Research Reflection

Hey and welcome back, finally the project has been completed and BCM212 can be drawn to a close. I’d like to extend a thanks to everyone who helped me with my project and a special shout out to Susan’s Friday 12:30 class – you guys are special!

For this assessment I intended to determine the impact; be that positive or negative that co-curricular activities (sport/exercise) has on university students. This is a topic that personally interested me as I am a very active person who enjoys playing team sports and exercising regularly. I feel as though having these commitments and desire to remain physically fit can impede my ability to stay on top of university assessments. This is not always a case of simply not having enough time to devote to tasks, however not having the energy and adequate levels of concentration to effectively study can be an issue. I originally wanted to encompass all aspects of co-curricular activity, however being such a broad topic I decided to narrow it down and focus on the sport/exercise component.

The first aspect that was essential to my research was understanding the nature of physical activity in relation to university studies. By applying outcomes learned in week 1: curiosity (Bowles, 2017). This included showing interest and engaging with the topic by conducting preliminary research which would compliment primary research that would be investigated later on in the research project. In Rees’ study; Sports participation and academic performance (2010), I discovered that a key factor in academic performance can often be a lack of motivation due to exterior commitments that in turn hinder a student’s ability to perform. This guided the focus questions I ended up using for my survey, as it was important to understand the reasons behind student stress.
When considering the desired outcome of a research project it is important to be socially responsible, by considering the content within as well as the intended audience. Kate Bowles (2017) identifies the social responsibility of a researcher as a balance between curiosity and reflexivity. When applied to the research project I have conducted, I focused on ensuring the final project would be an easily readable, accessible and concise composition of analysed data attained from a relevant target audience which for me was university students. It is my social obligation to ensure the people involved in this task feel as though their input is both useful and valued by the researcher. In addition to this, the data gained was thoughtfully gathered with the permission of my survey respondents. By attaining their consent to use the data they had given me; particularly the focus group, I ensured that I had considered the respect, integrity and privacy concepts which had been studied within the course. After surveying each of my respondents I attained a signature which enabled me to use their data with informed consent and full knowledge that their input was being used for research purposes.


Throughout the research task I faced challenges which required me to be both flexible and creative with my approach to how I would overcome these obstacles. As a researcher it is essential to have these two qualities, remaining dynamic and ensuring there is more than one method of research applicable in achieving a desired goal. This came in conducting my focus group which proved to be the most difficult aspect of the assignment. I intended to have the focus group as one collective, interviewed at the same time. Such was the schedule of my focus group I had to devote time to seeing each person individually to understand how it was that sport and exercise affected their life as a university student. When considering the work of Andrade and Peluso (2005) who argue that mental health can be a barrier for learning, it was helpful to have my students in a more intimate setting – which allowed them to be more open and honest with their answers. In the future, it is certainly something to consider for group discussions, particularly if the participants are unknown to one another; meaning they may be less inclined to provide open or honest answers.
Despite not having the group together to inform a flowing conversation, I was still happy with my efforts to extract quality information which formed the backbone of my research.

In summation, I enjoyed undertaking this task as I believed it would be a similar issue for a number of other university students who have co-curricular commitments of the same nature. In the future I will ensure that my time management is of the highest priority, as it is often difficult to co-ordinate assessment tasks from different subjects whilst also applying sufficient time to one as lengthy and detailed as this research project was.


References

Andrade, L & Peluso, M, 2005. Physical activity and mental health: the association between exercise and mood, Clinics Science Journal, vol 60. no 1.

Bowles, K, 2017. BCM212 Research Practice in Media & Communication, Week 1: Curiosity, Lecture, University of Wollongong Australia.

Bowles, K, 2017. BCM212 Research Practice in Media & Communication, Week 3: Socially Responsible Design, Lecture, University of Wollongong Australia.

Rees, D & Sabia, J, 2010. Sports participation and academic performance: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Economics of Education Review, vol 29 no 5, pp.751-759.

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The effect of Co-curricular on students (sport): Research project update

After much deliberation and conversing with a variety of people, I decided to refine my topic by focussing on sport and the role it plays in the learning of students studying at university level. I have decided to focus on people aged between 18-25 to measure and gain an understanding of how sport can be used as a coping method for stress or alternatively how it can be a source of stress or distraction for students.

By researching a number of academically written sources on the effects that sport can have on mental health, it is possible to draw parallels on how this is applicable to university studies for young students. It is imperative to find a healthy balance of physical activity to retain a healthy body which in turn promotes a healthy mind. This notion has influenced the primary research I intend to gather as well as understanding the line of questioning that will be most effective. In summation, I intend to ask respondents what influence sport and physical activity (if any) has on their ability to study.

Through conducting primary research in the form of verbal interaction and noting the response from respondents, I will be able to analyse the data given in order to determine a clear response in relation to my focus question. Based on the background research I have already conducted, I am expecting the majority of the respondents to say that sport has a positive impact on their education as it provides a necessary balance for work and leisure. Despite this, my background research also indicates that there is evidence to suggest overtraining and specified commitments can be a source of unnecessary stress in the lives of university students, which ultimately hinders educational performance. It is important for me to be considerate of these factors when it comes to employing my survey questions.

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What affect does co-curricular activity have on student learning? 

When I think of High School the memories I look upon most fondly are spent playing sport and engaging in various musical events. Whilst a number of my peers found co-curricular activities to be a distraction with the perpetual stress which is synonymous with the HSC, I found it incredibly liberating to be provided with a balance of work, study and physical activity. 

With this in mind, I propose to engage with fellow students to discover not only the range of co-curricular activities they commit to, but whether or not they believe it helps or hinders their ability to be a successful student. According to ABS data there is a decline in the participation of sport for people aged 15-25 in the last decade. There are perhaps a number of reasons for this statistic, one reason could be due to educational pressures that the current generation are faced with.

 In my investigation I will delve into the difficulties graduates now have attaining work which is both suitable and profitable in industries which are increasingly competitive. I would be interested in surveying students within the cohort who may have ceased engaging in co-curricular activities such as sport in order to focus on studies for the preceding argument.  I intend to gather qualitive data in the form of extensive interviews with people within the cohort, whilst respecting the privacy and consent guidelines appilicable to the release of the information gathered. Primary research will be the most effective method of determining whether or not co-curricular activity has a positive affect on students, and the university provides a resource base in order to achieve this. 

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Storify Report | Citizen Journalism

Here is the link to Assessment 3 for Journalism 102.

https://storify.com/debsyUOW/contemporary-journalism-a-citizen-s-eye

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Week 11 Module

The journalist I have chosen to analyse is Nine Network Foreign Correspondent Peter Stefanovic, his work inspires and interests me as I am interested in the same field in which he works.

This particular journalist frequently uses twitter to promote and collaborate news stories for his designated audience of followers. Working for channel 9, Peter Stefanovic primarily refers to news programs on the network. Despite this, his twitter maintains a respectable level of content relevant to trending news stories around the world. Social media is a large part of any journalist’s professional line of work, as it can provide insight into news stories from behind the scenes, and it can also foreshadow news programs the particular journalist is reporting on (perhaps coming up at a later date). Stefanovic countlessly uses his twitter to promote the work of his other colleagues from the nine network in particular; such as Leila Mckinnon, Ben Fordham, Tom Steinfort and Peter Overton. This is primarily through retweeting and mentioning using their twitter handle – which ultimately gives them further exposure and accreditation to the public. Despite this, Peter Stefanovic’s Facebook account was absent from any of my findings. This may be due to the desire to avoid bad publicity or to ensure privacy.

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Week 7 Module | Photographers who inspire me

Three Photographers that inspire me:

Christopher Anderson
Born in Canada, 1970 however later grew up in West Texas. He became famous for his work with Haitian refugees that were trying to sail to America, a boat which sank in the Caribbean. This work marked the emergence of his ‘emotionally charged’ style which has characterised his photography for nearly two decades. This style largely focuses on person and place and majority of his work emphasises the despair experienced by people in troublesome areas such as the war torn middle east. In one sense however, he looks to empower people who are experiencing these hardships to portray them more meaningfully through use of light filters and low angle shots. A number of his photo albums portray demonstrations, rebellion and protest; an issue he evidently feels very strongly about, which is a passion I too share.

Erich Hartmann

A German based photographer born in 1922, Erich Hartmann similarly attributed a great deal of his work into empowering individuals through the use of his angular perspective. The height of his career centred around German troops in World War II, and he effectively conveyed stories of camaraderie and mateship from non allied viewpoint. Despite this, he also focussed a large portion of his work in the United States particularly after 1960. One of his most prolific signatures of work is the use of distorting photographs to entice audiences to interpret meaning as an individual. Motion blur also is successful in adding an element of obscurity to the photograph, as well as the concept of a part of a journey as the image is only a flicker of a larger story. Being an early based photographer, the majority of his work is in black and white, the effect of this however is very successful when considering the context of his photographic work. His focus is very similar to Anderson which  consistently conveys a link between person and place.

Jim Goldberg
Goldberg is another photographer who continually impresses through his effectiveness in conveying significant depth and meaning of individuals through photographic representation. His work reached it height through the late 1980’s and through the the 1990’s however continues to work as a successful photographer today. His portrayal of image and text make him a landmark photographer of our time.   A majority of his work juxtaposes stereotypically upper class and wealthy people with their polar opposites, the poor and underprivileged. It is through this he became well known in the 1970’s and continued to use this line of work as his signature throughout his career. His connecting of people to place is very powerful in the majority of his working portfolio’s, where his contrast seemingly empowers the poor and highlights the at times ‘overwealth’ of those on the other end of the spectrum. He does this through angle’s and light filters which portray a vastly different image of perceived sterotypes.

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International Education | Building Foundational Bridges

With diversity, problems can arise. WIth ignorance, these problems are fueled. But is it fair to suggest our educational system, particularly tertiary education, is not as welcoming and considerate of foreign students as it should be? Marginson suggests that “International education is not the rich intercultural experience it could be’’ despite the fact that international education accounts for being Australia’s fourth largest export. (Marginson 2012)

The influx of international students in the last two decades is a reflection of how communication is becoming more globalised and readily available, allowing students to travel abroad whilst still immersing themselves in a somewhat familiar and welcoming culture. Despite this, Marginson suggests that whilst most international students are willing to communicate, interact and learn from local students, local students ‘are not interested’ further proving his aforementioned theory that international education is not the rich intercultural experience it could be (Marginson 2012). The most obvious reason for this lack of communication can be attributed to the language barrier that exists. Kell and Vogel suggest that international students may lack confidence and find it difficult to understand the local students (Kell and Vogel 2006). Despite this there is interesting evidence to suggest that more focus is necessary when analysing the way local students initiate communication with international students, as there is often an expectation that it is the duty of the international student to “assimilate into our very ethnocentric culture” (Marginson 2012).

A sample of international students in a focus group study conducted by Kell and Vogel identified that international students “felt that Australians did not want to get to know them” and that the Australian students who were indeed the ones who struggled with the communicative processes. (Kell and Vogel 2006)

Marginson argues that a profound ignorance is displayed towards international students, and that we as a country hold ethnocentric views towards international students (Marginson 2012). These views primarily consist of a misunderstanding of why it is foreign students travel to Australia for study. The most common misconception comes through the belief they want to be ‘more Australian’ or more ‘like us’ whereas the most logical reason for traveling for education is to create new opportunities and challenges whilst still embracing and retaining a sense of culture and identity in a newly establish environment. An argument Marginson argues for this point of view, stating that “International students are not merely motivated by self interest, but a desire for the collective and individual good” (Marginson 2012).

Universities tend to embrace international students by ensuring there is adequate support for foreign students in regards to effective language and communication skills. It is these programs which are designed to lessen the burden on international students by providing them with skills to allow them to thrive in an at times intimidating environment. If local students are able to embrace similar principles and learn how to accept different cultures and communicate with foreign students, it ultimately leads to a healthier environment for all students within the tertiary education system.

References:

1) Marginson, Simon. ‘International Education As Self-Formation’. 2012. Lecture.

2) Kell, P., & Vogl, G. (2006). International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes. In Everyday Multiculturalism Conference Proceedings Sydney: Centre for Research and Social Inclusion.

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