Communication - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Connecting Classrooms for 21st Century Learning: A Study of Alignment, Innovation and Change in a BC School District

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-07-09
Abstract: 

Aligning information technology (IT) with an organization’s strategy has presented an enduring problem for organizations wishing to exploit the strategic potential of technology. For some time the concept of IT alignment has been closely associated with increases in organizational performance, agility and the capacity of organizations to transform and change themselves. This has motivated researchers and practitioners alike to search for increasingly effective means through which they can understand, shape and integrate information technologies to support strategic goals.The idea of alignment has been especially problematic in educational organizations and school districts that have long been struggling to effectively integrate technology into classrooms. In education, information and communication technologies have an historical legacy of being viewed as not much more than a way to reduce labour costs. This is beginning to change as administrators increasingly reflect on the failures of the past and the demands they must meet in the future.This dissertation develops an analysis of IT alignment in an educational organization by presenting an examination of the design, development and deployment of a social computing innovation called a Collaborative Learning Platform (CLP) in a greater Vancouver school district.The dissertation aims to make several contributions to theoretical and empirical work on the subject of alignment, and attempts to challenge existing conceptions and approaches to the problem. It suggests that in spite of the volumes of research on IT alignment, much of this work has failed to pay attention to the complexity of the phenomenon and has instead continued to provide prescriptive advice of limited utility. Much of this research has also lacked theoretical substance, which has made it difficult to discern any cohesive explanation about what alignment actually means or how it works.The dissertation addresses these problems in the context of an educational reform initiative in British Columbia. By using ideas from actor-network theory, structuration theory and critical sociology, this research provides a theoretically informed and empirically grounded description of IT alignment that reveals a complex and contingent process. The contributions developed in this work suggest that IT alignment is not a state, but an ongoing and iterative process involving the strategic design and deployment of what actor-network theory calls technological mediators. An mediator is a information technology that simply transports meaning between actors and coordinates their interactions. mediators have communicative significance because they work to represent and translate organizational strategies through contexts of everyday practice. In so doing, these mediators enact and simultaneously structure the activities involved in alignment. The process of alignment is essentially recursive and historical, involving the ability of actors to pragmatically incorporate these mediators into their practices.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Andrew Feenberg
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Forgotten Relations: Revisiting Papergirl Vancouver’s Feminist and Social Practice Art Roots

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-04-16
Abstract: 

Papergirl Vancouver is part of a global network of community art projects that redefine street and participatory art by combining philanthropy, bicycles, and the gifting of art. Papergirl is not alone in explicitly challenging the art market economy, but its simultaneous reaction against neoliberal and postfeminist discourses and absorption by them makes it the site of productive contradictions. Using interviews with participants and fieldwork, this thesis situates Papergirl’s roots in the Second Wave feminist art movement. As part of the repudiation of feminist politics, feminist art’s contributions to contemporary art have arguably been absorbed into and forgotten by social practice art. Elements of social practice art are compatible with neoliberal discourses, contributing to its depoliticization. This thesis questions the depoliticization of Papergirl Vancouver. It aims to reconnect Papergirl Vancouver to the activist roots of social practice art and considers ways to reclaim and reignite feminist art activism within the project.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Zoe Druick
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Broadcasting in the era of plenty: the case for national public television in Canada

Date created: 
2014-04-07
Abstract: 

Public service broadcasting (PSB) plays a unique role in media landscapes across the world. This thesis argues that, while the broadcasting landscape in Canada has changed as new technologies have developed and the overall environment in which PSB operates has evolved, there is still a role for it to play in the country. With a focus on national public television in Canada, a timeline of the evolution of PSB in the country as it appears in official policy documents is provided. After establishing a timeline of development, this thesis discusses national public television in the 21st century through an analysis of interventions submitted to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) 2013 licence renewals. It is demonstrated through a content analysis of the nearly 6,000 English-language interventions submitted, that Canadians support the continued existence of the CBC. Suggestions for future research are also discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter Anderson
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Understanding the work of telehealth implementation using Normalization Process Theory

Date created: 
2014-04-14
Abstract: 

This dissertation uses the theoretical constructs of Normalization Process Theory (NPT) to examine the successful implementation of an innovative telehealth service that delivers occupational health nursing services to a large healthcare employee population over a wide geographic area. Telehealth services have come to be regarded as a possible means to improve access to health care services, clinical efficiency, and cost effectiveness in an era where there are shrinking resources and growing health care demands. Yet there is still much to be learned about how these complex interventions advance beyond pilot projects to become the normal way of working.Using a case study of a successful re-organization of occupational health nursing services, the study used qualitative data collection methods: semi-structured interviews, analysis of documents, and site observations. Data were analyzed using the framework method of analysis informed by the constructs of NPT. This study adds to a growing literature that supports the utility of NPT in identifying the work necessary to successfully implement complex interventions in healthcare settings. It underlines the importance of understanding technology as practice, and suggests prospective applications of the theory.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Richard Smith
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Toward a Copernican Revolution: Flanerie, Critique and Capitalist Modernity in Walter Benjamin

Date created: 
2014-04-15
Abstract: 

Walter Benjamin refers to the commodified dream world of nineteenth century Paris as a ‘little universe’, in which the Parisian Arcades first form a modern cosmos of intoxicating ‘phantasmagoria’ that blunts the human capacity to perceive things as they ‘truly are’. Benjamin’s proposed methodology for the ‘dialectical image’ describes a potentially explosive force that would serve to disrupt the centrifugal balance of the historicism of this phantasmagoric universe. Benjamin hoped that his Passagen-Werk would spark a ‘Copernican turn of remembrance’ to generate a revolutionary awakening in his own time. Key to these ambitions is the figure of the flaneur who first found his entrepreneurial niche strolling the glass and iron corridors of the Parisian Arcades, and who became progressively alienated from both the city as well as his social class in the years that followed 1848. This thesis demonstrates how the intersection of the flaneur with Walter Benjamin’s work enriches our understanding of both in turn. By engaging with the notion of the flaneur/flanerie as it specifically applies to Benjamin’s work, as well as with how Benjamin’s work is enriched through a broader, deeper historical understanding of the flaneur, I argue that the flaneur becomes a multifaceted and in-depth means of theorizing capitalist/urban experience. The redeeming potential that can be found in the expressions of those who have been most marginalized in society exists as an important theme to Benjamin’s concept of historical awakening and the dialectical image, particularly as it pertains to the work of Charles Baudelaire. From this context, I explore the relationship of Benjamin’s work on the flaneur to his own vantage point at the dawn of the Second World War. The tragic fate of the flaneur foreshadows the political nihilism and, ultimately, self-destructive impulses of inter-war Europe. Yet the redeeming hope and value that Benjamin finds in fragments of poetry and prose left behind by Baudelaire’s alienated flaneur lies in its revolutionary potential as a source of dialectical images.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Shane Gunster
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Strengthening university and community capacities: models for engagement and education

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-01-17
Abstract: 

This thesis examines ways in which low literacy and essential skill levels, and access to education, have profound implications for community health and are inextricably linked to other social determinants of health. It explores possibilities for forging new and innovative ways for excluded individuals and communities to participate meaningfully in university-based education, specifically with respect to Simon Fraser University and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. The thesis examines a number of theoretical and methodological approaches from various disciplines, including public health, public policy, adult education, critical and indigenous pedagogies, and communication for social change; gives an overview of relevant examples of university-community engagement activities; extracts key lessons learned from a case study of community engaged programming that occurred at Simon Fraser University in 2011/2012; and concludes by making recommendations for strengthened efforts on the part of the university to sustain collaboratively developed community-engaged programming.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Martin Laba
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

New Media and the Turn to Experience in Environmental Communication

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-10-04
Abstract: 

This dissertation explores the design of new media technologies for engaging the public on the political aspects of urban sustainability. Focusing on new media’s “responsive aesthetics”, it asks, how are interactive experiences designed to mediate the underlying political culture of sustainability? In order to provide initial answers to this question, this dissertation draws on phenomenological approaches to the philosophy of technology, critical theory and contemporary work in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), to develop a framework for considering the politicizing aspects of interactive experiences. At its centre is a conception of interactivity as a form of world disclosure that mediates being, perception, action and meaning. The validity and utility of the conceptual framework is demonstrated with a variety of case studies that include Mash Notes, a public interactive installation; MetroQuest, a sustainability decision support tool; public engagement processes facilitated by UBC’s Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP); and several “serious” games. The design of interactive experiences is discussed on the background of what is identified here as an incipient turn to experience in environmental communication. Perceived as a response to the decline of the dominant science communication paradigm, known as the information deficit model, the turn to experience is explained as an appeal to resonant, felt, meaningful aspects of the public’s perception of, and engagement with, environmental issues. It is illustrated by two communicative strategies: the first aims to evoke resonant experiences with politicizing effects, while the second aims to create consonance between the public’s everyday experiences and the issues underpinning political decision-making. The dissertation’s critical analysis of the relations between politics and design aims to provide environmental communicators with a better understanding of the potentials and limitations of designing interactive experiences to engage the public on sustainability, and provide technology designers with a more comprehensive and nuanced conception of the political significance of their creations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Andrew Feenberg
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Gender and the Games Industry: The Experiences of Female Game Workers

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-02-08
Abstract: 

In the digital games industry women are statistical and cultural outliers. Using a cultural studies lens, this thesis examines the experiences of women game-makers in order to more deeply understand the attitudes of female game-workers, and to ascertain whether work in the male dominated gamed industry can be ‘good work’ for women. When compared to other cultural sectors, female game workers face unique barriers to sustaining careers in this high status industry. Gender stereotypes keep many women from fully participating in games industry culture which in turn discriminates against any worker who does not fit in to the ‘might is right’ mindset. Female game workers are getting mixed signals from an industry that appears to desire gender diversity in order to attract the growing ranks of female gamers, but is resistant to change sexist and discriminatory work practices that continue to alienate women.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alison Beale
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

An inquiry into animal rights vegan activists' perception and practice of persuasion

Date created: 
2012-06-28
Abstract: 

This thesis interrogates the persuasive practices of Animal Rights Vegan Activists (ARVAs) in order to determine why and how ARVAs fail to convince people to become and stay veg*n, and what they might do to succeed. While ARVAs and ARVAism are the focus of this inquiry, the approaches, concepts and theories used are broadly applicable and therefore this investigation is potentially useful for any activist or group of activists wishing to interrogate and improve their persuasive practices.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gary McCarron
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Listening to a Sense of Place: Acoustic Ethnography with Billy Proctor in the Broughton Archipelago, British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-04-15
Abstract: 

The thesis explores soundwalking, memory and aural history through participatory exploration. My ethnographic work involves extensive documentation of a private museum in Echo Bay, a remote fishing and logging community in the Broughton Archipelago, BC. This museum houses artifacts, many of which have acoustic components. The proprietor and elder, Billy Proctor, has many stories to tell about his collection and how it reflects the history and ecology of the area. My work aims to show how approaching history and memory through listening and soundmaking constitutes a unique experiential methodology, different from visual methods of observation. This qualitative study explores the embodied, sensuous, performative, narrative and dialectic aspects of the documentation, recording, and listening process and practice. In addition, the technique of “memory soundwalks” is added to the lexicon of soundscape and memory studies. The utilization of such creative soundscape methodologies and epistemologies enables this ethnographic work to extend into the public sphere via multiple modes, media, and formats for the general public, for example, as an audio-tourism project for the Billy Proctor Museum, and as multi-media documentations and art presentations, such as the award-winning short film, “Listening to a Sense of Place” (2012) co-created with Greg Crompton.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
etd7795_JSchine_supp_001.mp4
Senior supervisor: 
Barry Truax
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.