Volume 7 [Issue 1], 2015



Christopher S. Walsh


Variations in recruitment yield, costs, speed and participant diversity across Internet platforms in a global study examining the efficacy of an HIV/AIDS and HIV testing animated and live-action video among English- or Spanishspeaking Internet or social media users

Winnie Shao, Wentao Guan, Melissa A. Clark, Tao Liu, Claudia Santelices, Dharma E. Cortes and Roland C. Merchant, MD


For a world-wide, Internet-based study on HIV/AIDS and HIV testing knowledge, we compared the yields, speed and costs of recruitment and participant diversity across free postings on 13 Internet or social media platforms, paid advertising or postings on 3 platforms, and separate free postings and paid advertisements on Facebook. Platforms were compared by study completions (yield), time to completion, completion to enrollment ratios (CERs), and costs/completion; and by participants’ demographic characteristics, HIV testing history, and health literacy levels. Of the 482 Englishspeaking participants, Amazon Mechanical Turk yielded the most participants, recruited participants at the fastest rate and had the highest CER (0.78) and lowest costs/completion. Of the 335 Spanishspeaking participants, Facebook yielded the most participants and recruited participants at the fastest rate, although Amazon Mechanical Turk had the highest CER (0.72) and lowest costs/completion. Across platforms participants differed substantially according to their demographic characteristics, HIV testing history and health literacy skills. The study results highlight the need for researchers to strongly consider choice of Internet or social media platforms when conducting Internet-based research. Because of the sample specifications and cost restraints of studies, specific Internet/social media or participant selection platforms will be much more effective or appropriate than others.


Procedural Rhetoric and Undocumented Migrants: Playing the Debate over Immigration Reform

Osvaldo Cleger


The main purpose of this article is to analyze how a representative selection of computer games, set mostly in a Latin American context or at the US-Mexico border, are capable of mounting arguments about immigration policy by making good or poor uses of what Ian Bogost has conceptualized as “procedural rhetoric” (Bogost 2007). In other words, my goal in this article is to explore to what extent videogames can be effectively persuasive in the way they manage to create a computational representation of the experience of migrating, and its associated consequences, independently of the legal or illegal status of such displacements. This article revises current research on procedural representation to offer a detailed analysis of a representative selection of digital games dealing with this particular issue (Border Patrol, Tropico (I-IV), ICED!, Rescate: Alicia Croft, and Papers, Please). Finally, I will show how two commercial games produced mostly for entertainment purposes (such as Tropico and Papers, Please) can be more effective at mounting a procedural argument and, plausibly, at influencing players’ opinions on a particular issue than a “serious game” (such as ICED!). Based on this analysis, I propose to move beyond this distinction between entertaining and serious to focus on what is particular about videogames in general, that can make them into more efficient tools to disseminate ideas and provide players with more opportunities for experiential learning.


Book Review: Adrienne Shaw’s Gaming at the Edge: Sexuality and Gender at the Margins of Gamer Culture

Sabine Harrer


Adrienne Shaw starts her book “Gaming at the Edge” with a childhood memory about everyday life in Japan. She recalls receiving a Nintendo console and a handful of games from her mother, which her friends and family enjoyed playing on for years. “Because of all this”, she concludes, “it never really occurred to me that gaming was something only a certain type of person did. In fact, it was only in my adult life that I heard people talking about the heterosexual, white, cisgendered male gamer as the norm”

Conceptualising and measuring collaborative critical thinking on asynchronous discussion forums: Challenges and possible solutions

Nazanin Ghodrati


The use of asynchronous discussion forums (ADFs) is thought to assist in enhancing students’ collaborative learning and critical thinking throughout higher education. However, previous research has mainly focused on individual critical thinking while the investigation of critical thinking during group work has been generally overlooked. Furthermore, few studies have investigated critical thinking processes of the individual and of the group in a single study to present a comprehensive picture of collaborative critical thinking (CCT). To address these gaps, I examined the demonstration of CCT on ADFs in a graduate subject at an Australian university over two academic semesters as students discussed topics online. In this paper, I discuss the ontological and methodological challenges in conducting the above research and present possible solutions to these challenges. At the ontological level, I discuss challenges in conceptualising and defining CCT. At the methodological level, I present challenges in constructing a coding scheme to measure the demonstration of CCT on ADFs. I then discuss ways to tackle the above challenges, propose an operational definition of CCT and present a synthetic coding scheme for measuring CCT in computer-supported collaborative learning contexts such as on ADFs.


Educating generation next: Screen media use, digital competencies and tertiary education

Toija Cinque & Adam Brown


This article investigates the use of screen media and digital competencies of higher education students in light of the growing focus on new media and e-learning in Australian universities. The authors argue that there is a need to resist the commonplace utopian and dystopian discourses surrounding new media technological innovation, and approach the issue of its potential roles and limitations in higher education settings with due care. The article analyses survey data collected from first-year university students to consider what screen media they currently make use of, how frequently these media are interacted with, and in what settings and for what purposes they are used. The article considers what implications the digital practices and competencies of young adults have for pedagogical programs that aim to engage them in virtual environments