Media releases

  • Brock experts comment on Pokemon Go phenomenon

    EXPERT ADVISORY: R00150 – 13 July 2016

    The dreams of 90s kids everywhere are coming true.

    People all over the world are downloading the mobile app Pokemon Go, and have become what they have always dreamt of: Pokemon Trainers. Even in Canada, where the app is not officially available yet, people have found workarounds and are playing the recently released mobile game.

    With the use of augmented reality technology, players can view the digital creatures on their mobile phones in conjunction with what they are viewing and experiencing in real-life through their phone’s GPS and camera.

    There have already been numerous injury reports related to using the app and concerns over privacy.

    “Privacy concerns about Pokemon Go are surfacing some of the ongoing issues associated with the access and use of our personal information by apps,” says Brock University Communication, Popular Culture & Film Assistant Professor, Karen Louise Smith. “Until very recently, users were consenting to the provision of more data than Niantic, the company that produced Pokemon Go, states it was actually using.”

    Smith says people need to be vigilant about the terms they consent to when they access games and other apps. However, she says corporations should also hold some of the responsibility when it comes to privacy protection.
    “Corporations have an ongoing responsibility to make privacy policies and other terms of service understandable in everyday contexts where technologies are used. Companies also need to be reasonable about what data they ask to access in return for the provision of a service such as a cell phone game."

    Assistant Professor Dale Bradley says Niantic has hit the jackpot for the collection of information — the new currency in the online world.

    "Apps that can garner large audiences that frequently return to the app on a daily basis are the holy grail for business models based on data aggregation and consumer information,” he says.

    Recent data suggests Pokemon Go could be on track to surpass some of the most popular apps in the world such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for daily use.

    From a technology perspective, Bradley says Go appears to be the first augmented reality app to gain traction and attention in the marketplace.

    “This is likely due as much to the interest of Millenials in the content as it is to the decidedly ‘nifty’ augmented reality (AR), geo-caching nature of the game,” says Bradley, adding that Millenials were around 10 years old at the height of the original Pokemon craze.

    “The technological significance of Pokemon Go is that it’s the first app to provide a successful business model for AR by bringing it into the realm of popular culture,” says Bradley.

    Both Assistant Professor Karen Louise Smith and Assistant Professor Dale Bradley are available for interviews about the popularity of Pokemon Go.

    For more information or to arrange interviews:
    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Brock ‘supercourses’ allow students to quickly earn credits

    MEDIA RELEASE: R00148 – 12 July 2016

    Take an entire semester and compress it down into one week of learning. That’s the concept behind Brock University’s growing selection of ‘supercourses.’

    These accelerated courses allow students to earn credits in an intensive week of full-day classes.

    Zanab Jafry Shah completed three supercourses in three weeks this spring.
    “You live it, you breathe it and you do learn it,” said the third-year medical science student. “It really is a semester’s worth of work put into a week.”

    Brock Professors Brent Faught and Madelyn Law, from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, brought accelerated courses to Brock in 2010 with two spring offerings. In the first year, the success rate was 100%.
    “No one failed and no one dropped out,” Law said.

    But, there were questions about the new teaching method.
    “There was some constructive criticism by faculty — their biggest question was about knowledge retention,” Faught said.

    The pair set out to find out how much information students were learning and retaining in the accelerated format, which can range from one to two weeks depending on the class.
    “We tested it. There is no difference in knowledge retention after three months, six months and 12 months,” Faught said.

    He said their research also indicated that no significant difference exists in the final class average when comparing traditional versus accelerated courses.

    The study examined 270 participating first- and fourth-year students at Brock who were enrolled in either a traditional or accelerated course format during the 2013-2014 academic year. One day in the accelerated course covered approximately two weeks’ worth of material in the traditional format.

    All of the class content and evaluation criteria, along with the instructors, were the same. When the course was finished, students were quizzed three, six and 12 months later to test their knowledge retention.

    Law and Faught, along with student Michelle Zahradnik, recently released their research through the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario with their paper “How much do students remember over time? Longitudinal knowledge retention in traditional versus accelerated learning environments.”

    Now that the question of whether accelerated courses are effective learning tools has been answered, Law and Faught said post-secondary institutions should continue developing courses to meet student needs.

    “Based on this research, Brock’s commitment to offering a diversity of pedagogic methods will continue,” said Anna Lathrop, Vice Provost, Teaching, Learning and Student Success.

    “We anticipate that the University will continue to prioritize flexible teaching and learning strategies in our next Strategic Mandate Agreement. It’s another way to put students first.”

    She said Brock has embraced the accelerated format because it offers students more flexibility as they balance work, life and study. Brock currently offers more than 40 accelerated courses to its students.
    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases