BCM212 – Research Project Reflection

Through the research project I have completed in BCM212 I have come to understand how the process of collecting data enables you draw relevant and interesting conclusions from your findings that can result in reformative action being taken.

The results of my research and the data I collected revolved that at the University of Wollongong, if it weren’t for the lack of awareness surrounding the benefits of on-campus employment, as a result of ineffective dissemination of information regarding job opportunities, university students would be more likely to select on-campus employment rather than off-campus employment. The findings also showed that pay rates, relevance to a particular degree and location were the leading factors that further influenced student’s decisions.

Through the research process I learnt that drawing on personal experiences as data can be just as useful as conducting a survey and or an interview and provides data that is equally as useful, relevant and helpful in gaining conclusive points from raw data.

In relation to research generally, I learnt, through the BCM212 research project, that research is an elongated and step-by-step process that requires a lot of effort and consideration. Research requires thorough planning and organisation for successful execution and to be able to gain information that is interesting to a public audience.

Through completing the project, I also became aware of the importance of produce consent forms so that participants are aware of how their data is being used and what they are participating in. I was also made aware of the importance of participant anonymity and confidentiality.

Overall, I thought the project was helpful in enhancing my understanding of the research project and the work that is required to conduct a successful research project.

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UPDATE: BCM212 Research Project

updateIt is now week 8 and i have commenced the primary research portion of my project for BCM212.

I have created a survey, which still needs to be refined, which i plan to disseminate across my social media platforms inclusive of twitter and facebook.

Together with my survey, I have also begun to analyse stats and data in relation to on campus employment as opposed to off-campus employment, which is proving to be an interesting source of information.

I still need to finalise interviews with my work colleagues at my on-campus job In2Uni. This is proving difficult as everyone has different schedules and it is hard to find time to meet with my colleagues to get their opinions on and experiences with on-campus employment.

I hope to continue travelling at this pace as I believe I am on track to complete the task in ample time.

BCM212 – Research Proposal: On-campus vs Off-campus Employment

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When encouraged to ponder the student experience, many would appraise the typical undesirable aspects first. Popular themes that come to mind are; student debt, time management, stress, and wellbeing. Despite the innumerable adverse experiences of a young university student, I have decided to base my BCM212 research project on one of the most fulfilling and rewarding opportunities I have been involved in, as a result of my time spent studying at the University of Wollongong.

My intended goal for this research project is to understand, why it is, that there is so little interest in on-campus jobs, that are specifically tailored for university students that, often times, allow them to finish their degree with extra accreditations. Thus, the question guiding my research is ‘Are university students more likely to seek employment off campus, as opposed to involving themselves in on-campus work opportunities, and, if so, what are the leading factors enforcing this decision?’

I am employed on a casual basis, as an In2Uni Mentor for the Outreach and Pathways faculty of the University of Wollongong. While this is not my only form of employment, this job is extremely rewarding and has allowed me to gain an immense amount of confidence, as well as the acquisition of a Working with Children Certificate, which, has further assisted me in other job prospects outside of In2Uni.

During my time as a mentor, I have been questioned, as to what it is I do, how I went about securing my job, if other on-campus jobs exist, and, if so, how to gain access to these kinds of employment. These questions have promoted me to research the lack of awareness, and therefore, lack of interest in on-campus jobs, and the reasons for this. I believe it is due to the lack of advertising, promotion and exposure that these jobs receive and the sporadic nature of shift work associated with such jobs, together with a general lack of knowledge surrounding the availability of on-campus, university based jobs.

In developing my topic, I have conducted some background research and have located a number of secondary sources that I think will be of assistance to the conclusions that I wish to attain through my research.

A study conducted by the University of Canterbury, in Christchurch, New Zealand, aimed to explore the impact of paid employment on students study time and other aspects of their lives.  The findings showed that 81 percent of the students held at least one job during university, for an average of 14 hours per week. Working left less time than desired for social activities, study and recreation. It is my goal to depict how employment in on-campus jobs, can decrease the lack of time students have to participate in desired activities, if their job and university coincide with one another.

Another study conducted in 2009, aimed to examine the relationships among first-year students’ employment, engagement, and academic achievement, using data from the 2004 National Survey of Student Engagement. A statistically significant negative relationship was found between working more than 20 hours per week and grades. An examination of the indirect relationships between work and grades revealed that working 20 hours or less on campus was significantly and positively related to grades.

I hope that these studies will assist me in my own research and will back up my ideas that although university students are vastly unaware of the benefits of on-campus employment positions, on-campus jobs can be superior in terms of ongoing opportunities as compared to that of off campus employment.

I believe this topic to be both timely and appropriate, as work/life/uni balance is something that the majority of university students strive toward maintaining. Therefore, this subject is timely and requires attention.

The issue surrounding on-campus jobs, as opposed to balancing university with regular off-campus work, is one that can be considered relevant to all university students who find it difficult to balance university work and assessment schedules with casual or part time work. The topic is relevant to me personally as I am employed in both an on-campus job and two other off-campus jobs, so I am able to compare the two with personal insight and experience.

I believe this project will be achievable, as I have the means to secure all relevant information in the time frame allowed. As I work for an on-campus organisation, this provides me with access to other people who work for the same organisation or similar, providing an easy opportunity to conduct research in the form of interviews and surveys with my fellow colleagues, who are also students at the University of Wollongong. I plan to survey fellow students that study BCM212, making the project achievable, as my fellow students are easily accessible for such research methods, both in class, on campus, and via social media such as Twitter and WordPress.


 References

  • Robert, J. 2005, ‘The effect of paid employment on university students’ lives, Education + Training’ Vol.47 No. 3, pp. 202-215
  • Pike, G. 2009, ‘First-Year Students’ Employment, Engagement, and Academic Achievement: Untangling the Relationship between Work and Grades’NASPA Journal,45 No. 4, pp. 560-582

 

 

 

Uni and Jobs – Uni Jobs

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As a full time university student, I am no stranger to the inevitable struggle that is a work/life/uni balance. So, when racking my brains for a topic to research for BCM212, something that came to mind was how I have managed to combine work and university by working FOR the University of Wollongong.

I am employed casually as an In2Uni Mentor for the Outreach and Pathways faculty of the university. My role is to work with children of varying ages and encourage them to continue their education, post school, with any form of higher education, inclusive of university, tafe, apprenticeships, private college qualifications, and full time work. My job as an In2Uni Mentor has been one of the best experiences and oppourntunities provided by my time at uni, thus, I have decided to base my research project upon the topic of in-house and or on-campus university jobs and the lack of advertising, promotion, and awareness, surrounding such employment opportunities.

I hope to explore the issue that on-campus jobs are scarcely advertised, hence, lacking in interest from current university students. I have been employed in this position for approximately a year and during this time, people have often been unaware that this job/ title exists and are ill informed of what, exactly, it is that I do for work. It is my mission, through this research project to explore how this oblivion surrounding the benefits and opportunities that on-campus university jobs can provide, is impacting upon students, in terms of missing out on job opportunities that are tailored specifically for uni students, and provide extra accreditation (UOWX) and certificates (WWC), as they look elsewhere for employment opportunities. Receiving a Working With Children Check through In2Uni, has also provided me with the opportunity to engage in tutoring sessions 3 times a week with students of various ages, allowing me to participate in yet another form of employment.

I am able to come to this conclusion without having done prior research, as I was initially employed via an email recruitment system and had no prior knowledge or interest in an on-campus job before receiving an email inviting me to apply for a position on the In2Uni team. My current team of fellow employees exists of 8 mentors, which, in the name of productivity and availability, is not nearly enough. So, with this in mind, i hope to increase the popularity of on-campus jobs, like that of In2Uni, by informing students of the benefits and opportunities that these tailored jobs can provide.

I am yet to shape a specific question relating to my desired research topic, nevertheless, I will continue to ponder ideas until i have formed the perfect research proposal.

The Black Hole: Internet Movie Database Edition

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I’m unsure if I have been blessed with a poor memory or if I just lack in attentiveness, but, when watching films or television shows, I often forget, in which movie or television series I have seen actors previously.  This lack of recall, often sends me on a frenzied, desperate search.

I start with searching for the cast, in hopes of finding out the actors name. Continuing my search for information, I dig deeper. By this point, I have discovered, not only where I have previously seen the actor, but, how old they are, who their partner is, how many kids they have and the name of their nieces’ rabbit.

Might I add, this occurs on an almost weekly basis, so, with that being said, my regular search for extremely insignificant information renders me clad in curiosity.

JRNL 102 – Assessment 3: Convergent Website

Convergent media production and multimedia newsrooms are continually increasing in popularity as part of contemporary journalism.’A new focus on social media, to gather, promote and disseminate content’, allows for increased consumer interactivity. Creative use of mediums in news coverage has impacted upon the popularisation of new trends in multimedia journalism. These trends are inclusive of a large focus on visual and audio elements, with the maximisation of the use of video and photography in multimedia presentations of newsworthy stories.

“Online tools and platforms allow media makers to build deep, multimedia reservoirs of content around particular beats or topics that extend user access to one-time broadcasts or provide context for ongoing coverage.” (Aufderheide, 2009)

In 2015,  following the emergence of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign, American daily newspaper, The Baltimore Sun, produced an interactive multimedia website. The site detailed the police brutality that transpired in Baltimore, Maryland, on 12th April 2015, that led to the suspicious death of 25-year-old, US citizen, Freddie Gray. This story received an extensive amount of legacy media coverage, but The Baltimore Suns’ website, titled, ‘The 45 Minute Mystery of Freddie Gray’s Death‘, allowed for audiences to become immersed in the account of Freddie’s death, gaining insight into the event through the presentation of facts via inclusion of a range of interactive forms of multimedia.

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The website, written by Kevin Rector, employed current news trends, with the incorporation of an assortment of media platforms, in order to depict the incidents that took place, following Gray’s arrest. Engaging photographs, text, interactive directions, GPS coordinates of important locations, and videos, describe and recount the events that led to Gray’s death.

(This presentation was published on April 25, 2015. Six days later, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced charges against the six officers who arrested Freddie Gray and offered new details about his arrest.) 

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The photographs included on the interactive journalism site are engaging, as they depict every day, simplified images, allowing for audiences to make personal connections, in turn, rendering the photographs relatable.

 

PHOTOS BY AMY DAVIS AND KENNETH K. LAM

The GPS coordinates allow for audiences to view the exact locations, in which, the events of April 12th transpired. This allows audiences to make real world connections with the news story, invoking the sentiment and importance of place in inciting interaction.

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The videos embedded on the site display eye witness accounts of the events, again, inspiring intimate relationships between viewers and the information they are receiving.

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The use of innovative visual, audio, graphic and interactive elements allows for the effective engagement of news consumers and illustrates new trends in multimedia news production.  The seamless integration of each element, along with the linking of further sources, in regards to the same or similar topics, has made the website successful in inciting audience participation in the production of journalistic content.

 

A Mother’s Hidden Grief – What’s Hidden – JRNL102

 

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A mother’s loss is one of pure devastation. The death of a child is a traumatic experience, of which, cannot be compared to any other.

At 82 years of age, Kathleen ‘Sally’ Conforti still recalls the gut-wrenching day, in 2009, when her 42-year-old son, Patrick Conforti, died as a result of a Heroin overdose.

Harmful drug use continues to be a serious public health issue in Australia with 1,808 drug-induced deaths registered in 2016. Those over the age of 40 have been found to have higher rates of drug-related deaths, nation wide. Drug addiction impacts upon the lives of many, not unlike Sally, who’s loss of a loved one, incites grief, that is often masked by sanguinity.

“He was a good kid, but he had a problem with drinking. Then, he went on to drugs” Sally said.

She described her son’s life and aspirations, saying, “He was a good footballer. He almost got to play for the South Sydney Rabbitoh’s, but drugs got in the way.

“It was very sad to lose my first-born. You’re supposed to die before your kids” she said of her loss.

Attempting, countless times, to hep her son, Sally would often attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings while Patrick remained at home, saying, “In the end, he had to help himself.”

“I remember the day. Mum was distraught. She did all she could but it wasn’t enough” said Sally’s second son, Anthony Conforti.

Sally’s high-spirited outlook and flamboyant nature is the perfect disguise for the hidden trauma surrounding the death of her son. Outwardly, she appears light-hearted, radiating buoyancy and positivity, but underneath her façade, is grief regarding Patrick’s death, along with the guilt that prompts the thought that she could’ve done more to save him.

After being diagnosed with emphysema in 2013, sally needed full time care. Residing in Austral at the RSL Lifecare Tobruk Retirement Village, her son Anthony visits every day.

Her genial personality continues to leave a lasting impression on her primary carer Eleanor Clarke, who said, “Sally has been through a lot. I think losing Patrick has made her the kind, strong woman she is today. She’s always up for a chat and she always has a smile on her face.”

Despite her loss and hardship, Sally remains the picture of positivity, saying “It does affect you when you lose a family member, but life’s got to go on and I just had to learn to live with it.”

Twitter – Shaneese Royal 

(All images photographed by myself)

(Credit and thanks to Kathleen ‘Sally’ Conforti and the staff at RSL LifeCare Austral)