Archive for February, 2022


Class 4: Getting to know teammates

February 28, 2022

This week we all met at Whole Brain Health where Tooyaa summarised last week’s lesson to ensure everyone has been ‘friended’, joined the ISP group, and is up to date on our progress so far.

The Project Teams were announced with the members of each listed along with the themes each team is to address. WBH also provide appropriated coloured t-shirts for each team member.

John introduced the Project Brief and shared a notecard with full details. We reviewed the details briefly so that everyone had a sense of what they will be working on for the remainder of the semester. He asked everyone to read the brief in detail after the class and to meet in their Project Teams during the week to discuss it. Sitearm Madonna reminded us that his talk on Teamwork next week will outline an approach to working together. He will ask some students to share the experience of the first team meeting to help identify issues around working together virtually – so ensure you arrange your team meetings!

Lissena Wisdomseeker then introduced the Project Teams. The team at WBH had kindly prepared sign boards listing all the team members and made more t-shirts. Each team member could take one from the boxes and each shirt was in the team colour with either Çağ or TU Dublin logos on back. Once everyone had put on their new shirts we teleported to the area where students will be working on their projects and presenting them at the end of the semester. Each team has a large working space sufficiently separated so you can talk without disturbing each other. Lissena explained that each team would produce a Share Board today, to get used to working in SL. She shared a notecard with details of how to carry out the task. But, first, each team was asked to select a Team Leader, one from each university. This will make it easier for the WBH team to communicate with you over the next weeks.

It soon became clear that everyone would finish the task during class time so you were asked to complete before next week.

John wearing his ‘Masters of the Metaverse’ T-Shirt, kindly made for him by WBH.

Class 3: Visiting Whole Brain Health

February 21, 2022

John realised this week that he had made a mistake about class time, blaming the time zone differences between Dublin, Turkey and Second Life for his confusion. Regrettably, it meant that the Dublin group met an hour before the other groups. After some discussion it was agreed accommodate those who would not be able to remain online after the scheduled finish time. Everyone agreed that they would be able to reschedule to the later time from next week onwards and John apologised for his error.

The extra time did give everyone a chance to catch up on progress so far. John expressed some concern that he had received only two blog links following the last class and reiterated the need for everyone to submit their links this week. Some participants said they were unable to set up a free account so John said he would circulate more detailed instructions following the class. Then we took a break before logging back in to go meet our new classmates in Whole Brain Health.

We were all welcomed to Whole Brain Health on Inspiration Island by Lissena Wisdomseeker and Tooyaa Hynes.

John distributed Landmarks (LMs) to everyone and we teleported to Inspiration Island. We were welcomed by Lissena Wisdomseeker who introduced her team: Tooyaa, Fran and Catseye and made us all feel at home. We also met the Turkish students from Çağ University and their professor Magua. After everyone had found a seat in the circle, which miraculously increased in diameter to accommodate everyone Tooyaa gave us an introduction what we would be looking at this week. She shared the Virtual Whole Brain Health website link which has complete details of all of it and will serve as a really useful reference for consulting later.

After everyone had ‘friended’ everyone else and joined the ISP group Tooyaa demonstrated how to change you avatar’s display name. She asked students to select their first names as display names so that we know who you are. Then we all teleported to male and female changing rooms to put on our new team t-shirts. This remarkably simple-sounding exercise is always much more difficult than it sounds and also requires having a classic avatar to work. But, everybody managed and in due course we all arrived back at the cafe suitably dressed and identifiable!


Class 1b: Blogging

February 14, 2022

Since the last class John / Tae consulted with the technical support team in the university to ensure Second Life would be available to students on campus. After running tests over a few days it was finally agreed that the required network ports would be opened each week fifteen minutes before the start of class until fifteen minutes after the finish time. Participants need to use their own laptops (SL cannot be downloaded to university computers at this time) and log on using Eduroam. This will allow full access to SL, including voice. Work will continue to identify the appropriate ports so that SL can be accessed on the network at other times.

This all worked well: as the class started the participants‘ avatars began to appear and all were able to hear John and also speak themselves. After last week’s experience of silence it was a relief to be able to hear one other.

Following a recap of last week’s activities John asked everyone to open the module in the Brightsapce VLE and he explained how each unit corresponded to a class meeting. Reviewing the subject for today he led the class through the sections, noting that the same format applied to each class unit. It is important that participants review the appropriate unit a few days before class: complete the reading/viewing material; consider the topics that will guide the class discussion; take the quiz; and be prepared to contribute when we meet in SL.

He went on to explain how the module will be assessed and advised all participants to review the Assessment unit in detail so the requirements are fully understood. The Website Blogs should be started immediately and each student was asked to send a working link to John by email before the next class. It is important to write to the blog each week so that the workload is distributed evenly across the semester. This accounts for 50% of the marks, with the other 50% going to the Team Project, which will be introduced in week 3.

The discursive nature of the classes was reiterated by John. It would make for a very boring module if participants were expected to sit still and listen to long lectures each week. It is far more interesting and engaging if everyone takes part in a lively discussion. To ensure the contributions are relevant and coherent it is necessary to have read and/or viewed the material provided in advance. This means the discussion is informed and grounded therefore it is important that participants engage outside of the formal class times.

It was a great relief to have voice working in Second Life for this week’s class, although attendance remains slightly disappointing.

The first assignment for this week is to visit three different locations around Second Life. John suggested that participants should meet in pairs or small groups for this. We looked at the map of SL just to get a sense of scale and understand how much there is to explore. Interesting places, whether cities, waterfronts, parks or countryside, can be found in the Search panel, or it is possible to wander in expectation of a serendipitous discovery. It is important to note that regions are rated G for general, M for mature and A for adult so do to keep an eye out for corresponding activity. John reminded the class that if anyone felt uncomfortable in a place due to the activity of other avatars it is important to QUIT immediately: do not expose yourselves to unpalatable or unacceptable behaviour.

The second assignment for this week is to write about the locations visited in your blog. Remember that blog are informal pieces of writing but you should adhere to the basic principles of academic writing: be coherent, write to the topic and use all forms of writing (narrative, descriptive, reflective and critical); source your information with discrimination; caption and credit the images you include; and cite sources in support of your arguments (using those given in the reading list).


Class 1a: Welcome to Second Life

February 7, 2022

It seemed to be more of a challenge than usual for students to access Second Life today. It may be down to the fact that most were on campus and the network security was blocking some activities. Only a few students were able to activate voice so we had to conduct class using ‘nearby chat’ which made everything very slow and tedious. Some students were unable to access Second Life at all. Nevertheless, a majority made it to the class room in virtual TU Dublin and we worked around the problems to do some basic tasks.

Everyone learned how to have their avatars sit in the chairs and we all made ‘friends’ with each other. This means that we know when our colleagues are online and we can contact them. John also invited everyone to join the module group which means students will be able to create objects in the virtual campus, send group chats and receive group notices.

Then we all went outside for the class photo which was a good exercise in learning how to move your avatar and get it into a specific position. It was a little like watching babies learning to walk!

Eventually most of us were able to get our avatars lined up for a photograph.

By this time everyone was exhausted so John proposed putting the discussion about blogging off until next week. He reminded the students to check out their assignment in Brightspace and to review the material for next week’s class.


Spring semester 2022

February 2, 2022

Welcome to the module ‘Virtual Environments: Is one life enough?’ being offered as an elective module to students of Technological University Dublin School of Creative Arts and Dublin School of Archtitecture.

Classes will start on 7th February on Mondays at 1:00 pm for two hours. We meet online every week at TU Dublin in Second LifePlease note: you will need a Mac or PC desktop or laptop to access Second Life – you cannot do so with a mobile device.

Full details about the module are available to eligible registered students on the university VLE, Brightspace, where you may self-enrol. Read the Introduction unit carefully where you will find instructions on how to access Second Life and set up your personal avatar. Learning how to get around the virtual world and familiarising yourself with the environment and how to control your avatar will take a few hours so give yourself plenty of time before class starts.

Please read pages 1 to 9 in the column on the right also. If you would like to find out more about what to expect during the semester read the posts in this blog: all class since 2009 have been summarised.

If you have any problems email John O’Connor at TU Dublin.

Once again, this semester we will be working with Prof Murat Gülmez (aka Magua) and his students at Çağ University in Turkey. We will be spending much of our time with Lynne Berrett/Lissena Resident, (aka Wisdomseeker) and her team at Whole Brain Health on Inspiration Island in Second Life.

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