Archive for November, 2011


Class 7: Project, team working tools, part two

November 24, 2011


Sitearm Madonna (le nom en ligne for James Neville) was guest speaker today. Site is a strategist and expediter for virtual worlds projects and is manager and coordinator for Virtual Dublin in SL. He was a participant in the module last year and spoke about his experience on the team project and shared his knowledge of team working tools. The slides that accompanied Site’s talk are available on his blog, so you can review them again. Also, we will post the text version of the talk here once it has been checked.

Sitearm offered to help students prepare slide presentations saying a weeks notice would be needed for this. The students all received L$300 to support their project work. Following the talk we discussed progress on the project and how the wiki was being used. At the end of the class the proposed venue for the project presentation was visited.

The students who attended the class were each given L$300 towards expenses for the project.


Class 6: Project, team working tools, part one

November 17, 2011


We moved to the original DIT building in Arcata for the class meeting this week – just for a change of scenery. From now on the class time will be given over to working directly on the project. We started by discussing how the team would arrive at an agreed theme for the project, how the team will be organized and whether a team leader would be needed. Tae recommended the students attending this week be bold and make decisions – do not wait around for those who don’t attend to be part of the process because you will be assessed on what you deliver at the end of the module, not what your intentions were.

The wiki was introduced as a tool to support team working and those attending were invited to join the Story Telling Project wiki. This tool allows the team to work together asynchronously. Once you have become a member of the wiki you can make new posts, comment on, edit, add to and/or delete anything on the wiki. The wiki will retain a complete record of all changes and who made them so nothing is lost in the process. It also makes it handy for the examiners to assess each students contribution!

This led to a discussion around how the wiki would be used and how to ensure it didn’t degenerate into a confusing mess. The need to agree appropriate behavior in advance and post the ‘rules of engagement’ on the front page was approved.


1. Use the wiki to agree a theme for the project.
2. Invite the other class members to join the wiki.
3. Post the agreed working method on the front page of the wiki.


Class 5: Content Creation, part two

November 10, 2011


After hearing Ham and Elfay (who joined the class again) talk about their projects last week we had a discussion around content creation this week. To provide a context I referred to Dr Axel Bruns’ premise of the ‘produser’ and asked the group to reflect on its meaning to us. Once you start creating content, such as in the blogs for this module, do you think you become produsers? and if so, what does that mean? Other questions to think about are: what constitutes content? how is it generated? Bruns posits that be writing blogs and engaging in online debates, for example, we add a new dimension to being consumers solely. We move towards sometimes producing something of potential value.

Two issues affected the discussion. The first was the ongoing issue of sound/voice: some participants can’t activate voice at all and therefore cannot hear what is being said, while others are finding their sound breaks up making it hard work to concentrate. However, everyone is getting adept at using text so the issue is becoming less important. The second is that many participants are not reading the material provided in advance which is meant to inform the discussion. This results in a discussion based on uninformed opinion and so limits the potential for engaging with the topic in a meaningful way.

I had intended the discussion to touch on these issues:

  1. Value – does your content have any value? How can you determine value? How can you quantify value?
  2. Sharing your content – making it available, finding an audience, generating income.
  3. Use and protection of online content – copyright and Intellectual Property (IP) issues.
We introduced the Story Telling Project in the second part of the class and discussed the brief that was circulated to those attending. The brief is given in full on page 6 Module Assessment at the right hand side of this blog.


1. Start work on the Story Telling project.

2. Write in your blog about the setting up a team project and how you contribute.

3. READING: Building Online Communities on O’Reilly Media website gives an insight into how to develop and build online communities. There strategies discussed will help to build the team spirit needed to complete the Story Telling project.


Class 4: Content Creation, part one

November 4, 2011


Visiting lecturers John Mahon (aka Ham Rambler) and Lisa Feay (aka Elfay Pinkdot) came by the class to share their stories with the class this week. Both are long time residents of SL, entrepreneurs who have developed exciting projects that have embedded strong communities in the virtual world.

John, founder of Virtual Dublin in Second Life, and a well travelled pilot in real life spoke about his original inspiration: the search for the ubiquitous Irish Pub. The only city he couldn’t find one in was Brasilia, capital of Brazil. He decided SL should also have an Irish Pub so he built the Blarney Stone. It proved very popular from the start and proved to be a particular attraction to the American community. Gradually he introduced live music and other attractions and began to build a community. This led to taking a whole sim and beginning to build a virtual Dublin city. At its height Dublin ranged over three sims, it is now contained in two sims and continues to be one of the most visited places in SL. Virtual Dublin’s reputation for good fun, community spirit, a range of activities along with a warm welcome has grown over the years.

This popularity has attracted corporate and state interest also. John spoke about running the first St Patrick’s Day festival in SL which led to a commission from the Irish Tourist board and then Dublin Tourism. As a marketing tool it couldn’t have been more successful as bloggers as far away as Brazil noted that Ireland was using SL to promote tourism. The Virtual Dublin project has also introduced the IDA and other state and corporate agencies to SL. Now that there is a general reduction in marketing budgets John is consolidating his resources and concentrating on cultural and educational initiatives. Virtual Dublin continues to be one of the most successful communities in SL attracting a high percentage of new visitors who are always welcomed warmly by the team running the project.


coffee & Pajamas


Elfay is a well-known SL dj and hosts the weekly jazz show Coffee & Pajamas at the Sunset Jazz club. Originally from the US Elfay has travelled widely in the real world as well as SL. Her radio show has been running for over five years and platforms her formidable knowledge of jazz. While it is based in SL and has built up a loyal following and a strong community of interactive listeners people don’t have to be in SL to listen to the show as you can tune in over the internet. The variable quality of voice in SL can pose problems for speakers, particularly when the sound breaks up, or fades in and out so, Elfay’s use of streaming was a great experience. As a dj she streams her voice and music directly into the sim rather than relying on the built-in voice facility in SL. The quality and reliability is hugely enhanced as a result, as demonstrated by Elfay.

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