Posts Tagged ‘class meeting’

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Class 4: Getting to know teammates

February 28, 2022

This week we all met at Whole Brain Health where Tooyaa summarised last week’s lesson to ensure everyone has been ‘friended’, joined the ISP group, and is up to date on our progress so far.

The Project Teams were announced with the members of each listed along with the themes each team is to address. WBH also provide appropriated coloured t-shirts for each team member.

John introduced the Project Brief and shared a notecard with full details. We reviewed the details briefly so that everyone had a sense of what they will be working on for the remainder of the semester. He asked everyone to read the brief in detail after the class and to meet in their Project Teams during the week to discuss it. Sitearm Madonna reminded us that his talk on Teamwork next week will outline an approach to working together. He will ask some students to share the experience of the first team meeting to help identify issues around working together virtually – so ensure you arrange your team meetings!

Lissena Wisdomseeker then introduced the Project Teams. The team at WBH had kindly prepared sign boards listing all the team members and made more t-shirts. Each team member could take one from the boxes and each shirt was in the team colour with either Çağ or TU Dublin logos on back. Once everyone had put on their new shirts we teleported to the area where students will be working on their projects and presenting them at the end of the semester. Each team has a large working space sufficiently separated so you can talk without disturbing each other. Lissena explained that each team would produce a Share Board today, to get used to working in SL. She shared a notecard with details of how to carry out the task. But, first, each team was asked to select a Team Leader, one from each university. This will make it easier for the WBH team to communicate with you over the next weeks.

It soon became clear that everyone would finish the task during class time so you were asked to complete before next week.

John wearing his ‘Masters of the Metaverse’ T-Shirt, kindly made for him by WBH.
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Class 3: Visiting Whole Brain Health

February 21, 2022

John realised this week that he had made a mistake about class time, blaming the time zone differences between Dublin, Turkey and Second Life for his confusion. Regrettably, it meant that the Dublin group met an hour before the other groups. After some discussion it was agreed accommodate those who would not be able to remain online after the scheduled finish time. Everyone agreed that they would be able to reschedule to the later time from next week onwards and John apologised for his error.

The extra time did give everyone a chance to catch up on progress so far. John expressed some concern that he had received only two blog links following the last class and reiterated the need for everyone to submit their links this week. Some participants said they were unable to set up a free account so John said he would circulate more detailed instructions following the class. Then we took a break before logging back in to go meet our new classmates in Whole Brain Health.

We were all welcomed to Whole Brain Health on Inspiration Island by Lissena Wisdomseeker and Tooyaa Hynes.

John distributed Landmarks (LMs) to everyone and we teleported to Inspiration Island. We were welcomed by Lissena Wisdomseeker who introduced her team: Tooyaa, Fran and Catseye and made us all feel at home. We also met the Turkish students from Çağ University and their professor Magua. After everyone had found a seat in the circle, which miraculously increased in diameter to accommodate everyone Tooyaa gave us an introduction what we would be looking at this week. She shared the Virtual Whole Brain Health website link which has complete details of all of it and will serve as a really useful reference for consulting later.

After everyone had ‘friended’ everyone else and joined the ISP group Tooyaa demonstrated how to change you avatar’s display name. She asked students to select their first names as display names so that we know who you are. Then we all teleported to male and female changing rooms to put on our new team t-shirts. This remarkably simple-sounding exercise is always much more difficult than it sounds and also requires having a classic avatar to work. But, everybody managed and in due course we all arrived back at the cafe suitably dressed and identifiable!

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Class 1b: Blogging

February 14, 2022

Since the last class John / Tae consulted with the technical support team in the university to ensure Second Life would be available to students on campus. After running tests over a few days it was finally agreed that the required network ports would be opened each week fifteen minutes before the start of class until fifteen minutes after the finish time. Participants need to use their own laptops (SL cannot be downloaded to university computers at this time) and log on using Eduroam. This will allow full access to SL, including voice. Work will continue to identify the appropriate ports so that SL can be accessed on the network at other times.

This all worked well: as the class started the participants‘ avatars began to appear and all were able to hear John and also speak themselves. After last week’s experience of silence it was a relief to be able to hear one other.

Following a recap of last week’s activities John asked everyone to open the module in the Brightsapce VLE and he explained how each unit corresponded to a class meeting. Reviewing the subject for today he led the class through the sections, noting that the same format applied to each class unit. It is important that participants review the appropriate unit a few days before class: complete the reading/viewing material; consider the topics that will guide the class discussion; take the quiz; and be prepared to contribute when we meet in SL.

He went on to explain how the module will be assessed and advised all participants to review the Assessment unit in detail so the requirements are fully understood. The Website Blogs should be started immediately and each student was asked to send a working link to John by email before the next class. It is important to write to the blog each week so that the workload is distributed evenly across the semester. This accounts for 50% of the marks, with the other 50% going to the Team Project, which will be introduced in week 3.

The discursive nature of the classes was reiterated by John. It would make for a very boring module if participants were expected to sit still and listen to long lectures each week. It is far more interesting and engaging if everyone takes part in a lively discussion. To ensure the contributions are relevant and coherent it is necessary to have read and/or viewed the material provided in advance. This means the discussion is informed and grounded therefore it is important that participants engage outside of the formal class times.

It was a great relief to have voice working in Second Life for this week’s class, although attendance remains slightly disappointing.

The first assignment for this week is to visit three different locations around Second Life. John suggested that participants should meet in pairs or small groups for this. We looked at the map of SL just to get a sense of scale and understand how much there is to explore. Interesting places, whether cities, waterfronts, parks or countryside, can be found in the Search panel, or it is possible to wander in expectation of a serendipitous discovery. It is important to note that regions are rated G for general, M for mature and A for adult so do to keep an eye out for corresponding activity. John reminded the class that if anyone felt uncomfortable in a place due to the activity of other avatars it is important to QUIT immediately: do not expose yourselves to unpalatable or unacceptable behaviour.

The second assignment for this week is to write about the locations visited in your blog. Remember that blog are informal pieces of writing but you should adhere to the basic principles of academic writing: be coherent, write to the topic and use all forms of writing (narrative, descriptive, reflective and critical); source your information with discrimination; caption and credit the images you include; and cite sources in support of your arguments (using those given in the reading list).

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Class 1a: Welcome to Second Life

February 7, 2022

It seemed to be more of a challenge than usual for students to access Second Life today. It may be down to the fact that most were on campus and the network security was blocking some activities. Only a few students were able to activate voice so we had to conduct class using ‘nearby chat’ which made everything very slow and tedious. Some students were unable to access Second Life at all. Nevertheless, a majority made it to the class room in virtual TU Dublin and we worked around the problems to do some basic tasks.

Everyone learned how to have their avatars sit in the chairs and we all made ‘friends’ with each other. This means that we know when our colleagues are online and we can contact them. John also invited everyone to join the module group which means students will be able to create objects in the virtual campus, send group chats and receive group notices.

Then we all went outside for the class photo which was a good exercise in learning how to move your avatar and get it into a specific position. It was a little like watching babies learning to walk!

Eventually most of us were able to get our avatars lined up for a photograph.

By this time everyone was exhausted so John proposed putting the discussion about blogging off until next week. He reminded the students to check out their assignment in Brightspace and to review the material for next week’s class.

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Class 1: Welcome to SL

February 4, 2021

Welcome to Second Life (SL) the new semester and a large class of over twenty participants. We are joined by students of Visual Communications, Interior Design, Architecture, Contemporary Visual Culture and Fine Art. While almost all of you found your way into Second Life there was a major issue with getting voice activated. Only four of you were able to do so successfully. In fact, John also had an issue when he logged in half an hour before class started. He found some suggestions on the SL wiki and eventually resolved it be clearing the cache. So, if you are still having trouble with your voice check out that link and see if you can resolve it. John also suggested you visit SL during the week in pairs, or larger groups, and try to get your voice working together. If the students who were successful with voice can help the others it would be great. It is important that you get voice activated because you cannot hear other avatars speaking unless yours is working.

picture of the class

We have a larger class than usual this semester with over twenty participants.

 

The glitch resulted in a slightly more chaotic and slower introduction than is usually the case as we were restricted to communication via text chat. However, everyone persevered and John got through most of the topics scheduled for the first class.

Firstly, everyone ‘friended’ each other. You will see from the pic above that this turns your avatars name tag from white to green and it means that you know when your classmates are online and you can communicate more easily, particularly if you end up in different locations in SL. You can offer to teleport a friend directly to your location also. Play around with it and see what else you discover.

John went on to explain that the format of the module is interactive discussion, based on the weekly reading material given in the corresponding class unit in Brightspace. It is important that you read (and view video material) before we meet in class so that you contributions are informed and relevant. If this is not done we will need to do the reading in class, which will result in the later finishing time of 9.30 pm! You will find a short quiz each week in Brightspace which will let you know if you have engaged with the topic and understood it. Your answers do not count for assessment.

You will also need to visit SL between classes to carry out the tasks set in the Assignment part of each weekly unit in Brightspace. Initially these tasks are described for you in some detail. For instance, this week you should explore at least three different locations in SL. As the semester progresses you will be assigned to a team and will begin work on a project to be presented in the final week and your blog posts will reflect on that.

This week you must also start a blog using wordpress and write your first post describing the locations in SL that you have visited. Throughout the semester you will post to the blog on a weekly basis so that by the end of the semester you will have produced the equivalent of a semester paper.

Finally, John asked you to read the Assessment unit in Brightspace very carefully so that you understand it fully. The blog will count for fifty percent of your final mark, with the Team Project making up the balance. Note that the first assessment point is in four weeks so don’t leave things to the end!

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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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Class 1: Welcome to Second Life

February 6, 2020

The first class of the semester is always a little fraught as everyone is meeting in Second Life (SL) for the first time. Getting used to operating in this virtual environment takes a little while: trying to find the location of the class, learning how your avatar walks, talks or sits and trying to keep up with the content of the module can be an intense experience. But, after a week or two everything will settle down nicely. This semester was no different – it took a little longer than usual for everyone to find their way to the classroom in SL but eventually we settled down and got started. John asked everyone to ‘friend’ each other and ensured that all became members of the module group which gives you access to the TU Dublin campus in SL and supports remote chatting by allowing you to send group Instant Messages (IMs).

The plan was to take the class photo after that but in the hustle and bustle John completely forgot.

John forgot about taking the class photo until after the class had concluded and everyone had gone home!

 

Instead he introduced the content and structure of the module to come as the semester proceeds. Each class is quite self contained and will have a unique topic. You can preview the topic for each week on page 4 of the this blog (see the link in the right hand column) or in Brightspace. The first three weeks will see you all getting used to operating in SL until the Team Project is introduced. From then on you will be assigned to your teams and will work on developing your project which will be directed by the content coming from the following classes. You will also need to spend time working in SL between class times. At first you will be assigned specific tasks to complete  but as the module progresses you will use it to meet in your teams and to work on the Project.

The module has been constructed to be as interactive as possible – you are expected to preview the content in Brightspace well ahead of each class meeting: working through the reading and viewing material provided so that you can contribute to a discussion in class each week. This approach engages all participants actively allowing each to contribute appropriately. In addition, there is a specific assignment to be completed following each class. The details are given in the Brightspace unit for the relevant week.

John also explained how the module will be assessed and asked you to read the Assessment unit in Brightspace very carefully. Pay particular attention to the assessment criteria and the Assessment Rubric as these will guide you on what to submit. It is important to ensure that you write a post you your blog every week and don’t forget that the first assessment occurs after week 4.

The summaries of each class that are posted here are intended as a support for class not a replacement. Use them to catch up only if you unavoidably miss an occasional class meeting. John asked that if you cannot make class for any reason please let him know, by email, in advance.

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Class 6: My Avatar and Me – virtual identities

November 7, 2019

Who’s who in the digital environment and how do we know? The question posed by Locks Aichi in this week’s class.

Locks Aichi started the discussion by asking us ‘Who are you?’ She qualified it by suggesting we could respond as our avatars or our real selves. All the replies were short and to the point with some of you giving your avatar names and others your class name or the subject you are studying.

Locks continued by asking us to consider the pieces of data that make up your identities in the virtual space and this produces a range of replies:

  • what you post on your feed
  • putting out a reflection of yourself
  • in SL you can choose how to display yourself – the visual aspect makes it different from the limitations of text-based social media apps
  • the Green Team noted their decision to share a single identity as dogs. (Is that your only identity? Is there anything beyond the pack?)
  • Exposing your identity
  • recalling Sitearms comments a few weeks ago you suggested that people can create different personas
  • present differently online from how you are in RL
  • present the best part of yourself.

It was suggested that social media provides a curated or crafted version of yourself, it also presents the highlights of your life. In RL we are so used to reading body language that it can be harder to hide aspects of yourself than it is online, which provides the opportunity to be more deceptive, perhaps.

Then Locks asked ‘Who owns your digital identity?’ You thought that there is much less privacy now than before – we tend to be more open and post everything that we do. We don’t really have privacy.

In RL who owns you? Nobody. Why is it different in the digital space? In the early days of social media we frequently heard the aphorism

if you are not paying for a service you are probably the product.

Data is sometimes referred to as the ‘new oil’ because of how valuable it can be. How often do we read the terms and conditions before signing up for an app or a service? Do we take the time to understand what data we are handing over? In Europe GDPR legislation (General Data Protection Regulation) has come about to protect our data. Organisations are not permitted to hold our data without permission, nor are they entitled to use it for any purpose other than the one for which we have given explicit permission. It also gives us the right to be forgotten – digitally.

By not making a choice we are actually making the decision to give our personal data away. If you share too much without giving consideration to the consequences it makes it harder to shape your online or virtual identity later. So, for instance, Locks made the decision to use her twitter account solely for professional purposes. It is not possible to glean anything of her personal life from it.

Do you think about the shape of your digital life: socially, personally, professionally?

LouHug said that he posts less online now than he used to two years ago – part of the reason for this is that he doesn’t want to appear foolish in front of his kids later on in life. Others suggested that you could use multiple accounts for different personas and/or purposes.

Locks suggested that it is becoming more difficult to live outside the digital world. So much commercial transactions are now carried on digitally that it has become necessary to link digital identity with our real world identities. For example, banking legislation is increasingly resisting anonymity to ensure trust and reliability and to counteract laundering and other illegal activity. The data trail is now becoming an asset.

Locks asked us to take five minutes to think about how you would present yourself as a professional online and post your response in 140 characters or less. When you had all posted your responses in local chat she asked how you had made the decision about what information to share?

  • started writing about the future but then reverted to describing the present
  • gave abilities rather than personal details
  • personal perspective – tried to look at it from a client’s perspective
  • professional – present as diligent, dedicated, reliable and experienced in team work
  • professional but with one personal trait for balance
  • look like the best professional possible
  • factual

Virtual identity is something you create. Given time and careful curation it can become a valuable asset. So, for instance, if somebody retires from an organisation their profile may well remain. The identity is transferrable – it has become a quantifiable asset. Therefore, we are now seeing an increasing interest in laws around privacy, intellectual property and ownership of digital assets.

Impersonation is also a greater problem because it can be easier to present a false identity in the digital environment. Hence the rise of accredited identities such as the blue tick used by Twitter, although the service has been put on hold.

All of this underlines the importance of trust in the digital landscape. You should decide what you are trying to achieve with your online digital or virtual identity and allow that to guide your approach to developing it.

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Class 1: Welcome to SL

September 26, 2019

We got off to an excellent start this semester. All of you found your way to the virtual classroom in SL on time and seemed well settled in by the time John arrived. In fact, it was John who had a little difficulty getting his mic working but before long everyone had settled down and making friends. In online virtual environments ‘making friends’ is a specific action rather than the vague relationship development it can often be in Real Life (RL). Whether you are active on Facebook, Snapchat or any other social media liking, following or otherwise hooking-up with others is an activity that requires an offer followed by acceptance or rejection. In spaces such as SL this gives you access to otherwise private conversations and locations. It also allows you to track each other’s location and communicate more easily.

John also gave you membership of the module group which confers additional privileges in the TU Dublin campus. More on this later in the module. We also shared real names so John can match your avatars with your student records. And after all that we had the class photo!

Class photo

Class photo – all eager to get started on our virtual journey …

 

The exercise of moving from the classroom to the balcony was useful as it provided practice in controlling your avatars, which is not as easy as it seems!

Following the photo John introduced the content of the module, explaining what to expect over the course of the semester. He emphasised the importance of independent learning in the module. We meet for only one hour a week but you need to put in the preparation to ensure maximum value can be extracted from that hour. Expect to devote an hour to preparing for class. You should also expect to put in at least another hour-and-a-half on the assignment for each class. This time will increase somewhat when you start working on the Team Project after the fifth week. If you put in a solid effort each week you won’t find yourself overwhelmed at the end of the semester.

The class meetings are intended to be discursive. In other words, we will be discussing the topic of the week, on which you have reading and viewing videos. Your input is what makes the class so be prepared to contribute.

The supporting material in Brightspace is essential to the module so make sure to use it regularly and wisely.

These class summaries are not intended as a replacement for class attendance. Experience indicates that if you attend regularly you can expect to do well in the module assessment. If you miss one or two classes this summary will help keep you up to date but any more regular absence will make it extremely difficult to understand what is required from the assignments.

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Class 1: Welcome to SL

February 8, 2019

A new year, a new university and a new class group.

Everyone gathered promptly at 8:00 pm in TU Dublin’s SL campus for the first class of 2019. All students were set up with their shiny new avatars, voices activated and ready to learn – a really great start to the module!

We started off by making friends with each other. This enables us to see if class members are online in SL and to communicate by text when someone is in a different location in SL. John also invited you to join the module group so you are registered as module participants. This will allow you to access the classroom building and also supports notifications and other group communication. John also confirmed everyone’s SL name and matched it to your Real Life (RL) name and student number.

Then we all trooped out to the balcony to stretch our legs (well, our avatars’ legs) and took the class photo. This demonstrated that you all have a high level of avatar dexterity – you would be surprised how difficult it can be to get avatars to post for a photo!

When we settled back into class John talked about the format of the module. Class time is for discussion and, to prepare for that, you will need to read the assigned texts (or view the videos) in advance. This will ensure the discussion is informed and reflective. You will also need to plan for visiting SL between classes to complete the assignments and, after class 4, work on the Team Project.

While we didn’t discuss online etiquette explicitly you were all very good at giving confirmation of your presence, for instance, typing ‘Y’ when asked if you understood what was being said. Avatars do not do body language very well so positive reinforcement is something you need to be aware of constantly. One of the easiest and most immediate ways of providing feedback is through text messages in ‘local chat’. For example, you can type ‘Acuppa Tae nods in agreement’ or ‘coldtoesies has a puzzled look on her face’. This approach supports the discursive nature of the class and ensures everyone remains engaged.

The new Virtual Learning Environment at TU Dublin, Brightspace, is being piloted for this module so John asked for feedback on how it is working – feel free to be as critical as you need to be. Review the section for the next class well in advance to familiarise yourself with the content. Use the short quizzes to check if you understand the topic and don’t forget to do the assignments set after each class meeting.

Finally, John reminded you that while these class summaries are useful they do not replace class attendance!

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