Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Class 4: Team Project – New Direction

February 27, 2020

Before starting the class John asked if everyone had read the brief and, while some of you had, many had not. So, everyone was asked to read it now. John also asked that you read the requirements of your submission in the Assessment Unit on Brightspace to ensure you are aware of the deadline for completion, assessment criteria, along with the part of the project that will be group-assessed and the parts on which you will be assessed individually.

Once that was completed John asked for some initial reactions. Most of you agreed that while it is a difficult topic is is current and highly relevant. The main problem to contend with in addressing climate change seems to be our reluctance as humans to acknowledge the problem, to consider the changes we need to make in our own lives and to demand that those with greater influence face up to the reality and do something. We acknowledged the iron will of people like Greta Thunberg, who are unafraid of power and willing to name the issues and those responsible. You also indicated that presenting your projects to a room full of senior executives in a global corporation sounds intimidating. However, John reminded you that the two most senior people in the organisation (the chairman and the chief executive) are backing you.

John outlined your assignments for the coming week: to make contact with your group and hold the first meeting. He suggested that it might seem a simple task to complete in a week but in previous semesters many groups failed to achieve it. There was some discussion on how to make contact: do you share email addresses now? try to find each other in social media? hope to bump into teammates in RL? The logistics of arranging meetings online is somewhat different to doing so in RL. You need to ensure a common approach is understood by, and available to, all team members.

What do you do when (if) you manage to meet? John reminded you that the presentation board from Sitearm Madonna’s talk on Teamwork and Collaboration is still available in the class meeting room. Use it when you meet. Remember the stages teams go through when working on a project. Try to be aware of that when you meet so you can get the most out of your time together as a group.

Sunrise at Lauk’s Nest, the oldest complex build in SL, it dates back to 2004.

John proposed a visit to Lauk’s Nest for the final part of class. Notecards with information about the park were circulated along with landmarks and we all teleported there. Before allowing everyone off to explore John reminded you of the forthcoming deadline for submission of the Website Blog, part 1 for assessment. You must make the submission in Brightspace or John will be unable to award a mark and give you feedback.

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Class 2: Blogging to the World

October 3, 2019
Forest walk

Strolling through a forest in Second Life

Many of you have submitted your blogs which are now listed on page 9 (see the link in the right-hand column). You should have a look at each others blogs and post comments on them. You might even have a look over some of the blogs by past participants on the module. John asked those who have not yet sent him a link to their blogs to do so now. He also reminded you to ensure you posted a bio (for your avatar) to the ‘about me’ page on your blog.

We discussed your experiences travelling around SL and visiting different locations. Many of you found interesting places but were struck by the lack of people there. This may be due to the time difference between here and North America, where the vast majority of SL residents are based, or it could just be that the places were built by residents who enjoy building for its own sake and are not interested in attracting visitors. Many of you remarked on the curiosity of avatars engaging in sunbathing and other ‘human’ activities which seem pointless for an avatar. This opened some musing on how and why people use SL: is it purely social? is there an opportunity for business activity? does the ‘reality’ of the environment help social lubrication? when you can teleport between locations why build roads and railways? are vehicles purely ornamental? why would anyone bother?

Beach

Do avatars enjoy sunbathing as much as people do?

Arising from the final point John suggested it would be worth considering why spaces such as SL, or other online environments, might be preferable social spaces for some people. For example, people who find it difficult to engage with others in RL due to shyness have found confidence in virtual environments where they have more control over the interaction.

We spoke about the need for clarity around our interactions: avatars don’t do body language (beyond some very basic movements) so that means we have to add the subtle layer of communication into our interactions very deliberately. Even reassuring each other that we are still online and paying attention is necessary. Giving regular feedback to indicate our presence is essential in all online engagement.

John introduced this week’s assignment to meet other residents in SL and try to engage in conversation. Some of you have already done this so you can record the results in your blog post. Be careful in this exercise because SL, just like RL, has all sorts of individuals wandering around. If you feel uncomfortable at any time just quit immediately. Don’t forget to set the classroom as your Home Location so you can return there easily.

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Class 11: Project presentations

December 13, 2018

Locks Aichi joined the class for the presentations by each team this week. A variety of approaches was taken including YouTube videos, Google Slide show to illustrate presentations in the classroom and finally, a visit to another location in SL which did not turn out as expected. The group gave us a link to a shopping centre to open their talk with a demonstration. Unfortunately, the owner was online when all thirty of us teleported there simultaneously and she assumed it was a griefing attack! After some serious confusion and much swearing on her part we returned to DIT. An explanation was sent to the shopkeeper by IM and the incident was concluded without any further rancour. It provided an excellent learning opportunity for the final meeting of our group – always ask permission before visiting someone else’s virtual space with a group – much as you would in Real Life. To be fair to the student team it had visited the location during the week and found it deserted and quite reasonably expected the same for our visit.

All teams presented with confidence and obvious preparation. Some presentations seemed more of a team delivery while others came across as a collection of individuals’ ideas but in each case the content was considered, coherent and relevant. Following the presentation each team answered a few questions from John and Locks and explained what tools they used to facilitate their group work.

THINGS TO DO TO COMPLETE YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

  1. Write the tenth post: to your blog reflecting on your team project presentation.

Blue team: PSS12, sarahmurph, RahaJamal, mclmichelle, LukeBob75 and EvoCall.

Green team: LouHug, haithanhnguyen, EmKoz1, NadsCore18, ShaunaHarkin and RoseDuong.

Red team: bennagle, ollyrobyn, Ruifeng Wang, clionabray, PeterKeane and hughkavanagh.

Mauve team: CiaraHoward, OPrincess, zoeobyrne, J98Carey, Assesi and marevatin.

Yellow team: Muriel001, JonathanBK, Whimseyy, maeveobrienny, JeromeZZC and Cmragasa.

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Class 4: Who are you?

February 25, 2016

The class discussed the notion of online identity this week. We started by sharing experiences of trying to meet new people in SL. This proved interesting in many ways. Approaching complete strangers was simultaneously easier and harder than doing so in real life! Harder because participants were new to it and found it took courage and determination to introduce yourselves and begin a conversation. Easier because you were aware that all residents of SL had made a conscious decision to be here and therefore were signifying their willingness to engage with others. The comparison was made with joining a club or going to an entertainment venue where everyone acknowledges that they are in attendance for social interaction.

Snapshot_002

Meeting new people in Second Life is both hard and easy!

There were some surprises at the direction conversations occasionally took. Participants discovered a slightly darker side of  the online world that offered ‘adult entertainment’. Just as in the real world, it is possible to encounter unsavoury characters and it is important to be aware of this side of online environments. However, unlike the real world it is easier to escape from an unpleasant experience by teleporting elsewhere or simply logging off.

Many of you suggested that SL offered the opportunity to present yourself in a new way – to experiment with the presence you offered online. Many residents present as animals or imaginary characters such as vampires or zombies. Even more ambiguous is the knowledge that we don’t really know who we are engaging with in an online environment. The cues we rely on in the real world are not available online. John suggested that this ambiguity also permeates notions of the ‘truth’. He gave the example of the Gay Girl in Damascus blog that received international attention when the supposedly lesbian author was revealed as an American male postgraduate student in 2011. The author claimed he was creating a voice for issues he felt strongly about but the public reaction to being hoaxed was less forgiving. John also mentioned last year’s controversy surrounding the white civil rights leader who passed herself off as black for years. One of the surprises in the Rachel Dolezal case is the amount of support she received after the truth was revealed. If people can be race-fluid or gender-fluid in real life it is unsurprising that they can present convincingly in SL.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Visit: a music or dance club in SL while it is active with other residents and soak up the ambience of online entertainment.
  2. Write the fouth post: to your blog describing your experience of social interaction in SL.  
  3. Read: The Lazy Person’s Guide to Personal Branding by Yohana Desta at Mashable  or Personal Branding Basics by Chris Brogan, expert in online community, social media, and related technologies  or The first Step to Building Your Personal Brand

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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.

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

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

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  1. Write the eighth post: to your blog describing progress on your project.
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IOLE 15 Class Presentations

April 12, 2015

We need to schedule class presentations.

Since there are so many groups, we are planning to spread the presentations across three meetings: 23 April, 30 April, and 7 May.  It would be better to have them completed as early as possible so we may have time for debriefing, so we prefer to have the presentations on one of the two first dates if at all possible.

Please let us know the day you would like to make your presentation. Have one group member go to this Doodle.com pole and telling us the day you will present:

http://doodle.com/7xgfz259bfi5bhd9

If we have too many one day, we will make adjustments in consultation with the group if necessary.

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Class 9: Consumers to Produsers

March 28, 2015

This week is Spring Break for Akron students so the class was in the DIT seminar room in Dublin for a change of scene. For the first half we discussed progress on the group project and re-emphasised the importance of reflecting on what is not working in the collaboration in addition to what is working. It is important that participants are writing about this in their blogs from now to the end of the semester.

The second part of the class consisted of a discussion based around Prof Axel Bruns’ lecture that students had read over the week. At the beginning many professed confusion about what Bruns was proposing but as the discussion progressed it became clear that most understood it better than they realised. It may be that as emerging ‘produsers’ themselves the concept is so familiar that it is almost invisible to them.

The concept of wikipedia not being about the creation of finished products but the ongoing revision of information – constantly amended and updated by people who may have originally come to it as consumers but have become content creators – was clearly understood. The development of the distribution system for news from the formality of traditional newspapers that are controlled by editors and publishers to the openness of blogs, Facebook and such systems that have eliminated the gatekeeper was considered – with particular consideration of the pros and cons. The issue of reliability was surfaced, leading to a reminder of the importance of reputation – and brand. As users become the producers of content: people who care enough to participate – as opposed to those who merely want to consume – personal brand becomes increasingly important.

DIT students are reminded that their blogs were due for the second assessment (after week 8) but this has been postponed to this week giving you a chance to catch up if necessary. The importance of proofreading posts before publishing was emphasised.

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT WEEK:

  1. Read: about the girl who resigned her position as uk police youth commissioner due to previous tweets (accessed 02/13/15).
  2. Read: about another example of a person losing her job over a tweet (accessed 02/13/15).
  3. Read: why Dr Phil removed a tweet from his TV show (accessed 02/13/15).
  4. Write the ninth post: to your blog reflecting on the benefits and difficulties of collaborating online across time zones.
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Class 7: Communication?

March 15, 2015

Class this week proved to be a lesson in communication – or lack of it! Summer time began in the US the previous Sunday but doesn’t begin in Ireland until the end the month resulting in a three week period where the usual time difference between us is increased. We knew about this but, the difficulties associated with adjusting schedules and communicating across continents defeated us this semester. For DIT the 9.30 pm finish time is quite late and moving it on to 10.30 pm is not possible. For Akron students the class takes place in the afternoon and most students have other classes directly after it so changing their schedule is not feasible. In addition, it is reading week for a number of DIT students and they were not expecting class this week. In the end, about six students attended a rather small class gathering – demonstrating in a practical way how difficult online collaboration and communication can be across time zones.

We used the opportunity to discuss project progress with those in attendance and, unsurprisingly, similar difficulties were revealed by the students in relation to their communication within groups. One particular issue that may be a cause of concern to some is the selection of the cause or charity for the project. John and Locks advised students not to become overly concerned about this, reminding that the project is a vehicle for participants to experience working collaboratively online and discover not only what works well but also what doesn’t. It is the process of working together that students are expected to explore and the detail of the project itself is of lesser importance. Group members might also do well to review Sitearm Madonna’s talk, in the second class, about the roles of group members

This conversation continued as the student blogs were discussed. The importance of reflecting critically on the process of working with colleagues in an online environment across different time zones was emphasised. Please read what was posted to the blog around this time last year which outlines what students need to consider in their own blog writing.

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  • Lecture: watch ‘From Prosumer to Produser: Understanding User-Led Content Creation‘ by Prof Axel Bruns (Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland Institute of Technology) explains his theory of user-led collaborative content creation.
  • Write the seventh post: to your blog describing the process in which your group engage to select the subject for your project. Include a critical review of how successful (or otherwise) you think the process was and what you would change if you were approaching this task again.
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October 31, 2012

REMINDER: Clocks have changed in Europe but not in the U.S. this week. So best to keep the Second Life clock in mind!

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