The University of Technology Sydney’s Connected Intelligence Centre (UTS:CIC) is offering three doctoral scholarships as part of the Centre’s doctoral program in Learning Analytics.
UTS:CIC, led by EDV’s Simon Buckingham Shum, has as a mission “to invent, evaluate and theorise the design of human-centered data science and learning analytics (…) to nurture in learners the creative, critical, sensemaking qualities needed for lifelong learning, employment and citizenship in a complex, data-saturated society.”
One of the 4 PhD topics proposed for investigation is directly based on EDV and supervised by Prof Buckingham Shum and our project’s Co-I Anna De Liddo. Details on the topics, candidate description, and application guidelines are available at: https://utscic.edu.au/research/phd/
Tweet at: https://twitter.com/sbuckshum/status/838297389219758080
Earlier this week, EDV was the subject of a full-length feature in the Rethinking Debates project. This is the first of a global series of reports on the impact of technology on the electoral process, launched by Civic Hall, a US-based community centre for the world’s civic innovators.
After interviewing EDV’s PI Stephen Coleman from the University of Leeds, and the OU’s Brian Plüss and Anna De Liddo, Civic Hall’s Civic Engagement Fellow, Christine Cupaiuolo, wrote a great, passionate story that captures the spirit of the project and discusses in detail our research and tools.
The series will continue with stories on debate and technology projects around the world, and a comprehensive report will be released at a conference later this year.
The OU’s Knowledge Media Institute turned 20 years yesterday, and the milestone was celebrated by gathering key people in the Institute’s history. With an agenda focused on celebrating the past but looking forward to the next 20 years, there were talks by the OU’s new Vice-Chancellor, Peter Horrocks; the Vice-Chancellor at the time of the creation of KMi, Sir John Daniel; KMi’s Director, Peter Scott; and some of KMi’s founders: Marc Eisenstadt, Tom Vincent and Kitty Chisholm.
The day concluded with an exhibition of KMi’s projects. We had a chance to show EDV’s Democratic Reflection and Democratic Replay to, among others, the OU’s VC. Having edited several General Election specials for the BBC in the past, Peter Horrocks took a focused interest in our project and even suggested ways in which we could offer functionalities and analytics especially suited for journalists and political analysts.
EDV is the cover story of the latest KMi Review, the periodical publication of the OU’s Knowledge Media Institute presenting research highlights, awards, events and other news.
The article describes the research we carried out over the 2015 General Election leaders’ debates earlier this month, focusing on Democratic Reflection and on the elicitation of instant audience feedback.
You can download the entire issue by clicking on the thumbnail on the left.
Last week, EDV had a spot on in KMi’s stand on this year’s OU Learn About Fair. The Fair, part of the University’s Charter Day on 23rd April 2015, is an opportunity for showcasing research and innovation across the OU.
Our stand featured the latest version of Democratic Replay with enhanced video replays of the recent ITV Leaders’ Debate and one last year’s Clegg-Farage Europe Debate. Visitors also had a chance to watch the Leaders’ Debate while expressing their responses using Democratic Reflection on a tablet or smartphone.
EDV has been featured in OpenLearn, the OU’s free learning portal. Filed under People, Politics and Law, the piece describes the aims of the project, invites readers to try Democratic Reflection during Thursday’s BBC Challengers’ Debate, and introduces Democratic Replay.
After months of extensive negotiations, broadcasters have finally announced their plans for leaders’ debates and similar events over the British Election Campaign.
As we discussed earlier this year, the main election debate will include the leaders of 7 parties: the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, UKIP, the Green Party, the SNP and Plaid Cymru, and will take place on the 2nd of April.
The agenda of events during the General Election campaign is as follows (source):
- 26 March: Cameron and Miliband will be interviewed separately by Jeremy Paxman and then answer questions from the audience (also separately) in a special broadcast by Sky and Channel 4.
- 2 April: the leaders of the 7 parties mentioned above will hold a 2-hour debate broadcast by ITV.
- 16 April: the BBC will host “a challengers’ debate” with the leaders of the parties that are not currently in Government (the SNP, UKIP, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party and Labour).
- 30 April: Cameron, Miliband and Nick Clegg will appear separately taking questions from the audience in a special of Question Time hosted by David Dimbleby from the BBC.
These plans give EDV two great opportunities to collect debate data and gather audience responses. We are planning to have a panel of 450 viewers using Democratic Reflections as they watch the 2 April debate live. Our plans for the 16 April challengers’ debate are still under discussion, but we’ll post about this soon.
Yesterday evening, a group of 12 OU postgraduate students and members of staff watched the second of Clegg-Farage 2014 Europe debate while they tested the first version of Democratic Reflection, a digital implementation of the audience feedback method we piloted with flashcards last year.
Democratic Reflection is available as a mobile web application, that participants could access from their laptops (below), and smartphones or tablets (right). The set of statement was chosen based on the democratic entitlements identified by the focus groups carried out by the Leeds early in 2014 (see also EDV Project Briefing 1).
Preliminary results of the exercise are encouraging, in line with the outcomes of the pilot – especially in terms of engagement with the tool and affordance of the choices. After the debate, we held a group discussion on the users’ views of the experience, the tool, the statements and so forth. Doubtlessly, these insights will be of utmost importance as we further develop Democratic Reflection in time for the pre-election debates later this year.