Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’s Experiences of Unwanted Interaction on Online Dating Services

Are you a lesbian, bisexual, or queer woman (or non-binary person with similar experiences)? Have you used an online dating service? If so, tell @khniehaus about it by taking her research survey!

Online dating can be a fraught experience for many people, and women in particular have been shown to experience gendered harassment, generally, online, and in dating-specific contexts. While there is a relatively small amount of data and academic research about heterosexual women’s experiences with online dating, there is even less data and scholarly research documenting the experiences of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women with online dating. Anecdotally, many lesbian, bisexual and queer women describe experiencing high rates of targeted harassment while engaging in online dating activities. Based on these accounts, Goldsmiths Computing PhD researcher Kiona Niehaus is interested in whether these negative experiences, while they reflect broader social attitudes and trends, may also be the result of user interface and interaction design decisions that shape users’ interactions with various online dating services.

The results of this survey will be used to shape forthcoming academic work about the affordances of various online dating platforms, how those affordances may influence negative user experience for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women using these services, and to suggest potential design solutions toward making online dating services less fraught for these users in particular. If you are a lesbian, bisexual, or queer woman (or a non-binary person with similar experiences) who has used online dating, you can take the survey here: https://lambda.doc.gold.ac.uk/index.php/264413

Goldsmiths Computing at the semi-finals of Mayor’s Entrepreneur 2019

Grzegorz Rybak, Goldsmiths BSc Computer Science student and Web developer, writes about his experience at the semi-finals of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur  2019

On Friday 15th March I had the honour of participating in the semi-finals of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur 2019 with our Undergraduate final-year project (ULA: Ultimate Listening Assistant)!

Being in the top-30 tech projects chosen to progress to the semi-finals out of 625 applications from all London’s Universities (and even start-ups), the stakes (and the stress!) were enormous but it shows how exciting the project we’re doing is – not only to us, but evidently to others as well!

I’m happy to tell you I delivered – I strongly believe – the best pitch I ever performed! I pitched about the idea of text transcription and summarization along the normal recording that ULA does and a potential content-sharing platform that could be a business around it (as this is a very entrepreneurial competition).

Finally, I must also say I was happy to discover I was one of the youngest among the contestants and the only undergraduate I’m aware of – most of the participates were Postgraduate or PhD students.

As you can gather from the above, the competition level was extremely high (I’ve never heard so many amazing tech-product ideas in such a short time!) therefore I won’t be surprised if ULA doesn’t make it to the finals, but nevertheless, I greatly appreciate the distinction of being selected to such an exclusive company with an undergraduate project.

Photo credit: Marcello Pelucchi
Grzegorz “ULA: Ultimate Listening Assistant” in front of the expert-judges in the “The Chamber”, the city hall’s grand auditorium (this is the place where they also shoot the finals for the “Apprentice”)

Also at the semi-finals was Goldsmiths Computing PhD student Hadeel Ayoub pitching the BrightSign glove – I really hope she reaches the finals because her pitch was seriously amazing!

Is Virtual Reality the future of education?

Dr Marco Gillies, Reader in Computing at Goldsmiths, gave a talk at the Virtual and Augmented Reality to Enhance Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Conference, that explained how virtual reality, and particularly interactive virtual characters, could enable us to learn the kinds of social skills that we need for work. These are the kinds of skills that are so hard to learn in a traditional way, anything from a doctor breaking bad news to a patient to a police officer interviewing a suspect. Professional social skills of this type are very different from our ordinary social lives, and handling them well can only be learned through experience.

Together with Dr Sylvia Pan, Lecturer in Computing at Goldsmiths, Marco has over 20 years experience of developing animated interactive characters that have realistic body language. Encountering a life-sized virtual human in immersive VR is a really powerful experience because body language cues like eye contact or personal space feel very realistic in VR. Making eye contact on a traditional computer just means looking out of the screen, but in VR it feels like eye contact in real life. That means that a VR conversation feels real. We can use this type of realistic social interaction to help train people to be better at their professional social skills.

The conference as a whole included many examples of how VR could be used to teach skills that you can only learn by experience. VR is much cheaper and safer than doing things for real, but much closer to real life than a book or video. In the next few years we will probably see a revolution in immersive media for education, and no where is this going to be more beneficial than in one of the most important skills we need in life: how to interact with other people.

You can see Marco’s write up of the talk here:
Purposeful Practice for learning social skills in VR

And this is a write up of the whole conference:
Virtual and Augmented Reality in Education Conference

If you are interested in Virtual Reality you might be interested in our new Masters in Virtual and Augmented Realityor our MOOC on Virtual Reality

MOOCs give taster to pioneering Computer Science degree

Academics from Goldsmiths, University of London have created two new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to give students a taste of a pioneering web-based degree in Computer Science.

The two Moocs, entitled Introduction to Computer Programming and How Computers Work, are now available to students all over the world.

Delivered by online learning platform Coursera, the MOOCs are designed to prepare students for the world-first BSc in Computer Science which has been designed by Goldsmiths and is being offered by the University of London.

The Introduction to Computer Programming MOOC gives participants foundation skills to write computer programs in programming language, as well as learning to create 2D and interactive graphics.

Lead instructor Dr Simon Katan, Lecturer in Computing, said: “In Introduction to Computer Programming, learners will be approaching the fundamentals of code through practical and creative exercises, and also explore how coders think and feel. We’ve drawn on our many years of teaching experience to deliver some cutting-edge pedagogy including our code adventure game Sleuth.”

The How Computers Work MOOC is designed for learners who are proficient with computers, smartphones and the internet but wish to improve their understanding of how they work, or go on to study computer science.

On this MOOC, learners can acquire key computer skills that can be applied to word processing applications, e-commerce, the internet and websites.

Instructor and Senior Lecturer in Computing Dr Marco Gillies said: “I’m really excited to be working with the University of London and Coursera to create a new way of learning computer science for the 21st Century.

“We’re bringing together the best learning technologies and the best teaching techniques to create a fantastic computer science learning experience for anyone, anywhere in the world.”

He added: “How Computers Work will introduce you to some fundamental computer science concepts and you’ll find out how they apply to the kind of computer applications you use every day. It’s a great foundation for starting to study computer science, but it will also give you a better understanding of the technologies that are so important to modern life.”

Sam Brenton, Director of Educational Innovation and Development for the University of London’s distance and flexible learning programmes, said: “This is an exciting time for the University as it prepares to launch one of its most innovative programmes, the BSc Computer Science.

“We anticipate a very broad appeal for this degree programme from students all over the world; not just those working in the technical field but also those from other industries.”


This post was originally written by Tom Morgan for Goldsmiths News

4-year funded PhD places in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence

partners

10 fully-funded studentships are available for 2015/16 entry in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI), to conduct cutting-edge research and train the next generation of researchers, designers, developers and entrepreneurs in digital games.

IGGI is a collaboration between three UK Universities: the University of York, the University of Essex and Goldsmiths College, University of London. IGGI PhDs will be based at their principal supervisor’s University site with travel to the other sites for team and training activities.

IGGI brings together 60 industrial partners from the UK games industry and related organisations (including Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, The Creative Assembly, Codemasters, Rebellion, TIGA, and more:  see www.iggi.org.uk/our-industrial-partners/. IGGI PhDs will have the opportunity to engage in placements at these partner organisations, as well as international research labs, during their PhD research.

In addition to conducting research with world-leading academics and industry partners, IGGI PhDs will participate in global game jams, co-organise and participate in an annual games symposium, and engage with industry-led seminars. They will also receive training from experts in Games Development, Games Design, Research Skills and a range of optional modules including AI, computer vision, human-computer interaction, storytelling, graphics, sound and robotics.

To contact potential supervisors directly see: http://www.iggi.org.uk/supervisors/ for a list), or we can help you to choose a principal supervisor from York, Essex or Goldsmiths based on your interests and background.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 30th January 2015. Shortlisting will take place on Tuesday 10th February and successful candidates will be contacted within 24 hours. Interviews will be held at the University of York on Friday 20th February, 2015.

For further information and details of how to apply go to www.iggi.org.uk.

THE N0THING, SEEKING ANSWERS_   

elias-2

On 4th and 5th December C&R space in Deptford held performances of the work of  Elías Merino, Rian Treanor and Daniel del Rio with ‘three approaches to abstract computer-generated music’. They presented their project ‘The Nothing, Seeking Answers’ a multifocal installation, based on a set of unanswered questions, conceptual reflections and hermeneutics about abstract computer music and algorithmic composition.

The installation allowed for complete immersion within the varied soundscapes, set in darkness apart from the spill of light from the entrance, with the composers completely hidden from view.

Elías Merino, a composer and sonic artist presented an abstract composition of pure sine waves against,  distortion, fizzle and creeks, contrasting meditative sound against abrasive noise. He develops his work in computer-generated composition, electroacoustic music, soundscape and concrète sounds as an abstract and imaginary object away from the acoustic environment, processing sound through digital technology.

Undergrads featured in the 1st International Web Audio conference

wac

Three of Goldsmiths undergraduate Music Computing students, Nevo Segal, Jakub Fiala and Hugh Rawlinson have had a paper entitled “Meyda: an audio feature extraction library for the Web Audio API” accepted in the international Web Audio conference at IRCAM sponsored by Mozilla.

WAC is the first international conference dedicated to web audio technologies and applications. The conference addresses research, development, design and standards concerned with emerging audio-related web technologies such as Web Audio API, Web RTC, WebSockets and Javascript.

This is a fantastic achievement for an Undergraduate project and the department are hugely proud.

WAC: http://wac.ircam.fr/