Scientific discussion of video games, digital competences and online courses at ETU
January 24-25, Saint-Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI” hosted the INFORMATION – COMMUNICATION – SOCIETY national conference for the 16th time. The event was focused on society in the digital age.
More than 150 scholars working in the fields of sociology, philosophy, political science, history, culturology, linguistics, psychological studies, paedagogy and public relations from Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, Tomsk, Saransk and Astrakhan participated in the event.
“We chose this topic for the conference because nowadays we use various gadgets. More and more spheres, such as TV broadcasting, are becoming digital. We will be discussing not only the relation of humans and digital appliances, but the way our society functions in the digital age.”
Five reports were presented during the plenary session. Konstantin A. Ocheretyaniy, senior lecturer at the Philosophy of Science and Technology Department (Institute of Philosophy, St. Petersburg State University) analyzed the way the interface and digital reality influence the life of a modern man. In his opinion, with emergence of modern technologies, social interaction became more complicated because a human now has to meet very strict requirements namely he has to have high response speed, advanced attention management skills, and the ability to process enormous amounts of information. Humans do not have the biological mechanisms to deal with so many emotions so it is hard for them to adapt to the rules of the digital world.
Olga V. Sergeeva, Assistant at the Department of Sociology of Culture and Communication (Faculty of Sociology, St. Petersburg State University), dedicated her report to the possibilities for sociological analysis to develop in the field of video games. So if you enquire into the amount of time spent on playing video games, you could figure out how love of video games can turn into addiction. The other topic is analysis of body perception among gamers. According to Olga V. Sergeeva, computer game scholars see avatars as some kind of body assistive devices that lead to heightened sensuousness and the feeling of ambivalence. As we are getting more engaged with video games we can see how our game body is developing, which manifests itself in better control of the player character. Video games are very immersive which makes them powerful simulators in constructing social actions of individuals. For example, they can foster practices of anti-corruption behavior. The report also suggested other subjects of sociological analysis such as the interrelation between pace of life in cities and video games; the way video games influence people’s cultural tastes; as well as the game industry development in relation to globalization, corporate life and the impact of transmedia storytelling.
Vladimir V. Kalashnikov, distinguished professor of ETU “LETI”, professor at the Department of History of Culture, Sate and Law, associated his report with the 25th anniversary of the Russian Federal Assembly. He talked about main milestones in the development of Russian parliamentary system namely Novgorod veche, Zemsky Sobor, as well as the parliament system during the era of Russian revolutions in the early 20th century.
Elena N. Paliy, professor at the Department of History (Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas) stated in her report entitled “Technical Universities in the Digital Era” that university training should develop in parallel with the technological world view.
“The effort to fit the Russian higher education system into the western mold does not lead to emergence of more personnel prepared to work at industrial enterprises because Russian realities call for a different kind of training aimed at teaching practical skills. The beginning of the information era should mark both the change in production technologies and education, otherwise specialists trained in accordance with the old standard would not be in demand at technologically advanced enterprises.”
Alla G. Trubnikova, senior lecturer at the Department of Public Relations (Saint-Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI”) presented the analysis of requirements that employers are specifying towards digital competences of public relations specialists. In her opinion, for university graduates to get high-paying jobs, universities have to examine the demand and labor market trends, as well as to develop programs with regard to such demand, develop strategic partnerships with employers.
“Now we can see high demand for web promoters, there are a lot of openings in such emerging areas as blockchain, cryptocurrency and video games. Young specialists have to have digital marketing and PR skills, as well as to know the basics of programming, robotics, artificial intelligence, and big data. It is essential to develop soft skills: “ecological” and systems thinking, project management skills, knoledge of multiple languages, interdisciplinary communication, customer centricity, the ability to work in conditions of uncertainty, hold negotiations and resolve conflicts, the ability for self-education. Moreover, graduates have to be good at budgeting, planning and, most importantly, be literate and eloquent.”
The first day of the conference continued as breakout sessions in the following topics: “Philosophy in the Digital Era”, “Social Science and Socio-Political Research in the Digital Era”, “Digital Realities of a University – Social Recourses and Risks”, “Professional Communication Strategy Transformation in the Digital Era”, “Linguistic Studies in the Digital Era”, “Parliamentary System in Russia – Past and Present”.
The second day of the conference started with a round table. Such discussions are traditionally held to argue on the issues that cover important aspects of professional and personal fulfillment of university staff. This year, the participants talked about online training courses, as well as factors that hinder and facilitate preparation of such programs. Dmitry V. Samohvalov, Vice Head for Research of the Department of Robotics and Industrial Automation, who has developed such online courses before, opened the discussion. Teachers talked about psychological readiness to the new form of training, as well as organizational barriers. As a result, the discussion dispelled some kind of inferiority that the participants felt because of their abstention from such online programs. Most teachers also expressed their readiness to develop modern forms of training.