Posts Tagged ‘student blogs’

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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 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.
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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.
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