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Athabasca University

Project Courses: A Tutorial

The Second and Third Project Courses

I signed up for the second project course right after the first one.

The Reducing Child Victimization (RCV) report had allowed me to explore the legal and political aspects of online child victimization. The core component of SOLO, the online aspect, proved to be a complex area. While I've always known about politics, and while I've spent my share of time in a courtroom, I was concerned that my knowledge of the technical aspects of the web would be deficient. I'm a wannabe geek after all, and the medium of the Internet is so new that the research only really started in the late 1990's.

I had found in the RCV research that the laws were pretty sketchy. My interests increasingly involved the aspect of the Internet that was opening up to the psychological community. I already knew that individuals who endanger and harm youth – some people call them perverts – were on the Web. They are very skilled at enticing youth to trust them. What I wanted to know was what the helping professions were doing on the web to counter this activity.

At the same time I realized that my geekness had real limits. I didn't want to end up in the position of designing SOLO only to find that it wasn't possible from a technical viewpoint. After consulting with the Course Coordinator, I designed a second Learning Contract.

From this body of research, I have been able to complete two more project courses.

The first was a directed readings course that produced the Places of Risk / Places of Help report. This report looks at the Internet mediums that are being used by pedophiles and psychologists alike. It identifies the features of the Internet that facilitate communication for both. The report also contains a summary and non-geek explanation of the different avenues of communication on the Internet; chat sites, Internet relay chats, instant messaging, Napster, e-mail and others (groups by synchronous and asynchronous delivery methods).

The second project course resulted in two pieces; an annotated bibliography, and a review of online youth culture to date.

I broke this research down into several parts:

  • Online Exploitation
    • Legal
    • Reports
    • News media report
  • CyberSpace & Online Therapy & Theories
  • Technical
    • Law Enforcement
    • Stats
  • Online Safety

Updated February 18 2016 by Student & Academic Services

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