Digital Media Design’s Directed Study

One of the modules I’m undertaking this year is Directed Study 2. We had studied it previously in first year as our first introduction to academia and analysing papers. After nearly 2 years in college, I now appreciate the value of the skills I learnt during this class.

At first I found reading academic papers extremely difficult, it was like having to learn a different language! But the more papers I read, I slowly started adapting to the style of writing and understood the precipise behind academia. Now, studying it the second time round, I feel that I’m more prepared to approach my research.

I learnt how to research specific topics and choose the literature that was most suited to the work I needed to carry out. I learnt to properly analyse the aim of the paper and the point the author(s) is trying to get across. I now understand that it’s critical to not just read the paper and automatically agree with the points presented in it but to read it objectively and criticise the work if necessary.

One of the aims of this module is to learn to write an annotated bilbliography. The topic we agreed on as a class was Urban Informatics, which is the application of interaction design in urban environments. We were given six papers to read on the subject to base our annotated bibliography on.

Annotated bibilographies often get confused with abstracts. The difference is that an annotated bibliography, on top of it being a list of cited works and a summary of each paper, you also provide your own opinion on what you’ve read and an overall critical analysis of the paper.

Of the six papers we read the two that drew my attention the most were:

Lindley, J. and Potts, R. (2014), A Machine. Learning: An example of HCI Prototyping With Design Fiction – The main points presented in this paper is the use of Design Fiction as a form of prototyping in HCI. Through a video, they present the concept of an artificially intelligent device and its relationship with its users as it learns all it can about them the more they use it. The idea behind design fiction is to place the HCI prototype in a ficitious universe to give a context for its use and to understand how it would fit into a real person’s daily routine. I was intrigued by this concept and would definitely consider it as a method of prototyping for future projects.

Seeburger, J., (2012), No Cure For Curiosity: Linking physical and digital urban layers, pp, 247 – 255 – The author of this paper pitches the concept of PlaceTagz. He placed QR codes in generic public spaces at his university that link to a digital message board to allow users to interact with each other on this medium. The aim of the project was to boost interaction between users in their urban environment. I found this paper interesting mainly because it was quite flawed and interesting to critique. The author didn’t consider the environmental infractions on his idea and people’s relucatance to scan QR codes in public spaces. The paper was enjoyable to read in this sense because by properly critiquing it, it allowed me to get a full grasp on the presented concept.

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