Teaching and Learning in a 3D Virtual Universe


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Presentation slides from the June 18, 2009 SloanC Emerging Technologies for Teaching and Learning conference in San Francisco, CA. Presentation titled "Teaching and Learning in a 3D Virtual Universe" given by Leigh Harris, UCLA Writing Programs, and Annelie Rugg, UCLA Center for Digital Humanities.

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  • Opening slide
  • Thank you to audience, Leigh and Esther I’m leading off by describing the institutional context for this initiative, Leigh will take over and talk about the instructional design, her experience teaching, the outcomes and lessons learned, and next steps.
  • My role is to explain the institutional support that allowed this project to come about
  • Overview of CDH. Instructional support includes training instructors and Tas in the use of technology for instruction, consulting on computer-based course design, providing course websites and related online tools for teaching/learning support, and promoting new uses of technology for instruction. Team of graduate students with an IT coordinator and dedicated programmer.
  • These video testimonials are instructors describing why the Summer Institute made a difference for them
  • Thank you to Esther, Annelie, audience. Exciting time to teach writing. Technology has always changed the way in which we write, the way in which we communicate. Technology is changing all the time--it’s the new frontier.
  • UCLA Library is our Home Base
  • Add where she took us to Princeton & Sci Fi Fantasy island & to Multiple Intelligences (Howard Gardner)
  • Writing + Intellectual goals Visuality,next step past text-based literacy. Kevin Kelly, documents the shift from book to screen fluency, from literacy to visuality. Immersive learning experience Next step beyond 2D web. I’ve taught Analyses of Digital Media and had my students both write about and upload digital projects, including seesmic and youtube videos, photosynth 3-D projects, garage band music and graphic art. Pushing limits of perception. Dislodging customary mode of learning and interacting.
  • Pedagogical Cooperative learning model Professional Novice  expert Digital Humanities Practice mixed reality teaching/collaborative research/exploration model/--Process and Product Participate in a collaborative teaching model to the next level and explore with my students. They can gain the functional knowledge very quickly Participate in the Digital Humanities enterprise -- writing classrooms are gatekeepers to humanistic inquiry to both explore the meaning of contemporary culture and contribute to it. Professional development: We think of novice writers in our classrooms (freshman, transfer students, ones new to our majors) as writing their way into expert ways of knowing. That’s what I did in my teaching. Not a master. Felt that there was enough worthwhile here, and the institutional support, to take a risk. Digital Humanities – part of the frontier
  • From her article, “Hyper and Deep Attention: The Generational Divide in Cognitive Modes.” As N. Katherine Hayles argues, we are experiencing "a generational shift in cognitive styles," away from what she calls deep attention, sustained concentration on a single object for an extended period of time, and toward hyper attention, "characterized by switching focus rapidly among different tasks, preferring multiple information streams, seeking a high level of stimulation, and having a low tolerance for boredom" (“Hyper and Deep” 187). [[She argues that each cognitive style has its advantages and that educators should develop curricular materials that allow students to practice both cognitive styles. For example, students could first study the presentation of self-image through Facebook (an exercise in hyper attention) as an introduction to the complex strategies of self-presentation in The Education of Henry Adams (a text that requires deep focus) (196)]] Class worked from the Aesthetics of SL -- physical, visual, sensory, aural, artful, surreal, animated, dynamic, hypervivid, open, experimental -- to an Analysis of SL. Purpose? Value? Meaning? Of enterprises, events.
  • Immersion vs. Augmentation Henrik Bennetsen SL importing from RL Bitch Magazine -- racial and gender biases Consumer capitalism -- SL Liberation Front SL exporting to RL New York Times -- artist Filthy Fluno Hope and possibility -- music, therapy, education, green living Henrik Bennetsen, Stanford’s Humanities Lab on the Second Life Creativity Wiki IMMERSION VIEW: SL is its own thing and should not be contaminated by anything from the outside. Many people in SL will bring up the metaverse. This term and a notion self contained internet worlds were introduced in Neal Stephenson’s Snowcrash. [Stephenson, 2002] Since the early these sci-fi worlds has been repeatedly mentioned as the inspiration for SL. Residents that subscribe to this belief often feel that SL should evolve at its own pace as we continue to gain a deeper understanding of how our metaverse should and could look. AUGMENTATION VIEW: SL has the promise of a post-browser internet because it adds features like real-time spatial design tools & offers a stronger sense of presence through avatarization in 3D space to the existing social software on the 2D internet. SL should evolve through leveraging existing tools and practices out there as well as continue to develop its uniqueness. Little difference between SL and RL--distinctions will cease. Our class developed theories that roughly correlate to Immersion and Augmentation. [CYNICAL or SKEPTICAL VIEW] SL importing RL cultural values, hierarchies. Evidenced in Lauren Bans’ article “Same Shit, Different World: SL may be an online utopia but its social politics look awfully familiar”. [OPTIMISTIC VIEW] SL affecting RL in terms of the imaginative potential of the virtual world to make an impact on people’s lives. Highlighted in Sara Corbett’s article “Portrait of an Artist as an Avatar.” SL suggests a “different, more hopeful reality” Virtual worlds, “whatever their shortcomings, …are insistently, even defiantly, aspirational places.” She observes at the SL (RL) annual convention: that sense of imaginative potential was there “running beneath the chatter of those who’d come -- librarians and pornographers, professors, musicians and wedding planners--that indefatigable hum of possiblity.”
  • Writing assignments increasingly long and complex. Sequenced in such a way to enable us to explore those theories of SL while letting students practice different writing skills and principles of clear writing. Add examples of each: SL not as a game, but as an dynamic intellectual project . Exploration of avatar’s identity Summarizing, evaluating, analyzing Investigation of information literacy Comparing Snow Crash to Second Life SL library assignment Research project/UCLA Library proposal Synthesizing source material, drawing conclusions Testing ideas in SL 1st assignment: Analyze their choices in their avatar creation and evaluate Lauren Bans’ argument about the lack of diversity in SL. Students changed gender, whimsical accoutrements (like cat ears or tails), body morphology, creatures “Furries” 2nd assignment: Read the 400+ page cyberpunk novel (“High Tech/Low Life”) Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash and compare its representation of Information as Power to spaces of information enabling in SL, mainly one of the hundreds of libraries. (Virtual Ability, Gender, Green, National, Ethnic, Disciplinary). Thematize immersion or suspension in space and time -- design of the novel, experience in SL. 3rd assignment: Pursue an area of interest according to their major or interest. Differences b/w RL and the topic’s manifestation in SL. OR they could propose expanding, augmenting the UCLA SL Library. Campus-envy. Interesting proposals that I will talk about shortly.
  • They changed all the time. Attire, accoutrements, genders, whimsical features, animals (Teddy Bear)
  • Experiential learning--NYTimes article features an artist AM Radio. From a distance his work looks like a 2-D landscape painting, but you can enter and explore it with crickets chirping -- we evaluated the claims of the article, the artist while inside it. Business/Science Community groups: Support groups, story telling, popular culture We also had a “meet and greet” with Filthy Fluno at his studio.
  • He was with his publicist in NY in his studio, painting. Students asked about techniques, most popular paintings, how he got involved in SL. Add quotes from discussion with him.
  • Walk through the fieds of wheat, hear the chirping crickets, watch lightening light up the sky. Come across a table with a woman’s portrait etched and this poetry
  • Although I had formal assignments, some of the most interesting and fruitful moments of learning and exploring came in the interstices of those assignments. I would try to thematize a compositional element with SL experience. For example, the idea of TRANSITIONS in a piece of writing and the transitions that happen in SL through point-to-point teleporting (which is a different way of moving around SL and experiencing it than through the old mode of centralized telehubs from which you would have to fly to your destination). Transitions from prim to prim, place to place can be dislocating or smooth, just like they can when you read a text. Lots of texts, intertextuality. Both comsumed and produced more formal writing in and out of SL and consumed and produced informal writing. Composed essay vs. freeform blog Andrew Sullivan (Atlantic) -- blogosphere jazz, spontaneous, free form writing and the considered, thoughtful, composed writing (composed writing). Current writing pedagogy: informal assignments (as process) on the road to formal assignemnts (product). Two types of writing in our culture is immediately clear.
  • Intertextual experience. A lot of language. Global.
  • We read “Shakespeare in the Metaverse” and discussed it in the Globe Theater. New place to test out artistic ideas. How people take turns. Example of experiential learning-> digital archive of First Folios of Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream that we flipped through. Record of the conversation. Lots of writing on the screen
  • No more dreaded student presentations. Bridging to their areas of interest: Explore Examine Share Like Study Abroad or Field Trips
  • Add ideas about libraries?
  • Mixed-reality symposium in Visualization Portal Manifesto presentation Lightening talks N. Katherine Hayles keynote Students attended RL & SL for extra credit The Mellon Seminar provided a nice closure to the term in that it gave them a “real” professional example of using SL to augment the RL presentations. Avatars could ask questions in Entropia, site sponsored by the Digital Library Federation in SL. Katherine Hayle’s talk: “How We Think: The Transforming Power of Digital Humanities” Interesting is that their one page write ups, in which I asked them to describe their experience, they focused on the talks, not on the medium. As though being in SL or in RL and watching in SL was the same. Medium became TRANSPARENT.
  • Frontier
  • Met and exceeded some of the student goals I had, including: Digital & information literacy Visuality Immersive learning experience Fun, emotional, wild – plus really interesting, fascinating, open Thought I would describe this using other, richer terms Experiential, emotional, fun, cool, wild, imaginative Analytical and intellectual--cognitive Increased critical thinking for sure Operational fluency was awesome--they became like Hiro Protagonist in the novel. – medium was transparent
  • Place for Alumni, and prospective students to meet
  • This is where the space really becomes interesting -- this is where being 3D matters. Where the theories that we began with which feel quite linear --SL importing from RL & SL exporting to RL--has come full circle. Studetns will upload their experiences and impressions to SL and those that experience it in SL will have enriched RL. More organic, more of a cycling, loop. The Immersive space is to… COMBINE WITH WRITING! Go to Asmara’s art work. Her emodied presence in SL made a big difference, made it possible for her to extend her findings/apply her hypothesis to the virtual world.
  • Give them more time because of the learning curve Give them more a meta-awareness of SL by concentrating on its rhetoric. More close readings à la Google Earth. Require rather than encourage community invovement Project-based class -- that they could draw from and contribute to. Get our hands dirty!
  • I don’t think I’m yet the expert scholar but between us we can get there -- collaboration between units like CDH, between disciplines, and b/w instructors and students. I’ve been taught by them as well. We’ve come full circle. Projecting RL into SL, which is enriching our RL. The Teacher is the Pupil and the Pupil is the Teacher – another Boundary blurring
  • Teaching and Learning in a 3D Virtual Universe

    1. 1. Teaching and Learning in a 3D Virtual Universe  Leigh Harris/Laguna Vita Distinguished Lecturer UCLA Writing Programs  Annelie Rugg/Sunny Laffer Director UCLA Center for Digital Humanities Sloan-C International Symposium on Emerging Technology Applications for Online Learning San Francisco, CA • June 18, 2009
    2. 2. Teaching and Learning in a 3D Virtual Universe Overview  Institutional context (Annelie)  Instructional component (Leigh)
    3. 3. Teaching and Learning in a 3D Virtual Universe Institutional context  What is the Center for Digital Humanities (CDH)?  How did this project come about?  How does this fit CDH goals?  Testimonials: Why does the Summer Institute work?
    4. 4. Teaching and Learning in a 3D Virtual Universe Institutional context What is the Center for Digital Humanities (CDH)?  IT support unit for Humanities Division at UCLA  Technology support for 17 departments and programs, 300 faculty, 600 grads, 250 staff  Computer infrastructure, desktop support, research and instructional support
    5. 5. Teaching and Learning in a 3D Virtual Universe Institutional context How did this project come about?  CDH Summer Institute 2008  Professor Harris applied for help learning Second Life to pilot with upcoming courses  CDH Instructional Technology Consultant (ITC) team designed curriculum and made connections with existing campus expertise  One week in August of intensive hands-on learning to use Second Life and discover instructional uses for Second Life  Follow up consultations as needed within regular ITC support framework
    6. 6. Teaching and Learning in a 3D Virtual Universe Institutional context How does this fit CDH goals?  Supporting innovation in instruction  Instructor-driven; technology supports pedagogical goals  Collaboration across campus (Library, other IT units)  Using existing resources and availability; no extra cost  Targeted, “just-in-time” help for instructors  Supporting those who have limited opportunities to explore, learn, develop new materials
    7. 7. Teaching and Learning in a 3D Virtual Universe Institutional context Testimonials: Why does the Summer Institute work?  Janet Goodwin, UCLA Applied Linguistics & TESL Undergraduate Interview Website/iWeb, iMovie, FTP http://media.humnet.ucla.edu/projects/summer institute/janet.m  Alma Andersson, UCLA Asian Languages & Cultures Oral assessments for Filipino language distance- learning/Wimba OAB, Photoshop http://media.humnet.ucla.edu/projects/summer institute/alma.m
    8. 8. Teaching and Learning in a 3D Virtual Universe  Leigh Harris/Laguna Vita Distinguished Lecturer UCLA Writing Programs
    9. 9. “Digital Literacy and Learning in a 3D Virtual Universe”  English Composition 100W  Satisfies Writing II requirement  Small, upper-division writing course  Humanities, Social Science and Life Science majors  Beta version
    10. 10. Initial Student Responses  “I am an avid user of second life.”  “I find Second Life a very useful source for just about anything in life.”  “My first impression was puzzlement and curiosity.”  “I have no experience with Second Life. To me, it sounds very futuristic and somewhat menacing.”  “I have been banned before from second life.”
    11. 11. Mechanics of Class  Computer classroom  Voice with headsets or text chat  Multi-disciplinary readings  Visitors & excursions  UCLA Library in Cybrary City
    12. 12. Alexandria Knight UCLA Info Literacy Librarian
    13. 13. Goals for Students  Writing  Digital/Informational literacy  “Visuality” (Kevin Kelly)  Immersive learning experience
    14. 14. Goals for Instructor  Pedagogical  Professional  Digital Humanities
    15. 15. Bridging Deep & Hyper Attention  “As students move deeper into the mode of hyper attention, educators face a choice: change the students to fit the educational environment or change that environment to fit the students.” --N. Katherine Hayles  Aesthetics of SL  Analysis of SL
    16. 16. Theories of Second Life  Immersion vs. Augmentation  SL importing from RL  SL exporting to RL
    17. 17. Writing Assignments  Exploration of avatar’s identity  Investigation of information literacy  Research project/UCLA Library proposal
    18. 18. Class Avatars
    19. 19. Experiential Learning  Community groups  Texts or Arguments  Artists and social art  Filthy Fluno  AM Radio’s “The Far Away”
    20. 20. Filthy Fluno: “ucla rocks the house!” With permission from the artist 6/23/09.
    21. 21. “The Far Away” by AM Radio
    22. 22. Thematizing Compositional Elements  Transitions  Intertextuality
    23. 23. Poetry in “The Far Away”  The Radio: Laguna, welcome to The Far Away. Please see the vendor above the powerlines to donate to http://www.heifer.org  [10:03] The Radio: Laguna, bienvenue à The Far Away. Veuillez consulter le pré sentoir au-dessus des lignes é lectriques, Un don à: http://www.heifer.org serait trè s appré cier. Merci beaucoup!  [10:03] Connecting to in-world Voice Chat...  [10:03] Connected  [10:03] The Radio: Laguna, The Far Away にようこそ。電線の上にあるベンダーを見て http://www.heifer.org に寄付をお願い します  [9:51] ::: imprinted with a chemical mix  [9:51] ::: in a grand collection  [9:51] ::: of landscapes upon a life  [9:52] ::: I never stopped sketching you.  [9:52] ::: The smooth flesh on your cheek,  [9:52] ::: the gentle wave in your hair  [9:52] ::: dictating calculations of graphite onto paper.  [9:52] ::: The blurry trees behind you  [9:52] ::: drawn like baby's breath  [9:52] ::: in a wreath around your portrait  [9:52] ::: growing like vines  [9:52] ::: in stop motion animation  [9:52] ::: until you're gone.  [9:52] ::: The memory is left behind,  [9:52] ::: imprinted with a chemical mix  [9:52] ::: in a grand collection  [9:52] ::: of landscapes upon a life  [9:52] ::: of sketches as memories  [9:52] ::: looking to incorporate the next.  [9:52] ::: -- AM Radio
    24. 24. Globe Theatre Discussion  Slide omitted for student privacy
    25. 25. Writing Projects  Areas of expertise or knowledge  On-site presentations
    26. 26. UCLA Library in Cybrary City
    27. 27. SDSU
    28. 28. Tarfang
    29. 29. Noumea Island
    30. 30. Rasta Ventures
    31. 31. Liverpool Philharmonic
    32. 32. Pleasure for All
    33. 33. Porcupine Region
    34. 34. Tzopelic Chatli
    35. 35. Tzopelic Chatli
    36. 36. Ballers City
    37. 37. IslamOnline dot Net
    38. 38. Mellon Seminar in Digital Humanities @ UCLA and SL  Mixed-reality symposium  Students attended in RL & in SL
    39. 39. Learning Outcomes “there is some sort of cultural revolution occurring…. Definitions and criteria are changing or shifting, like the world of arts.” -- Chen-Yao  Learning spaces  RL & SL  Boundary blurring/Spatiality  Electronic frontier
    40. 40. Learning Outcomes, cont. “in the near future most education will [exist] primarily on computers because the capabilities far surpass the traditional forms of education.” --Andrew  Experiential & interpretive  Critical thinking expertise  Technological proficiency
    41. 41. Proposed Class Projects  UCLA Royce Hall  3D Photosynth of campus spaces  Immersive foreign languages program
    42. 42. Proposed Class Projects, cont.  ImmersSpace  Sensual multimedia tour  ShowSpace
    43. 43. Recommendations  Time  Visual & linguistic rhetoric of SL  SL community involvement  Project-based
    44. 44. Teaching and Learning in Second Life “Major themes of digital humanities include: …collaboration, … cumulative research, language and code, alliances between expert scholars and amateurs.” --Melissa