Archive for November, 2015


Class 9: Site visits

November 26, 2015

We spent this class on site visits to the buildings chosen by each group. This gave us an opportunity to observe if voice is available and discuss how the presentations might best be made. Where voice is unavailable text would need to be prepared in advance: for example, prepared text could be pasted into local chat or notecards could be prepared for circulation.

We also noted the footfall at each site. It might be disturbing if there are too many people in the vicinity so we suggested you give this some consideration – visit the site at the same time as class is usually held to ensure you know if it will be busy and to find a suitable location for the presentation.


  1. Write the ninth post: to your blog describing progress on your project.

Class 8: Projects

November 19, 2015

Students presented progress on their projects in this week’s class. Each group is well engaged in their work, having visited potential buildings around SL and selected one to work with. Students have made an effort to contact the owners of buildings with varying success. We discussed ways of finding out who to contact and how to go about establishing communication. Sometimes this is not as easy as it sounds – even if the avatar is standing in front of you as we discovered last week.

John introduced the class to ‘notecards’ and demonstrated how to make a new notecard and share it with somebody, even when they are offline. This can be a useful way of explaining your interests and reason for making contact.

A few comments on your blogs: most of you are not keeping up with the prescribed posts. You should all have written at least seven posts by now (as listed in the Activities for Next Class section of each class summary). Your posts should be more than a simple description of your activity in SL. You need to reflect on what you are seeing around you; what you feel about the experience; and what you are learning. Look at Rory and Paige’s blogs for good examples. After class 8 your blogs will be assessed again so make sure to get them up to date.


  1. Write the eighth post: to your blog describing progress on your project.

Class 7: Online conventions

November 12, 2015
Prof Dudley Turner, University of Akron Ohio, visits the class

Prof Dudley Turner, University of Akron Ohio, visits the class

Prof Dudley Turner, University of Akron in Ohio, visited class this week. He invited us to drop by Akron Island (see links at right) anytime and also offered his help to students on their projects. If you haven’t already made friends with Dudley look out for him when you next log into SL.

Class opened with a discussion around the reading material from last week, Reinventing Ourselves. Despite the fact that it is quite a dense and academic text it revealed the importance of understanding how identity is formed both in Real Life and online. Many of you needed to read through it a few times to get an understanding of the philosophical and psychological issues underlying this complex process. It also demonstrated to you the seriousness with which these matters are taken and how much is at stake.

The discussion informed your feedback on progress in your projects. Everyone has been exploring SL for interesting buildings and trying to meet the owners and builders. The latter is proving less simple than it sounds and you report having come up against time zone differences, e.g., arriving in deserted cities because (despite the 4 time zones) everyone in North America is sleeping or working! Or being unable to establish contact with people, sometimes even when their avatar is standing in front of you. We talked about strategies for engaging with individuals you meet in SL: understanding what avatars in SL might be doing; the difference between Instant Messaging (IM) and local chat; contextualising your request. So, when you meet someone online the normal human cues that allow you to decide when and how to introduce yourself are not available. You need to keep in mind that people may well be engaged in different conversations that you cannot see. Trying to engage them in conversation may not succeed therefore you need to leave a message that they can see at a more convenient time. When doing so it is important that the message gives the full context of your request: who you are, what you are asking for; why you are asking this particular person; how can they contact you. This approach should be used in any form of online communication.

John also reminded you to read the project brief and the assessment requirements thoroughly so you understand precisely what to do. He said that although you are working on a group project you will be assessed individually based on your discussion of the project during class, your blog posts about your contribution to the project and your role in the final presentation at the end of the semester.

Finally, John spoke about writing posts to your blog. A summary of his advice can be read in a post to this blog from last year and would be useful for you to read now.


  1. Read: about the Impact of Technology on Disaster Relief and the History and Power of Hashtags and Five Brilliant Ways to Use Hashtags.
  2. Write the seventh post: to your blog describing progress on your project.

Class 6: Content creation

November 5, 2015

empty class_001

For some reason attendance at class this week was very poor. This made it difficult to have a really meaningful discussion. However, Rory made up for it by sharing his experience of co-creating a successful automotive blog over the last five years. He shared the story behind the development as a few friends went from posting photos about their common interest to becoming a recognised source of expertise with several hundred followers. We discussed how this led to more focussed sense of responsibility towards the community of followers and greater sensitivity around the audience. Issues of copyright and plagiarism emerged also. The value of having a recognisable approach to the subject is one way of counteracting this – Rory suggested that the source of distinctive images remains recognisable even if cropped or altered.

John reminded the class that everyone should have at least the following five posts made to their blogs by now:

  1. Expectations for the module.
  2. Review of three locations visited in SL.
  3. Description of encounters with two residents of SL.
  4. Three adjectives describing yourself and a 30 second elevator pitch.
  5. How to convert your personal presence online to an identity for professional networking.

From this week on you should write at least one post a week describing progress on your project: how you are communicating with your partner, the tools you find useful, how easy/difficult you are finding online collaboration, what works for you and what doesn’t, etc.


  1. Read: some of Reinventing Ourselves: Contemporary Concepts of Identity in Virtual Worlds, Eds Anna Peachy and Mark Childs, published by Springer 2011.
  2. Prepare: a report on your progress with the project for next week’s class.
  3. Write the sixth post: to your blog describing progress on your project.
  4. If you have some time visit The Garden Maze at Falconmoon and see if you can find your way to the middle!
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