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Scenario: Collaborative working in virtual worlds (rebooted)

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Peter Miller
17 January 2013

Deleted and restarted (see comments)

I am now working on a much simplified scenario that will see the group involved in:

  • Pre-session video
  • Introductory briefing
  • Registration, log-in and basic use
  • Competition (C1): avatar flight time trial (practice of flight skills/illustration of programmability and connectedness/fun); another possibility or adjunct to the time trial  would be demonstration of competition in the commercial sense.
  • Cooperation (C2): constructing a guide to interesting worlds on the Kitely grid (students visit locations, take photos, landmarks, and deploy in teleport boards at their base); the groups might be allocated destinations that relate to one of the 4C themes this could illustrate the basis of a commercial "hunt", i.e. trail around inworld shops incentivised by free/trial content
  • Collaboration (C3): creating a path between locations in the world using waymarkers, plants, etc; the path could be augmented with teleport boards and objects collected in the previous activity.
  • Co-creation (C4): Teacher presents inworld on IOT/Pervasive/Ubiquitous/etc to demo affordances and facilitate backchannel (as possible act of co-creation); formerly presenting inworld on a science-related project of the students choice but with the focus on real world impact (outreach, etc)
  • Evaluation of session in terms of the 4Cs and reflection on future role of virtual worlds
  • Assignment

...other stuff probably too involved

I appreciate that this is not in scenario format yet. I will try to do a brief EoR analysis as well.

Exploitation of the desert setting is another possibility that might underpin the final part (solar power farms http://www.desertec.org/concept/, etc). The notion of generating virtual power to keep other parts of the build functioning is a nice concept but too complex for the time available.

The Internet of Things/Pervasive Computing angle might be illustrated as a conceptual overlay. For example, the world can be scripted to sense avatar presence (that's how the flight time trial tracks avatars). Teleport boards could show locations of interest based on the avatar profile, etc.

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Joshua Underwood
9:43pm 19 January 2013


Hi Peter it's an interesting scenario and I follow the game idea and how this gets them collaborating in the virtual environment but I'm not very clear on what the desired outcomes are in terms of learning - I think to do with helping them envision potential uses of virtual worlds in their own practices? But you also have an aim to make the sessions themselves more engaging through 'gamification' and collaboration? And maybe too to illustrate the "Internet of Things", which possibly relates to the first 'potential of virtual worlds' objective... Just trying to check my understanding here. Maybe part of this is also for them to think about 'gamification' of their practices (maybe using virtual worlds) in the same way you gamify the session?

Peter Miller
10:22pm 19 January 2013 (Edited 10:31pm 19 January 2013)


Thanks for the feedback. I wasn't aiming for gamification as such but rather using the artificial construct of a (not very serious) game to drive the session and provide opportunities for collaboration that students might then relate to their own practice. But I agree, it's contrived and over-complex so I'm deleting it.

Joshua Underwood
6:31pm 20 January 2013


Hi Peter, I wasn't saying it was contrived, it was certainly complex, I was just wondering about the desired learning. My comment about gamification was serious, there is a lot of interest in gamifying everything and in a sense I can see how gamification of some science practices might be helpful - for example sciene projects that rely on large scale public participation could be motivated through gamification - e.g. counting particular species in your garden or whatever. So, I actually found your scenario very intersting - got me thinking in that respect - how to use Virtual Worlds to gamify practices might be a really useful outcome from a Virtual Worlds taster -no?

Peter Miller
9:27pm 20 January 2013


I cover citizen science and related projects like FoldIt and GalaxyZoo together with associated gamification in a separate (presently ungamified) web-oriented session. I'm not arguing against the use of virtual worlds for such activities though they do need to have an additional benefit over the conventional web to merit consideration given the overheads.

Peter Miller
11:04pm 21 January 2013


A much simpler scenario is being generated. Time pressures are such that I will have to come back "later" to complete the detail and analytical aspects.

Joshua Underwood
9:36am 1 February 2013


Really liking the sound of your scenario now, guess the blogpost on building paths is part (collaboration) of this?

Also, vey interested in the citizen science aspect & agree about thinking about how the virtual environment might add value beyond the 'real' world aspect... Intersting challenge, am thinking on that.

I'm interested because we have previously done (and tried to do http://participatory-science.blogspot.com.es/2009/03/introduction.html ) quite a bit looking at 'participatory' science for teachers and schools, unfortunately the websites are all a bit out of date now :-(

One thing we did was building windmills and testing them I wonder whether supplementing this with building windmills in virtual worlds might give more of a feel for possible negatives (e.g. eyesore, noise...)?

Similar for crater experiements one of the experts we talked to had built a meteor crater impact simulator overlay for Google Earth, which teachers in or workshops felt was very useful for givign a feel of consequences after mucking around dropping marbles and other objects in flour.

Treasure hunting I guess is also something virtual worlds might be good for, we did this on a 'Green Campus' but of course not everyone has access to a green campus to go explore in the real world... 

Other stuff we did involved researching sensor data from an Antarctic lake and IM-ing with scientists there, again getting the feel for what the lake was like from a cosy classroom was not easy, perhaps simulations of that kind of environment are useful...?

Just thoughts.... I don't really understand the affordances of virtual worlds but I'm very interested in better connecting 'virtual' and 'real world' experiences...

 

http://www.informatics.sussex.ac.uk/research/groups/interact/escience-usability.htm

 

Peter Miller
11:10am 1 February 2013 (Edited 9:08pm 1 February 2013)


Well, I'm still sceptical that I'm over-complicating what is essentially a taster session preceded by a lecture  historically focused on virtual worlds and mentioning other stuff as an afterthought. The notion of standing it on its head and making it more ambient/pervasive-oriented is quite attractive to me but I suspect just as alien to the students.

Yes, the path-building is part of this. I'm prepared for this to "fail" if it highlights limitations of the environment or tools. That critique aspect is valuable although, of course, I'd rather the students remained open-minded about the potential at the end of the class.

Nottingham have actually done the windfarm thing in SL. I'm aware of a similar project involving changes in water (river) use in the US.

Certainly cross-over potential with Google Earth -- oddly never heard of anyone jumping between the two though. Must have been done...

Lots of space-related stuff in SL (space colonies etc). Again, this has been an interest from the perspective of self-sufficiency and NASA does an annual schools competition on that topic.

Treasure hunts are a staple of virtual worlds orientation and I did consider it here except that they tend to be a little open-ended timewise.

There's been a fair bit done on undersea sims in SL (The Abyss) and Shailey Minocha has done some work there of a more generic nature.

I agree about the significance of the RL/VW crossover. Hence I tend to think in terms of the somewhat venerable but prescient Metaverse Roadmap: http://metaverseroadmap.org 

Peter Miller
11:15am 1 February 2013 (Edited 11:02am 2 February 2013)


I should add that I will be looking for people to test parts of this if anyone's interested.

Peter Miller
8:29pm 2 February 2013


I blogged some further thoughts as to how the PPC could be used to plan in OpenSim. It will have struck passing readers that I seem to be stuck in week 2. I'm afraid it works best for me if not the course... which I am continuing to follow albeit not through the clouds.

Peter Miller
8:16am 5 February 2013 (Edited 4:21pm 5 February 2013)


I had a gizmo for generating paths but I think it might be simpler to use waymarkers. These could be available in limited numbers and have solar-powered lights so they would work in the dark as well (yes, you can have a day/night cycle, albeit that there is a viewer override). The resource constraints and route-planning (add obstacles?) should make it more interesting. I might turn flight off as well to encourage cooperation and/or practice of avatar camera skills. The students might discover that they can also plant bushes etc that could also mark paths if they are careful and consistent with their use.

Joshua Underwood
2:09pm 5 February 2013


Thanks for your follow up to my comments - afraid I'm only checking in on cloudworks occasionally at the mo. Intersting that Nottingham did windmills in second life - nottingham campus is the one we did the eco-trail treasure hunt on. As you say treasure hunts are a bit open ended time wise and then one often feels one needs to do something to bring together the learning and that is hard to make as 'enaging' as the hunt itself...

Peter Miller
4:30pm 5 February 2013 (Edited 4:32pm 5 February 2013)


The pressure's perhaps not so great here as this is just a taster session but I potentially have four activities scheduled for just two hours so time is very (most likely too) tight. Hence the need to simplify, simplify, simplify. Some of the students will be going to freebie shops as part of their Cooperation activity so it will be interesting to see what they bring back!

Joshua Underwood
10:34am 6 February 2013


Yep, it does sound very tight.

What is the main objective, and your/their motivations for engaging with the taster session? Guess you probably already said that somewhere but I can't find it...

Peter Miller
11:07am 6 February 2013 (Edited 6:35pm 6 February 2013)


I don't know their objective -- it was actually quite a popular option though. Historically there's beeen a mixture of curiosity, perhaps some gamers seeking validation, maybe a preference for a topic involving soft/generic skills, something seen as futuristic -- or maybe it's retro now ;-). I'm primarily interested in seeing them include it as an option when they think about collaborative work in the future, knowing what it does well and not so well.

One option is that we ditch the co-creation and I give a brief closing presentation inworld (maybe directed towards using virtual worlds to model Internet of Things etc) with their being encouraged to use the backchannel (which can be an act of co-creation).

Peter Miller
4:17pm 6 February 2013


And yes, things can be hard to find on Cloudworks -- hence my decision to keep this thread going.

Peter Miller
1:48pm 7 February 2013


I updated the description above. Still pretty busy -- will have to chivvy students along a bit and may have to adapt on the day according to circumstances.

Peter Miller
3:42pm 7 February 2013 (Edited 8:10am 11 February 2013)


I haven't totally figured out how to do this but if the groups are allocated destinations under Cooperation that relate to the one of the 4C themes then the paths under Collaboration could explore the definition, how one might transition between adjacent Cs (e.g. providing a commercial service that uses and gives back to open source software, like Kitely and OpenSim) and/or display examples (could include real-life, non-virtual worlds). OK, that's stretching things a bit but the classification scheme is still worth considering if I can get my head round it and source examples.

  • Competition (C1): commercial shops (The Vaguery, Total Avatar Shop), commercial builds (Elements 1-4; Campus Podz)
  • Cooperation (C2): freebie shops/malls (Stuff), free-entry regions (Serenity Island), OERs (Universal Campus, VCE, Ice Campus, available as OARs)
  • Collaboration (C3): this might illustrate collaborative builds (Hackers Sleepless City/Hax Nuit [inspired by Kowloon] + NPCs) or educational venues with a possible focus on team or at least class work (Daden Refugee Camp, Play2Train [if open], Uthango?, Shared Visualization)
  • Co-creation (C4): role play sims where there is an evolving shared story/build, e.g. Devokan Trust worlds on Kitely (Devokan Touchstone, Skysong, Time Vault, Midtown Arts Museum, Retreat, Curiosity)

I appreciate that this level of detail is of no interest to anyone else -- just using this space for brainstorming.

Need to get some science aspects onto the paths too.

 

Peter Miller
8:46am 8 February 2013 (Edited 11:06am 8 February 2013)


More brainstorming -- please ignore :-)

I guess at a scientific level this might involve

  • competition at the level of priority of discovery, consequent patents, publications and subsequent research grants and contracts
  • cooperation at the level of pre-competitive activity involving selective sharing of knowledge but not necessarily the means of production
  • collaboration implies that there is closely coordinated activity most likely involving sharing information on a daily basis and possibly the exchange of staff
  • co-creation implies the willingness to spend time with others on potentially high-risk pilot project activities in the expectation of mutually shared benefit

important to stress that this is not necessarily a hierarchy of virtue but rather a spectrum with potential for overlap

Examples(need more, better)

  • a pharmaceutical company releases data on orphan drugs to the open community
  • a stack exchange type Q&A web forum run by a commercial company but depending on the input and ratings of individual users to establish and enhance quality
  • open notebook science
  • crowdsourcing, citizen science
  • crowdfunding
  • the human genome and similar projects involving large scale international collaboration, possibly on a pre-competitive basis
  • science outreach and communications projects

Peter Miller
8:09am 11 February 2013


Gizmos for C1 and C2 working sort-of. C3 may be gizmo-free or -lite. C4 gizmo already available though some aspects, esp integrated web use, may push OpenSim to its limits -- not necessarily a bad thing if you want students to do a critical evaluation of the tech. Let's hope it has some good points :) Started to write the background and intro/briefing preso and student handout at the weekend. Hence not much activity on other channels -- likely to be quiet most of this week.

Rose Heaney
6:14pm 11 February 2013


Hi Peter

Happy to be a tester when you're ready :-)

Rose

Peter Miller
9:31pm 17 February 2013


Thanks, Rose. As predicted, zero progress this week so please watch this space (or not).

Peter Miller
5:27pm 24 February 2013 (Edited 10:15pm 25 February 2013)


The first and probably only iteration of this session took place this week. In a semblance of Week 7 (self-)evaluation, while by no means perfect, it actually worked better than I'd expected, if only in a technical sense (can't speak to any other). Looking at this page (and recalling the stuff I deleted), I guess the surprising thing is how much the design changed so there must have been a process of personal evaluation based on past experience. Hard to say whether the game approach would have been any better -- the underlying concepts and the ways in which they were realized were pretty abstract in both scenarios. Sadly, I don't see how that could have been otherwise. Anyway, this module won't run next year but I have the OAR archive of the region, of course, if anyone wants a demo when things are a little quieter.

At a meta level, I have found it useful to have this opportunity to think out loud -- having a space to reflect and receive feedback has been valuable and the MOOC context motivating.

Peter Miller
10:56am 3 March 2013


I completed a Week 8 narrative

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