Best Universities In The USA To Study Online Programs

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our day-to-day routines. We have had to adapt. Amidst all the uncertainty, you may still want to get your Diploma, Bachelor’s, Masters or Ph.D., and you are as uncertain about most things as the world is. The Education sector has also had to adapt.

Online programs are the best option in our current situation to get the ball rolling as far as your education is concerned. 

You are probably wondering:

  • Will I still be marketable in the workforce with a degree or certificate attained online?
  • Is studying online more costly or cheaper than attending classes physically?
  • And most importantly, which are the best Universities to earn your certificate via an online program?

In previous years, studying through online programs has been considered an option for long-distance students and working people whose work and class schedules conflict. In our current situation, online programs are a necessity. 

  • Will I still be marketable in the workforce with a degree or certificate attained online?

A certificate earned online is as good as one obtained in class. You should, nevertheless, look out for whether or not the institution you attend online is accredited. However, with the many colleges across the country, it is wise to choose the best ones. 

Being in the best online colleges will give you an added advantage over people who studied online in just a college offering online programs. Online programs or online courses are the same as those done in classes. The difference is, online programs are more convenient and flexible. It could suit your particular lifestyle.

  • Is studying online more costly or cheaper than attending classes physically?

Variations in tuition fees depend on the particular online programs and the university. We have highlighted some of them respectively in the universities below. 

  • And most importantly, which are the best Universities in the USA to study online programs?

Strayer University

Strayer University is a private, learning institution established in 1892. Over the years, the university has enrolled over 50,000 students globally through its online programs. It has its headquarters in Washington DC, with 76 campuses located in 15 states. 

Strayer specializes in degree programs for working adults. Currently, they have an offer for spring classes starting April 5th in which students enrolling for a Bachelor’s program are getting a laptop pre-loaded with Microsoft software.

Strayer’s online programs are many. You have to head on to their website strayer.edu/online-degrees to go through the entire list. Popular fields include online programs featuring Bachelors in Business related programs, Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, DevMountain courses, Digital Entrepreneurship, Health Sciences, Jack Welch programs, Joe Gibbs certificates, MBAs, Masters in Education, Masters in Health Service Administration, among others. 

All the online programs offered at Strayer University are accredited. Again, note that they have 50,000 students enrolled globally through the online programs. That is a testament to the excellent quality of their online programs. 

The tuition fee for the fall of 2019 was $1,480 per course for the Full and Part-Time degree programs and $1,480 for the Full and Part-Time Associates degrees. They may opt to update the fee structure, so stay updated on their official website strayer.edu/online-degrees.

Grand Canyon University 

GCU is a for-profit private, Christian University established in 1949. In 2018 they ranked, the largest Christian University based on enrollment. The university offers a variety of accredited online degree programs. 

They include Bachelors’ and Master’s online programs such as; Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Graphic Design, Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies, Master of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Master of Arts in Christian Leadership, Master of Arts in Communication, Master of Arts in Curriculum Instruction.

Grand Canyon University also offers online doctoral programs such as Doctor of Business Administration: Data Analytics, Doctor of Business Administration: Management, and Doctor of Business Administration: Marketing among many other Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral programs. 

All GCU online programs are fully accredited which helps in giving an edge when employers assess your papers. The university has also dedicated itself to providing online education with as good quality as traditional education. 

The requirements are a critical factor to GCU as they are to potential employers. Their online programs require the same credits as traditional programs. 

The tuition fees vary depending on the program of study. The range for all the online undergraduate programs is $395 to $470 per credit hour. Graduate classes range from $365 to $695. The rates apply to students interested in pursuing online degree programs or evening classes. 

University of Phoenix 

The University of Phoenix is a for-profit online college founded in 1976. The university has an open-enrollment admission policy meaning they accept all applicants with a high-school diploma, GED, or its equivalent as sufficient admission. UoPX is the largest recipient of federal GI Bill tuition benefits for military veterans. 

UoPX offers Bachelor’s, Doctoral, Competency-based programs, Associate’s Degree, Certificates, and Master’s online programs covering diverse fields like Business, Behavioral Sciences, Education, Healthcare, Technology, Criminal Justice, and Psychology.

All the online programs offered at the University of Phoenix are accredited. As stated above the requirements to apply for courses are a GED, High-school Diploma, or an equivalent. 

For Undergraduates and Associate’s Degrees, you pay $398 per credit as the tuition fees. For Master’s programs, you pay $698 per credit and for the Doctoral programs, you pay $810 tuition fees. The university has a platform on its website to apply for federal financial aid, military or veteran benefits, employer assistance, and other scholarships. For more information about the University of Phoenix online programs click on this link phoenix.edu.

American Public University System

American Public University System (APUS) is a private, also for-profit, online learning institution consisting of American Military University (AMU), American Public University (APU), and Hondros College of Nursing. The university was established in 1991 and is owned by American Public Education, Inc. a publicly traded private-sector corporation. 

The application process requires you to review APUS policies and declare your academic goal during your online application for admission. Remember they majorly focus on a particular niche of individuals. 

APUS’s most popular online programs include undergraduate programs in Intelligence Studies, Sports and Health Sciences, Homeland Security Cybersecurity, Information Technology, Criminal Justice, Emergency and Disaster Management, Nursing, Business Administration, and Management. The catalog explains their military branch. They also offer graduate programs in similar fields. Their curriculum has an emphasis on educating the nation’s military and public service communities.

Their tuition fees vary but the average rates are $285 or $250 with a military grant per credit for undergraduate courses and $370 without the military grant, $250 with a military grant per credit for Master’s programs. For more information on the tuition fees structure and doctoral tuition fees visit https://www.apus.edu/tuition/index

The University of St. Thomas 

The University of St. Thomas is a private, Catholic university located in ST. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The institution was founded in 1885. They offer high-quality education in various fields. Annually, the University of St. Thomas enrolls 6,100 undergraduate students who are referred to as “Tommies”. 

Their online program focuses on participation. Thus students in online programs are included in live discussions, watching thought-provoking videos, listening to speakers, and collaborating with classmates. Online programs offered include undergraduate programs in Business, Catholic Studies, Education, Engineering, Law, and Social Work. 

Qualification varies for different programs and you can click on this link to get more information on the respective online program you may be interested in, https://www.stthomas.edu/academics/online-learning/.

Their tuition fees are averaged as $ 1,433 per credit for Undergraduate programs, $23,637 per term for Undergraduate banded rates for 12-18 credits. For more info on tuition fees hit this link https://www.stthomas.edu/businessoffice/resources/tuition2122/

Honorable Mention: Penn Foster College.

Penn Foster College is a private, for-profit college whose headquarters are in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The college was founded in 1890 as International Correspondence schools and is now a 100% online college. 

Penn Foster’s online programs are all asynchronous meaning you can start them any time. Penn Foster is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).  Undergrad, Associates Degrees, and Undergraduate certificates offered are from the following fields; Automotive, Creative Design, Education, Engineering, Technology, Legal Studies, Trade, Health Services, and they also have high-school programs to get your GED. 

They accept international students.

Their tuition fees vary with the respective courses. They do have offers such as the $2 a day offer. For more info on their tuition fee structure, you can check out their website https://www.pennfoster.edu/college

Studying online gives you the flexibility to still work or do other things while earning your certificate. Online programs are the future of learning. You can earn a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or and even your Doctorate from the institution of your choice and suit your schedules without having to break bank traveling. 

Genealogy of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Efforts within the United Kingdom

Today, modern-day terrorism is principally looked at as a serious global threat that warrants immediate attention. Its extensive scope, dynamic nature, and the number of nation-states impacted negatively by associated aftermaths has now forced many to resort to formulating elaborate counter-terrorism strategies to remain one step ahead of their adversaries. The United Kingdom is among a growing list of countries that have grappled with terrorism as a contemporary reality. Under UK law, terrorism is defined as using threats and intimidation with the main aim of influencing government. This is primarily done to advance a particular religious or political ideology (Great Britain. Home Office 2009).. Although the UK had previously been subjected to a number of terrorist attacks linked to the political unrest in Northern Ireland, it was only during the turn of the 21st century that the inaugural Terrorism Act of 2000 was formally implemented.

Read also Terrorism is The War of the Poor, and War is the Terrorism of the Rich

Major Events that shaped the Creation of the Terrorism Act 2000

            The Terrorism Act of 2000 is officially recognized as the chief legislation dealing with terrorism-related matters in the UK. Its implementation was an attempt to implement legislation that focused generally on terrorism, as opposed to focusing exclusively on the situation in Northern Ireland.  The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a major factor that prompted the implementation of this particular Act. The 7/7 bombings, as they are commonly referred to, were a series of synchronized attacks targeting London’s underground railway commuter system. This marked a turning point in the UK’S approach to terrorism, especially since the attack resulted in the deaths of close to 60 individuals and hundreds more were injured (Tembo 2015). Additional coordinated attacks were also slated for the days following the bombings, but were largely ineffective due poor organization. The four suicide bombers were later identified as British nationals Mohammed Sidique Khan, Germaine Lindsay, Shehzad Tanweer, and Hasib Hussain linked to jihadist terrorist cells (Staniforth & Fraser Sampson 2014).

Read also The Correlation between the Concept of Globalization and International Terrorism

Proscribed Terrorist Groups under Terrorism Act 2000

            One of the most significant aims of the Terrorism Act of 2000 was a succinct classification of terrorist groups under the new legislation. The Act currently identifies Islamic extremism, far-right ultra-nationalist movements, and radical anarchist groups in Northern Ireland as major areas of focus when seeking to address immediate concerns related to terrorism. Individuals who identify as members of such organizations, those who don associated regalia, and those suspected to support them may be charged with a terrorist offence. This act also extend prosecution to persons who knowing or unknowingly join groups with links to local and international terrorist groups.

Read also Role of International Non-Governmental Organizations in Combating Terrorism – Sample Research Paper

Definition of Terrorism Prior to the adoption of the Terrorism Act 2000

            Before the 7/7 bombings and the subsequent enactment of the Terrorism Act of 2000, terrorism was synonymous with the activities of the Irish Revolutionary Army (IRA).  This had previously resulted in the implementation of the Northern Ireland Emergency Act of 1996 to aid in stemming the threat posed by the IRA (Richards 2012).  It offered a clear definition of terrorism while emboldening the police with new investigatory powers to effectively confronted suspected cases.

Read also Impact of Terrorism on Children

Counter-terrorism Efforts in the United Kingdom

            The primary objective of implementing counter-terrorism strategies in the UK is to develop the most suitable response to imminent terrorist threats. These efforts have mainly focused on the implementation of specified measures to prevent individuals from joining or supporting terrorist organizations (Great Britain. Home Office 2009). Additionally, they also aim to thwart terrorist attacks by gathering sufficient and some of the most reliable intelligence. Counter-terrorism strategies in the UK also intend to utilize appropriate infrastructure to protect citizens against potential terrorist attacks. It also guarantees a high level of preparedness to mitigate negative consequences often associated with terrorist attacks. Target groups include Islamic extremism, far-right ultra-nationalist movements, and radical anarchist groups in Northern Ireland.

Read also The Role Of Fusion Centers In Counterterrorism Strategies

Counter-terrorism strategies in the UK now include provisions that allow members of law enforcement agencies to arrest suspects even without a warrant. This provision affords them a great deal of latitude in arresting and detaining individuals with suspected links to proscribed terrorist organizations. It has been hailed by security experts as a positive development and a shift from ordinary criminal law that hindered extensive investigation of suspects. Stop and search provisions have also become a part of counter-terrorism efforts in the UK in the wake of threats posed by terrorist attacks. Under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act of 2002, stop and search devoid of any reasonable suspicion to aid in seizing material intended for terrorist-related activities (Chatterjee 2012). Police officers were also allowed to make specific authorizations in the event they suspected of participating in acts of terrorism. Furthermore, the UK currently implements stringent measures which criminalize the collection of information to be used to plot terrorist attacks. Under section 58, suspects will be liable for to serve nearly a decade in prison for this particular offence. Bilal Zaher Ahmad was among the first individuals to be charged as a direct consequence of this counter-terrorism strategy for collecting extremist material distributed by al-Qaeda (Elshimi 2018).           

Read also Cyber Terrorism : The America Response  

Perhaps the most controversial counter-terrorism strategy employed in the UK is the stop and search provision under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act of 2000. This is mainly due to the fact that it can be applied by the police even without any reasonable suspicion. Law enforcement officers can now choose to arbitrarily implement this particular provision; searching individuals and cars, even though the suspects might be innocent. One of the main criticisms of this approach surrounds the low numbers of individuals incarcerated for terrorist offences after routine stop and search events. The European Court of Human Rights has even gone as far as publicly criticizing the stop-and-search provisions granted and also asserted that it was in direct contravention of Article 8 of its Convention on Human Rights (Elshimi 2018). This has resulted in repeated calls to have this section repealed to protect the individual dignity of UK nationals. The most immediate impact of these efforts has been a sudden drive towards the prevention of terrorist attacks and an unintended consequence in the rise in islamophobia. Nevertheless, counter-terrorism strategies have largely remained static, which is worrying given the changing face of terrorism.

Main Principles in the US Constitution

A sovereign nation is run by the government, judicial bodies, citizens, and most importantly, the Constitution. This is why the US Constitution lies at the heart of both America’s historical greatness and uniqueness. When the framers of the Constitution, several principles undergirded their efforts, acting as the building blocks. Among the said principles, the main ones include; federalism, separation of powers, and the checks and balances.

Read also American Constitution as an Evolutionary rather than a Revolutionary Document

Federalism

The Framers of the Constitution wanted the nation and the states to operate as partners in governing. To foster the desired partnership, the Framers used federalism to structure the Constitution. Informed by the principle of federalism, they assigned certain powers to the federal government (delegated powers). They also defined the powers of the state governments (reserved powers). Lastly, they defined powers shared by the federal and state governments (concurrent powers). The shared powers bind the American people together. Notably, the main objective of employing federalism was to ensure that the powers of the national government and those of the states were clearly defined, with each having exclusive power over its sphere with little overlap (McClellan, 1997).

Read also Immigration Front, Current Event That is an Example of Federalism

Separation of Powers

            Having defined the powers, the Framers became significantly concerned that too much power might fall into the hands of a single group. As a result, to avoid the said problem, they came up with the idea of separation of powers. The principle involves the division of the basic government roles into branches. The powers were split among the three branches (legislative, executive, and legislative). The legislative branch is responsible for enacting laws and appropriating necessary funds to operate the government. As for the executive branch, it is responsible for implementing and administering laws enacted by the legislative branch. Regarding the judicial branch, it is mandated to interpret the Constitution and laws. The separation of powers principle’s goal was to ensure that no one branch is given all the power (McClellan, 1997).

Read also Landmark Cases – Separation of Powers

Checks and Balances

            The Framers deemed it necessary to have checks and balances to ensure that the three branches of the government work together fairly. The principle of checks and balances is undergirded by the ideology that power should be a check to power. Notably, although the three branches of the government are separate, they rely on each other to effectively and seamlessly perform the work of government. Thus, the main goals of the Framers when putting in place checks and balances was to reduce mistakes, prevent inappropriate behavior, and minimize the risk of centralization of power. The principle ensures that no one person or branch has absolute control over decisions and force cooperation between the three branches (McClellan, 1997).

Read also Respect for the Rule of Law – GOVT 376

            It is worth noting that the three principles relate to each other. Federalism answers the question regarding how power is to be shared. Separation of powers addresses the concern regarding how the defined power should be divided to ensure that too much power does not fall into the hands of a single group. The checks and balances principle seeks to make sure that the power is evenly distributed; thus, ensuring that the three branches of the government, although separated, work together fairly with minimal mistakes, without improper behavior, and without risking centralization of power. Together, the three principles form the foundation of the US Constitution.

Energy Efficiency in a Hospital – Sustainability Initiative Proposal

Assignment Instructions

Select a health care setting you want to focus on for your sustainability initiative (e.g., local hospital, veterans hospital, ambulance service, urgent care, nursing home, etc.). Analyze the setting you have selected and break it down to the main departments, employee roles, operating activities, etc. While doing so, brainstorm opportunities to reduce costs or eliminate waste while improving patient care or outcomes. Review the list of sustainable initiatives from the list below, and select one that you want to promote for your course project:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Lighting
  • IR scanning
  • Cogeneration
  • Kanban Inventory
  • Device exchange
  • CR pack reformation
  • Device reprocessing
  • Red bag waste reduction
  • Blue wrap recycling

Identify data sources you might need to collect and analyze for your initiative. Consider contacting people in the industry and at your organization who may be able to help. Write a 525- to 700-word proposal of the sustainability initiative you want to promote at the health care setting you selected. Your proposal should:

  • Create a clear vision or mission statement that defines the scope of the initiative and would generate buy-in.
  • Define what outcomes you expect to achieve over time.
  • Be specific with what you can realistically deliver.

Read also Exploration of a Change Initiative

Energy Efficiency Sustainability Initiative Proposal For a Local Hospital

The health care setting that I want to center on for the sustainability initiative is a local hospital. A local hospital is a large health care organization comprising of the emergency department, primary care unit, intensive care unit, laboratory unit, gynecology, and obstetrics unit, cardiology units, physiology unit, Surgery, wards, and maternity unit, among others. Being a local hospital focuses on providing general medical care to the residents, including specialized care. The hospital contains different employees, including medical specialists in other units of operations, nurses, administrative staff, and cleaning and catering staff. The primary role of medical specialists is to save lives and to improve patients’ quality of life. The nurses’ primary function is to offer holistic care where quality is ensured. In general, the team should focus on providing good patient outcomes and a high level of satisfaction. The administrative team’s central role is to ensure smooth learning of operations supporting medical services provision. The cleaning team ensures the hospital is generally clean, while the catering team ensures inpatients are well fed, following the set menus, based on the patient’s needs. While performing their activities, all hospital employees should ensure a high operational efficiency level as a way of cost management. This includes effective use of hospital resources without being wasteful (Bentley et al., 2008).

Read also Explaining The Long Term Energy Sustainability Plan

The sustainable initiative that will be used to promote the course project is energy efficiency. Local hospitals’ operations utilize electric energy in different operations, including lighting, powering computers and other electronic devices used in different operation units, heating water, and sometimes steaming for sterilization, air conditioning, and heating, among other things. All these activities result in high energy consumptions, consequently creating very high utility bills for the hospital. The primary mission of this sustainability initiative is to reduce energy wastage in all hospital operations. The sustainability initiative’s central vision is to achieve the highest level of energy efficiency by eliminating energy wastage and shifting the highest percentage of the energy used in the hospital to green energy.

The main aim of this sustainability initiative is to achieve energy efficiency. The sustainability initiative’s short-term goal is to improve energy efficiency by focusing on lighting and heating systems. The long-term goal is to adjust the hospital structure to reduce the need to use energy for different operations such as air conditioning and heating and shift to green energy production for main energy-consuming activities such as heating in the hospital. To achieve this, the hospital will initially focus on reducing energy wastage in various areas of operations. For instance, the hospital may adopt energy-saving lighting bulbs to reduce the amount of power used to light them. More improved bulbs will be used to ensure proper lighting at low watts. The hospital will also use LED lamps for exterior lighting (Teke & Timur, 2014).

Read also Pursuing Environmental Sustainability in today’s Intermodal Transportation Industry

In the long-run, the hospital will focus on making various changes in its buildings to reduce the energy used in air conditioning and heating. Boilers, hot water tanks, and water heaters will be insulated to avoid heat loss. The current boilers will be replaced with high-efficiency boilers (Teke & Timur, 2014). Energy auditing can be done on the hospital building to determine areas that may need improvement to reduce the energy dependence to create the required environmental temperature or air circulation (Reddy, Sandbhor & Dabir, 2019). With audit results, the hospital can also consider insulating roofs, window shading, utilization of air curtains, and the use of draught-proofing. The buildings can also be adjusted to create free cooling by natural air. The hospital will also adopt solar energy for boilers and heating water used for normal operations (Fitriani, Sangadji & Kristiawan, 2017). The changes will help the hospital to cut electrical bills and dependence on electrical energy for daily operations.

Information Technology Project Plan For a Start-up Company

CIS498 IT Capstone Scenario

You have been made the Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer (CIO / CTO) of an innovative e-Commerce start-up company that a venture capital group has funded. The CEO has given you sixty (60) days to deliver an information technology project plan in anticipation of the company locating to a new facility. Since this is a start-up company, there is currently no building or technology infrastructure to support the business. All information technology (hardware and software) must be implemented in either a hosted solution, on-site solution or a hybrid model. The CEO is expecting you to integrate different technologies from different partners and incorporate industry best practices in connection with the development of technological systems. The new facility is a two-story stand-alone building. The company currently consists of ten (10) employees with revenues of $5 million but is expected to grow to thirty (30) employees with revenue of $30 million over the next two (2) years.

Information Technology Project Plan For a Start-up Company – CIS498 IT Capstone

Introduction

Owing to technological advancements, e-commerce has achieved massive success in the 21st century. In 2019, globally, ecommerce recorded sales of approximately $3.5 trillion (Mohanty & Nanda, 2020). According to Mohanty and Nanda, this was an increase of roughly 18% from the previous year. Projections show that ecommerce is expected to nearly double by 2023, with total global sales of more than $6.5 trillion. This sector’s immense success is mostly attributed to the ability of ecommerce businesses to integrate information technology in their operations whereby they collect user data and analyze it to inform their strategies. Data collection comes with substantial responsibility for ensuring security from theft and breach. Regarding ecommerce businesses, this document explores the business requirements of a start-up ecommerce company, particularly how it can ensure effective data security and management.

Scope

The opportunities within the scope of an ecommerce company engaged in providing services on the online world through information technology are numerous. In recent years, the ecommerce industry has become one of the leading customer preferences as per the current market trends. This pattern has induced a series of innovations in information technology, with these technological advancements mainly focusing on customer behavior and transactions process (Mohanty, M. S., & Nanda, D. B. (2020). The bloom of the ecommerce in recent years has led the company to benefit from the many opportunities presented by fast-growing domains in the online commerce realm. Implementation of the transactions process has considerably yielded positive results as most customers have embraced it and provided positive feedback. Most customers have stated that they prefer online transactions to the traditional offline processes due to its heightened security and the enhanced customer experience as it is hassle-free. Moreover, the customers have established that they prefer to order services from their home’s comfort rather than visiting a physical store (Dachyar & Banjarnahor, 2017). These customer preferences create a significantly broad scope for the ecommerce company to establish a competitive advantage.

Read also Scope Creep – Information Technology Projects

The undertakings of the company also provide it with room to expand its scope in the ecommerce industry. The opportunities stem from the presence of protected databases of the customer market, which the company has prioritized. With the proper utilization of innovative features of information technology, the company under consideration focuses on buffering protection of its customer data through the use of cloud solutions. This entails the use of high-end security approaches, including incorporating firewall, antimalware software, et cetera. Such a process will also create latitude for the company to establish a competitive edge in the ecommerce sector. According to Dachyar and Banjarnahor (2017), customers prefer to transact with a company that guarantees that their sensitive information is well secured. Thus, the scope of the ecommerce company is significantly vast with the presence of such features and the increasingly growing ecommerce sector. However, it is worth noting that the company’s scope is mainly dependent on its ability to increase the number of internet users who perceive its online stores as easy and safe to access and, most importantly, effective in satisfactorily meeting their needs. Therefore, the company must establish itself as the best option in its respective market by strategically considering the identified factors.

Read also Contract Formation and Working with Vendors to Ensure Successful Completion of Business Projects

The company under consideration is a start-up with about 25 employees working in its two-storied premises. An effective communication framework is paramount to the success of the business. Having an advanced networking system as part of the infrastructure undergirding the communication framework can provide the company with much-needed efficiency in communications and, as a result, facilitate competitive advantage. The networking system should entail device locations, server information, links, et cetera. The components are essential to facilitating effective staff-customer interactions (Dachyar & Banjarnahor, 2017). Consequently, this will lead to improved customer satisfaction, which helps the company retain its existing customers and attract new ones due to a good reputation.

Achievement of the described scope is possible through maximization of the available opportunities and having a growth mindset that will see the company turn challenges into opportunities. With such an approach, the start-up has a fair probability of maintaining steady growth and profitability to grow to become an industry leader. In fact, such an approach will see the company expand its scope.

Read also Methods For Measuring Successes Of Information Technology Project

Possible Risks, Constraints, and Assumptions

The success of an ecommerce business is largely dependent on how well it utilizes information systems and technology. Balzer, Bollig, and Binckebanck (2017) illuminate that information technology systems monitor and manage databases, ensure data security, and facilitate data analysis. It also entails computer infrastructure and incorporates accounting and networking within an organization. An efficient information technology system also outlines web-designs, employee-customer relationships, and human-computer interactions; thus, it is imperative to identify underlying assumptions, risks, and constraints associated with an ecommerce start-up.

One of the factors that may constrain the company is the newly implemented information technology system. The constraints associated with this factor stem from security, privacy, technical limitations, sustainability, and legal issues. However, by identifying and implementing strategies to address these limitations, the start-up under consideration overcome the limitations. One of the consumer market’s primary concerns when it comes to online businesses is the data theft or disclosure of sensitive personal information such as their credentials (Patro, Padhy, & Panigrahi, 2016). Hence, ecommerce businesses must secure their online stores as well as their online transactions process. To address this issue, the company under consideration will emphasize data encryption to ensure data privacy and security (Praveena & Smys, 2017). Thus, the company will adopt robust firewalls, antimalware software, and security plugins to ensure data protection. Notably, this will be implemented as an ongoing process to ensure that the said software and plugins are always up to date as well as make sure there are no loopholes for data theft or breach.

The ecommerce industry is highly dependent on data collection, analysis, and interpretation to make informed customer decisions. As already mentioned in this document, the organization will gather useful information to enhance the customer experience. If an organization is not able to protect its database, it risks loss or leakage of confidential information. However, while data collection is essential to the success of ecommerce businesses, they must comply with established rules and regulations regarding user data collection. Legal compliance with cyber laws and data management laws can, therefore, act as a constraint to the start-up as it limits the data that the company can gather ((Praveena & Smys, 2017). Besides the legal limitations, technical factors can also constraint the business as it largely depends on online technology. For instance, an erratic server or internet connection can halt ecommerce business. As such, it is important that the start-up adequately invests in the technological aspect of its operations to ensure that its business runs seamlessly.

Apart from the constraints, it is also essential to consider potential risks when planning for a business venture. One of the notorious risks in the ecommerce realm is credit card fraud. This poses a significant threat to the start-up because if it happens as a customer is transacting with the company, it can adversely affect its reputation. Without trust, ecommerce is bound to crumble. If such an incident occurs, it can significantly hurt the trust the company has established with the customers and, as a result, cause it to lose its customer base. It would also adversely impact the company’s ability to attract new customers due to the negative image (Kaushik, Gupta, & Gupta, 2020). It is, therefore, crucial that the company under consideration implement measures to prevent such occurrences. Another risk is a system failure. For instance, if the internet service provider (ISP) experience technical hitches such as a crash, the entire transaction process can be at risk. The start-up should, therefore, have a mitigation plan to deal with such risks. Lastly, product damage can occur during shipment. If the damaged product reaches the customer, then it hurts the company’s reputation. To restore the damaged trust, the company will have to change the product at its cost or refund the customer. Therefore, such events can cause the company to incur losses and negatively impact its ability to retain existing customers and attract new ones.

Read also Project Management Maturity Model, its Role in Increasing Productivity, Importance of Organizational Strategy, Project Communication and use of Project Quality

Integration with Other Systems and Infrastructure

Staying up-to-date with technological advancements can help the start-up company improve its success in the ecommerce sector. Notably, this includes buffering its information technology by integrating it with other systems and infrastructure. This section explores how the company under consideration can integrate databases, systems, security, networking, and interface design to gain a competitive advantage.

Read also System Integration Implementation Plan

Databases

The protection of user information and confidential company data is essential to companies operating in the ecommerce realm. The company under consideration, can utilize a cloud-based data management system to reduce data burden and heighten security. There exist several database software at the disposal of the start-up company. The company can also source the services of SaaS service providers in the digital marketing space. Besides direct marketing, this can also help with data analysis to provide useful information that the start-up can utilize to its advantage. Some of these functions relate to:

  • Data tracking.
  • Transactional information.
  • Customer information.
  • Stable internal core business structure.

There are numerous databases in the market that the start-up can adopt, including API Databases, Value Databases, Cloud Databases, et cetera (Patro, Padhy, & Panigrahi, 2016). The start-up must make sure to use a database that aligns with its needs and operations. As a recommendation, the company can utilize Cloud Databases Management. The database offers various benefits, including massive data space, reliable security, user-friendliness, and other features geared towards enhanced customer experience.

Systems Analysis

Ecommerce has revolutionized the way businesses conduct their businesses. According to Patro, Padhy, and Panigrahi (2016), the ecommerce stands out as a platform that allows multiple business operations within a single infrastructure such as shopping, financial transactions, product delivery, and consumer feedback. Therefore, transparency in ecommerce is vital to the success of a company operating in the ecommerce sector. Therefore, the start-up needs to emphasize transparency in all its operations to ensure that it establishes robust trust with customers and other stakeholders. Inclusion on grid security infrastructure (GSI) can improve communication between the company and the consumer market, thereby improving its reputation (Patro, Padhy, & Panigrahi, 2016). System analysis leads to various benefits to businesses, including:

  • Efficiency and flexibility.
  • Cost-effectiveness.
  • Improved management.
  • Informs technological considerations.

Read also System Integration Analysis and Its Importance to the Organization

Security

As earlier emphasized in this document, data security is essential to ecommerce businesses. The start-up can buffer its data security installation of security software, including firewalls and antimalware. The company also needs to encrypt its data and protect it with passwords. Moreover, it is crucial to cultivate an organizational culture that emphasizes data protection through best practices and maintains business ethics regarding data management (Patro, Padhy, & Panigrahi, 2016). Some of the threats that the security measures should seek to address include, ecommerce security threats, phishing, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and payment gateway security. The company can outsource these services or hire online data management experts to ensure heightened security of data gathered and stored. Apart from improving data management infrastructure, enhancing human-computer interaction through ongoing training can significantly improve its security system. According to (Praveena & Smys, 2017), data breach or loss often occurs due to poor human-computer interactions.

Networking

The ecommerce company seeks to acquire networking efficiency facilitated by improved network infrastructure that will see a seamless flow of operations. As an ecommerce business, the company is entirely reliant on networking systems. Therefore, the start-up needs to consider factors such as physical communications, serve information, device location, links, and the number of customers visiting its website/online store. Objective consideration of these aspects will allow the company to establish high standards regarding the quality of its networks (Praveena & Smys, 2017). The company also needs to acquire a robust network infrastructure incorporating components such as load balancers, firewalls, domain name system (DNS), et cetera to ensure the business runs smoothly (Patro, Padhy, & Panigrahi, 2016). In establishing the networking system/infrastructure, the company should consider the various underlying threats, including malware threats, online frauds, bad bots targeting networks, and data breach and theft threats. To avoid the mentioned challenges, the start-up will implement specific security changes to avoid the mentioned challenges. To start with, the company will secure the server and admin panels to ensure network reliability. Secondly, it will protect the switches and routers from unauthorized third parties through the use of passwords. Lastly, the company will train the staff regarding security measures.

Interface Design

For businesses operating in the ecommerce sector, interface design plays an integral role in determining a business’s ability to attract potential customers. Having this in mind, the company under consideration will emphasize having an interface design that will allow the consumer market to get attracted to the company’s website and explore the various commodities the business has to offer. The user interface will be designed to ensure user-friendliness by allowing visitors to interact with the website easily. According to Patro, Padhy, and Panigrahi, (2016), an effective website is one that places the customer at the center of interface design as it allows visitors to enjoy an enhanced customer experience. Consequently, this allows a company to attract new customers while retaining existing ones.

Conclusion

To sum up, technology plays a vital role in the ecommerce sector. A key reason that has seen the industry grow is its ability to learn consumer behavior through data collection and consequently work towards customer satisfaction. Data collection comes with great responsibility, as ecommerce businesses have to ensure they keep the data they gather safely. As a result, ecommerce businesses need to have effective data security and management systems. As demonstrated in this document, it is imperative to approach data security and management from a holistic perspective that considers risks, constraints, and assumptions and further integrates database, interface design, security, and networking. Effective consideration of the requirements discussed in this document will see the start-up company under consideration steadily grow to become a market leader in the ecommerce sector.

Virtual Reality Technology and Revolution in Healthcare

The field of healthcare is undergoing a massive scientific change and revolution as a result of technology. One disruptive technology that is rewriting the delivery of care is virtual reality (VR) technology. VR is the use of computer simulation and modeling technologies that facilitate interaction with three dimensional virtual and sensory environments. VR technology was initially popularized in the 1990s. Since then, scientific research has produced a plethora of studies to present new discoveries and applications in various fields. The health healthcare sector has experienced a huge increase in the application of VR. Uses span from the creation of new life-saving techniques to medical training, patient treatment, surgery, medical marketing, and disease awareness. In essence, VR applications immerse users in computer-generated environments that simulate reality through special integrative devices that communicate with the user. Virtual Reality devices are becoming increasingly available to the average consumer, meaning that sooner or later, patients may also reap the benefits of VR technologies. Examples of VR devices comprise headsets, goggles, bodysuits, and gloves.

            A significant area in healthcare where VR is progressively transforming procedures and workflows is education (Fertleman et al., 2018). Notably, many healthcare operations require the utilization of expensive high tech equipment which may not be available to everyone. VR provides a cheaper alternative by providing simulations that mimic wards and operation rooms. Simulators are an advantageous way of training aspiring surgeons, medical professionals, and assisting nurses. Many healthcare educators have already implemented VR in training. For Example, Stanford University uses a surgery simulator that provides haptic feedback to the user.

Read also Design Concept for Haptic and Thermal Sensorial modalities in Virtual Reality Interactions Evaluation

            Despite its promising benefits, VR technology is plagued by several ethical limitations. Virtual Reality is a new technology, and as such, its implementation presents challenges that impact the user in various proportions. For instance, there is no evidence documenting prospected side effects since no one has utilized VR before in healthcare settings. Researchers have cited the significant concern that the application of VR could lead to the occurrence of unexpected side effects. Some have cited cybersickness as a potential outcome because of incongruous sensory cues that emerge when one uses VR. Incongruous sensory cues denote a conflict between casual, auditory, vestibular, and proprioceptive senses and the user’s expectations based on real-world experiences.

Read also Reflection Essay on the Use of Virtual Reality in Employee Training Programs

The use of VR may pose significant issues to children and elderly populations. Children are highly susceptible to information and can confuse what is real and what is virtual. Studies that have featured children in VR experiments have concluded that children are more likely to believe that virtual characters are real (Segovia & Bailenson, 2009). Additionally, since VR involves full immersion of the user into a virtual environment, elderly people and people with mental issues can have adverse reactions. Traditional moral responsibilities are not applicable in the virtual world since the latter may lack or include aspects that are not synonymous with those of the physical world. It is important to investigate environmental impacts, account social involvement, and other repercussions that Virtual Reality may bring when applied in healthcare settings.

Read also How Patient Education and Technology Impacts the Delivery of Healthcare and Nursing Care

In conclusion, virtual reality technologies offer healthcare communities a vast array of opportunities, but they also present an equal share of challenges that require further assessment and research. The future of VR in healthcare is seemingly boundless and the current range of applications is getting wider by the day.

Cask of Amontillado – Psychoanalytic Analysis

The theory of psychoanalysis is based on the self-honesty in that a person is shaped by their experiences. An individual who is completely honest with themselves is more likely to be aware of their characteristics. The workings of the theory are patent in Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.” The story depicts a character with an extreme obsession to inflict vengeance.

Read also The Humor and Horror Aspects in the Setting of The Cask of Amontillado

            The depicted character is Montresor, who is very self-reflective about his desire for revenge. From the onset, the writer does not reveal why Montresor is determined to impose retribution on Fortunato. Instead, the story begins by highlighting Montresor’s plot against Fortunato. One minor hint that the reader contends with is that the Fortunato may have insulted Montresor in some way. This hint discloses Montresor’s insecurity as he is not tolerant of criticism and would prefer to resort to vengeance as the only resolution.

            Within the context of revenge, the audience learns that Montresor retains a bitter hatred toward Fortunato, which fuels his desire to torture and kill. This profound desire for revenge brings out some characteristics of Montresor’s character that he would not seemingly admit in person. Perhaps Montresor’s hate and overdeveloped yearning to revenge was triggered by past events. A certain occurrence may have contributed to his fanaticism towards a mere insult. The author maintains that the nature of Montresor’s “soul” does not give “utterance to a threat.” This shows that he does not withdraw from a threat. Rather, he prefers to retaliate and settle matters his own way.            

From a psychoanalytic perspective, Montresor’s desire for revenge and anger towards others as a result of trivial matters uncovers certain traits of his personality. It is Montresor’s self-honesty that gives the reader a more profound view of his character and behavior. In the end, his character materializes as quick-tempered, angry, intolerant, narrow-minded, and grumpy.

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” – A Feminist perspective

The critical theory of feminist criticism explores men’s and women’s social experiences, chores, interests, and politics with the aim of understanding gender inequality. Some of its major underlying concepts include patriarchy, sexual objectification, discrimination, and stereotypes. The theory serves as a critical tool for analyzing stories and literature from a feminists’ viewpoint. This section analyzes Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” using the theory of feminist criticism. The story represents an allegorical portrayal of society’s cruel principles and flaws and its impact on people, especially women.

Read also Photorealism Style Movement Vs Feminist Art Style

            The evidence of cruel societal principles in “The Lottery” emerges when the reader encounters the true meaning of the lottery. Rather than present a monetary incentive or award to an anticipated winner, the portrayed village conducts a chilling tradition of stoning a certain person to death. At the same time, the reader becomes aware of the reality of society’s control over women through the imposition of limitations and expectations. The sheer degree of politics involved in the plot exposes that tradition and formality are critical to this society. Indeed, tradition is a custom that binds the actions of everyone in the village. This is clearly evidenced by the black box, which not only dictates the fear of the people but also the authority of those they fear.

Read also Ethical Relativism in The Lottery

            By the use of phrases like “men folk,” the writer sets men apart from the women and communicates the influence of a patriarchal system. A patriarchal system views women as subordinate to men and accords them with specific duties in family and society. All women in Shirley Jackson’s characters are victims of a patriarchal system as they have different behavior from that of men. Moreover, society expects every woman to be the property of a man through marriage.            

In conclusion, the critical theory of feminist criticism offers a unique view of Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery.” It presents her account as an allegorical portrayal of society’s cruel principles and inequality as far as gender is concerned.

Eye Witness Testimony Peer-reviewed Articles Review

Eyewitness memory represents episodic evocation of a dramatic event that someone has witnessed in the past. It is commonly used in the judicial system to provide testimony in legal cases, such as when a witness recounts the details of an incident. The accuracy of eyewitness memory in providing flawless evidence is highly debated in research circles because of the multiple factors involved in an episode of crime. Some scholars have argued that different aspects of extreme events can alter the process of encoding and retrieving information, resulting in distorted memories. This paper reviews two peer-reviewed articles on eye witness testimony with the aim of evaluating the reliability of eye-witness testimony. The malleability of memory contributes significantly to the unreliability of eyewitness testimony, but investigators can increase reliability by using uncontaminated eyewitnesses, using fresh witnesses, and tracking metaphysical aspects of the interviewee

            The first article documents an in-depth scholarly review on the consistency of eyewitness memory, as reported by Wixted, Mickes, & Fisher (2018). The underlying notion is that eyewitness testimony is unreliable and detrimental to the legal system due to its malleability and the incidence of eyewitness misidentifications. To build the foundation of this statement, the authors refer to four decades of research. The primary focus of their literature review is the flexibility of memory. After recounting the discovery of the plasticity of memory, the authors point to real cases where eyewitness memory has proved to be unreliable. Some of the cited incidences include the repressed-memory epidemic of the 1990s, where adult patients in psychotherapy recovered childhood memories of sexual abuse and a panic over day-care sexual abuse in the 1980s. Both cases were later ascribed to the implantation of false memories. While taking these incidences into account, Wixted, Mickes, & Fisher (2018) argue that eyewitness memory is likely to be unreliable, particularly in cases where criminal investigations contaminate the memory of witnesses. Former cases of eyewitness misidentification offer a solid base for their claim. Even so, the article moves beyond the prevailing verdict of the unreliability to evaluate the reliability principles of forensic evidence, as well as eyewitness identification evidence from recognition and eye witness evidence from police interviews. Ultimately, Wixted and his counterparts deduce that eyewitness memory is reliable only when the investigator eliminates trickery from the questioning process, uses witnesses who have not been exposed to distorted information, probes the witness’ memory for the first time only, remains sensitive to the interviewee’s level of confidence, and monitors how the metacognitive aspects of the eyewitness guide their responses. This deduction implies that eye-witness memory is only reliable in the same way that DNA evidence is consistent. Hence, the reliability of eye-witness memories hinges on testing procedures and levels of contamination.

            In the second article, Dahl et al. (2018) present a real-world analysis of eyewitness testimony in a police shooting with the aim of investigating manifestations of temporal and spatial distortions. The fundamental assertion is that eyewitness statements are used regularly in the criminal justice system, and thus, there is a pressing need to assess the reliability of their testimony. Dahl’s analysis involves 13 witnesses, among whom are nine civilians and four police officers. The police had been sent to find a man who had attacked and stabbed two people when the situation escalated into a shooting. According to the findings, witness testimonies differed when it came to specific aspects of the crime. For instance, although eyewitness information regarding the assailant’s movement and armament were consistent, responses relating to the exact shot that sent the assailant to the ground were unreliable. Additionally, eyewitness accounts omitted key legal details from narrations. This hints that eyewitness memory is reliable when general themes are under consideration as opposed to when precise details are in perspective.

            The findings of both articles are barely consistent with the Lockean Memory Theory, which maintains that the self is inherently connected to consciousness or memory. According to the theory, the self with which a person identifies persists and extends to memory. Hence, if one can remember an experience, then it is likely that they lived through that experience. This is partly true when we bring the findings of the articles into view. In essence, the study by Wixted, Mickes, & Fisher (2018) indicates that eyewitness memory is reliable when certain conditions are met. Two of the conditions address the level of manipulation that the investigator imposes on the witness. First, the investigator is instructed to circumvent the use of trickery. Perhaps this is because it causes a disconnection between the identity and consciousness of the witness. Second, the investigator is advised to refrain from using witnesses who have consumed contaminated information. In any case, Wixted, Mickes, & Fisher (2018) assert that the investigator is responsible for controlling the reliability of testimony. On the other hand, Dahl et al. (2018) reveal that eyewitness memory is distorted significantly when it comes to minute details of an event. Although inconsistent with Lockean Memory Theory, this conclusion corresponds with that of Wixted, Mickes, & Fisher (2018), who argue that contamination of memory may occur in the within and after an event.            

In conclusion, Wixted, Mickes, & Fisher (2018) and Dahl et al. (2018) acknowledge that eyewitness memory is unreliable in legal contexts. However, Wixted, Mickes, & Fisher (2018) notes that unreliability is only observed when certain conditions are not met. The malleability of memory contributes greatly to the unreliability of eyewitness testimony. However, investigators can increase reliability by using uncontaminated eyewitnesses, using fresh witnesses, and tracking metaphysical aspects of the interviewee.

Wassmiah Case Leadership Style Analysis

Wassmiah Case

Wassmiah is a leader in a local hospital and works well in the environment. The hospital’s environment is characterized by well-defined individual roles where each employee knows what is expected of him or her. Employee conflicts are minimized as everyone understands his or her responsibility, and the coordination of all activities leads to goal attainment. There is no duplication of work. Wassmiah encourages people to perform well and rewards positive behavior to boost productivity. Most goals Wassmiah sets are short-term, making them easier to fulfill, less intimidating to achieve, and as a result, employees are interested in obtaining the various rewards. When a problem arises, Wassmiah directs the employees in what to do and is quick to point out if the employee does not deliver results. However, Wassmiah suspects that employees are not working when there is no supervision.

What style of leadership is most likely described in this case and why have you reached that conclusion? What are the advantages of this type of leadership and what examples from the case support your position? What are the disadvantages of this type of leadership and what examples from the case support your position? What are the implications for employee motivation with this type of leadership? What other styles of leadership might be complementary to that described in the case and why?

Read also Leadership Critique – Transformational And Transactional Leadership

Transactional Leadership Model in Wassmiah Case

The approach to leadership that fits the description provided in Wassmiah’s case is the transactional leadership model. One characteristic of this style is the emphasis on extrinsic motivation. The given case describes Wassmiah as a leader who rewards employees with incentives to foster positive behavior. She also encourages employees to perform well while supervising them closely. Another aspect that sets her apart as a transactional leader is conformity to order and structure. Wassmiah maintains a formal workflow to direct self-motivated people in a structured workplace. Essentially, transactional leadership concentrates on the existing structure of the business, success measurements, and reward system. The role of a transactional leader revolves around exercising authority and supervising the workers to facilitate performance targets, both on individual and group levels. This essay attempts to demonstrate that Wassmiah’s leadership attributes lean towards a transactional approach. A transactional leadership style holds a strong emphasis on organization, supervision, and performance.

Read also Rosalind G Brewer Leadership Style Analysis

            One of the most distinctive traits of a transactional leader involves the use of rewards and punishments to obtain compliance. Transactional leaders are extrinsic motivators, and unlike their transformational counterparts, they are not concerned about the wellbeing of their followers (Dartey-Baah, 2015). An ordinary transactional leader espouses and utilizes the structure, culture, and goals of the current organization. This is clearly evident in the scenario of WassMiah who uses the firm’s reward system to motivate employees towards achieving short-term goals. Wassmiah is directive and action-oriented. She regularly wants her followers to work within the existing system. Although she constantly negotiates with her followers, the goals remain within a structured model of work where every employee is expected to comply or lose their rewards. As a transactional leader, Wassmiah thinks “inside the box” when seeking solutions to problems.

Read also Richard Branson Leadership Style Analysis

            Another trait that makes Wassmiah a transactional leader is her passiveness. Rather than using inspiration and personal appeal, she adopts behaviors that help establish the criteria for maintaining the status quo and rewarding followers (Afshari & Gibson, 2016). This approach is advantageous in that it is very practical and result-oriented. The practicality relates to the use of powerful motivators and clear order to drive performance. External rewards such as tangible perks can serve as significant motivators for employees and may drive performance in the short term. Indeed, Wassmiah assimilates short-term goals that can be easily attained with a rewards system. With regard to rewards, two factors of leadership that emerge in Wassmiah’s case are a contingent reward and management-by-exception (Northouse, 2018, p.171). The former offers rewards to employees for their effort and performance while the latter attempts to maintain the status quo and intervene when employees are not attaining their job goals. Moreover, Wassmiah’s transparency in the workplace sets clear expectations for the employees so that they are constantly aware of their roles and rules of authority. Her workforce is always informed when it comes to questions of organizational structure and leadership.

            The benefits of transactional leadership are dependent on the context (Masa’deh, Obeidat, & Tarhini, 2016). Hence some benefits may not be realized in select situations. In Wassmiah’s case, benefits emerge when short-term goals are used, and workers have clearly defined roles, rewards, and penalties. Her style encourages productivity and offers an easy structure that is easy to understand. However, it limits the creativity of the workers, eliminates individuality from the production process, ignores empathy, and places more value on efficiency. Since a transactional leader is rigid and unyielding, she does not bend the rules to accommodate flexibility. This limits innovation owing to the fact that employees are expected to focus on assigned tasks. Even in situations where creativity applies, it is strongly regulated by company policies. Violation of policies normally leads to loss of reward and termination of workers. For this reason, a transactional leadership style is not applicable in flexible environments.

            One major drawback of transactional leadership is the use of extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic rewards do not last in the long-term because they are short-term incentives (Deichmann & Stam, 2015). By constantly receiving extrinsic motivation, employees quickly become oriented to short-term rewards than the value of the work and long-term goals. Employees who become extensively attached to short-term incentives are likely to become exhausted and eventually quit their roles. Additionally, employees who are subjected to a rewards and punishment system may focus more on rewards than the goals of the company. Those who do not value the rewards may exhibit low performance, especially when not under supervision. The overall attitude of a workplace that utilizes a transactional approach to leadership can give the workforce the impression that is being paid to work in a specific fashion. The transactional nature of the rewards could also drive down their value in the eyes of employees. Some leadership styles that may complement a transactional leadership style include autocratic leadership, which uses authority to achieve results and efficiency, and bureaucratic leadership style, which expects followers to abide by rules and procedures.  

In conclusion, the approach to leadership that fits the description provided in Wassmiah’s case is the transactional leadership model since she emphasizes organization, supervision, and performance. Traits that make her a transactional leader are the use of a rewards system, conformity to the status quo, and exercise of authority and direction with the intent of driving performance.

Google Pixel 4L – Modalities and Interaction Principles

A modality represents a single sensory input or output channel between a human and a computer. Modern digital devices use various modalities to offer interaction to their users. For instance, a computer utilizes a mouse, keyboard, and the General user Interface to facilitate interaction with humans. More advanced devices use unique input modalities such as sounds, gestures, sounds, and eye gaze. This paper analyzes the modalities and interaction principles of a screen-based physical product. The product of choice is a smartphone, specifically the Google Pixel 4L, which was released in the last quarter of 2019. The phone presents multiple modalities of interaction, including audio, vision, and touch. 

            At the outset, the Pixel 4L contains multiple modalities to accord the user with as much interaction as possible. The primary interaction between the device and its users is via touch. The touch mobility is executed via the phone’s touchscreen. Hence, according to the principles of design the following apply:

Read also Multi-Touch Screens and Mouse-Driven Screens – Comparison Essay

Affordances

The screen  serves as both an input and output device and layered directly atop an electronic visual display of the phone’s information processing system. Hence, the phone relies on a blend of touch and visual modalities to deliver its users’ services. The touch aspect allows the user to enter commands and instruct the device to perform a specified function. The user gives input by touching the screen’s surface at the point where the link to the service or application is displayed. Touch inputs are specifically entered through simple or multiple input gestures by touching the screen with one or more fingers. The Pixel 4L allows users to use voice commands. For voice commands, the phone has a microphone that collects acoustic data and feeds to the appropriate application. For instance, when the user wants to initiate communication with another user through telecommunication protocols, they must start the ‘phone call’ application and dial the ID of the device to be called using the touchscreen interface and then respond through the microphone. Therefore, the microphone acts as a data collection device.

The Google Pixel L comes with other sensors for enhancing interaction in addition to the microphone, touchscreen display, speaker, and microphone. They include a gyroscope, accelerometer, proximity sensor, compass, barometer, and camera. The gyroscope works hand in hand with the accelerometer to detect the orientation of the phone. The gyroscope adds dimension to the data that the accelerometer supplies by tracking twist or rotation. The proximity sensor, on the other hand, detects how close on an object is to the device. It is very convenient in cases where the user is holding up the phone next to the ear during a voice call. By detecting how far or close the user is to the phone, the information processing system can switch off the touchscreen to avoid accidental touch. The digital compass works by tracking orientation in relation to the earth’s magnetic field. Digital compasses like the one installed in the Google Pixel 4L have a magnetometer on board to track direction. The barometer assists the location tracking chip to deliver altitude data. At the same time, the camera is designed to record visual data and gestures.

Discoverability

The screen has an “ON” state and  an “OFF state. In the “on” state, the screen displays the current state of device, including current application links, battery state, and notifications. The state of the phone can be accessed through the device’s settings or by pressing the volume and power buttons on the side.

Feedback

The feedback is delivered through the display of appropriate messages or execution of the specified commands. Feedback is also delivered through haptic feedback and audio through the phone’s speaker. The touch modality for the Pixel 4L is combined with a haptic response system to provide multimodal capabilities. Like other smartphones, the Pixel 4L utilizes an eccentric mass motor to send vibrotactile feedback from the information processing system.  Basically, the device provides vibratory feedback when the user taps a button on the touchscreen. Haptics enhances the user’s experience by delivering simulated tactic feedback and are devised to react immediately to partly counter latency of the display system. Haptics is best known to reinforce interaction between the user and the device, leading to more immersive experiences on the side of the users. Research from the University of Glasgow shows that the combination of the touchscreen and haptics helps users reduce errors, increase input speed, and reduce their cognitive load (Brasel & Gips, 2014). Hence, the inclusion of haptics in the Google Pixel 4L is meant to enhance the interface with the user. Since haptics interacts with the sense of touch, they are closely related to the ‘touch’ aspect. Haptic feedback is advantageous in that it can give stimuli to visually impaired users, especially in situations necessitating navigation. Various vibration stimuli can be used depending on the instance in question. Most of the vibrotactile information transmitted encompasses basic information such as alerts.

Apart from visual and tactile modalities, the Pixel 4L incorporates audio feedback to enable the use of voice commands and retraction of feedback through audio means.The phone’s speaker transmits audio data that is perceptible to the user. A common application in the Pixel 4L that relies on audio modality is the Google Assistant’ voice robot.’ The application records voice commands from the user and provides real-time feedback. Indeed, the user can navigate the internet and read articles without using the screen at all. The integration algorithm of the Google Assistant is powerful enough to process voice inputs and integrate them throughout the interaction session. Audio feedback also entangles voice recognition protocols, which can be used to lock or unlock the phone. Natural modalities of interaction involving speech depend on recognition-based technologies that are characteristically error-prone. For instance, speech recognition is sensitive to audio signal quality, vocabulary size, and variability of voice parameters.

Signifiers

The user interface of the Pixel 4L’s touchscreen has multiple buttons and functions displayed depending on the particular application being used. For the interaction to be significant, the user must accurately select targets and avoid selecting adjacent targets. For instance, when selecting the internet browser, the user must purposely use their finger to point and touch the internet browser icon. Otherwise, they may end up selecting the neighboring icons of other applications. Volume, power, the screen, and camera also act as signifiers of the phone’s multiple computing functions when the device is in its off state.

Mappings

Most applications have the primary content displayed at the center of the screen and secondary content at the top and bottom edges of the screen. This is most likely because mobile phone users commonly focus their attention on the center of the screen. By placing primary content in the center of the screen, the designers of the Google Pixel 4L also took the ease of use as the center of the screen is usually simpler to touch and manipulate with the thumb finger. It is common for smartphone users to hold the phone with the weaker fingers and manipulate content with the thumb. The display area of the screen is 98.0 cm2. This is sufficient for the touch modality and significantly more extensive than what other similar products offer.

Constraints

The Google Pixel 4L comes with a relatively small screen and has a battery limit that means users are only able to interact with the device for limited sessions. additionally, only a single application is vieable at a time. sometimes, connectivity to other devices and netowrks is variable depending on hardware limitations and network variables.

In conclusion, Google Pixel 4L is a multimodal device that relies on many modalities to enable interaction and functionality.