Posts Tagged ‘assessment’

h1

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.

h1

Class 9: Presenting your Team Project

April 2, 2020

Despite (or perhaps, due to) the current restrictions on physical meetings as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic we had good attendance at class.

John began by reviewing the structure of the Brightspace VLE (virtual learning environment) support for the module. In particular, the unit on assessment was considered. It is important that you understand precisely what is expected of each submission and you know where to find the details and supports for your assignments. If you have any questions on any aspect of assessment please contact me by email or after class in SL.

Clearly, not everyone understood the need to submit your work for assessment in Brightspace so, the option to do this for the Website Blog, part 1 will be extended to the end of the Easter break. Once again, if you don’t understand what is expected just email me and we can go over it in detail.

When asked how the Team Projects are progressing everyone responded very positively. You have all been able to continue meeting up despite despite the circumstances. Each team has engaged with the brief and begun to plan the presentation.

In response to questions John demonstrated how to upload images and ‘project’ them in the SL classroom. He noted that it costs L$10 to upload each image and gave each of you a gift of L$300. The initial appearance of extreme generosity was somewhat diminished when he revealed that this is roughly equivalent of US$1. However, it will enable you to download sufficient images for the presentation. You should consult the SL support pages on the web for details of image format (ie, jpg; png; tiff etc) and file sizes that are suitable for uploading.

If you are considering video it is better to use YouTube than to attempt streaming into SL. You can simply post a link in SL for the audience to play. This works more effectively than streaming.

In closing, John suggested that you use the break to catch up on your blogging, ensure you submit on Brightspace and continue planning the Team Project presentation. You should also use the break to get some rest and time away from virtual learning!

h1

Class 4: Team Project – Future Work

February 28, 2019

John started the class by reminding you all of the deadline for your first assessment item next week. It must be submitted in Brightspace before 5.00 pm next Thursday, 7th March. But, don’t wait until the last moment – get your submission in early. It’s easy: just provide the link to your blog. Full details are given in the ‘Assessment’ section of the module in Brightspace. Remember, you must make the submission in Brightspace so that it is registered and John can provide feedback.

The University is carrying out a survey of staff and students using Brightspace for this pilot phase. Please take this Brightspace Mid-Pilot Review (Students). Your feedback is important so that improvements can be made before the full rollout in September.

It is important that you login to Brightspace regularly during the course of the week. The Essential Reading given for each class is a necessary preparation for our meetings but also provides background material to the subject of your blog posts. You need to be reading and viewing it so that you can cite appropriate examples in your writing. Take the short Quizzes to check if you understand the content. Although they don’t count for assessment purposes they are a useful way of identifying content you might not have fully understood. If you have any suggestions for improving the content please let me know.

Then we turned to the Team Project. In response to John’s query about whether you had arranged team meetings it seems that some have met and some have not yet met. It is important that you start meeting this week. You will remember from Sitearm’s talk last week that teams need time to form. So start working together from now on – visit SL, work on your class assignments, and begin thinking about the project. Give yourselves as much time together as you can to get to know each other.

There is a lot of detail in the brief and plenty of reading to guide your thinking and help develop your approach to the project. Use the time you have without classes next week to get started and become familiar with the material. Another important guide you should review carefully is the assessment rubric for the project. That gives you the criteria on which you will be assessed. There is no point in being busy on work that is not relevant so study the criteria for guidance on how to proceed.

Here is a short (viewing time is less than two minutes) extract from the class discussion:

h1

Class 10: Preparing your presentation

December 6, 2018

Uploading images to Second Life

This week we looked at how you might present your projects in next week’s class. John suggested that you may do this in the classroom in SL simply through voice, with each team member delivering part of the presentation in order; or you could do it in any other location you choose in SL (but be careful to ensure voice works – it can be shut off in some locations); you could include slides to illustrate the presentation; you might create a video in YouTube or Vimeo and give us a link on which to view it next week; you might act out the presentation in SL; or decide on any other approach that you think gets your message across.

We looked at importing images into SL to use on slides. Firstly, you need to ensure you have selected the module group. This gives you permission to build in the classroom. We created slide boards. Then John gave some of you L$200 so you could import images. Don’t worry, this is worth less than US$1! It costs L$10 to import an image which can then be dragged from your inventory folder to the presentation board, as required. We tried this out a few times to make sure everyone could do it. You were asked not to litter the room with too many boards and to clean up after you are finished.

If anyone else needs some L$ to import images just let John know via the Facebook page. And, indeed, if you have any other questions about the presentation ask them on Facebook too – that way everyone will benefit from the answer.

We agreed on the following order for the presentations:

Red Group; Green Group; Blue Group; Mauve Group; Yellow Group

Each group has between five and ten minutes, so including set up time and allowing for the inevitable glitches, it would be wise to allow some extra time for class next week – we might run on until 9.30 pm.

John reminded you all that you will be required to write two more posts to your blog. One this week describing your final preparations for the presentation and the final one after the presentation, describing how it went and your final reflections on the project.

Some participants have not yet submitted a link to their blogs. If your blog is not listed here it means I have not seen it and will be unable to assess it so send me your link immediately.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Write the ninth post: to your blog describing your final preparations for the group project presentation.
h1

Class 7: Privacy

November 15, 2018

We started this week with a discussion about your blogs with some general feedback on how you are getting on. John presented the assessment criteria given in the rubric again describing each one and drawing your attention to the weighting in particular. I stressed the benefit of smart working – don’t spend time doing work that will not contribute marks in your assessment. Be clear on what the criteria are and address them in your work. In this context the the content and creativity of your blog is weighted at 40% with your voice (or writing style) and design both weighted at 20%. Remember that.

We also considered what you should be writing about. You identified the instructions given in the ‘Things to do before the next class’ section of the class summaries. Each week you are given a topic to write about and these are usefully numbered from one to six (so far). This is the minimum number of individual posts you need to write. You should also be writing about the discussion topic for each class and the progress your team is making on the group project. I complimented you on the use of illustration in your blogs. This adds variety and keeps your posts interesting. Don’t forget to caption and credit any images. While the writing style common to blogging is conversational don’t allow it to be too casual. Remember to maintain an academic rigour in your references and vary your style from descriptive to reflective and critical as necessary.

There was a request for individual feedback on your work to date and I offered to meet you in SL after class or at another time that suits you. Let me know through email or the Facebook page and we can make arrangements. The first meeting was scheduled to take place after this class.

The topic for the second part of class was that of privacy. We spoke about the enduring nature of online activity and how things that you might have forgotten can return at the most unexpected times. The individuals referenced in the reading from last week lost their jobs as a result. I was a little surprised to learn that in your social circles you don’t appear to have conventions concerning the appropriate use of social media although, a few of you said that sometimes a group might agree not to post photos of an event without permission.

Image 16-11-2018 at 12.39

Social media app that offered privacy.

I mentioned the social networking app Path which was marketed on the basis of its respect for privacy. Working along the lines of Facebook but limiting the number of friends to 50 it was a good solution for families, providing a safe and secure space for networking. Strangely, it was unable to monetise this USP sufficiently and was forced to close down last month after eight years in operation.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Lecture: watch 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 [accessed on 16/11/18].
  2. Read: Produsage– A Working Definition by Prof Axel Bruns [accessed on 16/11/18].
  3. Write the seventh post: to your blog with an update on the progress (or lack thereof) your team is making with the group project.
h1

Class 7: Personal branding

November 22, 2017

John was unable to get his voice working this week so the class had to be conducted entirely through text chat. This slows the conversation down considerably and forces everyone to be more precise in what they say, using the minimum amount of words – a little like conducting a class entirely in twitter.

We started off with some feedback on the participants blogs. John gave the following pointers:

  • Include your About Me profile in your blog.
  • Make sure it is easy to follow your blog – approach it as a first time visitor.
  • Tidy up your blogs – delete the template pages and widgets.
  • Caption your pics and illustrations.
  • Include references to the reading and cite them correctly.
  • Be reflective – discuss what you are learning (or not learning!)
  • Proof read before you post.
  • Make sure you approve any comments. Comment on your peers’ blogs.
  • Some of you need to ensure your have written all the required posts – don’t be a mean writer!

These comments will be supplemented by more specific comments for each student that will be sent by direct message in Facebook.

John also reminded the class that one blog post per class is the minimum requirement for assessment. From now on you should be writing about how your team is functioning on the group project. Refer to the talk on team work by Sitearm Madonna and describe you own contribution to the group in particular. Be constructively critical and remember this is a learning exercise not an exercise in perfection. In fact, you are likely to learn more from what goes wrong than what goes right.

We then discussed the reading from the last week in the context of our own online personas. The issue of ethics and morality surfaced almost immediately. Identity theft, catfishing (using social media to pretend you are someone you are not), trust and gender were discussed in similar terms to the issue of privacy, transparency and opacity last week. Glenn suggested there is no essential self to find… much in the way that it is not possible to have true transparency. But, he went on to suggest that trust is very important. We considered how difficult it can be to build trust yet how easy it is to shatter it. barrrttyy suggested that developing a personal brand might be important when we consider it may last longer than a single job or career.

John asked everyone to consider the difference between our personal identities and our professional ones in the online environment. Do we always distinguish between the two? Should we? How might we do so? This is where the importance of digital literacy becomes clear. We need to be aware of our online behaviours to ensure our current behaviour doesn’t exclude us from future opportunities.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Read: about the girl who resigned her position as UK police youth commissioner in 2013 due to previous tweets. [Accessed on 27 November 2017.]
  2. Read: about another example of person losing their job over a racist tweet. [Accessed on 27 November 2017.]
  3. Read: User Generated Content and Virtual Worlds  from the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, 2008. [Accessed on 27 November 2017.]
  4. Write the fifth post: to your blog about how you might convert your personal presence online into an identity for professional networking.
h1

Class 3: Team working

October 25, 2017
Sitearm Madonna on team working

Guest speaker Sitearm Madonna talks about team work through poetry!

This week we were rejoined by the second year group of students on the BA in Visual Art and their course leader Joseph Jacotot (aka Glenn Loughran). This group took the module last semester and enjoyed it so much they wanted to return! They were made welcome by the current group and we had one of the highest numbers of students ever to gather for a class in SL.

Guest speaker Sitearm Madonna (a veteran on this module) spoke about team working, both in Real Life (RL) and in online and virtual environments. His slide deck Team Operations Tips can be reviewed again and, indeed, it is recommended due to the richness of the content. There was only time to touch on it in class. Site speaks from a lifetime of experience working on various teams – some of which he didn’t wish to be a member, others where he was happy to participate and many of which he led. For me the take away point was about the need for constant confirmation that every member of the team is on the same page. Never assume that people agree when it comes to understanding either the project on which the team is working or the decisions that emerge from meetings. This is evident in team work in RL but it is exacerbated in the online environment where our usual human communication cues are missing. Glenn touched on a point that many of you discussed in your blog posts: the importance of voice in online communication. In RL much of our understanding is based on body language, often unconsciously interpreted, which lets us know when individuals in a group reach understanding, consensus and agreement. In the online environment all of this has to be transmitted through voice and text. Therefore, regular reflection as a group is necessary to prevent difficulties.

The issue of leadership in groups and how to encourage it was addressed and Sitearm emphasised the importance of understanding all the roles necessary for group development and progress. He reminded us that members need to flexible when it comes to stepping in and out of the roles as needed. So, the burden and responsibility of leadership actually falls on each member of the group and should be exercised when needed. Here also, the importance of ensuring that the whole groups is aware of the roles they are inhabiting at any time is critical. Negotiation around roles will help this process.

Sitearm provided entertainment during the question and answer session as he changed avatars from The Saint to Sitearm Madonna the elegant lady to a butterfly to artwork and, finally, burning man.

John referred to the #MeToo group project brief asking you all to read both the brief and the assessment criteria very carefully. By now the class was running a little over time so there were no questions directly on the project. We can discuss it in more detail next week. Referring to the first task to be undertaken before the next class John talked about the range of online tools that are available, many free of charge, to support teams and make up for the lack of fact-to-face (F2F) engagement. They cover all aspects team work from communications (Facebook, WhatsApp, We Chat etc), to project management (Trello, Padlet, Google sheets etc), collaborative note taking and writing (PBwiki, Google documents etc).  You should review some of them and there may be others you are familiar with or have used before. Share you experiences with the group.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Decide: among your group what tools you will use for planning your project (how you will stay in touch and share information, etc.).
  2. Write the third post: on your blog explaining your choice of communication tools and reflect on how the group arrived at the decision.
  3. Read: Living Structures in Second Life Virtual Worlds Projects by Sitearm Madonna. [accessed 27 October 2017].
  4. Read: Painfully Coming to Grips with The Medium is the Message an amusing and accessible introduction to the philosophy of Marshall McLuhan. [accessed 27 October 2017].
  5. Supplementary reading: Extrapolating on McLuhan: How Media Environments of the Given, the Represented, and the Induced Shape and Reshape Our Sensorium provides a deeper analysis of McLuhan. [accessed 27 October 2017].
h1

Digital Utopia: the show

May 17, 2017
Snapshot_022

The class photo, with everyone in their finery!

The joint show between DIT students and artists from Virtual Ability Island was a great success. There was so much work exhibited that it burst outside the gallery walls to the surrounding spaces. Turnout for the opening was also great with many friends from VAI coming along to see the work and party afterwards.

As part of their final assessment for the module the DIT student groups spoke about their collaborative artworks, introducing them to the assembled guests with confidence.

John and Glenn thanked you all for your enthusiastic engagement and hard work over the course of the semester. We also thanked Gentle Heron and everyone at Virtual Ability Island for their support.

Snapshot_012

Students presenting their work.

Snapshot_106

DIT individual student work is on show also. The exhibition continues throughout May.

Snapshot_110

Snapshot_107

Snapshot_104

Snapshot_103

Snapshot_102

33881505004_cd15b4d4c0_o

34561981132_f1da452590_o

34561980652_ce7a2e5e5d_o

The evening ended with a party and dancing.

 

h1

Digital Utopia!

May 16, 2017
show

Join us in Second Life (at 8.oo pm Irish Time) for the opening of this semester’s presentation of projects.

Snapshot_001

Cape Able Gallery.

h1

Class 9: Assessment

April 5, 2017

Glenn and John took the class through the requirements for assessment, which is divided into two parts. Firstly, the group project and secondly, the individual blogs.

Firstly, each participant will be producing a series of digital paintings as part of their main module. For the SL module you will produce a large-scale group canvas (in the groups given in week 3). We are asking you to collaborate on a canvas to give you the experience of working on an online collaborative project. You will bring the finished canvas into SL for a group crit and exhibition.

The exhibition will take place in Cape Able Gallery on Virtual Ability Island in May (provisional dates are 17 or 24 May). A team from the class (burnsygirl, freddymcfreddy and whatyamacallit) will coordinate the exhibition with the curator of the gallery and will also invite residents of Virtual Ability Island to take part.  Part of your learning in this module is figuring out how to work virtually with people you have never met in RL.

Each group will give a short talk to present their work and discuss the experience of working in a team, virtually, collaboratively. This will be followed by a crit.

There will be a dry-run in DIT on 26 April. You will show your work in progress more to get a feel for exhibiting in SL than anything else. John suggested that you should review the module website to see how past student groups have presented their work.

Secondly, you will be assessed individually on your blogs. You need to ensure that you have made the five mandatory posts as described in the ‘Things to do before next class’ section of each class summary. Following that you should have at least five more posts describing your engagement in the group project.

Finally, 50% of the marks for this module go on the group project and 50% go on the individual blogs. For full details see page 6 module assessment.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: