As part of the Future Cultures (BCM325) subject, I have been developing a digital artefact (DA) addressing a future challenge throughout the Autumn semester. Initially inspired by the holographic counterpart singers performed in the opening ceremony of an e-sport event, my project has pivoted around holography’s potential usage in improving lecture attendance of regional campus students. Employing a 3-time scale development model, I divided my DA into 3 stages of construction, which refer to the short-term future (5-10 years), mid-term (20-30 years), and long-term (50 years)
(You can find my digital artefact presentation at the end of this post or click the embedded links if you would like to watch right away)
From the feedback on my pitch, I started examining current problems of lecture attendance (Anderson 2006; Kelly 2010; Gysber et al. 2011; French & Kennedy 2016) and regional campus learning-teaching environment(Woo et al. 2016; Anestis et al. 2015) from secondary sources to provide the groundwork for my DA. I present the findings of such research in the short-term future to highlight the role of technology in general and holography in particular in solving these problems. Also, I looked into the current stage of educational holography to include in this near future period as a beginning point of the technology development.
I then studied the old and pre-existing lecture delivery technology in higher education (Newby 2000; John et al. 2014; Bates 2015) in the second phase. That study helped me to understand the development of educational technology and current lecture delivery technology’s weaknesses. As the literature on the educational prospect of holography is scarce, I decided to conduct primary research. I first began with a survey asking regional campus students their experience and expectation of lecture delivery technology. Afterwards, I experimented Microsoft’s hololens 1 at the MakerSpace room at University of Wollongong (UOW) to have hands-on experience of holography.
During my experiment, I had the opportunity to informally interview (or rather, just discuss with/ talk to) the staff there regarding the headset and materials to create holographic footages for my operational prototype. The experiment helped me to determine differences between the short- and mid-term futures. Analysing results from both secondary and primary research, I compared holography with other technologies to know whether holography would displace existing technologies and thus, modern lectures would render traditional lectures obsolete.
In my final future term, I projected the educational holography in the 50 year-time based on my imagination (stimulated by sci-fi media texts) and research about technology infrastructure surrounding holography (Linge 2019, Barak 2018). Incorporating both my public and peer feedback, I attempted to dig into the negative sides of the technology, such as ethical issues of holograms, decentralisation of campus and workforce disruption.
In this project, I adopted concurrent mixed methods to constantly iterate and prototype my digital artefact based on audiences’ feedback while simultaneously experimenting, and conducting background research. I could expand my research areas in the history of educational technology, thanks to suggestions from friends’ and the public audience.
As my survey response rate was low, I decided to rely more on secondary research than primary research to ensure that I could have insights into regional campus students’ learning experience. I attempted to find studies about UOW regional campus students (Ellis & Penman 2006; Sterling & Rosetto 2015) to align findings with my survey respondents’ data.
Despite my plan to have a holographic video as the final presentation of my DA, I changed to only include selective scenes of my self-made holographic footages. This was because the holographic footages embedded in my operational prototype appear to be unclear to the audience due to the footages’ low quality caused by lighting conditions. Furthermore, I lacked high-quality 3D image sources to fully illustrate my DA concept (as discussed with my peers) and thus, I was unable to successfully deliver my idea to my audience.
Instead of my initial presentation of a long video, I ended up creating a series of three video essays illustrating the three stages of holography development to meet the demand of viewers. When I offered two choices (a long video and three short videos) in an informal focus group, most people preferred the latter, as they felt more encouraged to watch short videos till the end. Furthermore, some participants stated that they would like to have a clear separation between 3 different stages of development to watch the “future” that is most appealing to them.
Drawing together statistics and statements from a diverging range of academic and popular publications, I looked into three main areas of my digital artefact, which are the holography technology, lecture attendance and remote campus teaching-learning environment.
While research on holography shows that the technology is not a new phenomenon (Cowling & Moro 2019), which is evident in science fiction films (Hall 2018; Thomas 2018), concerts and theaters (Turner 2012), the technology’s educational potential remains underresearched. Holography is a perfect mix between the real and the virtual, in which the technology helps to enhance users’ interaction with people and objects in the real world through virtuality rather than replacing the real world with the virtual (Ghuloum 2010). The technology is promising to become useful in improving students’ engagement and communication in higher education (Lee 2013; Luévano et al. 2015; Leonard et al. 2018).
Regarding lecture attendance, there is a widespread perception that lectures may no longer be relevant due to the reduction of student attendance caused by technology (Phillip et al. 2011; Gysber et al. 2011) . However, most studies found no nexus between the technology and lecture attendance reduction (Gosper et al. 2016; Woo et al. 2016). Indeed, the definition of attendance must be revised as engagement (Anderson 2006). Technology, like holography, can enhance engagement by offering more learning options and autonomy to students.
Studies about university campuses reveal that there is a binary relationship between the main campus and the regional campus (Ellis 2006). The regional campus is often treated as an inferior of the main campus, relying greatly on the operation (subject delivery) and organisation (allocation of teaching staff and research opportunities) of the main campus. Such a relationship undermines the learning autonomy of regional campus students. Technology like holography plays a vital role in transforming this binary into a ternary relationship for the betterment of not only students but also institutions and teaching staffs.
Apart from these main areas, I explored the educational technology (Bates 2015; Nadalin 2018), media paradigms (Hartley 2004), learning theories (Hanover Research Council 2009) and the future of work (ABC 2019) to further highlight and elaborate on my main research areas.
I believe that my DA informs and augments audiences’ knowledge about holography and the potential of technological assistance in the higher education sector. The project also gives insights into the ever-changing environment of education – specifically lecture – and automation and the future of work. Presenting my DA in the form of a collection of public videos on Youtube, I hope to make my DA accessible to a wider public.
The trajectory of my research could be mapped through the inclusion of various elements and stages of development as aforementioned. These frequent phases of both planning and reviewing enabled my DA’s consistent reassessment, re-evaluation and improvement. My ideation involved extensive research in identifying holography as a topic that fits in the Future Cultures DA Challenge.
Limitations & Conclusion
Some limitations of my DA lie in my lack of primary research. I should have experimented with the newest holographic headset – the hololens 2, considering that technology accelerates drastically. However, I could not do so due to my shortage of time and resources to try the hololens 2. Also, I recognise that the low survey response rate deters me from updating my pre-existing knowledge about regional campus students. The data I found in secondary research might vary from reality due to time differences.
Overall, I have creatively presented my digital artefact by using video format and publish videos on today’s most popular social media platform – Youtube. My DA includes multiple elements of holography and other topics amid the technology, clearly addressing the future of educational technology. I am thankful for all the help and support people have provided me throughout my project’s process.
Digital Artefact Presentation: A Series of 3 Essay Videos
Here is my digital artefact. Please enjoy and leave any comment as you want!
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Bates, AW 2015, Teaching in a Digital Age, BCcampus, British Colombia.
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What’s a G n.d., Is 6G Coming, What’s a G, viewed 2 May 2019, <https://whatsag.com/g/is-6g-coming.php?fbclid=IwAR2EbgCS4x_XZzIMwTLa-hxJCaLr8j880JCFLxKoQZmFvR8LuAucV0BflUQ>.
Survey results (Response rate is low, but I have other feedback channels to rely on)
Other chat (I happened to have this group dialogue with my friends when they saw me working on the secondary sources for this project in the library. I took note after the chat as I realised their ideas help me envision my concept about holography better)