Class 4: Online collaboration

October 13, 2016

Sitearm Madonna, guest lecturer, chats with Locks Aichi and John O’Connor after class.

Guest lecturer Sitearm Madonna joined us in class this week to share his Online Collaboration Tips for the Tech-Savvy @ Dublin Institute of Technology in Second Life. You can find a summary of the tips on Sitearm’s blog.

During the questions after his presentation Sitearm, aka James Neville, explained the origin of his female avatar. Formerly an engineer with oil company Exxon he began working in online virtual worlds as they emerged for consumers in the early 2000s. As he joined various worlds he noticed the user was offered a male or female avatar and he decided to select the female for Second Life. This preceded the advent of voice chat when all communication was via text so, his deep Texan drawl was not a giveaway. Nevertheless, one virtual colleague noticed he wasn’t wearing new outfits regularly and deduced the truth of his real life gender! Site has continued to manifest in the female avatar, sometimes using the voice morphing tool, but has never attempted to hide his real life identity. He argues this is common in virtual worlds and gives him an insight into the female condition that would otherwise be hidden from him.

Then we spoke about the assignment from last week: to make contact with new people in SL. Many of you engaged in interesting conversations with a range of people. John reminded you to write up the experience in your blog if you haven’t already done so. He also reminded you again that the first assessment point is next week (see last week’s class summary for details).

Pepe Picante shared the Facebook group with the class which you should all join. This is a closed group which will operate just for this class. It will be a useful tool for communication between classes and John will post links to the class summaries there.

Finally, John circulated an updated list of student Project Groups and recommended that you start meeting regularly. You need to get to know each other and begin thinking about your group’s dynamics following Sitearm’s talk. You also need time to consider the direction in which you want to take your project. Read the project brief carefully and regularly. Also read the assessment criteria for the project. There is little value in working outside the requirements. It is also important to remember that although this is a group project you will be assessed individually. So, don’t be waiting around for others to start. Get working immediately!


  1. Decide: among your group what tools you will use for planning your project (how you will stay in touch and share information, etc.).
  2. Write the fourth post: on your blog explaining your choice of communication tools and reflect on how the group arrived at the decision.
  3. Read: Living Structures in Second Life Virtual Worlds Projects by Sitearm Madonna.
  4. Read: Your Employee Is an Online Celebrity. Now What Do You Do? a Wall Street Journal article about employees developing their personal brand and implications for their employer.

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