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Essid's Blog Page

Page history last edited by Joe Essid 11 years, 11 months ago

October 8: All Praise to the SPORK


Andrew and Chris F's posts about a "spork party" at Burning Life had me, to use a SL locution, ROFLMAO. So I decided to run their reflections (mostly Chris', with Andrew getting the witty last word) soon at "In a Strange Land."


Go, spork!  Andrew was correct in his comp book; a dance with sporks attached to dancers, musicians playing sporks, and clubbers engaging in witty, even suggestive, banter is a quintessential  SL experience.  This is especially the case when someone runs by on fire.



Pappy Enoch found his own "hot time" at SL, by the way, dancing with a DJ who set our Hillbilly mentor aflame. There were dozens of spontaneous parties, and of course Pappy found a hillbilly-themed one right away (though they were playing Euro-trance music).



September 25: Wiki-Wacky-Woo


At this point, I can begin to reflect (as my students review each other's work) on the merits and demerits of this wiki software.


I dislike the lack of a spell-check in PBwiki, as well as the miniscule storage space (10 MB).  Still, the wiki's great sidebar feature is compelling, and the lack of advertisements also make this superior to wikispaces.com.


Backups are proving painless. I just made one, and it's not a bad idea in case of disaster. I keep the .zip files on my hard drive and can make restore the files at any time.  wikispaces offered this utility as well, but pbwiki's backup is a lot faster.


September 16: Photo Demo


Our hillbilly hero.

Iggy in Suffugium

September 11: Office Hours


I was very pleased with how effective it proved to be, meeting the students face-to-face in my office while our avatars worked together on the basics.  This seems far more effective than my work with Eng. 216 last year, where I pretty much had the students create avatars on their own. Perhaps that class' many negative initial reactions to SL came from its larger group. Personal orientations would have been difficult.  Perhaps the dislike for SL came from the class being  a requirement they'd rather not have been forced to take.


Today I held my first virtual office hours while I sat at my real desk, and IRL our admin assistant and a new university VP came by as I talked to class mentor Tenchi Morigi. Tenchi, never one to under-dress for an event, showed up in a dramatic kimono from the Bare Rose shopping area.



My RL visitors were both stunned by the outfit Tenchi wore, as well as the idea of a flying house with virtual artwork and a place to meet students. 


Lesson to eductors: Make good content, link it to educational goals, and students and administrators will see SL as more than "a video game."


Next week's Scavenger Hunt will keep more of the 103 students in-world...and I'll be at my office hours to help.


September 4: Too Many Instructions?


Tropical Storm Hanna bears down on Richmond.  And behind it, Cat-4 Hurricane Ike.  Can you follow advice?  That question is in my head as I consider how under-prepared most folks are, and how poorly they follow instructions when they are avialable. But sometimes the advice is too daunting, too detailed.


There's a class connnection here. Is this syllabus TOO long?  There's a lot because of the SL work...I hope the students do not feel buried in details and will use the syllabus itself as an object of study.


August  27: Analysis & Argument


I'm more than a little pleased that most of the class stuck with me after the first day. Of course much of what we do will be new, even for students who are born-and-raised technologists. Writing will not change much as we employ these new means of communicating: we will have to remain clear, persuasive, and (usually) brief.


This text, Writing Analytically, should help us.  I'm pleased that it begins with a worthwhile claim: analysis means exploring the "why" of something whereas argument means trying to persuade one's audience to accept a claim. This is not a small distinction. In fact, it's one of the most powerful things learned in this class. Most of the writing done at Richmond will not lend itself to simplistic "here's what you should believe" types of performances.


More on this in future entries.  Unlike "In a Strange Land," entries in this blog will remain brief and give you models for your own.


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