Archive for November, 2012


Class 8: Dublin Virtually LIve

November 30, 2012


The class started with a review of progress on the group projects. It was decided that the presentations would take place at the Dublin Amphitheatre (although group 2 suggested they may need to present at a different location – this will be confirmed next week). Each presentation should last between five and ten minutes. Participants were reminded that part of the brief is to promote your presentation and ensure a relevant audience attends.

Sitearm Madonna returned this week and was joined by Ham Rambler, the creator of Dublin Virtually Live. The slide show can be see here. Ham spoke about the origins of Dublin in Second Life. As an airline pilot he has travelled widely across the real world and noticed that wherever he went he usually found an Irish bar. The notion to develop an equivalent in SL led to him opening the Blarney Stone in the early days of the virtual world. The immediate success of the venture was due to the unique qualities of the Irish bar: a safe, friendly, welcoming environment where people could meet and socialise. This led Ham to develop a virtual replica of the city. He flew an experienced designer/builder to Dublin for a weekend to document Dublin photographically and commence the project, of which the first phase took about three months to complete. The new Blarney Stone was based on the real life Oliver Synge Gogarty pub in the Temple Bar cultural quarter of Dublin. In 2010 Ham brought delegates of the Meta Meets conference in Dublin to the bar and met the owner who told him people from all over the world were visiting the place having first come across it in SL.


The launch of Dublin Virtually Live was a major event in SL and was also covered by the media in the real world. It attracted the attention of multinational brands such as IBM keen to explore the possibilities of virtual worlds for marketing and promotion. Dublin Tourism also saw the opportunity to promote the city.

The project demonstrated Sitearm’s proposition that ‘We Are All Content Creators All the Time (WAACCAT). Site also summarised the issues around intellectual property and copyright; how to protect what you create and the recent development of the Creative Commons licence. The class discussion ranged across approaches to developing and protecting our content, cost of creation versus the market value of our efforts, alternatives to monetary commerce such as barter and distribution.

Sitearm concluded by reminding us to keep account of the content we create. This becomes more important as we progress in our careers and reputations develop into capital worth.

However, content may not always be what it seems, warns Ham, as he described the hoax of Dublin Coastal Development that was merely a mechanism to promote a new property development company. It succeeded massively, even making the primetime news bulletin on national television.


  • This week is the second assessment point for your blogs so ensure they are up to date.
  • Write a post to your blog reflecting on your own particular contribution to the development of the group project. It is important to consider the shortcomings and failures in addition to the successes. Indeed, there is a greater opportunity for learning when you reflect on what went wrong and how you might improve your contribution in future team projects.
  • Prepare a short presentation to be given in the next class describing your project and the progress made so far.
  • Remember, your project presentation is only two weeks away.

Class 7: Team working

November 23, 2012


We started with some discussion on the students’ blogs and suggested that you review the ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT WEEK sections for each class to ensure you have written the required posts. We also had a a quick review from each team on progress in the group project. As is normal at this stage in the module some teams appear to be making more progress than others. Locks and Tae reminded students that the purpose of the project was to give participants the opportunity to discover the joys AND difficulties in working with others online and to learn something about the differences between online collaboration and real life team working. Participants were also reminded that even though this is a group project you will be assessed individually: based on your feedback in class; participation; and critical reflection on the process in your blogs.

Sitearm Madonna, guest lecturer, then delivered his talk on team working in an online environment. Accompanying slides can be seen here. Commencing with an explanation of ‘le nom en ligne’ concept (similar to nom de plume and nom de guerre) he went on to talk about the challenges of collaborating with others online. As a graduate of the module he is in a good position to give participants some guidelines on how to work on the group project. Site gave an overview of how teams work, the roles of individual team members and referred to the Belbin approach. He emphasised the importance of all nine roles being activated: meaning that you will need to take on more than one role at different times during the project.

Then he spoke about the importance of clarity around the group’s presentation of their project and how easy it is to leave your audience confused. The most common mistake when presenting is for the participants to be unclear about their key message. Site suggests it is ‘impossible to underestimate the ability of an audience to understand you’! He described a range of tools teams can use to support the planing and development of their project.

Finally, Site spoke about identities and affiliations. He described how multiple affiliations lead to multiple identities and the importance of being aware of your online presence. He concluded with a warning to guard your privacy, keep space between your identities and post appropriately.

Sitearm will return next week to talk about content creation online.

Following some discussion we visited the Dublin Virtually Live Conference venue. Site offered support to the teams in developing their projects and said participants could use either the amphitheatre or the Conference venue for their presentations. We agreed to make a decision on the venue at next week’s class.


  • Write a post to your blog comparing your experience of team work with the description outlined by Sitearm, particularly with reference to Belbin’s Nine Team Roles.
  • Decide on your preferred venue for the presentation. We will make a decision at next week’s class. (It was agreed that all presentations should take place in the same venue because the logistics of moving everyone around SL would be insurmountable.)

Class 6: Content creation, part 2

November 17, 2012


The class discussion looked in more detail at what is meant by ‘content’ and talked about the various types of content that can be created online, from building objects in SL to writing posts for blogs etc. This led on naturally to considering the merit and value of content. Determining the value of other people’s content requires an understanding of their reputation. In traditional publishing the high cost of production has resulted in an industry that is controlled by the commercial publishing houses or the press. Academics are published following peer review. These mechanisms regulate the output and give consumers a signal regarding the quality and value of the output.

The online environment has all but eliminated the cost of production allowing anyone to publish to  a blog, or create any other content they can imagine, without any of the ‘gatekeepers’ of the analogue world filtering the wheat from the chaff. Therefore we have to find other methods for rating the calibre of what it available.

When offering our own content we should be aware of these issues so that we can present ourselves in the most appropriate manner to our relevant audiences. Developing our personal brand requires establishing a reputation for reliability and consistency to start with. Many of the online tools available to support content distribution also include statistical analysis of how our content is accessed which is useful for seeing how others might value our content.

We moved the class to the Dublin Amphitheatre for the second half of the class simply to vary the environment. This is one of the possible venues for the final presentation of the group project. However, it is entirely up to the class to decide on the most appropriate venue, which may be anywhere in SL that suits you and can be agreed by all. There was some discussion about how the groups are functioning and we decided to review that in the next class.


Tae reminded the class that he and Locks were conducting the first assessment of the module. Some students have not yet submitted links to their blogs or their twitter contact details. You need to do both immediately or you risk failing the assessment. Participants were advised to re-read the posts for each class and ensure they have completed all items listed under ‘activities for next week’, particularly ensuring you have written all the posts required.


  1. In your groups prepare a brief summary of progress on your project work.
  2. Write a post to your blog describing your experience of working in your group so far. Be honest about what is not working in addition to what is working and consider how you would like to be better.

Class 5: Content creation, part 1

November 9, 2012


The class was based on a discussion about content creation online. We started by considering what constituted content and came up with writing on blogs, Facebook, Amazon, Kindle; music on iTunes; videos on Youtube; photos; and objects made for SL among others. This led on to thinking about how content is generated, and why, what is the purpose of writing a blog, or posting photos? Sharing content and thinking about its value led Inish to share a link to a website that values twitter accounts which proved interesting as we discovered how much ours are worth.

A recurring theme throughout the discussion was the ownership and protection of content. The terms and conditions to which we agree when signing up with social networks such as facebook and twitter frequently include relinquishing our copyright. In addition, even though we might wish to remove images or text at a later date this may not be possible. It was also clear that copying digital data is much easier than copying analogue information which may lead to greater infringement of copyright. Generating an income from online content was thought to be as time-consuming as it is in real life and the conflict that can ensue was noted.

Inish Karu shared her experience of creating content for her store in SL.

After class Symeon Siamendes took us on a tour of the fabulous Lauk’s Nest, one of the earliest remaining natural parks in SL.


  1. Reading: Thoughtful blog post about the legal issues around protecting ‘things’ you create in SL. Read the comments also.
  2. Write a post about content creation in your blog.

Class 4: Online communication and relationships

November 2, 2012


After a brief summary of last weeks session on the self and personal branding, guest lecturer Elfay Pinkdot (biography) presented this week’s class. She spoke about the development of her online life – from an early interest in how things around her worked, to a specific interest in technology.

As an early adopter of email, internet access, online communication and residency in virtual worlds, she has a unique perspective on their development. Describing the process of developing her online presence Elfay remarked on how it simply became an extension of her own personality. She also noted that it can often be easier to establish online relationships but that they require the same attention as any other relationship might.

She was able to indulge her passion for jazz by hosting a weekly show in SL for over five years and this formed the basis of an online network that evolved into a community and led to her connecting with other communities. There was some discussion on the organisation and regulation of communities, the rules governing access to SL and their enforcement and the development of behavioural conventions and etiquette.

Elfay gave some useful links in her pre-class post on this blog.

For the second half of the class Elfay introduced the Dutch artist, Rob Steenhorst, who took us to his gallery in SL and spoke about how he developed his practice in SL. The fascinating insight into his development as an online artist working in 3D was both witty and informative. He also spoke of how inter-twined his SL presence has become with his RL life. Other artists he has met in SL have become friends and collaborators in RL. The evening ended with the delivery of a poem by Karima Hoisan. Many of Rob and Elfay’s SL friends were at the gallery also. Tae recommended that you make friends with these people who will be able to help you with your project and introduce you to more communities.

Finally, Tae reminded everyone that he and Locks will be reviewing blogs – the first point in the assessment of the module. So, make sure your blog is up to date.


  1. Visit the artists’ community website Deviant Art.
  2. Read ‘The Laws of Virtual Worlds’ from the California Law Review. This academic paper gives a useful insight into the legal issues around online presence.
  3. View the lecture ‘From Prosumer to Produser: Understanding User-Led Content Creation’ by Prof Axel Bruns (Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland Institute of Technology). He explains his theory of user-led collaborative content creation.
  4. Post an essay (written according to academic conventions) to your blog on the importance of regulation, convention and etiquette in online communities. Minimum 500 words.
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