Posts Tagged ‘Academic writing’

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Class 2: Settling in

October 4, 2018

A few new participants joined the class today and settled in almost immediately.

Two participants sent links to their blogs to John during the week. Just before class started he noticed a bunch of emails arrive with links to many more which he will review after the class. He will post links to all the blogs here (see the link in page 9 in the column to the right) and encouraged you all to review the blogs and make comments on them.

John spoke about one of the key shortcomings in a virtual world such as SL: the lack of facial expression and body language. Because our avatars do not react or present non-verbal responses it can be difficult to establish rapport. Indeed, sometimes it can be difficult to know if the person behind the avatar is even there at all. Maybe she or he has gone away from the keyboard (AFK) to make a coffee or answer the phone! Therefore, feedback and response via text message or voice needs to be more frequent to reduce anxiety. You can text message ‘Acuppa Tae nods’ or ‘John smiles’ or even ‘y’ from time to time to reassure others that you remain engaged or agree with what they are saying.

We had a useful discussion on the different voices of the sample blogs given last week (Dolce Merde, Brain Pickings and Chris Brogan) and analysed when and why you might read them. We also tried to determine the purpose of the blogs. So, for example, Chris Brogan is essentially reinforcing his reputation as a thought leader in online marketing whereas Dolce Merde is playfully offering eye candy. The discussion incorporated a review of your own reading habits: where you go for topical news; how you verify the facts presented to you; your unconscious trust in some media sources compared with others etc. Many of you joined in the conversation and contributed well. John concluded by reminding everyone that you should be cautious around your consumption of information and practice analysing sources to develop discrimination.

John commented that the tone adopted in your blog posts last week was appropriate for the content. It was mostly informal and informative, using a chatty style. You will find that you need to vary this tone from week to week depending on the topic you are writing about. You should also remember the basic conventions of academic writing and apply them appropriately during the semester. Be aware of writing in a narrative, descriptive, reflective and critical voice. It is also important that you refer to your sources and cite them appropriately. There are many different styles that can be used for citations but the main thing to remember is the purpose: your readers needs to be able to check your source for themselves. The College favours the APA Style so it is usually best to use it. Here are some useful links on the subject.

We agreed to use a private Facebook page for communication outside the class. One of you (I didn’t catch who it was) agreed to set it up and John gave his Facebook address to be added. If you aren’t already on Facebook you should set up an account for the duration of the semester. You may do this in your avatar’s name if you wish but please note that while this is a common practice it is, strictly speaking, a breach of Facebook’s Terms of Service.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Make contact: with two or three residents of Second Life. Introduce yourself and try to engage them in conversation. Always remember: if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation for any reason QUIT Second Life immediately. You can log in again in a different location.
  2. Write the second post: on your blog describing your encounters.
  3. Read: 5 steps to build a productive and tight knit remote team by Diogo Costa in Tech Co, 5 February 2016.
  4. Read: 10 Rules of Professional Etiquette for the Digital Workplace by Aaron Orendorff in Lifehacker, 27 April 2016.

OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL READING ABOUT VIRTUAL WORLDS:

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Class 2: Settling in

October 18, 2017

Class started with a little tidying up: making sure everyone had friended each other; you all are members of the module group; and everyone’s voice is working. Sometimes, if voice is not working you can fix it by logging off and then logging in again – it doesn’t always work but it’s worth trying. Otherwise it may be a slow connection – voice is generally the first thing to drop out when the bandwidth or connection speed drops.

Almost everyone had sent in a link to their new blogs. John posted the links on this website (see the link in page 9 in the column to the right) and also to the Facebook group. Some of them that came in later in the afternoon will be posted today. Well done to you all! John noted that the blogs were well presented and written. You all recorded your adventures exploring SL with a critical eye and interesting reflection on some of the issues around choosing how to present your avatars, the loss of anonymity arising from using your own voice, the effect of different time zones on the population of SL. You took lots of pics and illustrated your blogs liberally! Some of you have not yet included a bio so you should do so this week. We had a short discussion about establishing credibility with the bio and using it to signal to the potential reader why they might like to read your work.

We looked at the different voices of the sample blogs (Dolce Merde, Brain Pickings and Chris Brogan) and analysed when and why you might read them. We also tried to determine the purpose of the blogs. So, for example, Chris Brogan is essentially reinforcing his reputation as a thought leader in online marketing whereas Dolce Merde is playfully offering eye candy. The discussion incorporated a review of your own reading habits: where you go for topical news; how you verify the facts presented to you; your unconscious trust in some media sources compared with others etc. An observation arose concerning the tendency for often repeated stories to gather credibility – this highlighted the importance of having confidence in your sources.

You should be cautious around your consumption of information and practice analysing sources to develop discrimination.

John commented that the tone adopted in your blog posts last week was appropriate for the content. It was mostly informal and informative, using a chatty style. You will find that you need to vary this tone from week to week depending on the topic you are writing about. You should also remember the basic principles of academic writing and apply them appropriately during the semester. Probably most important is that you refer to your sources and cite them appropriately. There are many different styles that can be used for citations but the main thing to remember is the purpose: your readers needs to be able to check your source for themselves. The College favours the APA Style so it is usually best to use it. Here are some useful links on the subject.

During the class two strangers wandered in and sat down. After allowing them some time to hear what was going on John invited them to introduce themselves. The most vocal of the pair said he was website developer and designer, mostly working online. He mostly worked on a one-to-one basis with clients and found that working online continuously could be difficult. He recounted that his experience in SL was largely negative, he is regularly trolled and griefed. John responded saying that during the last eight years delivering this module in SL he had met mostly helpful and considerate people and been introduced to many interesting communities that were mostly welcoming and happy to share their experiences with others. We will meet some of them as the semester progresses.

Finally, John said he would issue the list of team members before the next class.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Make contact: with two or three residents of Second Life. Introduce yourself and engage them in conversation.
  2. Write the second post: on your blog describing your encounters.
  3. Read: 5 steps to build a productive and tight knit remote team [accessed 18/10/17]
  4. Read: 10 Rules of Professional Etiquette for the Digital Workplace [accessed 18/10/17]

OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL READING ABOUT VIRTUAL WORLDS:

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