Dystopia Daily

“I should preface this by saying, ‘I’m not really a conspiracy theorist,’” I find myself explaining. “But I’m doing this course on e-Learning and Digital Cultures and I created this website as a digital artefact for the final assessment.”

The header of the fictional Dystopian Daily newspaper.

The course covered e-learning and Digital Cultures around ideas such as Utopian and Dystopian visions of the future as well as what it meant to be human and what it might mean to be ‘beyond’ human. We were told to create an artefact to demonstrate our ideas. It could be practically anything, but it needed to have a URL of its own. There were presentations and videos and blog posts and other things presented by other participants. But as a web design student it seemed appropriate to create a website, so I did — a fictional online news source with dystopian leanings.

I liked the idea of playing with the idea of dystopia and the newspaper form. If bad news sells, surely Dystopia Daily would have the market cornered? It was fun juxtaposing serious and real things (Obama’s drones) with more playful, fictional ones (self-aware vacuum cleaner, anyone?).

Feedback From Peers

I received a 2 for this assessment (which was the highest option available from this particular marking scale) and I was delighted to receive the feedback my course peers gave me. I would like to share it with you here.

Peer 1

[The numbers refer to specific marking criteria.] Peer 1 wote:

1. The artefact addresses the power of technology and whether it is controlling or over controlling our lives. It talks about utopia vs. dystopia and the vulnerability of digital information 2. The author talks about technology in the future and reasserting the human using many different sources of information available online. 3. The artefact touches on the topic of digital education and the value (or not) of humans as educators in a high tech world where robots and machines are fast replacing humans due to their superior ability to minimize or even eliminate error. 4. The artifact is presented in the form of a website that addresses various issues on technological dystopia and is very effective and to the point. It is also engaging as it uses many different sources. 5. The artefact is definitely thought provoking, but also seems to stem from a conspiracy theorist point of view, which I don’t always support. Nice work, though.

I was impressed with the creative approach of using a website as a medium to reiterate the concepts learned during the course.

Peer 2

Peer 2 wrote:

Your artifact gives warnings about dystopian threats without ending up looking like a doom scenario conspiracy theory tabloid-like production. I like the way you did that because it drew the issue out of a futuristic scifi realm and into an entirely perceivable contemporary setting that already affects everyone. Offering solutions to prevent things from deteriorating to the point of dystopia by controlled information overload helped to keep it real, as did links to real current issues, like drones. I also liked the subtle way that you point out how we do have the power to steer, with things like the quote “Any teacher that can be replaced by a machine should be!” The piece is actually quite empowering and offers the right amount of information top raise interest without intellectualising and theorising the question to death.

The piece is concise and engaging. It points out the severe threat of a dystopia without sketching a hopeless situation over which we humans have no power. Linking current situations and news helped to draw me into a process that is real and underway.

Peer 3

Peer 3 wrote:

Perfect showing of utopian and dystopian views. This person should get a 4! I love the creative way he credited his sources. The interactive website is an awesome idea. Exceptional work, even shows a sense of humor.

This person is very creative. The interactive website is great. The page even shows a sense of humor something lacking in my own artefact. Super job. Shows a full understanding of all five points.

Peer 4

Peer 4 wrote:

I really enjoyed this presentation and chosen format. I felt the author did a good job of presenting several of the key concepts addressed in both blocks including dystopia/utopia and human aspects. The artefact suggests that digital education allows greater freedom and flexibility but also emphasizes the need to exercise caution and balance our “want” and “need” for more information.

I really enjoyed the presentation and format. It was easy to follow and held my attention. The information was easily retrievable and interesting.

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