UOW Digital Media Society – BCM325 Contextual Essay

The digital artefact (DA) that I have been completing for BCM325 is the UOW Digital Media Society (DMS). I have been completing this project with fellow BCM325 students Callum Harvey and Kelsea Latham, in addition to the remaining executive members Meggen Pigram and Sunny Commandeur.

Digital Artefact – Group Components:

UOWDMS Twitter
UOWDMS Podcast
UOWDMS Website (by Kelsea Latham)

Digital Artefact – Individual Components:

UOWDMS Career Development Plan: Journalism
UOWDMS Career Development Plan: Marketing

The group components of the digital artefact are publicly available online in the form of the DMS social media presence and club website. The Career Development Plans I created for my individual contribution to the digital artefact is publicly available on the DMS website.

Concept: The UOW Digital Media Society (DMS) is an official LHA Faculty club at the University of Wollongong. The society was founded in July 2018 by the current executive team, so the digital artefact is a continuation of an ongoing project. The society aims to run skill building workshops, activities and networking events, while also facilitating work experience and portfolio building opportunities between club partners and our 170 members. The society also conducts digital media consultations for other clubs, societies and outside organisations.

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Methodology: My individual contribution to the DA includes the day-to-day tasks that fulfill my role as the club treasurer, such as financial management, creation of content for social media, and running workshops. In addition, I have also been creating Career Development Plans (CDPs) for DMS members and the wider student community.

Social Utility: DMS members and other students are able to have their academic studies supported by additional learning opportunities such as our workshops and the Career Development Plans. Students are also provided with unique work experience and portfolio building opportunities directly by the society. Contrasting this, the club partners who offer these opportunities through us are gaining access to our membership pool and other integrated services such as digital media consultations.

Myself and the other DMS executives are also a key social utility of the digital artefact. The online community built by the executive team and the skills gained from running the club are extremely valuable assets for our own portfolios. We have reaffirmed our personas as experts in anything related to BCM and university, while also leveraging our connections with club partners to generate further opportunities for the society and ourselves.

The Future Cultures DA Challenge: During the initial DA pitch, the DMS mainly addressed the future in the next 5 years through our skill building workshops and digital portfolio building as a support for current university students obtaining full time employment. Feedback from the pitch (which can be found in my DA beta) stated that the focus of DMS workshops should remain on building relevant skills for future employment, and that the artefact should address both the members and executives in the short, medium and long term future.

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As a result, the future cultures DA challenge was reiterated for the project going forward. The short term future was identified as the next 3-6 months, and would benefit DMS members by now having access to the CDP’s, the DMS website and the opportunity to join the executive team. The short term future will benefit the executives as we will continue to network with club partners and the university, while simultaneously building our own portfolios through DMS endeavors.

The medium term future was identified as 12 months from now, addressing the members through continued club growth and their access to refined events and workshops based on executive experience and member feedback. The club also hopes to provide higher quality support in a years time due to our growing connections with TAEM, Careers Central and other local organisations. The next 12 months also addresses the current executive team as we will have the opportunity to recruit, select and train new executives for the first time, while also leveraging our DMS experience when applying for employment as the current team inches closer to graduation.

The long term future was identified as 2-5 years from now. The current executive team will graduate university by this point, and will gain recognition for founding a successful organisation and providing a meaningful contribution to student experience. The club membership will hopefully grow above the range of 500 members in the long term future, while also gaining easier access to support services and work experience opportunities as DMS continues to thrive and potentially becomes directly integrated with the university.

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Background research: The original focus of the future cultures challenge was how the DA addressed the future in the next 5 years through the DMS skill building workshops. As a result, the initial background research that helped develop the project pitch was directly related to the future of work. Here is an extract from my original project pitch:

Jobs are changing as a result of digital transformation, and foundational skills in digital literacy are essential (Graham 2018). Emerging technology such as AI, robotics and automation will particularly impact marketing and communications roles. Professionals will need to complement this technology with skills in creativity and innovation in order to stay competitive (Siau and Yang 2017, p. 1).

After feedback from my project pitch indicated that this approach should remain the focus of the DA and the future cultures challenge, I continued to find sources relating to the future of work. Here is an extract from my project beta:

The overall future of work will have a reliance on technology, this will favour our generation of digital natives. However, employers will still seek range of skills in addition to digital literacy (Colbert, Yee & George 2016).

The creation of the Career Development Plans also drew heavily on research discussing careers in the broad field of communication (specifically Journalism and Marketing), in addition to future developments and in-demand skills for these industries. The research used to create the CDPs was limited to industry research and university based career resources, as the terminology found in scholarly sources was often very academic in nature. The industry sources and university research used in the CDPs were very career and skill oriented, which greatly suited the style of the CDPs.

Project development, iteration and trajectory: The original project direction was focused entirely on my day-to-day tasks as the club treasurer, in addition to running a range of skill building workshops over the semester. The first workshop focused on sourcing software, and had an attendance of around 30 members. The second workshop of the semester focused on blogging principles and using WordPress, but featured only 5 attendees. Finally, the third workshop of the semester was the meme warfare seminar, which had an attendance of 23 members.

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It was difficult to gain public feedback on these workshops, as the implementation of exit surveys didn’t gauge serious responses from attendees. However, the shift in numbers between workshops is key feedback that the society can use. For example, the large number of attendees in the first workshop was likely due to the society providing members with a valuable skill in sourcing software that many students use in their digital artefacts (essentially providing the attendees with free products).

The second workshop had significantly less attendance, but we noticed that the students who did attend were very passionate about the BCM course and were likely doing well in their blogging assignments. We concluded that a workshop like the blogging one were attracting students who wanted to excel, as opposed to the average number of students who just want to get by in their degree (who can do so without advanced knowledge of blogging). Finally, the third workshop featured a topic that our members were interested in and guest appearances from Ted Mitew, Travis Wall and Doug Simkin.

Focusing the DA on running DMS workshops became difficult as the semester went on due to time constraints and lack of member enthusiasm. However, this aligned nicely with the feedback I received from my initial idea and the DA focus shifted towards my individual contribution. As a result, we decided to record a DMS podcast as a new form of content for social media, and I began developing the Content Development Plans using the feedback I received through the comments on my beta presentation.

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UOW Digital Media Society Podcast

The Content Development Plans were the artefact focus during the later half of the semester, so only two iterations have been created in the form of Journalism and Marketing CDPs. The trajectory for the project going forward is to continue the development of the CDPs (such as a Digital Media CDP), and my transition into a new role on the DMS executive team as I hand down the treasurer position. The society will strive to make further improvements to our workshops for the next university semester and continue to grow the membership and executive team into 2020 and beyond.

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UOW Digital Media Society Co-Founders
Callum Harvey (President), Meggen Pigram (Vice-President), Kelsea Latham (Secretary), Sunny Commandeur (Events Coordinator), Alexander Mastronardi (Treasurer)

Reference list:

ADMA 2018, ‘Top 10 Marketing skills for 2018’, Association for Data-Driven Marketing & Advertising, 27 February,  viewed 16 May 2019, <​https://www.adma.com.au/resources/top-10-marketing-skills-for-2018​>.

Cheetham, J 2019, ‘Work beyond 2020: the future of journalism’, Charles Sturt University, 11 January, viewed 2 May, <https://insight.futurestudents.csu.edu.au/work-beyond-2020-the-future-of-journalism/>.

Colbert, A, Yee, N & George, G 2016, ‘The Digital Workforce and the Workplace of the Future’, Academy of Management Journal, vol. 59, no. 3, p. 731.

Graham, K 2018, ‘The digital economy will redefine the future of work’, Digital Journal, 14 August, viewed 22 March 2019, <http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/the-digital-economy-will-redefine-the-future-of-work/article/529503>.

InVision 2019, ‘How to future-proof your creative career’, InVision, 24 January, viewed 2 May, <https://medium.com/inside-design/how-to-future-proof-your-creative-career-dcb012ccaa83>.

Leung, I 2018, ‘Marketing Jobs In 2018: High Demand Roles And Skills Needed To Stay Relevant’, Piktochart, viewed 2 May 2019, <https://piktochart.com/blog/marketing-jobs/>.

Mehmet, M 2019, ‘Work beyond 2020: the future of digital marketing’’, ​Charles Sturt University​, 4 January, viewed 16 May, <​https://insight.futurestudents.csu.edu.au/work-beyond-2020-the-future-of-digital-marketing/>.

Siau, K & Yang, Y 2017, ‘Impact of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Machine Learning on Sales and Marketing’, Association for Information Systems, vol. 48, p. 1.

University of Wollongong 2019, ‘What can I do with a Business degree?’,​ Careers Central​, 21 March, viewed 16 May,  <​https://www.uow.edu.au/careers/UOW255898.html>.​

University of Wollongong 2019, ‘What can I do with an Arts, English and Media degree?’, ​Careers Central,​ 21 March,  viewed 16 May, <​https://www.uow.edu.au/careers/UOW255898.html​>.

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