Open Access

Open access, sounds like an off-brand product that is the equivalent of some other more popular products, aimed at those struggling with their capital. And why not see it like that? Open access when it comes to journals and academic research sounds pretty much like some lesser channel, aimed to young scholars that are unable to publish on the big journals.

Well, I believe we have to demystify the image of “Name Brand” journals and to realize that the grand objective of academia is to produce and develop new knowledge, to encourage new ways of thinking and to improve our understanding of the world in its many, wonderful facets. And Open Accesses is a medium that is ideal for any scholar eager to get heir work seen and recognized. I is imperative that we observe and consider open access not as a last ditch effort to publish an article, but as the go-to medium for theory building that requires as many eyes on the subject as possible.

After all, the more eyes you have on a subject the more opinions you can get about it or the more people you can reach so they too can benefit form findings and development, instead of keeping knowledge sequestered to the higher echelons of either paid walled or esoteric journals that only a few have access to.

The Audio logs of the lost

Podcasting is one of those ways to express ideas that is somewhat archaic but at the same time so novel. I can imagine the years of the radio, listening to shows talk about politics and arts, all with that certain grain in the voices that we can hear. But there is some power to listening to someone speak about something, finding a bit of the voice of a person not next to you. I can relate this to video games and the usual mechanics of finding “Audio Lags” to convey a story. I think this is extremely familiar, these after all are audio logs that convey a story about a certain theme, we found them and it is up to us to piece together the narrative.

And of course, unlike broadcast an podcast is freely available for anyone to create and disseminate, but that is where the devil in the detail land. How many hoax-y podcasts there could be in a sea of information? How much can we trust someone who publishes audio and we are supposed to take as valid? Curation is the name of the game, and even when we have experts curating content how much of it is their biases? IT is hard to tell, but in the end we have to trust our own compasses and believe that we can do our best with what we have and to absorb what can help us by discarding the negative.

Teaching video games

If I want to demonstrate to a class a way to think about video game’s various effects, I need to have them experience them first hand. Inherently, video games are a medium that Is better experienced rather than merely lectured or talked about.

 

Let’s talk for example one of my favorite themes in video games: Decision making. Decision making is one of those things that video games companies are starting to bank, and I do not mean the decision between using a sword or an axe, I mean about moral choices and story driven decision that can potentially change the outcome of the game narrative. Usually this can be explained to a student by showing them the branching paths that a game takes when these decisions have on the overall game.

 

However, I believe there are better ways. I could enroll the help of friends to script a scene in the Unity Engine, this would basically allow me to create a very quick narrative with some key elements that I can use to illustrate my point, and this mini game  can be imported to many platforms, so the students will be able to play it regardless of their chosen platform.

 

The exercise would be simple, have themselves recorded as they play the game. The game would be in the same venue as Telltale’s the walking dead, where decisions need o be made in a very constrained time, and not taking an action counts like an action. The mini game would have a few outcomes, and the idea is to see and discuss what they think about gameplay that incorporates these elements and above all, how that made them feel.

Humanities education in a digital era

Teaching and Learning digital humanities is no easy feat. TO begin with when we talk about humanities some people just don’t get our meaning or what we are talking about. One way I like to explain humanities is to say it is it is a way to explain either philosophy, art or history in function of the other two.  So, if we are going to apply that to a Digital format and make use of a concept like this, the basics need to be covered first. But let’s assume we already have the basics covered, and that we are ready to mov eon to the Digital aspect. In this case what we want is to find the correct ways to apply our knowledge.

We need to find the best possible ways to share our ideas in a platform that allows for so much more than plain text, we can allow ourselves to be as creative as possible with as many ideas as possible. We cans till think about the way we do things traditionally at its core, but the important part is to teach and learn bout the new possibilities and perhaps forget a bit about the rigor of the social sciences in favor of more creative presentation nd assimilation of new ideas.

Proposal Abstract: A Memory of gamers.

Trough my studies in interactive media and communities around it I have come across many stereotypes coming form the general public: Gamers are all slob, unmotivated individuals that have no interest in furthering their personal development. The word “losers” or “lazy” comes up very often and with that a stigma is raised. However, as time goes by and the scene of e-sports becomes more and more prevalent in society, different perspectives are risen. There is not only people who plays the games, but there are commentators, analysts, those who help new players get into the game and casters that stream both their own games and other’s.

Who form the e-sports community, where do they come from and how do they prepare? In this paper I want to create an archive of e-sports players, enthusiasts and community leaders. And I want to do it not only in function of their expertise on their respective game but also their way to be where they are now. This would be a way not only to learn about the demographics of these players, but also a way to see the patterns they follow, from their origins to motivations, to their outlook on life and their part in their society and families.

Looking for Clues in text

It is fascinating what we can indagate from snippets of text and argument. I always found that twitter scrapping or Facebook scourging for information might be a bit odd, if not pointless. But revising this and thinking about what it can tell us, it is actually a tool that I can only see used nowadays. The simple fact that we can now search for keywords in such massive databases and cross relate it to metadata makes for a fascinating theme that can be used to learn more about those who write, why they wrote it and never lose sight of their particular characteristics.

We do have to think about his with a grain of salt though, sometimes a few snippets of text might not give us the whole scoop and context, but it is a fascinating way to get a general idea. And with some refinement and inventive curiosity we can even make use of some interesting queries to find out more about a moment in time, an event or a theme.