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Supporting Virtual Teams Using Second Life


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Presentation given at the NMC 2006 Regional Conference in San Antonio, Texas by Danielle Mirliss and Heidi Trotta.

Published in: Technology, Business
  • I have piloted a class in SL and can share some of your 'ups and downs.' Thank you for giving me more insights into future applications. I see SL has many benefits but it raises new and interesting challenges.
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Supporting Virtual Teams Using Second Life

  1. 1. [16:28] Rome: hey, wht are w do’n? [16:30] Jenny: Virtual Team Building in Second Life [16:32] Giuseppe Vielle: lol [16:32] Jenny: with Professor Mirliss and Professor Trotta [16:33] Rome: im good
  2. 2. <ul><li>Presentation Outline: </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction to class and decision to use Second Life </li></ul><ul><li>Student Introduction and Orientation </li></ul><ul><li>The Design </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Class: Industrial and Organizational Psychology </li></ul><ul><li>Students have limited real-work experience </li></ul><ul><li>Find ways to try to engage students </li></ul><ul><li>Bring real world experiences to the classroom via technology. </li></ul>This content is so dry and boring!
  4. 4. <ul><li>The Technology … </li></ul><ul><li>Free to students </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to support, no additional hardware </li></ul><ul><li>Run on university issued laptops </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to craft a custom simulation </li></ul><ul><li>Needed an environment that encouraged collaboration and active participation </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Spring 2006 Pilot </li></ul><ul><li>Extra credit assignment for students </li></ul><ul><li>Students completed assignment from various locations using University issued laptops </li></ul><ul><li>Fall 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Graded project that is part of curriculum </li></ul>Spring 2006 Team Activity
  6. 6. <ul><li>Preparation…. </li></ul><ul><li>Orientation to Second Life - time allotted to change appearance, obtain basic skills needed </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>The Wiki … </li></ul><ul><li>Preparation… </li></ul><ul><li>Provided additional support materials (introductory youtube videos, handouts, readings, how-to’s) </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Cover Story: You work for a public relations firm that already has a presence in Second Life. A client has requested a piece on the Best People and Places in Second Life and has identified locations and Second Life inhabitants that she wants included in the finished product. You will not be working alone, you will need help. Here is where the virtual teamwork part comes in. Part of the experience is to identify and assign key tasks to getting the job done. Among your coworkers are photographers, writers, editors, graphic artists and project managers.
  9. 9. <ul><li>Preparation …. </li></ul><ul><li>Contacted SL residents </li></ul><ul><li>Scripted “Gift Giving” box </li></ul><ul><li>Created Seton Hall T-shirt </li></ul><ul><li>Gathered fun freebies </li></ul><ul><li>Constructed note card with landmarks to various locations </li></ul><ul><li>SL designer donated outfits </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>The Design …. </li></ul><ul><li>Began with an anchored activity – guest speaker on virtual team building </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated Skype to allow students and speaker to interact </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>The Design …. </li></ul><ul><li>Identified beginning and ending location for the scavenger hunt </li></ul><ul><li>Second Life names only </li></ul><ul><li>Scaffolding provided throughout including wiki creation </li></ul><ul><li>3 hour time limit for experience </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>The Design …. </li></ul><ul><li>Held class in computer lab instead of students using laptops </li></ul><ul><li>People and places chosen for educational value – 7 tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Identified formal goals and objectives, matched to all materials </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment – part of class final grade – 3 parts: activity, collaborative wiki and survey </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>The Challenges … </li></ul><ul><li>Technology (computer, wiki and account problems) </li></ul><ul><li>Students did not view resources before activity </li></ul><ul><li>Unless students were engaged, they didn’t pay attention </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>The Results … </li></ul><ul><li>Gathered data from wiki, informal discussion, survey, and observations </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Wiki: </li></ul><ul><li>All the wikis were different in style but only two out of the 4 carried through with the scenario. </li></ul><ul><li>Some were more creative and complete than others </li></ul><ul><li>Grading: students received points for participation in virtual team, creation of wiki, and completion of survey. Co-constructed a behaviorally anchored rating scale. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Informal Discussion: </li></ul><ul><li>Students very traditional in their thinking of what a class activity should be like. </li></ul><ul><li>The environment is more like a game than an educational setting. </li></ul><ul><li>While Second Life is interesting, it is too open to the public and things can be detrimental. </li></ul><ul><li>People in Second Life are not normal. </li></ul><ul><li>Computers have too large a part in our lives. </li></ul><ul><li>The environment can not be used for educational purposes successfully. It is too fake. </li></ul><ul><li>But there were some positives … </li></ul><ul><li>Students with disabilities appreciated the affordances of the environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Avatars added a sense of presence not available in other online environments. </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to interact with other students/people outside of the university community. </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>The Survey: </li></ul><ul><li>Team dynamics and organization </li></ul><ul><li>Avatar creation and identity </li></ul><ul><li>Activity – Benefits and disadvantages to using this environment for team building </li></ul><ul><li>Second Life Environment </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Team Dynamics and Organization: </li></ul><ul><li>Most teams stayed together - only one team divided up the tasks </li></ul><ul><li>All felt they had enough time although most groups finished up past the experience </li></ul><ul><li>All could identify good team strategies that their team in particular used (i.e. communication, thinking outside the box) and could identify the benefits of working as a team vs. alone </li></ul><ul><li>2 teams had members who participated in the Second Life exercise but did not contribute to the team in real life (i.e. wiki creation). </li></ul><ul><li>All could identify strategies that they would do differently (divide up tasks. better time management, assign jobs) </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Avatar creation and identity </li></ul>I made her how I wish I looked. I see no reason in making other people think I am someone I am not. “ She” was like me because she was controlled by me.
  20. 20. Virtual worlds give us the ability to communicate with each other in a more personal level than e-mail or message boards. It was fun for my classmates and I to go to different worlds, and learn about different people while not in the same room with each other. It felt like a game. Activity: What are the benefits and disadvantages to using this environment for team building?
  21. 21. The use of virtual worlds for education needs to be carefully planned and the activities need to match the goals and objectives for the course. Be sure that the virtual world is really adding to the learning experience.
  22. 22. Questions?
  23. 23. <ul><li>Contact us at: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] – Heidi Trotta </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] - Danielle Mirliss </li></ul><ul><li>SL - Heidi TeeCee </li></ul><ul><li>SL - Danielle Damone </li></ul>