 5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 years. It might forecast the future based on observable patterns and historical trends, or it could speculate on an entirely new future. The aim is to do more than simply point to cutting edge technologies or developments and to think about the short and long term implications of your DA for the future.

The [Presentations] for this subject are entirely online in the form of two short videos. The first presentation is a 2-minute ‘pitch’ in which you will describe the initial concept for your DA, discuss your approach, consider relevant background research and identify its public utility. These videos are due by the end of Week Three. The second presentation is a 4-minute ‘beta’ video in which you will document the operational DA prototype, discuss your progress and reflect on the feedback you received following the pitch. The beta presentation is due in Week 8. Both the pitch and the beta will be submitted to the Moodle dropbox with the assessment template and shared to the subject blog in a post with a short contextual description.

That brings us back to the [blog posts]Blog Post 2 will curate your responses to at least three of the video presentation pitches. The responses will be scheduled and we will ensure an even distribution of feedback. Blog posts 1 and 2 are due by Week Six. Blog Post 3 will feature a summary of your feedback comments for the beta presentations. The summary should offer a brief overview of the beta and a critical self-reflection of each of your three comments and blog posts 3 and 4 are due in Week 12.

[ Conclusion ]

That is a short overview of the subject for this session and a brief account of what you will be doing over the next thirteen weeks.

Remember: The Future Is Now.