Wednesday, February 06, 2008

BPN 1000 Fiction over multiple media platforms

Today the Blog Posting Number stands on 1000. Since May1, 2005 a daily posting on the weblog Buziaulane has been sent to Blogger for 1000 consecutive days. Celebrating this milestone, I received a posting Christy Dena about cross-media, a subject which has been regularly treated on this blog. Also Blog or Buziaulane Posting Number 1001 will deal with a favourite subject: games for seniors.

Fiction over multiple media platforms

by Christy Dena (left on the photograph with Jak Boumans, owner of Buziaulane)

Over the years there has been much confusion about just what ‘cross-media’ is. For some it equates with multimedia, intermedia, multi-modality, while for others it simply refers to distribution techniques, or explains adaptations from traditional media to new media, or is a fancy word for franchises, what the TV and film industry in the USA are doing, what pervasive gamers in Sweden are doing, what convergent journalists are doing, is only a marketing strategy, is all about the changes to producer and audience relations, is the same as every other term or is completely different, is the latest thing or is centuries old. Although it is important to be aware of all of these perspectives and how they differ, it should also be noted that they are in fact all pointing towards the same (global) phenomenon…

To contribute to the conversation on this exciting topic, my PhD thesis will address a specific area: the ways fiction has changed when expressed over multiple media platforms. The scope is wide however: encompassing practices from film, TV, print, gaming and the arts; from both mass entertainment and independent practitioners. Acknowledging the diversity of practices, I do not just concentrate on (what could be described for now as) the continuation of a story across media. Instead, I address four key approaches to the expression of fiction over media platforms: replication, transformation, expansion and integration.

Replication refers to the practice of duplicating the same content in different media. This approach is commonly known as COPA (Create Once, Produce Anytime), repurposing, multi-platform gaming, distribution and so on. Although a technical rather than artistic issue in many circumstances, this thesis explores works of fiction that consider the replication of its content as part of its artistic expression. Transformation refers to works where practitioners adapt or remix or alter their own story or game in another media platform. While in the past adaptations were undertaken by different authors, now creators are implementing their own. Expansion refers to practices commonly known as ‘transmedia storytelling’, ‘cross-media communication’, ‘cross-media entertainment’, 360 content, synergistic content and so on. It is here that stories, games and works of art that provide new events in different media are explored. The final category of integration refers to works that are transmedial by nature: pervasive games, alternate reality games and so on.

How practitioners are co-creating these works, the influences on their design decisions, the audience/player/reader experience, the history of these practices and what these practices mean for the study of narrative, games and media will all be addressed. The thesis will be finished in the next few months, but in the meantime, you can stay up to date on my publications at, or participate in the discussion about design practices at I welcome any thoughts!

Blog Posting Number: 1000

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1 comment:

Boyd said...


The most rigorous part of the dissertation includes the

Methods Section
Study Design
Research questions and hypothesis formulation
Development of instrumentation
Describing the independent and dependent variables
Writing the data analysis plan
Performing a Power Analysis to justify the sample size and writing about it

Results Section
Performing the Data Analysis
Understanding the analysis results
Reporting the results.
When you enter this phase of the program, you are nearing the end of the journey. Given the difficulty of this phase, one often wishes they had previewed what was to come.
Many Ph.D candidates seem to hit a brick wall and feel disarmed when called upon to work on the methods and results section of their dissertation.
This is the point where many students diligently search for help calling on their advisor, peers, university assistance and even Google.
This is also the time when the student asks themselves the question" HOW MUCH HELP IS TOO MUCH".
Surely no one will deny that having your dissertation written for you is very wrong.

On the other hand, it is not unusual for doctoral students to get help on specific aspects of their dissertation.(e.g. APA formatting and editing) It also is not unusual for advisors to encourage students to seek outside help.

If you are a distance learning student it is almost essential you seek outside assistance for the methods and results section of your dissertation. The very nature of distance learning suggest the need for not only outside help but help from someone gifted in explaining highly technical concepts in understandable language by telephone and e-mail.

Distance learning, and the availability of programs, has increased exponentially over the last few years with some of the most respected institutions (Columbia University, Engineering; Boston University and others) offering a Ph.D in a variety of fields. If you are enrolled in a distance learning program, or considering one, you will be interested in reviewing the reference sites listed at the bottom of this page.

As stated above, many students hit their dissertation "brick wall" when they encounter the statistics section. Frequently, a student will struggle for months with that section before they seek a consultant to help them. This often leads to additional tuition costs and missed graduation dates.

If I were to name a single reason why a PhD candidate gets off track in their program it is the statistics and their fear of statistics.

So, the question is whether or not it is ethical to get help at all. If so, how much help is too much.

I don't know if there has ever been a survey of dissertation committee members who were asked this question, however, I know many advisors take the following position when they suggest or approve outside help:

To a large extent the process is self controlling. If the student relies too much on a consultant, the product may look good, however, the student will be unable to defend his/her dissertation.

It takes a committed effort on the part of the student and the consultant (resulting in a collaborative/teaching exchange) to have the student responsible for the data and thoroughly understand the statistics. The day the student walks in front of the committee to defend, there should be no question as to his/her understanding of statistics.

When their defense is successful, the question of "was the help too much" is answered.

If you are a Ph.D candidate and would like additional information, you may email me at:


Reference sites: