Archive for the ‘2020 class summaries’ Category

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Class 11: Team Project presentations

December 17, 2020

We were delighted to be joined by a select audience for the Team Project presentations this week. Valibrarian Gregg, Gentle Heron, Mook Wheeler and Sitearm Madonna supported us with comments and questions about the topics under discussion.

John was most impressed with both presentations. He remarked on the quality and depth of the research conducted by each team, the professional delivery and the ability of each team member to address the questions that came from the audience in a thoughtful and reflective way, demonstrating the engagement you had with the details of your subject.

The Red Team opted to go first and gave us a link to a YouTube video which we all watched in our browsers. The video was very well scripted with appropriate and insightful content. Team members took turns narrating and performed exceptionally well. The images, diagrams, layout and typography all combined to support the main contention of the presentation which nailed the brief. In the follow up Q&A session you demonstrated a command of the subject and responded with confidence and a convincing level of detail.

The Green Team presented live in SL. The original intention was to show slides on a screen in SL but, wisely, it was deemed more effective to provide a link to a set of Google Slides. Once again, the presentation was delivered in part by each team member, handing over to each other with ease and professionalism. The team dressed professionally for the occasion to complement the content. The design and layout of the slides was excellent, even down to the specially designed Green Team logo with stylised leaf motif. This team also engaged with their Q&A session in a professional and confident manner – this was borne out by the reflective nature of their responses to questions and a clear understanding of the content.

Following the presentations John wrapped up with some general comments and our guest speakers also contributed, complimenting the student teams. The full brief for the Team Project – Fresh World was well researched by both teams. Assessment criteria can be found on page 6.

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Class 10: Warning!

December 9, 2020

We have reached the final week of teaching on the module and it seems to have flown by. John began by thanking you all for engaging with the content so well and for full attendance at every class for the first time since the module commenced!

We discussed the two addresses to the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland in 2018. The nonagenarian David Attenborough and the sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg delivered what was essentially the same message but in very different ways: each in their own distinctive style. Overall, the message, echoing the warnings from world scientists, is not positive: in fact, the prognosis for our planet is a cause for grave concern brought about by the unsustainable manner in which we have been exploiting our natural resources. The term anthropocene has been proposed by scientists to describe the geological era in which humankind’s impact has changed the planet in ways that were previously only caused by geological forces. In trying to establish when the anthropocene might have begun you proposed the atomic era, or perhaps it was as far back as the industrial revolution, or even the dawn of humankind. emck1999 shared the conclusions of a recent project in which she considered the impact of our unsustainable use of the earth’s resources, making her feel old and cynical, she said.

Nevertheless, John suggested there may well be more positive indications recently. HannahSimoneNathalie referred to the Attenborough documentary A Life on our Planet, 2020 currently showing on Netflix; in an interview with the Radio Times (and in the context of the current pandemic) he says hope may emerge ‘from the whole world having experienced a shared threat and found a sense that we are all in it together’. He speaks of ‘encouraging signs’ of an increased trust in science, adding ‘the time for nationalism is over. ‘In the end,’ Attenborough says, ‘it’s not really about saving the planet. It’s about saving ourselves …. It’s simpler than you might think, a century from now, our planet can be a wild place again.’

The second cause for hope is in the very existence of Greta Thunberg. The sense of opportunity and potential that is natural in youth, but which tends to dissipate with age, should not be dismissed. The problems facing humanity are so grievous that the older generation simply may not have the imagination nor the stamina to conceive of a solution whereas those with less ‘experience’ can approach the future with the ingenuity and determination that is a hallmark of human beings at our best. This seemed to resonate with you as a reasonable expectation, from your own experience.

The third factor in providing hope is technology itself. Often demonised as the cause of our problems technology is, in fact, somewhat neutral. The French intellectual Bernard Stiegler, who died this year, proposed that technology should be understood as a pharmakon, a Greek word that means both ‘poison’ and ‘cure’. Technology is the poison that has brought our society to its sorry state but it could also be the cure by which it may be saved. Stiegler also believed in taking practical action and established many projects to prove that there are alternative ways of developing communities and society that does not result in the destruction of our environment. This understanding of technology is surely influenced somewhat by McLuhan’s belief that ‘we shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us’.

John attempted to tie together the threads of our weekly discussions suggesting that a core theme emerging is that of responsibility. Our personal responsibility was explored in the classes about McLuhan and the true nature of the ‘self’ and ‘being’. The importance of professional responsibility emerged during our discussions on blogging and community relationships. The Le Guin story about Omelas and concepts of digital citizenship considered last week, along with the discussion in this class, raised questions about communal responsibilities and the shape of our society. At the heart of all discussion on responsibility is the ethical dimension. Without an ethical framework there can be no sense of responsibility and life is forced to play out in a constant struggle for survival. The challenge for each one of us is to engage with our multiple responsibilities, consider what we can do and to play our parts with deliberation. Above all: do not simply follow the general flow of events blindly.

Before concluding the class John dispersed the princely sum of L$200 to each of you so that you can upload images and photos to SL for your presentations next week. He also warned you that the conversion rate meant this is equivalent to less than a singe US dollar. It was also agreed that the Red Team will present first with the Green Team following. John will be available if there are any issues with your projects between now and next Thursday.

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Class 9: Digital Citizenship

December 5, 2020
Valibrarian

Valibrarian shared some of the ideas from her book on Metamodernism to the the class this week.

 

We visited the Community Virtual Library (CVL) in SL this week for a presentation by Dr Valerie Hill (aka Valibrarian), the director. Val has taught at all grade levels, served as a school librarian for twenty years and a college professor of information science. She suggests there is now a need for a new look at literacy: metaliteracy.

Alvin Toffler, writing in the late 20th century, coined the term prosumer when he noticed individuals were beginning to create and share content themselves: what we now call user-generated content. This has toppled the information hierarchy and we now have much more user-generated content than traditional formats such as books. YouTube has become the main source of information on the planet. As both consumers and producers of media we have become prosumers. One of Toffler’s well-known quotes relating to changing literacy is:

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.

This constant oscillation – swinging between production and consumption of media, and between physical and digital media, aligns to our philosophical moment which Val calls metamodernism, a term being widely adopted to describe our era. Acquiring knowledge in the past meant climbing the ladder toward final mastery. Not anymore! In metamodernism culture, we learn new tools and apps constantly while evaluating live information and adapting to new devices and software updates. There is no end to the incoming stream of information. Val’s book Metamodernism and Changing Literacy addresses the challenges we face due to these changes. It is imperative that we each understand our personal responsibility as digital citizens. A term that fits with this personal responsibility (at any age from child to adult) is metaliteracy. Mackey and Jacobsen (2014) coined the term to help us better understand how we can be literate in digital culture as prosumers. This is essential to digital citizenship. For more on this have a look at Metaliteracy and Metamodern Times.

We play many roles as a metaliterate individual, as both consumer and producer of content. The Internet connected everyone… giving a voice to all. Yet, not everyone has anything meaningful to add to the conversation! The Internet has become a flood of information that is impossible to navigate without metaliteracy. Once we understand with it means to be prosumers and participants in digital culture (unless you are a hermit isolated without Internet connectivity) we become aware of the need for digital citizenship. Yes, everyone has a voice online… but not everything shared is good, meaningful or even true. In fact, Mackey and Jacobson believe we live in a post-truth world.

While the many elements of digital citizenship are beyond the scope of this short talk Val suggests they cover ethical use of information, cybersecurity and safety, communication and even emotional intelligence. She suggests looking at the digital citizenship wheel at the DQ Institute website. CVL has built a digital citizenship museum in the virtual world of Kitely and has branches in other virtual worlds besides SL.

Val witnessed the close of the Gutenberg Parentheses (the period in which the printed word was the main source of information) as printed encyclopaedias or dictionaries became rarities. Many of us love the smell and physicality of books which are likely to remain available, but we also use ebooks, websites, databases, videos, podcasts, blogs, apps and more. Juggling all these tools – sometimes simultaneously – is actually changing the human brain. This juggling is a metaliteracy skill and part of digital citizenship. However, one can get carried away by the stream of social media into a self-absorbed whirlpool. Not only must we learn to juggle and choose the best digital tools… we must also juggle between worlds: physical, virtual, or augmented. Choosing the best space for a specific purpose (working, gaming, social interaction, learning) is also a metaliteracy skill. New platforms are emerging constantly with virtual reality headsets and 360 video becoming mainstream. Val is part of a team of educators researching these environments as it is impossible to explore them alone. A major goal for CVL is to bring together digital citizens to share best practices for becoming metaliterate digital citizens. CVL has tools to help accomplish that goal. For example, they are working on a virtual database, a network of ‘office hours in virtual environments’, and a virtual world education consortium.

The Information Revolution has changed literacy forever. We live in a fascinating, fast-paced time. Val has adopted the term metamodernism in discussion of our current philosophical era but there are other names being used: post-postmodernism, for example. She is presenting the topic here today in the metaverse, a place where metadata constructs a simulation of reality – we are inside a metaphor of our world. As you think about that you are using metacognition (thinking about thinking). About… about… about… meta… meta… meta! We have become metamodern and it is now time to become metaliterate.

In closing, Val hoped that we will all ponder our own responsibility for digital citizenship and think critically about our own changing literacy. Metaliteracy is simply a term to address literacy as prosumers. The Metaliteracy website describes it as follows:

Metaliteracy promotes critical thinking and collaboration in a digital age, providing a comprehensive framework to effectively participate in social media and online communities. It is a unified construct that supports the acquisition, production, and sharing of knowledge in collaborative online communities.

In response to Val’s presentation the students suggested that being accessible all the time and being expected to reply instantly to everything is overwhelming. The ‘show location’ tool is scary too. The death of privacy in the age of Google was also mentioned and the need to teach children from an early age so that they can navigate the worlds they are going to inhabit as they grow. Val suggested looking at the Common Sense website for more on this.

John, along with the students, thanked Val for her highly informative and fascinating talk. John also thanks Sitearm for coordinating the event.

Class listens to Valibrarian

The class listening attentively to Valibarian’s fascinating talk.

 

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Class 8: Walking away…?

November 26, 2020
Map of the island, Utopia.

Illustration for the 1516 first edition of Thomas More’s Utopia.

Talking about Ursula K Le Guin’s short story The One’s Who Walk Away From Omelas always brings some surprises and new ways of looking at the world and ourselves. We began, as usual, by considering the context and the time in which the story was written, the US in the early 1970s: The Vietnam war is in full flight; the Civil Rights movement remains active with demonstrations and race riots; the Watergate Crisis leads to Nixon’s resignation; terrorist activity in pursuit of political goals emerges around the world; the cold war between the US and Soviet Union is raging quietly; the oil crisis leads to severe shortages of petrol in the West; flower power and the hippie lifestyle were presented as idealistic anti-violence alternatives to post-war society norms. In sum, the apparently idyllic sixties were over and a new realisation around the challenges of global society was about to dawn on the Western world.

The opening of Le Guin’s story is clearly drawn from the hippie movement and festivals such as Woodstock in 1969. The Eden-like city of Omelas and its surrounding hinterland is presented as a form of Utopia. However, our contemporary familiarity with perfect places in fiction (since Thomas More’s publication of Utopia in 1516) has led to it becoming a trope – we are immediately suspicious: alert to the revelation of a flaw in this seeming idyll.

The form of the story is also interesting to explore more deeply. While clearly allegorical the narrative is open to many interpretations. Is it describing contemporary society? Perhaps it is a retelling of the Adam and Eve mythology? Maybe the fundamental paradox of the human condition is at the heart of the story? Le Guin shifts the perspective of the narrative from third person to first person throughout. She also ‘breaks the fourth wall’ by addressing the reader directly on several occasions; disrupting the illusion by suggesting that the story might become more believable through the introduction of the dark twist:

Do you believe? Do you accept the festival, the city, the joy? No? Then let me describe one more thing.

The story also has some bold philosophical propositions weaved into the text. It is never clear if they are held by Le Guin herself, or merely the narrator… just as it is never clear what the relationship between author and narrator might be. Is Le Guin proposing fundamental truths about human nature and society?

Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary, what is neither necessary nor destructive, and what is destructive.

Her fiction was influenced by cultural anthology, feminism and Eastern spiritual philosophy and explored gender and sexuality (The Left Hand of Darkness, 1969), political systems (The Dispossessed, 1974) and moral development. The final twist in this story presents a stark moral dilemma which Le Guin characterises in the decision of some citizens to walk away from the land of plenty.

We wondered if we were presented with the choice would be stay or go. Would our complacency and moral ambiguity lead us to accept the justifications for keeping the child in the cellar or would we have the courage to walk away? It is interesting to note that the option of remaining in Omelas and seeking change seems to be ruled out in the story but, does that mean it is ruled out for us in our lives?

Ultimately, it may be that the purpose of the story is to have us consider our own personal responsibilities as members of the human race.

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Class 7: Online Communities and Relationships

November 19, 2020
Class field trip to Virtual Ability Island

Mook Wheeler (second from left) introduces Virtual Ability Island to us. Sitearm Madonna is on the extreme left and Gentle Heron on the extreme right with the two Marias beside her.

 

John began the class by talking about the feedback for the assessment of the Website Blog, part 1, which was circulated earlier. He spoke about the importance of beginning now to write more reflectively on your experiences in SL and on your teams. Think about what you are learning and how your perception of working online is developing. You should also refer to the reading and viewing material given to the class when writing your posts. Consider how your experiences either support or contradict what others are saying. Your view is valuable once you are developing it in that context so, your posts may become a little more like short academic papers from here on.

John also emphasised the importance of reviewing the assessment criteria for the Website Blog, part 2. Take careful note of the descriptors in the assessment grid so that you know what to aim for. This is also important for the Team Project. Remember, the brief is to stimulate hard-nosed executives. You need to be creative to attract and maintain their attention.

Then we teleported to Virtual Ability Island (VAI) to meet the community led by Gentle Heron. Unfortunately, Gentle’s internet connection was playing up so she was not fully with us at the start. However, Mook Wheeler, a long-standing friend of this module, was on hand to do the introduction. She explained that VAI is an international cross-disability peer support community of over one thousand members, who may have physical, mental, emotional, developmental sensory (deafness or blindness) or multiple disabilities. About a quarter of the membership does not (yet!) have a disability and they are referred to as Temporarily Able Bodied (TAB). They may be a parent, spouse, child, friend or care-giver.

For a more detailed report on the presentation see the post from the visit to VAI earlier this year.

Mook then introduced herself saying she has Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is a former academic who first discovered SL in 2006 at the peak of its media exposure. She continued:

This discovery was a blessing for me, because SL provides methods of interacting with people that do not carry the high stress that face-to-face, eye-to-eye and voice-to-ear interactions do. In the physical world, ‘socialisation’ exhausts and stresses me. In SL, it can invigorate and lift me. I consider SL essential for my mental and emotional health. Because interaction in SL does not carry the stress it does in ‘RL’ (‘Real Life’, or the physical world), I discovered that the ‘SL me’ is very different to the ‘RL me’! The ‘SL me’ is calmer, steadier, more rational. The ‘RL me’ is much more of a reactive creature, buffeted by sensory input and constantly set back by ‘incorrect’ social input and output. Offending and getting offended is an unfortunate constant of my ‘real-life’. When around people, the ‘RL me’ is hardly able to think. When around avatars, the ‘SL me’ does not have this problem.

She shared notecards which give more details about online communities and Virtual Ability; how SL’s communication methods support her needs; and digital citizenship.

Maria Wirsing has very low vision so she uses two avatars and two SL viewers. One supports the visual and the other converts text to speech using optical character recognition (OCR). She has many friends in SL and interacts with people from all over the world.

We then opened the discussion to questions from the students. HannahSimoneNathalie started be asking if SL had impacted in unexpected ways? Gentle explained that she had not anticipated how intertwined SL and RL would become and she now doesn’t see a separation between them. xtrashot wondered how everyone had heard of SL? Gentle first heard of the world from an online chat room and was immediately attracted by the immersive nature of the virtual world whereas Mook discovered it through her research activity and Maria was introduced by an online group that was developing a presence here. Once she arrived she didn’t leave. John wondered how much time community members spend in SL every day and the answer is anything from two to eight hours normally but maybe as long as fifteen hours when involved in conferences.

ianjkelly noted that the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an increase of online activity and asked if this was also the case for VAI? It seems not, for the most part, although Gentle commented that she is noticing it in the less disabled folks. For the members who are used to social isolation prior to COVIDS-19 there has been little change. pastelmoon19 asked if it took a long time for them to enjoy SL or was it something they loved from the beginning. Gentle remembered that she spent her first few weeks sliding on every waterslide she could find! She loved it. For Mook the first day was full of shocks of all kinds but, after the first week the risk was becoming addicted. John said he spent long hours immersed in SL when he discovered it in 2007, only emerging for food and sleep! Sitearm admitted that he got over it after the first five years! For Maria it took three minutes to ‘fall in love’ with SL, and she hasn’t looked back.

Gentle invited the class to remain on at VAI, or return later, to explore the range of activities and sights. She thanked the students for their attention and their interesting questions. John concluded by thanking Mook for stepping into the breach unexpectedly and so capably. He also thanked Maria for sharing her insights this evening. Gentle Heron has been involved with the module since it commenced over eleven years ago and has always been extraordinarily generous with her time and sharing her not inconsiderable experience. John thanked her for her continuing support. He also thanked Sitearm Madonna, who has also been involved since the beginning, for making the arrangements for this field trip. The students echoed their thanks saying they enjoyed the session finding it really insightful and interesting.

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Class 6: My Avatar and Me – virtual identities

November 12, 2020
Real face merging with avatar

My avatar and me.

 

To establish some common ground for this complex subject John asked you all to think about how you would answer the question ‘who are you?’ in the context of the propositions put forward by Daniel Dennett and David Chalmers in the videos set for viewing in advance of the class. ‘How do you describe yourself?’ After you had given some thought to this we considered further questions: ‘Are your descriptions real?’ ‘Is it an illusion?’ ‘What makes yourself real?’ as we attempted to co-create an understanding as a group.

We acknowledged that how we present ourselves depends on the circumstances or the environment. So, the person we are at home is somewhat different from the person who goes into work or college, or who socialises with friends. Does this mean we have multiple personalities? This led to thinking about the difference between our ‘self’ and our ‘identity’ and the importance of establishing your ‘self’. The deep philosophical nature off this question is at the heart of what it means to exist, to be alive in the world, to be human.

It is also important on a more prosaic level. How we might wish to present ourselves professionally is important for our career development. It starts with coming to an understanding about the kind of image we decide to promote and then consciously projecting that through not only our work but also our professional engagements of all sorts. Social media is a key tool in this context – something we are all acutely aware of in the current situation where we are almost totally dependent on it.

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Class 5: From Hammer to Pixel

November 5, 2020

The class discussed the reading material about Marshall McLuhan’s mid 20th Century book The Medium is the Massage and the ideas springing from it. Beginning with the title (and the peculiar substitution of Massage for Message) there was a lively exploration of what McLuhan was getting at which threw up many questions. What did he mean by medium? How could the medium be more important than the information being communicated? How has media developed since McLuhan wrote the book? Does his thesis have any relevance today? Did he really anticipate the internet? This led to a brief look at some of the media that produced step-changes in human society through the ages, from the development of writing, printing, radio, television and the worldwide web.

John reminded us of McLuhan’s student who remarked that ‘we shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us’. When we look at tools as an extension of the body and our way of interfacing with the environment is seemed easier to understand the symbiotic relationship.

It is more challenging to think about putting this knowledge to use. While it is clear to us in hindsight how new technology led to the development of human society it is not so easy to see the outcome of contemporary developments. What we can do is maintain a critical awareness and vigilance while taking nothing for granted.

Selection of newspapers

Is the medium the message or the massage?

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Class 3: Teamwork and Collaboration

October 29, 2020

This class is normally given by Sitearm Madonna but, regrettably, John was unable to make the arrangements in time this semester. So, he reviewed the key points in the hope that it might be possible to have the full presentation from Sitearm at a later date, perhaps with some students from other universities teaching in SL.

Poster showing theory of teamwork

Sitearm placed convenient posters around the classroom (check the roof also).

Sitearm had placed some very useful posters around the room which helped illustrate the dynamics of teamwork which, he suggests, is like breathing: more of a process than a one-time event. There are four aspects to understanding how teams function. Firstly, teams have effective members. Each of us brings some commitment and some level of competence. You can compensate for the lack of either in team mates to ensure a positive outcome. Secondly, effective teams develop in stages. Starting with the forming stage where members are getting to know each other and find their place before moving onto what can be the most difficult stage known as storming. This is where everyone is pitching ideas and working out how to proceed. Then teams usually move on the norming stage when the members are beginning to work together comfortably and settle down to performing and getting the project done.

Thirdly, effective teams use best practices. For example, using brainstorming to generate ideas and then agreeing a protocol for deciding how to progress: majority vote, consensus or some other way. You will find that you move back and forth between brainstorming and deciding until the project begins to take shape. When you meet in your teams get into the habit of briefing yourselves. Ask questions like: what are we going to do in this meeting? Then do it. At the end of the meeting leave some time for debriefing: record any decisions made or what happened. Also ask each to member to say what they liked about the meeting and what they wished had happened. This helps your team meetings to become more efficient, effective and enjoyable.

Finally, effective teams share roles: research shows that there are nine key roles for highest performance and success in teamwork. As many teams don’t have nine members it is often necessary for people to take on more than one role. Each of us has a natural affinity to some roles but you can practice taking on new roles also. The disadvantage of this is the discomfort as you move into unfamiliar territory and the extra work involved but the advantage is seen in performance and success on both the personal and team levels.

Collaboration is a technology – proven and time tested with a vast number of academic papers describing the process. Think of it like that and you will find it less daunting.

John reminded the class that it is very important to practice your presentation before the final delivery. You need this dry-run to iron out any difficulties that may arise in moving from a plan or script to the real presentation. Working with technology is not always reliable so it is a good idea to expect catastrophe and have at least one back-up plan, if not two: don’t get caught out! Prepare fully and you will be successful no matter what happens.

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Classes 2 and 4: Blogging and Project

October 22, 2020
Student teams for the project

Student teams for the project Fresh World

In accordance with John’s decision to bring the Team Project briefing forward we covered the content for Class 2: Blogging to the World and also Class 4: Team Project this week.

Three of you have started your blogs and there are links to them in the column on the right, page 9 Student blogs. For those who have not yet sent a link to your blog to John please do so now. Don’t forget that the first assessment of this work will be taking place the week after next. It is also useful to ensure that comments can be made to your blog to encourage the conversation. The three blogs that have been submitted are off to a great start with good reports on your exploration of SL and copiously illustrated with photos.

You all confirmed that you had read the Team Project brief – Fresh World and we discussed the detail of the project. John identified the team members as given above. We also discussed the importance of knowing the assessment criteria and keeping them to the fore while working on the project. Ensure your work is on point and relevant so that it contributes to your final mark.

Finally, John asked you to familiarise yourselves with the module in Brightspace. Your assignments each week are given there, along with reading lists, summaries and full details of the assessments.

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Class 1: Welcome to Second Life

October 14, 2020
Class photo

Hannah impresses the class not only by arriving on horseback but also riding side-saddle.

The electives all started a week or so later than usual this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The fact that all students are participating largely online for most classes already has also eliminated the unique aspect of this module: totally online classes. Nevertheless, let’s hope that the novelty of Second Life (SL) as a learning environment will maintain everybody’s engagement and attention. It will also be interesting to engage with class through an avatar rather than the usual way of using Bongo, Zoom or Teams.

The class this semester is much smaller than usual with ten signed up but only six making an appearance for the first class. John suggested that it would be useful to review the content of the module in light of our current situation. Some of the classes will be combined so that we don’t overrun the semester and the focus will be on independent engagement between classes. John will present the team project in the next class to allow you all more time for collaboration – working together from the get-go should support a more engaged experience.

As we settled into class John asked that everyone friend each other and all were invited to join the module group, which will facilitate remote and private chatting. Some participants had difficulty getting voice activated but with innovative use of other apps we all managed to tune into the discussion. John told the class that a link to Brightspace will be circulated after class. This contains summaries of all classes and the reading/viewing list. It is important to put in the 30 to 40 minutes of preparation before class so that our discussions can be well-informed and relevant rather than a simple sharing of uninformed opinions. If the prep is not done we can assign the first half hour of class to doing it and push the finish time out to 9.30 pm.

The assignment for next week is outlined in detail in Brightspace. You are to explore SL and visit at least three different locations. Be careful doing so and approach the task as if you were visiting a new city. Remember, SL is just like Real Life (RL) and you will meet pleasant, friendly people but, also perhaps, some unpleasant individuals. If you feel unsure or uneasy just Quit SL immediately. Don’t worry about being rude!

You should also set up a new wordpress blog in the name and character of your avatar. You will be expected to write a post to this blog every week. The combined posts will be the equivalent of an academic paper for the purposes of assessment at the end of the semester. The first post will be a description of your SL explorations.

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