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Volume 2, Number 2, Feb 2002

In All Respects: Racism on Campus

Produced by Martha Harty, Carnegie Mellon University

Review by Ian Toft

Overview

In All Respects: Racism on Campus is an interactive computer program developed by a team at Carnegie Mellon University and funded by the US Department of Education/FIPSE. It is the second interactive CD produced by Martha Harty, from the faculty of CMU’s Center for Applied Ethics, and Ralph Vituccio, director of Media Design.

In All Respects will be of particular interest for anyone interested in practicing all aspects of academic administration. The basic premise places the participant in the role of an editor who is auditioning for a job at the station. The task is to create a television news/documentary at Cole University, a simulated American college. The goal is to convince the Dean of Cole University, Dean Fairfield, that you are the best person for the job.


Racism is an issue commonly at the forefront of Conflict Management in Higher Education. The CD creatively uses this issue as the compelling storyline behind your task.
After being told about students’ concerns regarding increasing levels of racism on campus, you are given the task of investigating these accusations and then producing a segment on the issue for the news show. A couple of reporters have been assigned to work with you. The choices of who to interview include the Dean of Student Affairs, a Student Council representative, a professor in African-American history, a campus police officer and the second year student who had made the initial claims of racism on the campus.


The Simulation Experience

You may wish to view some screen shots to help you visualize the game. You begin the simulation by seeing a promotional advertisement for the forthcoming television program you will be asked to direct. After being prompted for your name, you begin your scenario by being introduced to Dean Fairfield. He explains to you that the University is looking for a producer to create a balanced, argumentative and informative program for the college’s cable television station. This particular show will be around the issue of racism on campus and it will be your job to determine who on campus should be interviewed and on what line of questioning. He emphasises that the deadline which you are working under is tough (one week) and mistakes or delays could prove costly.

Tuesday arrives and you are introduced to your email of which there are a number of messages waiting for you. The first message is an introduction from your assistant, Kim. Her message clarifies much of what Dean Fairfield had previously explained. The second message from Kim explains the procedure and tasks expected for the week. The third message is a copy of the initial letter that has been forwarded on to you from a second year student, Jason Dewitt. In the letter he makes the accusation that racism is still common on campus and lists circumstances in which it has been evident to him. He also emphasises the complacency that University administration has held towards addressing this issue. The fourth email is from a research assistant who has gathered information on the definitions and historical context of racism. The final message is a list of the different bibliographical references available to you.

You are then asked to submit to your reporters, Jason and Juliette, a list of people to interview and questions you feel they should ask.

By Thursday you have been sent a copy of a video-clip editor for your use. It is then your task to view the various reports gathered by your reporters and choose which questions should belong on your television show. You may drop questions that you view to be irrelevant or focus more on one particular interviewee if you consider their answers to be of greater value to your program. Once happy with your work, the program needs to be submitted to the Dean.

The deadline arrives and Dean Fairfield returns to ask you to submit a short written report. Within this report to be emailed to the Dean, he asks what the reasons were for your decisions and what your goals were. The quality of this evaluation added to your attempts on the production of the television show will determine if the Dean believes you are worthy of being awarded the job.

Reviewer's Comments

I personally found In All Respects to be a challenging and enjoyable experience. The index of video clips available was vast. It is likely that, were I to repeat the program, I would have witnessed a whole new set of clips. I believe faculty members would feel confident using this program. Students could make comfortable use without any prior knowledge of the program or use of a manual. In All Respects set the scene and guided the user through the experience in a simple and easy to understand manner. By the time I had completed In All Respects I felt I understood the issue of racism on campus far better, particularly regarding the variety of viewpoints such an important issue can generate.

For More Information

Email Martha Harty, mh51@andrew.cmu.edu, for more information or to obtain a copy of the program.

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Page last updated 11/27/2005

A project of Campus Conflict Resolution Resources.
Supported by a FIPSE grant from the US Department of Education
and seed money from the Hewlett Foundation-funded CRInfo project.


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