Blog about empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand or even share the emotions of someone else. I can’t deny that empathy is one of the traits that have been intensified the most in me thanks to this course.

Ever since we had to play the different games, I can’t get my mind off Syrians. I always knew what empathy was but never felt it this way through a simple game.

We most probably all know how bad the Syrian situation is, but do we actually ? I honestly had no idea the situation was this hard for them but this game.  This game left me with nothing but empathy towards Syrians.

The game helped me learn as it took you throw every single step of the journey fleeing from their homeland to somewhere else where they could start a new life.

Lina Mounzer’s article is also something we studied in class which really made me feel empathy as the details explained were very realistic and painful.

Being under the influence

Mahmoud Yehia and I decided to create a game that would tackle a very common topic in our society : being under the influence.

If we were to explain the game in one sentence we would say : It’s always tempting to consume substances that interact with your brain’s functioning but what if we were cautious while doing them?

We have both been involved in accidents due to the lack of cautiousness while being under the influence baring in mind we both learned to drive at the age of 13. Hence, this game is a reminder -from people who unfortunately passed by this- to always think forward when it comes to such things.

Our game starts with pre drinking that leads to going to a party in which you will consume (or not) things which would turn out to be against you later on in the game. The game also includes scenarios with one’s crush which nowadays makes decisions shift a lot.

The scenarios are as follows:

–> You’re at home alone, your parents are out of town and your friends suggest that you all pre drink at your place before going to the HIT party of the season knowing that you have the car and you are their driver for the night



–>  You reach the party and everyone is dancing, drinking and smoking illegal substances. You’re talking to someone when a friend offers you a joint. You accept because you don’t want to seem odd.

→ Proceed to next level since you are now under the influence of THC

–> A couple of people gather to play a game of beer-pong & now that you are relaxed/laid back and you feel less anxious, you decide to play (this is from the effect of THC)

  1. Your teammate who happens to be your crush points out that your eyes are red and that you don’t look very focused and might not be able to play well but you continue and start the game because of your confidence
  2. Your teammate who happens to be your crush points out that your eyes are red and that you don’t look very focused and might not be able to play well so you decide to let your friend play instead.

–>The party is over, you invite your crush to take them home. You talk a lot on the way back, in various subjects, and you suddenly lose focus of the road. You lose control of the wheel, and the car hits a house and people are screaming everywhere and you have no clue what is going on. Before the police arrives, you have two options.

  1. You run away.
  2. Confront the police.

–> Your parents come home and realize that the car is heavily damaged.

To  be honest our game hasn’t been finalized yet but we are working on it…This is tougher than we thought it was going to be so please feel free to comment your thoughts about or game. How do you think it could’ve been better?

Here is the game


Phase 2 : Game Topic

Our game (Mahmoud and I) will be based on DUI (driving under the influence). We took this decision based on several things.

First of all , Mahmoud and I often go to parties where the guy takes his car knowing that he’s drinking just so he could drive his girl friends home. We know several people that have that do that at all occasions yet quite of them already had accidents because they were under the influence. The game is to raise awareness about the third person effect concerning driving under the influence

I have personally had a very bad car accident in Switzerland which completely changed my lifestyle on different scales.

Therefore I think I would have quite a good background to create a game in which scenarios will be more or less  like :   ‘you are going to a party that’s about an hour away from home, you have no gas and 500 pounds. Would you prefer putting a full tank of gas so you don’t have to do it later, would you put just enough gas and buy a couple of drinks there or would you go with a friend that’s going to drink and you get a bottle with the money you have?’

your decisions in the game should lead you to realize that even if you have ever driven under the influence and nothing, it absolutely doesn’t mean you’re stronger than others and that you’re the exception of the DUI rule.

Reflection on digital games phase 1

The first game I played is called ‘SPENT‘.  SPENT is a game in which you (the player) are put in a situation in which a lot of Americans are put in. All your savings are gone, you are unemployed and push the month threw with only 1’000$. The point of the game is to pass by all the scenarios and see how you’ll manage to pay what you need for living. I personally loved this game. First of all, we – Middle easterns – tend to think that Americans all live a great life compared to ours. That they live in peace. This game is a reminder that this is not the case. Poverty is all around the world and it’s tough. What I liked about the game was that as the eldest son in my family I have never realized to what extent bills can appear from anywhere and everywhere. I really liked the fact that in a way it made me open my eyes up to the fact that having a family under your responsibility is absolutely not easy. However, I didn’t like the fact that some things were illogical. For example a family struggling to live shouldn’t have a pet as it is expensive to maintain it and is absolutely not a priority. I think the game should have given us the option of either having a pet or not. Honestly this game made me feel blessed. It made me be thankful for what I have, for the type of parents that I have.

The second game is called the Syrian journey which is basically a game in which you are a Syrian person, father of a family that needs to get to Europe for a safe living environment. You are to decide each step the family takes and try to keep them alive. We all know that the life of a Syrian refugee is far from being easy. Yet I personally had no idea that the decisions were this difficult -which is what I really liked about the game-. It is eye-opening to how atrociously hard it can be for Syrians. I personally failed to get the family to Europe and drowned in the sea with my family which gave me a deeper understanding of how difficult it could be knowing that I am taking the decisions behind a screen and not even in real life. Yet what I didn’t like about this game was that in each scenario i only had one of two options which I believe wouldn’t have always been the case in real life. However, this game really made me feel bad for them. Until i played this game , I thought that all Syrian refugees took more or less the same path when leaving the country which I learned wasn’t the case.

The third game I played is called Bad News. Unlike the previous ones, this game didn’t really impress me a lot. It’s about creating a blog from which you attract followers by gaining credibility while posting fake news and posts. Yet, what I liked about it is the fact that it gives a deeper understanding of how easily one could get fooled on the internet. What I disliked though is that the game is too long and gets boring at a certain point as it is too long and has no intriguing story.  Bad news yet managed to make me feel weak. Weak in the sense that I now realized that I have probably been fooled a lot before from people spending their time inventing facts and impersonating people. I learned how bloggers that have a lot of followers reach this point -which was a question that has always been in the back of my mind-.

The fourth one is more of a presentation than it is a game. It is called “responsible partying” this last one is about a scenario where you are going to a party which is supposed to be the hit party of the year. You are to choose wether you drink or not, wether you should have something with a girl etc.. Basically you are put in the situations that one is put in in parties. I liked the game because when you are behind the screen and take a decision it is way easier than in real life. I honestly would’ve gone with all the bad decisions if I was in that party. However, what i didn’t like about the game was that the answers barely changed anything in the rest of the ‘game’. It was more of a presentation which i disliked as it was straight forward a kind of a lesson. However it managed to make me feel like the ‘bad guy’. Hence, from now on I will think twice when i’m partying.

The voter suppression trail was the last game I played. This last one is short yet interesting. It puts you in a scenario where you can choose to be one of three people from different states that have to vote. I chose the Latina woman. When she was in the long voting line she noticed she needs to get her son from school. I had two options, either stay in the line or go get her son from school. I chose the second option. I liked this game because it is done in an old school gameboy type of game. However it’s quite slow which was the only thing i disliked in it. People tend to tell you to vote no matter what yet when it comes to family matters one wouldn’t prioritize voting in any sense. The game didn’t really teach me anything but it made me realize that it is quite tough to prioritize voting and yet easy to tell others that they should vote no matter what.

Curation assignment

Hello everyone, this post is our curation assignment (with Mahmoud Yehia) about empathy and bias. Each one of us will curate 5 topics -on his blog- we chose individually (articles / tweets/ class discussions/assignments) that we think best picture empathy and bias.

Earlier in the semester we had to read an article written by Lina Mounzer. This article is, for us, an amazing representation of empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand or even share the emotions of someone else. I believe none of us (the class) know Lina Mounzer and yet we all felt empathy towards her. She was talking about he relatives deaths and the horrible scenarios that happened to people she knew. While reading the article, we could feel the pain she must have been in while this was happening as most Egyptians felt the awful feeling of having someone die an unnatural death during the Egyptian revolution. (Find link to article here ). Reading this article while having empathy towards it gives it much more power.

I also felt a lot of empathy towards Parisa Mehran on the studio visit conserning empathy and bias as he colleague called her a terrorist simply because she does not look like him. I personally lived abroad most my life and have been put in such situations, I have been put in situations where people look at you in a different way, treat you differently because of how you look. However, a very important thing i’ve learned from Parisa Mehran’s talk is to never joke about such things. I often joked with my friends about their origins and backgrounds but never actually thought about how they could feel deep down even though they never really showed it.

I’ve followed Parisa Mehran’s twitter account as I can totally feel what there is behind her posts. A small and innocent voice saying ‘I shouldn’t be visualized as someone different, because i’m not!’ is all i hear throughout her posts. The picture saying ‘ I am more than a stereotype’ is a very deep one. Once more, I can only feel empathy towards it. Most of the time arabs or middle easterns are stereotyped as being the bad, heartless and even uneducated people. Perisa Merhan proves the complete opposite of this stereotype as she is a PHD candidate in computer assisted language learning living in Japan. To me, this is a reminder not to stick to stereotypes but instead to look at how the person built himself/herself, how the person acts, how the person thinks. To be honest, I sometimes stick to stereotypes which is extremely wrong. A great and educating post!

During class, I remember someone once brought up the topic of racism which lead to a small talk about random checks in airports. We all know that sometimes these random checks aren’t really random checks. Sometimes it’s because of how one looks, what he/she wears, the language he speaks. Now let’s think of this scenario, most middle-easterns would feel empathy towards the person going through a random check and would automatically call the police officer a racist.  This very small discussion marked me and lead me to ask myself  couldn’t we – middle easterns-  be bias towards this ? Could this not really be a random check ? Do we only notice when the random check falls on a Middle eastern also known as arabs? I’ve learned here not to feel empathy too fast, it may be a bias if you think about it a bit more.

Perisa Merhan also posted a very interesting tweet that made me get a deeper understanding of bias. The tweet was a picture that says : Inclusion isn’t being asked to dance. It intrigued me a lot. I researched more about the types of biases one tends to have in his daily life and fell on ‘selection bias’. People tend to be bias towards a certain type of people with a certain reputation. People, especially students at parties tend to try to look as good as possible in front of the others. Hence, they choose certain people that they think look good, or are well known . This is a selection bias, selecting who to take for the dance based on how they look. This isn’t right.  I personally used to abide by this bias to always try to look as good and well surrounded as possible. This will no longer be the case for me. Looks aren’t representative of the person.



Lina Mounzer’s article

I’m not a reading type of guy and i get bored of stories really fast. To be more specific i get bored of what I would call useless details. Yet, while reading this article it seriously grabbed my attention as all details were very emotional, true and quite harsh which made them very appealing.

I would give it a ‘hats off’ for the extremely catchy second sentence : I have been threatened, beaten, strip-searched, thrown in prison, tortured and made to watch as my mother knelt weeping at the dirty feet of tribal leaders to beg for any information about my kidnapped father. Honestly speaking, if you read a sentence like this in any book or article would you not want to keep reading? I did.

This article also taught me that when a writer is passionate about his work, he/she manages to make the reader feel the right message or maybe even relate.  Lina Mounzer is definitely passionate about her job as she managed to make me become very emotional when reading the article at some points.

To cut a long story short, this article is a must read! (This coming from a person that’s not a big reader).

Part 2 of Digital literacy assignment

  1.  My digital profile

I would believe this actually really describes me as i’m not specially talented or ‘confident’ in digital platforms. Yet what I’m sure of is that teaching and learning are my strong points -which I’m proud of- as I’m always open to learning and can always find a way to explain something I know to someone else.

Not to seem greedy but i wish that by the end of the course I could reach this confidence level in all categories.

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 4.14.04 PM.png

2. Part 2 of assignment

Defining digital literacy

Throughout questions 1 and 2 of this assignment, I realized that the first link (wikipedia) would be quite useful in beginning a project. It gave a vague understanding of the concept. The presenting paragraph, I believe, is clear enough for a ‘description’. Yet it is not a source from which I could get a clear and concise definition of ‘Digital literacy’. When I clicked on the tab definition, I found a definition of the digital divide which is absolutely not ‘digital literacy’. I also tried scanning the hashtag #diglit but no clear definition yet.

After some google searches I would answer the question Literacy is the ability to read and write. Hence, digital literacy, base on my google search was “the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet.” This information is based on research done in Cornell University. Doctor Belshaw would say that one of the elements of  digital literacy education is to provide the ability to  ‘choose appropriate images, recognize copyright licensing, and cite or get permissions’.  This, I believe, is one of the two most important elements of digital literacy especially in the context of Egypt as poor people from the Egyptian suburbs are not educated around digital literacy which would lead these future adults to grow up with the disability to cope with the emerging digital literacy world.

The second most important element of digital literacy, in my opinion, is the ability to ‘find’ data digitally. People could find jobs, find houses, cars, the correct  information they are looking for about a certain disease, if they knew how to use digital literacy as it is way vaster.

The optimal situation for Egypt (again, in my opinion) is digital fluency which is a combination of both digital literacy ad digital skills. It is to be flexible, accurate, efficient with digital technologies and technological systems. Question 7 shows us that without digital fluency one could attain false information such as with google which is not peer reviewed.

Also, digital skills are the skills we have in the different tasks we encounter with the digital world. In other words, it could be considered the first step in reaching digital fluency – the middle step being digital literacy-. ‘Yet the term is so broad that some experts even stay away from it’. In other words digital skills would be the ability one has to understand and use technologies.

Dr. Bali, concerning your video, I would like to say  I had never thought of digital literacy as the mechanics of a car. I must say it’s a very interesting metaphor!

NOTE : the underlined sentences are links to websites i used to get the information.

I also used this website .






Reflection on Twitter Scavenger Hunts

Alright so last week, each student of the class took place in what Dr. Bali called the Twitter Scavenger hunt.

The first step of this scavenger hunt is to take a picture of something mysterious to which we had to add the hashtag #unboundeq. We then had to answer someone else’s tweet and then respond to our notifications.

Honestly, I thought this activity was great on many different levels.

Firstly, I had never used Twitter before so I thought it was more of a Facebook type of platform. I turned out to be completely wrong. Twitter -in my opinion- is way more interactive then facebook.

Also, I believe that in all courses that include interactions between students there must be an ice-breaking activity. Ice-breaking activities are made for people to feel comfortable with their class. Yet i believe that in normal ice-breaking activities the shy people won’t put their input, nor talk or get involved. I think these people are more comfortable talking and expressing their feelings/guesses  regarding a certain topic  behind a screen which is exactly why I would give the Twitter Scavenger Hunt a 10!

I’m not the type that needs ice-breaking activities which first gave me the impression that this scavenger hunt was going to be some king of cliché childish game. Turns out it’s completely the opposite due to the fact that it’s based on a platform that quite “in” for our age group.

Also I really like the fact that we were linked to the outer world. We had tweets from Australia and other countries which was very interesting. The fact that this course is on international basis surprised me and made it way more interesting in a split of a second.

To cut a long story short : Chapeau to the Twitter Scavenger hunt of Dr. Bali. #unboundeq