Archive for the ‘2011 class summaries’ Category


Class 10: Presentation

December 15, 2011

The class team was unable to present the final project work as scheduled for the class meeting. On the surface this was because it was unable to stream the sound into the Dublin Amphitheatre but, the real problem was lack of preparation, organization, project management, planning or rehearsal. Clearly, some team members had worked to produce a soundtrack, others wore costumes and some invited guests arrived but, there was little evidence of a coherent team effort. Despite a requirement for Plan B in the event of a sound breakdown no such plan was available. The performance was rescheduled for Wednesday 21st December.


Class 9: Project work

December 7, 2011

Tae took feedback from the class on each student’s progress in the team project. It seems to be going quite slowly after a failure to meet up during the week. Tae recommended that everyone read the project brief again, paying particular attention to the assessment points. The team was also advised to contact Sitearm and Elfay immediately to get permission to stream sound into the Amphitheatre and support for recording. Also, you should read the Project Resources post giving information about recording and streaming provided by Elfay.

Tae reminded the team that the project was designed to give you the opportunity to implement some online social networking activity. Students all need to provide evidence of their engagement, particularly in your blogs: write about it, post pictures, links etc. It was also strongly advised that you meet up, virtually, as soon as possible; that you have a rehearsal; and a backup plan in case Second Life doesn’t cooperate.


Class 8: Project work

December 1, 2011


The class was given over entirely to getting the team project started as there are only two more weeks before presentation. Tae and Locks led the group in agreeing the theme, casting the show, planning the sound recording, planning the promotion and advertising to ensure there is an audience. The students were reminded to avail of the help and support offered by Elfay Pinkdot and Sitearm Madonna. Tae will put up some recording resources given by Elfay after her talk.

It was agreed to use the Dublin Amphitheatre for the performance and the class concluded with a site visit.

More Linden Dollars were handed out to those who didn’t get any last week.


1. Continue to use the wiki to support project planning.
2. Use Facebook and any other method to promote and market the performance.
3. Don’t forget to make the weekly post to your blog.


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.


Class 3: Online Communities. Who are we?

October 26, 2011


This week’s class opened with a talk on academic writing. The three main types of writing – descriptive, reflective and critical – were explained. While some writing will inevitably fall into the first two categories it is the third that is most important. Critical writing in an academic context must be based on informed opinion and must reference appropriate texts, such as those appearing in books, journals, newspapers and selected websites. It is very important that you give references for your sources and don’t run the risk of plagiarism, even by accident. The school recommends the Chicago Style for referencing. You are expected to write the posts to your blogs in an academic style from now on. You can also demonstrate your critical thinking by commenting on other blogs and encouraging others to comment on yours. Try to encourage lively critical debate on your blog.

The class discussion about online communities looked at the Deviant Art and Krishna De sites in particular. Each is quite distinct: Deviant Art, a loose community of artists, was described as being a useful platform for promotion and sales but could be irritating due to the many members interested solely in promoting their egos while the Krishna De site was seen as a more controlled and specific space for those with an interest in business and marketing. This led to a discussion about ‘rules of engagement’ and etiquette, conventions and regulations that may govern how communities function. Comparisons were made with real life communities and groups and also with Facebook, Linked In and Second Life. Facebook’s policy of accepting accounts only in real names (as opposed to pseudonyms) and the implications for retaining your data resources in the case of a breach was considered.

A reminder was given that the week four assessment of the blogs would be carried out this week. All activities from classes 1, 2 and 3 should be completed by Friday 28th October. The writing activity given below should be posted to your blog by 12 noon on Wednesday next 3rd November.


1. Post an article, written in academic style, to your blog discussing the importance of etiquette, convention and regulation in online communities. Write a minimum of 500 words.

2. READING: This paper from US lawyer Greg Lastowka “User Generated Content and Virtual Worlds” sets out the legalities around protecting content in no uncertain terms.

3. READING: Top ten rules for writing a critical blog by a blogging GP.


Class 2: Personal Branding. Who am I?

October 19, 2011


We welcomed some new participants to the class this week and there is still a little settling in as we all familiarize ourselves with the environment. There was feedback that the sound quality was not so good which may have made it difficult to hear all the content. We will see if this can be rectified for next week and it would be useful to get feedback on the Facebook group.

The discussion on personal branding ranged over questions such as what does it mean? and why do it? ignited by the recommended reading. We talked about the difference between personal and professional branding for your own online presence and the importance of digital and media literacy. Social networks such as Facebook, twitter, linked in, google plus etc were considered and the importance of establishing trust emphasized. We concluded the discussion by introducing the Consumer > Prosumer > Produser paradigm posited by Bruns.


The assessment requirements were explained. Each participant will be assessed on their blog. You must post to it at least once a week and you must also write the required posts given in the ‘Activities for next week’s class’ section of each Class Summary here. The blogs will be assessed in weeks 4, 8 and 12 of the module to ensure that you don’t have too much work to do at the end.


1. Working in your groups, go outsidethe class group into the wider SL community, make contact with at least two people relevant to your interests (could be more). Write a blog post about your experience and articulate the value of these contacts with an explanation of why you contacted to them.

2. Look at ATypI Facebook page, student blog, professional blog, artists’ community site

3. READING: “From Prosumer to Produser: Understanding User-Led Content Creation” by Prof Axel Bruns (Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland Institute of Technology) who explains his theory of user-led collaborative content creation.

4. Write a post in your blog discussing the ideas proposed by Dr Bruns in his lecture.


Class 1: How can you broaden your skills?

October 13, 2011


We asked all participants to complete the profile for their Second Life avatar and their webcourses profile. Once you have done this your avatar will receive L$300 to spend at your discretion. This will give you a sense of how the SL economy works and you can try to earn additional funds if you wish. Don’t blow it all at once – you will need at least $50 for project work later in the module.

Join the Facebook group for the module also. If you haven’t already been invited then add Accuppa Tae and Locks Aichi as friends and we will send you an invitation. Facebook will be used to alert you to any changes to classes and so on. If you have any questions you can post them to the group which has been limited to module participants.

You will need to spend some time exploring Second Life outside of class time. Get to know some of the residents and find interesting places to visit. We meet in Virtual Dublin so this week we had a walk through the city after class and visited the Blarney Stone pub to meet some of the locals.

Most classes will be discursive and we expect you all to participate. A reading will be set in advance to inform the discussion so it is important to familiarise yourself with it and prepare in advance.


1. Set up your personal blog for this module. Use blogger, wordpress or any other popular blogging tool. You will be posting to this every week during the module and will be assessed on it throughout the semester. Post a link to your blog on the Facebook group wall.

2. Create your first blog post by writing about your expectations for this module outlining what you hope to get from it and how you think you can contribute. (You will be asked to reflect on this post towards the end of the module so give it some thought now.)

3. As a group go out and explore Second Life. Find at least 5 locations that are interesting for one reason or another.

4. Make a second post to your blog describing your experiences and review the 5 locations.

5. Visit your colleagues’ blogs and make some constructive comments.

6. READING: Article on personal branding from The Irish Times Innovation Magazine, August 2011.

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