Sunday, April 23, 2017

Core Post 5: Interactivity, boundaries, and education_ India Wilson

Professor McPherson's piece, Reload, caused me to do a fair amount of reflection on my own experiences with 'interactive websites and companies. In particular, I found myself focusing on notions of boundary within these forums and the ways in which commerce has dictated the (in many cases failed) interactive enterprises and better ways they may've been utilized. 

At one point in the article, Mcpherson writes, "The interfaces deployed by MSNBC (and most other commercial Web sites) suggests a sense of liveness and movement even while the very programming which underwrites them works to guide and impede the user’s trajectory. (206). Here McPherson addresses the boundaries built into interactive forums. Sometimes the illusion of control in a situation like the JFK simulation can be even more frustrating than simply watching a guided narrative. I think that may be one of the problems that the interactive world has seen. I often find myself starting to navigate through something, but not being able to open a certain door or look closer at some painting on the wall of the imagined space. How frustrating! Ultimately, as a form of entertainment interactive, as it stands presently fails to follow through on what it promises: control over your viewing experience and virtual world. That said, the same problem often exists within video games, but proves less frustrating because the boundaries and working one's way around them becomes a part of the excitement of the game, particularly if you are working to achieve a goal within a limited amount of time or, for instance, little virtual characters are shooting at you. 

Furthermore, I currently work at the appropriately named DEN institute in the engineering school where I am a camera operator for the lectures that they live stream. Most of my job centers on creating a 'seamless' education experience for distance students who watch the live lectures. My experience there leads me to believe that The type of convergence that Neuman describes could be incredibly valuable in a more widespread educational format, yet that has limited commercial capacity so I doubt that anything similar will emerge at any point soon. Channels like Discovery and National Geographic are currently making great strides in terms of their content, but in many ways moving toward a higher budget cinematic model. I think we would likely be seeing a movement toward interactive if it were seen to be as commercially viable as being able to "click and buy Jennifer Aniston's sweater." I hope one day, someone will find a way to make click and learn a more exciting and accessible form of interactive media... but alas...

1 comment:

  1. I think questions surrounding the development of an interactive virtual 3D space are illuminated by historically examining technological shifts. When the MSNBC JFK simulation was operational, the web was exclusively accessed through a PC, the only imaginable portal for such content at that time. Five years later, with the development of the smartphone, we begin to see a fracturing of the kinds of screens through which we can access online space. These new screens, though portable and therefore massively expanding the spaces in which we can access the Internet, perhaps also disrupted the move toward the kinds of interactions elicited by the JFK experience. Of course, now we are in an age of developing VR, so who knows the potential of those kinds of experiences as they relate to web content.