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first collaborative design project begins

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The first collaborative design has officially begun with its first meeting to discuss the project. (Please see previous two posts for more about project, group.)

image of four virtual world avatars in quiet setting

First meeting of the SV1-BSG design team in world.

Four group members have been active in early discussions about the first collaborative design; all were able to make time to attend…very encouraging. Two members have similar professional roles in common, two have been long acquainted, in world. All share a sincere interest in effective instructional design in the virtual world.

It seemed to be a productive session. I was pleased to find discussions moving rapidly; but, hoping to finish within one hour meant cutting in once or twice, to move along in the proposed agenda. I hope that the polite avatar showed up…the one who decided to interrupt the others.

I have been passing out a notecard with the following:

Group Mission:

  1. To design a series of projects that deliver 
      effective educational content while providing
      the best user experience we can muster.      

  2. "Learn from the pros." To observe the design 
      principles and techniques of professional 
      content creators in SecondLife™ and share 
      that knowledge.

In this post I begin to try to live up to that last bit: sharing the knowledge. I hope to make regular—if not frequent—entries in this blog to record observations, describe the circumstances encountered by the group, and generally report on the process.

One aspect of this will involve fielding surveys to solicit input. Many educators are familiar with this; attend a curriculum development seminar and expect to fill out a survey or three.

Hopefully, those group surveys will stir up collaborative juices, and open a dialog among educators and expert content creators, as well as provide helpful feedback to inform the process. I return to writing the pre-workshop surveys right after posting this.

What would you want to know about your colleagues prior to the beginning of a collaborative project, if you were an educator on the team? … if you are an expert designer?

One priority for me in the meeting, as acting “team leader”, was to emphasize the need for each of us to find effective ways to communicate; with each other, as well as within the group. Studio Wikitecture taught this lesson clearly; effective design collaboration follows efficient communication.

Wiki-Tree, 3D Wiki, Wikitecture 4.0
Studio Wikitecture’s Wiki-Tree, a 3-D wiki

Studio Wikitecture has served as my model for creating a dynamic mix of creative folks. However, without using the Wiki-Tree (image above, YouTube video), sharing of content (objects, scripts, textures) becomes an issue that must be resolved; the topic already emerged at the meeting. A Google Group forum has been created, but will need to prove itself as a useful tool among the team members as the custom forum did with Wikitecture.

We might find the combination of commenting and change-notifications with Google Drive spreadsheets provides enough of a “forum”. And lastly, without use of a wiki and Reddit-style voting for ideas, we have not even begun to approach the layers of communication used in the Wikitecture projects.

But, the project is only officially one day old.

Written by azwaldo

June 21, 2013 at 5:44 pm

grokking subQuan

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I happened upon Cooper Macbeth, a SecondLife™ rezident whose passion both for education and virtual worlds is evident. Previously acquainted, we both attended a presentation and chatted briefly afterwards.

Later that same day, he posted a question about camera controls in a scripting group, a group that I watch. I have some experience with the issue he described; so, a quick reply engaged us in discussion and we were soon chatting in his Sushi Bar.

Image of virtual world sushi restaurant

Cooper Macbeth’s Sushi Bar, a custom venue for instruction

The Sushi Bar (SLurl) is a pleasantly appealing, interactive, educational stage that facilitates instruction. Cooper designed and built this elaborate classroom to deliver a specific—yet subtle—lesson in mathematics.

subQuan (sub’-kwän; from Latin subitas quantitas) is the ability to perceive at a glance a quantity much larger than seven by organizing the items into rows, columns, and containers
— from DreamRealizations Wiki

As interesting as the subQuan principle was, I found myself focused on Coop’s design. As VW instructional designs go, it is exemplary. Cooper and partner Ute Frenburg have been developing the presentation and its VW component for years. That is a long time in the metaverse.

SecondLife™ rezident Cooper Macbeth presenting SubQuan to a group

The space employs scripted control of each user’s camera to focus attention on particular spots, illustrating lesson content in a fluid sequence during his live demonstrations. His current challenge is to further refine the user’s experience by smoothing camera transitions from one view to another.

I don’t know if my feedback helped; but, I certainly learned something new. (Love it when that happens.)

In showing me where he needed scripted camera controls, Cooper Macbeth was demonstrating his subQuan presentation. However, in sharing his project, he demonstrated a sophistication in design that surpasses much of the educational content that I have seen.

He showed me, once again, how thoroughly VWs can augment our reality.

Written by azwaldo

March 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm