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  • Political hate speech of the far right on Twitter in Latin America
    por ejdieg@unileon.es (Enrique Díez-Gutiérrez) el julio 1, 2022 a las 12:00 am

    The purpose of this research was to study the spreading of political hate speech by the far right through Twitter. A mixed methodology was employed, combining both quantitative and qualitative tools, within the framework of digital ethnography. Five characteristic cases of campaigns linked to political hate speech were chosen, meeting the four criteria set: Latin American scope with representativeness in terms of breadth and impact, political motivation, more than 100,000 tweets, and massive use of fake accounts. The analysis was performed with T-Hoarder, Gephi and MAXQDA. The conclusions drawn are that these campaigns do not occur spontaneously. Rather, a destabilizing political intention lies behind them, sponsored by organizations with considerable ability to disseminate messages and with extensive funds. The massive presence of false accounts, the repetition of certain spelling errors in identical form and the striking increase in the number of accounts just before campaigns are evidence of the automation of these processes. The constant use of aggressive and disparaging terms associated with hatred triggers extreme polarization and a climate of tension, threatening the building and consolidation of democracy itself. Apart from punitive measures, there is a need to implement educational proposals.

  • Smartphones in Higher Education. A longitudinal qualitative study
    por salcinesi@unican.es (Irina Salcines-Talledo) el julio 1, 2022 a las 12:00 am

    The impact of technological tools in the educational field is unquestionable. The smartphone has established itself as the device with greater versatility and applicability in the academic/personal context of the subjects. For this reason, the following study addresses, from a longitudinal qualitative approach, the knowledge, use, benefits, and difficulties of the pedagogical application of smartphones, as well as the training needs perceived by higher education teachers, understanding the evolution of this trend in the last seven years. The participating sample is made up of 32 lecturers belonging to five Spanish universities, through the realization of six focus groups during the 2014-2015 and 2021-2022 academic years. The main results show that the lecturers value favorably the possibilities of the tool for communication and information search. However, in recent times more skeptical and critical evaluations are perceived, considering that the smartphone has not brought about the expected qualitative leap in the teaching methodologies applied in the classroom. Promoting the critical, responsible, and context-specific use of the mobile device, while effectively applying its technological possibilities in the creation of constructive pedagogical experiences in a temporally and spatially specified manner, may be one of the keys to a harmonious and not overloaded coexistence between academic and life experiences mediated with and without technology.

  • The life of COVID-19 mask memes: A diachronic study of the pandemic memescape
    por marta.dynel@yahoo.com (Marta Dynel) el julio 1, 2022 a las 12:00 am

    Taking as its point of departure a fine-tuned definition of an Internet meme (vis-à-vis a memetic construct), this paper reports the findings of the first diachronic study of memes, the focus being on mask memes on the vast COVID-19 mask memescape evolving in the wake of the pandemic, relative to the changing socio-political situation. The study capitalises on a diachronic corpus of user-tagged COVID-19 mask memes (posted online from January 2020 to January 2021) collected from Google through a Python script. Based on a grounded-theory approach, ten memetic categories (clustered into four groups) are extracted and examined through a multimodal discourse analytic lens. The diachronic quantitative analysis shows that the memetic constructs, inspired by the current socio-political situation/events and facilitated by the socio-political context (e.g. going into lockdown), seem to persist, albeit with varied intensity, for the best part of the year, with many individual memes going viral. Memes’ and memetic constructs’ long lifespan is indicative of users’ primary goal, which is to share interesting and/or humorous (not always newly minted or relevant) items for the sake of fun, regardless of the memes’ nature (i.e. autotelic humour for its own sake or users’ commentaries on the surrounding reality).

  • Virtual reality with distractors to overcome public speaking anxiety in university students
    por emma.rodero@upf.edu (Emma Rodero) el julio 1, 2022 a las 12:00 am

    The ability to communicate effectively is a crucial aspect of education. For college students, learning how to speak in public is essential for their academic and professional future. However, many students report fear of speaking in public, the so-called Public Speaking Anxiety (PSA). This study aims to implement a training program using Virtual Reality (VR) with distractors to reduce the college students' anxiety. Anxiety was measured with two methods: electrodermal activity and self-report. We also analyze gender differences. There were an experimental and a control group. Both groups had to deliver the same speech twice: pre-test (before training); and post-test (after the training program) while participants’ electrodermal activity was measured. Only the experimental group was trained with VR. Students also completed the Public Speaking Anxiety Scale and a survey to examine their experience. The results showed that the VR training reduced the anxiety levels significantly in the experimental group, but there were no significant differences in the control group. The data also revealed a higher level of anxiety in male than in female students. Finally, participants reported a positive impression of the VR training. These results showed the effectiveness of Virtual Reality software with distractors to reduce public speaking anxiety.

  • Quality recognition as a prescriber against disinformation
    por dolors.palau@uv.es (Dolors Palau-Sampio) el julio 1, 2022 a las 12:00 am

    Hybrid media context and the infodemic have increased the threat of disinformation, particularly among young people who mostly consume digital content. This article aims to identify the competencies needed to detect low-quality content linked to disinformation by Journalism and Communications undergraduates from Argentina, Chile, and Spain. Based on a double comparative study by countries and levels of education, it tries to predict the skills of future journalists in recognising false information. From an online questionnaire, the participants (N=300) evaluated the quality observed (minimum, average or excellent) and the problems detected from 12 items published in both conventional and pseudo-media. The comparison of results with the expert group shows that about 60% of the students have difficulties in identifying quality accurately and that this ability is higher in the advanced groups. From a selection of five news items, the participants were only able to successfully report 25.3% of the real mistakes in the texts. The correct identification of these mistakes improves in news related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions reveal that undergraduates overestimate their ability to detect disinformation, with a self-perception of 3.46 out of 5. The results also indicate that their media diet combines digital media and social media as a priority, while traditional media have a residual nature.

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