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The Final Chapter: How Independent Booksellers Can Adapt to a Changing Industry

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The purpose of this thesis is to examine the current state of the brick-and-mortar bookselling industry, with particular focus on independent bookstores and their strengths and weaknesses, and synthesizing recommendations for these bookstores to reinvent themselves in a rapidly changing

The purpose of this thesis is to examine the current state of the brick-and-mortar bookselling industry, with particular focus on independent bookstores and their strengths and weaknesses, and synthesizing recommendations for these bookstores to reinvent themselves in a rapidly changing market. This examination is highly relevant given recent concerns that, with the rise of e-retailers like Amazon and the closure of bookstore chain Borders, brick-and-mortar bookstores may be superseded by new digital vendors. Independent bookstores are thought to be at a particular disadvantage to these retailers, given their limited size and resources, as well as the lack of capital or consumer base that a larger chain like Barnes and Noble can draw upon to invest in emerging technology. With these more limited financial opportunities, independent bookstores must find different ways to not only keep abreast of the technology that consumers are coming to expect from modern businesses, but attract customers.
To gain insight into the state of the industry and current position of independent bookstores, I will first examine the past fifty years of the brick-and-mortar bookstore, followed by a Porter’s Five Forces analysis of the industry threats and a SWOT analysis to compare the strengths and weaknesses of independent bookstores. Next, the patrons of independent bookstores will be discussed with a focus on the two largest consumer groups of Millennials and Baby Boomers, their characteristics, and the opportunities they provide to bookstores. After this there will be an exploration of the competitors to brick-and-mortar bookstores, focusing on Amazon and then touching on some of the other rivals to bookstores’ consumer base. The next section will be an in-depth analysis of a variety of bookstores across the United States, with attention to their successful practices, goals, concerns, and failures. First, there will be a comparison of industry success and failure through case studies of Borders and Powell’s bookstores. Next, there will be a comparison of five beloved independent bookstores across the country to share their varied competitive advantages that are the secret to their success. Finally, there are primary source interviews with the employees of three major Phoenix bookstores, which provide insight into the goals, current projects, attitudes, and inner strengths of these businesses. Finally, the thesis will conclude with a section offering solutions and suggestions for independent bookstores to pursue based on the primary and secondary research discussed above. These recommendations are focused on five key areas:
• Community
• Consumers
• Store Design
• Technology
• Diversification
Ultimately, the information provided by this research and these interviews indicates that while vital business changes are being pursued by independent and chain bookstores across the United States, the independent bookstore shows no signs of disappearing in favor of online vendors or e-readers.

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2017-05

Effectiveness of Augmented Reality as a Learning Tool to Advance Personalized Learning

Description

In this study, the implementation of educational technology and its effect on learning and user experience is measured. A demographic survey, pretest/posttest, and educational experience survey was used to collect data on the control and experimental groups. The experimental grou

In this study, the implementation of educational technology and its effect on learning and user experience is measured. A demographic survey, pretest/posttest, and educational experience survey was used to collect data on the control and experimental groups. The experimental group was subjected to different learning material than the control group with the use of the Elements 4D mobile application by Daqri to learn basic chemical elements and compounds. The control group learning material provided all the exact information as the application, but in the 2D form of a printed packet. It was expected the experimental group would outperform the control group and have a more enjoyable experience and higher performance. After data analysis, it was concluded that the control group outperformed the experimental group on performance and both groups has similar experiences in contradiction to the hypothesis. Once the factors that contribute to the limitations of different study duration, learning the application beforehand, and only-memorization questions are addressed, the study can be conducted again. Application improvements may also alter the future results of the study and hopefully lead to full implementation into a curriculum.

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2017-05

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Study of Hackathons through Desert Hacks

Description

Hackathons are 24-36 hour events where participants are encouraged to learn, collaborate, and build technological inventions with leaders, companies, and peers in the tech community. Hackathons have been sweeping the nation in the recent years especially at the collegiate level;

Hackathons are 24-36 hour events where participants are encouraged to learn, collaborate, and build technological inventions with leaders, companies, and peers in the tech community. Hackathons have been sweeping the nation in the recent years especially at the collegiate level; however, there is no substantial research or documentation of the actual effects of hackathons especially at the collegiate level. This makes justifying the usage of valuable time and resources to host hackathons difficult for tech companies and academic institutions. This thesis specifically examines the effects of collegiate hackathons through running a collegiate hackathon known as Desert Hacks at Arizona State University (ASU). The participants of Desert Hacks were surveyed at the start and at the end of the event to analyze the effects. The results of the survey implicate that participants have grown in base computer programming skills, inclusion in the tech community, overall confidence, and motivation for the technological field. Through these results, this study can be used to help justify the necessity of collegiate hackathons and events similar.

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2017-12

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Women and Hackathons: An Analysis on Hackathons' Effects on Women's Motivation in Computer-Related Fields

Description

In today's world, technology plays a large role in everyone's life. However, there is a short supply of professionals to fill the roles in the computing field. When examining closer, it is clear that one group has a smaller representation:

In today's world, technology plays a large role in everyone's life. However, there is a short supply of professionals to fill the roles in the computing field. When examining closer, it is clear that one group has a smaller representation: women. This can be contributed to many factors early in the women's lives and academic careers. In hopes of increasing the number of women computing professionals, this thesis aimed to understand the problem of a lack of women in technology and studied how hackathons could be a possible solution. The research followed Desert Hacks as it examines the typical participants as well as the hackathons effects on women's morale in technology. Two important questions during the investigation were what kind of women are attending hackathons and how do women feel about the technology industry after a hackathon? The results suggested that hackathon had an overall positive effect on women's motivation in the computing field. Additionally, most research participants believed that everyone has the potential to do well in the field and that gender inclusion is important for the industry. This ideology can foster a healthy environment for women to become more motivated in computing. Through these results, hackathons can be seen as another mean to help motivate women in the field and open up the possibility of future studies of women and hackathons.

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2017-12

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Preservice teachers' ability to identify technology standards: does curriculum matter?

Description

With the unveiling of the National Educational Technology Plan 2010, both preservice and inservice K12 teachers in the United States are expected to create a classroom environment that fosters the creation of digital citizens. However, it is unclear whether or

With the unveiling of the National Educational Technology Plan 2010, both preservice and inservice K12 teachers in the United States are expected to create a classroom environment that fosters the creation of digital citizens. However, it is unclear whether or not teacher education programs build this direct instruction, or any other method of introducing students to the National Education Technology Standards (NETS), "a standard of excellence and best practices in learning, teaching and leading with technology in education," into their curriculum (International Society for Technology in Education, 2012). As with most teaching skills, the NETS and standards-based technology integration must be learned through exposure during the teacher preparation curriculum, either through modeling, direct instruction or assignments constructed to encourage standards-based technology integration. This study attempted to determine the extent to which preservice teachers at Arizona State University (ASU) enrolled in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College (MLFTC) can recognize the National Education Technology Standards (NETS) published by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and to what extent preservice teachers are exposed to technology integration in accordance with the NETS-T standards in their preparation curriculum in order to answer the questions of whether or not teacher education curriculum provides students an opportunity to learn and apply the NETS-T and if preservice teachers in core teacher preparation program courses that include objectives that integrate technology are more likely to be able to identify NETS-T standards than those in courses that do not include these elements In order to answer these questions, a mixed-method design study was utilized to gather data from an electronic survey, one-on-one interviews with students, faculty, and administrators, and document analysis of core course objectives and curriculum goals in the teacher certification program at ASU. The data was analyzed in order to determine the relationship between the preservice teachers, the NETS-T standards, and the role technology plays in the curriculum of the teacher preparation program. Results of the analysis indicate that preservice teachers have a minimum NETS-T awareness at the Literacy level, indicating that they can use technology skills when prompted and explore technology independently.

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Date Created
2013

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Modeling gameplay enjoyment through feature preferences, goal orientations, usage, and gender

Description

The gameplay experience can be understood as an interaction between player and game design characteristics. A greater understanding of these characteristics can be gained through empirical means. Subsequently, an enhanced knowledge of these characteristics should enable the creation of games

The gameplay experience can be understood as an interaction between player and game design characteristics. A greater understanding of these characteristics can be gained through empirical means. Subsequently, an enhanced knowledge of these characteristics should enable the creation of games that effectively generate desirable experiences for players. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between gameplay enjoyment and the individual characteristics of gaming goal orientations, game usage, and gender. A total of 301 participants were surveyed and the data were analyzed using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). This led to an expanded Gameplay Enjoyment Model (GEM) with 41 game features, an overarching Enjoyment factor, and 9 specific components, including Challenge, Companionship, Discovery, Fantasy, Fidelity, Identity, Multiplayer, Recognition, and Strategy. Furthermore, the 3x2 educational goal orientation framework was successfully applied to a gaming context. The resulting 3x2 Gaming Goal Orientations (GGO) model consists of 18 statements that describe players' motivations for gaming, which are distributed across the six dimensions of Task-Approach, Task-Avoidance, Self-Approach, Self-Avoidance, Other-Approach, and Other-Avoidance. Lastly, players' individual characteristics were used to predict gameplay enjoyment, which resulted in the formation of the GEM-Individual Characteristics (GEM-IC) model. In GEM-IC, the six GGO dimensions were the strongest predictors. Meanwhile, game usage variables like multiplayer, genre, and platform preference, were minimal to moderate predictors. Although commonly appearing in games research, gender and game time commitment variables failed to predict enjoyment. The results of this study enable important work to be conducted involving game experiences and player characteristics. After several empirical iterations, GEM is considered suitable to employ as a research and design tool. In addition, GGO should be useful to researchers interested in how player motivations relate to gameplay experiences. Moreover, GEM-IC points to several variables that may prove useful in future research. Accordingly, it is posited that researchers will derive more meaningful insights on games and players by investigating detailed, context-specific characteristics as compared to general, demographic ones. Ultimately, it is believed that GEM, GGO, and GEM-IC will be useful tools for researchers and designers who seek to create effective gameplay experiences that meet the needs of players.

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Date Created
2013

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Towards building cyber-human systems for individuals with visual impairment

Description

A lot of strides have been made in enabling technologies to aid individuals with visual impairment live an independent life. The advent of smart devices and participatory web has especially facilitated the possibility of new interactions to aide everyday tasks.

A lot of strides have been made in enabling technologies to aid individuals with visual impairment live an independent life. The advent of smart devices and participatory web has especially facilitated the possibility of new interactions to aide everyday tasks. Current systems however tend to be complex and require multiple cumbersome devices which invariably come with steep learning curves. Building new cyber-human systems with simple integrated interfaces while keeping in mind the specific requirements of the target users would help alleviate their mundane yet significant daily needs. Navigation is one such significant need that forms an integral part of everyday life and is one of the areas where individuals with visual impairment face the most discomfort. There is little technology out there to help travelers with navigating new routes. A number of research prototypes have been proposed but none of them are available to the general population. This may be due to the need for special equipment that needs expertise before deployment, or trained professionals needing to calibrate devices or because of the fact that the systems are just not scalable. Another area that needs assistance is the field of education. Lot of the classroom material and textbook material is not readily available in alternate formats for use. Another such area that requires attention is information delivery in the age of web 2.0. Popular websites like Facebook, Amazon, etc are designed with sighted people as target audience. While the mobile editions with their pared down versions make it easier to navigate with screen readers, the truth remains that there is still a long way to go in making such websites truly accessible.

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Date Created
2016