Tag Archive: University Students

In an attempt to study the effects of media dependency, students from the Digital Media Literacy class taught by Dr. Jad Melki at AUB volunteered to take part in staying without media for 24 hours. This meant they couldn’t use their cell phones, their laptops, T.V, ipods, etc… To ensure that they don’t do any mistakes, we confiscated their phones. 3 graduate students including me were responsible for interviewing the students after they blogged about their impressions regarding staying unplugged for 24 hours. We also briefed the class about our findings.

Here are some of my findings regarding their behaviors:

Checking the media outlets was more part of everyday routines and habits rather than a real need. Actually 6 students expressed this thought. They referred to an instinctive impulse to check for their phones and to turn on the PC… A student expressed this by saying: ” I was used to having the television on even if I was not watching the television, my Facebook was always on even if I was not at my laptop and my phone was always in my hand even if I didn’t use it. ”

Some started hearing illusionary sounds including hearing their phone ringing their BB’s messages…etc…  At some point a student said: “While studying at the library I kept hearing the sound of my blackberry messenger ringing over and over in my ears…. it was haunting me!”

The students were longing for music. Music, as shown, is an essential part of students’ lives especially when driving. Nearly half of the class expressed their desire for music during the 24hour-media deprivation. A student said that; “I realized how dependant I am to music! I was going nuts in the car without music. I tried singing to myself but that was not so helpful.  ”

The free time was filled up with activities including house chores where 4 students reported doing this; in fact, one has reported cooking for 2 hours just to kill time. 3 students reported having long showers. 8 students either slept earlier than usual or took naps. Also 7 students mentioned in their articles their effort to “kill time” or “skip time” as if it was a temporarily unreal situation they had to live. Not knowing the time was a distraction since they usually check the time on their phones. 8 students reported having problems in waking up or asking someone to wake them up since they use their phones as alarm clocks. Some also said that they had hard time figuring out the time where one was constantly asking random people about the time.

Some reported having deep thoughts like thinking about the future goals and even writing about the goals they wanted to achieve next year. 7 students reported either concentrating more on their studies and in class or spending time reading.

All in all, T.V was the least missed media outlet while the phone was the most missed one.

After the live covering of “Arab Pop Culture and the Media” conference that took place April 21-23 at LAU Beirut campus(You can check the live coverage here: http://www.scribblelive.com/Event/Arab_Pop_Culture_and_the_Media?Page=26), I found out that live coverage is interesting and worth repeating. This Monday ,the 10th of May, I’m going to attend a debate at AUB entitled “Is Atheism Rational?” taking place from 5:00-7:00 and I’m going to live cover it. This debate is organized by the AUB’s Debate club and Insight club in collaboration with Adam Deen’s Lectures & Debates.

Poster of "Is Atheism Rational?" debate

  It will feature Adam Deen and Dr. Chris Johns. Adam Deen is an international public speaker on Muslim Apologetics. He is also a former Islam channel presenter and intellectual activist who has been working in the field of Muslim apologetics for almost a decade. He has contributed to debates on issues ranging from ethics, to religious philosophy and theology. Adam Deen is part of a movement that draws on contemporary Western philosophy to defend Islam in public debates. He also debated USA’s leading atheist Dan Barker author of ‘Godless’.

Adam Deen

Dr. Johns is an AUB philosophy professor. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Stony Brook University in 2007, specializing in the Modern period. His dissertation, The Science of Right in Leibniz’s Practical Philosophy, reveals the deontic, rather than consequentialist, foundations in Leibniz’s practical/moral philosophy. His article, “The Grounds of Right and Obligation in Leibniz and Hobbes” appears in The Review of Metaphysics (March 2009), and ‘Deontic Foundations in Leibniz’s Practical Philosophy’ appears in Studia Leibnitiana (Band 38/39). His current research focuses on Leibniz’s relation to Modern moral theorists such as Locke, Pufendorf, and Kant. Dr. Johns also has an M.A. in English literature and a B.A. in linguistics from Ohio State University. Prior to his appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor at the American University in Beirut, he was VAP at St. Xavier University in Chicago.
Dr.Chris Johns
The debate is open to the public. Follow my live tweets: @maysashawwa.


On Friday, I had a meeting with a person I met through Soliya’s Connect Program sessions online. He is Harry Baumgarten that decided to make a tour around the Middle East and currently is in Lebanon. He said that this is his first big travel experience and that he views it as a natural progression from our Soliya experience which encouraged him to consider the need for personal relationships to help deconstruct the myths and misconceptions which permeate U.S-Middle East relations and help widen his understanding. Simply put, Soliya Connect program is a program that uses new media and communication technologies to connect young people from around the world. In our sessions, we held discussions about the Western-Muslim relations and the present day conflicts in a rich online environment utilizing the latest in “social media” and learning technologies. On Friday, we discussed Lebanese politics and Israeli-Lebanese relations and he was pleased that he now had a broader understanding of Lebanese politics and culture. I introduced him to some of my friends. He said that Lebanon is the most country in the Middle East that he felt relaxed in and enjoyed. I hope that I’ve presented a good image about the Middle East. As in this case, Soliya literally brought us together.  Social media is really awesome!

Enough Fights!

A volcanic fight erupted at the Lebanese American University Beirut campus at the eve of the beginning of a peaceful weekend. At 6:00 p.m on Friday, students started to crowd at the upper gate and the mere shouting between them turned to hitting. The security guards calmed down the situation and the police officers rushed over and stopped the fight. LAU gates were closed. An eyewitness told me that the reason for the fight was that someone owed student money and the dispute between them intensified and turned to a big issue. Another eyewitness told me that there were other small-scale quarrels that took place since noon. Others said that it was a clash around a political issue. Regardless of the reason for the conflict, I think that if the students want to settle their disputes, LAU isn’t a place for that. It is very agitating that in the 21st century reputable universities are still the places where clashes occur.    

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