What COVID-19 has to do with Futures Studies

“The best way to predict the future is to to create it.” 

Abraham Lincoln

Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

Thinking about the future is a very odd experience. Especially in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic. In mere months we have seen our lives completely change. We have seen technologies adapt and serve new purposes. We have seen entire industries shut down, while new ones emerge, and our ideas of work change. And it is this disruption that makes Futures Studies so important.

The ability to predict and plan for the future has made or broken companies. Examining current behaviours and using current technologies to model our short-term future have been integral. But, we are now entering the medium-term and will soon begin projecting long-term. The course of the future has been changed, and in fact has already begun to change, but how much of this change is irreversable? And will society re-adapt, or will we revert back to pre-pandemic ways after this is all over?

These are questions that will all be determined by the actions, policies and regulations that are implemented during these uncertain times. And, this pandemic is an excellent example of how “the best way to predict the future is to create it”.

With this in mind, I would like to observe some of the outcomes of my experience of evaluating my peers’ projects. Below, is a critical self-evaluation of my experiences. Followed by an overview of each Digital Artefact, a short recap of my feedback, as well as the full comment that I left on their blog.

Critical Self-Reflection

I have very high expectations of myself. This is clear when you observe the amount of effort that I put into everything I do. As my mum says, “I am either 0 or 100” – I don’t do anything at half-effort. And this is very true of my university studies. Where, although I have to maintain a distinction-average as part of the Dean’s Scholar program, I strive to maintain a HD average, and work very hard to do so. I also know that I am very efficient at getting a lot of good quality work done in a short amount of time. So, to achieve the marks I desire, I have taken on a larger project.

But doing the work is only half the effort. The other half is opening myself up to constructive criticism, critically analysing my own work and using this feedback to constantly evolve the project. Thus, the process of peer commentary allowed me to better understand the demands of the task and apply this knowledge to my own project.

Photo by Mikayla Mallek on Unsplash

The process of critiquing and providing feedback on other students’ work served to be an effective method of deepening my own understanding of the task. I learned that I enjoy providing feedback and pulling together resources to help others. And, Iearned that I enjoy sharing my expertise and identifying new or different ways of getting things done. I found that explaining the concepts to others and applying them to different scenarios greatly increased my own understanding of the concepts.

I found myself learning different things from the individual projects. For example, Sam’s project opened my eyes to how successful a project born of passion can be. It truly exemplified how important a personal interest in your project is. Whereas, Tijana’s project, while very interesting, allowed me to identify what a wide research focus looked like. I was able to then apply this to my own work and decide to narrow my focus. Alternatively, Josh presented a clear project outline, with not much research to back it up. So, I learned how important it is to have a theoretical underpinning for my digital artefact to support the content in it, and the choices I make.

But it wasn’t all positive. Reading others’ work gave me a sense of insecurity surrounding my own project. Lots of people were exploring curiosities or science fiction, where my project feels more corporate, and I am struggling to tie it into the science-fiction and Futures Studies basis of the subject theories. Ultimately, the experience helped me identify that my project is lacking on the academic side of the task and requires a stronger theoretical foothold.

So, I revamped my project to better suit the subject and learning criteria. What was originally a locked page on WordPress is now a full-scale interactive intranet site. And, as per Chris’ feedback I will be expanding my theoretical considerations to focus on how the DMS can produce future leaders. Here’s a sneak peak of what I’ve achieved so far:

But, after viewing these projects that clearly stem from personal interest I am facing a cross-roads: do I continue the work that is required to keep the DMS going, or do I pursue an entirely different project that I am interested in, such as how COVID-19 has disrupted future planning and the future of work?

Tell me what you think!

Tijana: BCM325 Pitch

The Digital Artefact

  • Looking at science fiction novums and their real world effect by asking:
    • What else can we predict?
    • Are stereotyped trends relevant?
  • In the form of blog posts which are shared on twitter.

Feedback:

  • Strong sense of subject relevance but the idea but might too broad.
  • Didn’t clearly identify what academic research was being used.
  • Didn’t have a clear utility beyond users engaging with the project, so the long-term relevance of the DA was unclear.

My Comment:

Sam: Gimme Some Space Alright

The Digital Artefact:

  • Looking at space tourism, by asking:
    • Where?
    • Why?
    • How?
  • In the form of YouTube videos.

Feedback:

  • Humour and personality shone through the video and the blog post, and Sam should use this to his advantage.
  • You could tell how passionate he is about this DA and that he has put a lot of effort and research into carefully planning the execution of it.
  • Didn’t embed the pitch video in the blog post, which made it difficult to locate.

My Comment:

Joshua: Mystery on the Moon

The Digital Artefact

  • Looking at the detective genre in science fiction.
  • In the form of a short fiction piece published on a WordPress blog.

Feedback:

  • A great sense of direction for the project.
  • A great sense of utility in that the project is intended for other students to pick up.
  • Lacked academic research, which is pretty important for an academic task.

My Comment:


Featured Image: Photo by Марьян Блан | @marjanblan on Unsplash

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