Lu Weiquan Empowers Teaching Through Augmented Reality Tool

Assistant Professor Lu Weiquan describing CNM’s modules to a potential student at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ Open House

Although games popularised the use of Augmented Reality (AR) in our daily lives, its real power lies in its potential to transform education. Which is why Assistant Professor Lu Weiquan’s innovative tool ConjAR- a mobile AR scene-authoring tool for designing AR scenes within an AR environment- received so much attention at the recent National Conference on Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL).

A Straits Times article extols ConjAR as a mobile application that:

…runs as a mobile application, and allows users to design and showcase 3D augmented reality scenes without prior training. For example, if a professor wants to explain the brain to his class, he can download a 3D image of a brain from the Internet, and create a model that can be turned and shifted while he is conducting his lesson.

Source: The Straits Times

Another demonstration of how NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media’s teaching and research continues to break new ground in bridging the diverse threads of emerging fields and future work.

Professor Mohan J. Dutta Wins The National Communication Association Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award

The National Communication Association’s Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award is given out to the best health communication researcher, recognizing the lasting contributions made to health communication. The Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award recognizes a significant and original contribution, in the form of a monograph, book, and/or program of research, to the study and application of the field of Health Communication. There are five nomination criteria.  The scholar’s work must have:

  • a significant and long-lasting effect on the field of Health Communication;
  • strong heuristic value;
  • influence over others’ work;
  • originality regarding theory, research, and/or practice; and
  • contributed to the development of Health Communication as a distinct field of study.

The award recognizes Professor Mohan J Dutta’s development of the meta-theoretical framework of the culture-centered approach (CCA), for theorizing, empirically examining, and implementing community-driven participatory health communication interventions for addressing health disparities. The conceptual framework of the CCA explores the ways in which:

  1. social structures constrain and enable the health experiences of individuals, groups and communities,
  2. cultural meanings provide interpretive frames for engaging the social structures within which health meanings are negotiated, and
  3. agency is enacted in the day-to-day communicative practices of individuals, groups and communities that negotiate with the social structures and simultaneously seek to transform them.

The impetus of this research program is on explaining the cultural determinants of health inequalities and the constitutive role of communicative tools of dialogue, participation, and voice in transforming these inequalities. Theoretically, this line of work engage with cultural voices in building health interventions that seek to transform unhealthy social structures, and identify positive cultural resources that promote health and well-being. In attending the role of communication as voice, the CCA changes the paradigm of how health communication interventions are conceptualized, implemented, and evaluated. Specifically, the CCA has been utilized to understand the:

  • roles of health information as resources for individuals, groups and communities,
  • relationship between community and health as an entry point for community participation,
  • roles of local, national and global health policies in creating health experiences at the margins of social systems, and
  • agency of the underserved segments of the population in addressing unhealthy social structures.

The key concepts outlined of the CCA are mapped out in the book, Communicating health: A culture-centered approach published by Polity Press in 2007, along with over 82 publications in the 2012-2017 period in the form of book chapters and journal articles, including articles in top tier journals such as Communication Theory, Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Journal of Communication, and Qualitative Health Research.  The CCA has served as the basis for health communication intervention research carried out at the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) at the National University of Singapore.

At NUS, CARE has run over thirty culture-centered interventions, producing policy briefs, white papers, media advocacy campaigns, documentary films, photo exhibitions, and 360 degree media interventions, reaching over 3 million audiences spread across 7 countries (including India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Singapore and the United States), and generating a variety of outcomes from design maps for community hospital infrastructures, community forestry projects, irrigation projects, cultural resource centers, solutions to food insecurity, community food gardens, indigenous-owned seed banks, health promotion interventions. In recognition of this work, he currently serves on the World Health Organization (WHO), Europe’s Expert Advisory Council (EAC) on the “Cultural Contexts of Health and Wellbeing” group, and has served as an expert for UNICEF, UNESCO, US National Library of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences. Some recent projects that have been completed engage:

  1. African American communities in inner city Indiana to develop culturally-based grassroots health advocacy and health activism resources directed at improving heart health;
  2. Communities of women who have had a heart attack or stroke in Singapore to develop a culturally-based heart health intervention;
  3. Malay community members who experience risks of heart disease to develop a culture-centered health promotion intervention; and
  4. Community members in the Queenstown area to develop a community-driven, culturally situated health services design plan to guide the Alexandra Hospital planning team.

Similar culture-centered projects carried out with sex workers and transgender populations in India have developed community-based health resources, communication advocacy interventions, and peer leader toolkits. In recognition of the impact of the CCA, the WHO-Europe report on “Cultural Contexts of Health” adopts the CCA as a framework for communicating health. The CCA has been adopted as a framework in over 55 doctoral dissertations. Other teams of scholars have utilized the CCA for intervention development in Israel, United States, Nepal, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Ghana, China, Hong Kong, and Nigeria. Finally, the entry of the CCA in Encyclopedia and Handbook Chapters on health communication attest to the lasting impact that the framework has made on the field.

CNM Dialogues In Comms- The Role of Moral Emotions in Environmental Risk Communication: The Case of Environmental Victim Portrayals

Mr Hang Lu will facilitate a discussion on:

The Role of Moral Emotions in Environmental Risk Communication: The Case of Environmental Victim Portrayals

As both local and global environments experience rapid change, we have seen an increasing number of environmental victims depicted in the media. As a powerful driver of human actions, moral emotions—such as anger, compassion, and guilt—influence how we respond to these portrayals, including which actions we choose to take with regards to victims’ suffering.

In this talk, Hang will discuss the role that moral emotions play in influencing how audience members respond to messages about environmental victims. He will present findings from three experimental studies illustrating how a range of moral emotions, elicited from different sources and at different time points, shape reactions to environmental victims. He will conclude by considering implications of appealing to moral emotions in strategic environmental risk messaging as well as future directions for research in this emerging area.

DATE: Wednesday, 15 Nov 2017
TIME: 4:30 PM
VENUE: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Block AS6, #03-33, CNM Meeting Room

CNM Dialogues In Comms- The communication of and public opinion about risk, science and the environment: a multidimensional approach

Dr Silje Kristiansen will facilitate a discussion on:

The communication of and public opinion about risk, science and the environment: a multidimensional approach

Silje Kristiansen studies risk, science and environmental communication from different perspectives. In her risk coverage studies she applies a multidimensional risk construct to media treatments of different types of risk over long periods of coverage. In her PhD she tracks how the risk coverage developed in the Swiss print media after the nuclear energy accident in Fukushima, and identifies risk coverage attention phases. One of her studies looks at Swiss attitudes to nuclear energy and identifies risk perception as the strongest predictor of public opinion.

In recent work Kristiansen analyses how the US media cover different risk dimensions of different low-carbon emitting energy technologies including nuclear, solar, wind and fracking. In her presentation she will also show her research on public attitudes towards science, and on how ‘digital-born’ media differ from legacy media in their coverage of climate change.

DATE: Monday, 13 Nov 2017
TIME: 3:30 PM
VENUE: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Block AS6, #03-33, CNM Meeting Room

CNM Dialogues In Comms- Reducing Health Risk Disparities: Describing the Social Processes of Health Decision-making and Developing Culturally Appropriate Health Messages

Assistant Professor Yu Lu will facilitate a discussion on:

Reducing Health Risk Disparities: Describing the Social Processes of Health Decision-making and Developing Culturally Appropriate Health Messages

The development and implementations of successful health programs and interventions has evidenced improved health outcomes for many.  However, the success is not uniformly realized and certain groups (e.g., racial/ethnic minority groups, developing countries) suffer from heightened health risks. To address health risk disparities, it is important to examine and describe the social processes of health decision-making and, based on this knowledge, develop culturally appropriate, effective messages to promote positive health behaviour changes in targeted populations.

This talk will introduce three research projects that aim to address health risk disparities across multiple populations (i.e., Americans, Chinese immigrants, and Kenyans). This work lays the ground for continued efforts to develop culturally appropriate health messages in order to reduce health risk disparities.

 

DATE: Tuesday, 14 Nov 2017
TIME: 5:00 PM
VENUE: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Block AS6, #03-33, CNM Meeting Room

CNM Dialogues In Comms- Politically Entertained: Entertainment Media and Political Public Relations

Assistant Professor Azmat Rasul will facilitate a discussion on:

Politically Entertained: Entertainment Media and Political Public Relations

Political public relations is the art of positively changing public perceptions of political leaders in democratic societies, as public relations is a natural ally of politics. To influence public perception, political organizations have public relations experts dedicated to ensuring a politician appears in the best light possible, whether in the media or at public events. Entertainment programs are one of the most convenient vehicles used to cultivate positive perceptions of politicians and attract attention of the voters. Recent academic literature suggests that young voters acquire information about political candidates through various genres of entertainment. To examine the effects of entertainment narratives on political knowledge gain and attitude change in audiences of fictionalized accounts of female politicians, I collected data from 310 participants and the results indicated that political knowledge significantly increased and general attitudes towards female politicians became more positive after exposure to biographical political movies. A proposed SEM model of the political entertainment effects process indicated that initial political knowledge transported the audience into the biographical narrative. Increased transportation was associated with greater enjoyment, as well as political knowledge gain and more positive attitudes towards female politicians. This study contributed to the existing literature on political public relations by suggesting that fictional entertainment could be used as an effective public relations tool to change political attitudes.

In another study, I examined the effects of Facebook use on political attitudes, as social media and the Internet have added a new layer to public relations and political campaigns. Candidates need a social media strategy to keep them in the minds of voters. For example, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been creating easy-to-share social media posts to describe her student loan policies. I was interested in examining if the new and interactive modes of communication were influencing political attitudes of young voters. Data collected from 242 young adults indicated that Facebook use was positively and significantly related to various political attitudes. Facebook use led to heightened levels of political self-efficacy and political support, while political self-efficacy mediated the relationship between Facebook use and political participation among young adults. The findings suggested that use of social media platforms led to political well-being of young publics, and enhanced efficacy of the public relations strategies in political campaigns. In accordance with recent literature in political public relations, my study suggested that social media and digital space will continue to be of critical importance to the public relations practitioners.

DATE: Wednesday, 8 Nov 2017
TIME: 3:30 PM
VENUE: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Block AS6, #03-33, CNM Meeting Room

CNM Dialogues In Comms- Mortal vs Machine: Towards an Understanding of Human-Human Communication and Human-Automation Communication in Management Decision-Making

Mr Andrew Prahl will facilitate a discussion on:

Mortal vs Machine: Towards an Understanding of Human-Human Communication and Human-Automation Communication in Management Decision-Making

Automation is playing a larger role in organizations every day. Many roles once performed by humans are now performed, or supplemented, by advanced forms of automation that allow decision-makers receive advice on important decisions without interacting with another human. This talk covers recent research on the phenomenon, including the organizational communication and social psychological consequences of automated advice. Empirical research will be presented as well as a future research agenda designed to keep pace with the rapid advance of automation, including “social” and “moral” automation.

 

 

DATE: Wednesday, 8 Nov 2017
TIME: 4:30 PM
VENUE: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Block AS6, #03-33, CNM Meeting Room

CNM Dialogues In Comms- The Role of Culture and Message Design in the Context of Family Health History Communication

Assistant Professor Soo Jung Hong will facilitate a discussion on:

The Role of Culture and Message Design in the Context of Family Health History Communication

Knowing about familial disease risk is essential for accurate risk assessment, the effective prevention of disease, and the reduction of disease risks. Communicating family history can be affected by regulatory barriers that lead individuals to resist sharing this information. In my research presentation, I will talk about the role of culture and designing cultural narrative evidence within the context of family health history (FHH) communication. After introducing the context of research briefly, my presentation will first cover the overarching theoretical perspectives that guide the method and result sections of this study. This section includes socio-cultural influences on FHH communication, and theoretical foundations for designing and testing cultural narrative messages. Then, I will briefly present research procedures that include the three phases of a formative research, a pilot study, and a randomized trial. The results of this presentation will answer three research questions regarding 1) The influences of socio-cultural norms and family/privacy boundaries on FHH communication; 2) The influences of spiritual and religious tendencies and genetic determinism on FHH communication, and 3) The differences in the processing of cultural narrative evidence about FHH communication across cultures and message conditions. Finally, my talk will briefly cover my current and future research regarding genetic and cancer risk communication and culture.

DATE: Thursday, 9 Nov 2017
TIME: 4:00 PM
VENUE: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Block AS6, #03-33, CNM Meeting Room

CNM Dialogues In Comms- How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Change: Testing Efficacy Messages Influence on Efficacy Beliefs and Intended Individual and Collective Political Engagement

Dr Jagadish Thaker will deliver a talk on:

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Change: Testing Efficacy Messages Influence on Efficacy Beliefs and Intended Individual and Collective Political Engagement

Fear, uncertainty, hopelessness, and lack of perceived ability to reduce a global threat are identified as dampening public and policy engagement with climate change, one of foremost challenges in the 21st century. Scientists argue that we have only till 2020 to reduce or stabilise emissions before the goals of Paris Agreement become unattainable, locking us in an uncertain future. Scholars find that public disengagement is partly due to exposure to fear-inducing, inconsistent and inaccurate coverage of climate change in the mass media. Then, does exposure to efficacy information in news stories that highlight people’s ability to act on climate change, individually and collectively, increase their political engagement? Using a quasi-experimental design, a single exposure to a news story embedded with efficacy information did not significantly affect perceptions of any of the three dimensions of political self-efficacy (internal, external, response) as well as perceived collective efficacy among undergraduates (N=731) in a large city in south India. Internal efficacy, response efficacy and collective efficacy had unique, significant, and positive associations with intentions to engage in individual and collective political behaviours. In addition, internal and response efficacies had indirect effect on intentions for collective political action via perceived collective efficacy. Perceived external efficacy was not associated with intentions for intended individual or collective political action, however. The results suggest that perceived self-efficacy and collective efficacy are uniquely important to increase public engagement with climate change, yet efficacy beliefs are robust and may not be amenable to easy shifts.

DATE: Friday, 3 Nov 2017
TIME: 4:30 PM
VENUE: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Block AS6, #03-33, CNM Meeting Room

CNM Dialogues In Comms- Powerless individuals or change agents? A life-span approach to gender and career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) organisations

Dr Debalina Dutta will deliver a talk on:

Powerless individuals or change agents? A life-span approach to gender and career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) organisations

The recruitment, retention, and progression of women in STEM organisations is a global challenge, with women facing obstacles at multiple levels of progression in STEM careers, resulting in the systematic underrepresentation of women in STEM fields. Whereas the challenges experienced by women in STEM fields are shaped by the patriarchal structures that often constitute these fields, the nature of these structures and women’s experiences with the structures vary across cultural contexts. My research explores the interplays of gender, culture, and careers in international organisations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Therefore, my talk will draw upon empirical studies (mostly qualitative, including participant observations, in-depth interviews, and focus groups) conducted in U.S., Singapore, and India to examine the cultural constitution of gendered organisations in STEM, how these constructions shape the identities and experiences of women, and the strategies and resources women draw upon to sustain themselves within the often patriarchal structures of STEM organisations. Adopting a life-span approach to career negotiation and organisational sustenance, my talk will examine the ways in which gender plays out in (a) experiences of women in Asian STEM organisations; (b) women’s work home challenges and negotiations of resilience in STEM organisations; (c) role of mobile phone technologies in identity construction for women in STEM organisations; (d) effects of patriarchal STEM organisations on women’s health and wel-lbeing, and their agentic negotiations of everyday health. Women’s narratives of sustainability depict the micro-practices of negotiations of everyday organisational challenges, as well as suggest macro-level policy and program-based interventions in STEM organisations in global contexts.

DATE: Friday, 3 Nov 2017
TIME: 2:30 PM
VENUE: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Block AS6, #03-33, CNM Meeting Room