Hi everyone, many thanks for calling by to contribute to the topic of e-moderating in Second Life.
What I'm hoping we can do together is to identify the key competencies/knowledge/skills (consider those terms as loosely as you like)for SL moderating for educational purposes (my main interests are in higher and professional learning). And if we can get to it, the best ways of offering people development towards them.
not much really! So:
My thoughts :
1. I'd like to use the frameworks of the 5 stage model and e-tivities as short cuts- although they've been developed for text based asynch work, much will transfer, as they have into other environments (pod-tivities, wiki-tivites)
2. There are key skills from f:f and online synch moderating that will be relevant
3. There are issues that are unique to SL, particularly the role of the avatar and the nature of the graphical environment. Maybe others.
I've had a very first shot which is attached but please don't be constrained by it.
Perhaps you would comment on 1,2 and 3 above-(noting which in the title would be so nice ;) ) for starters.
Thank you Gilly
thanks Cynthia- would you say that the Av to Av can/should be structured for more purposeful learning? If so any idea how?
thanks again for the reminder of the levelling Cynthia, this has to be so true. But is it helpful for learning? And can it be promoted by e-moderators?#
Second Life has definitely unique characteristic when compared with other web spaces. What comes to mind first is the materialization of the one’s profile through an avatar – a more “tangible” shape of the self. In many other web 2.0 scenarios, such as blogs, wikis, podcast, social network sites, etc., one’s digital identity is mainly established by text or voice recordings. Then there are also some real time communication tools which contribute to the development of one’s identity online. Nevertheless, one’s presence in SL is a little bit different as it is embodied in the form of an avatar. It adds a quite different meaning to individual and collective activity online, as it evokes a different feeling of the self.
I think SL can potentially bring some freshness to the online education sphere, as a new space to re-think identity and sense of community through Avatars.
It is also powerful in the way it augments creativity, and I would even say it may help decrease inhibition among shier individuals. In SL anonymity is in general terms accepted and there seems to be a bigger effort to tolerate “the difference”. Hierarchy is also less perceptible here too. And to be honest, I think that is what SL is all about.
Some of my concerns about this environment are related with the still technical issues and requirements. They might be somehow discouraging for the less eager to enter their second life. Once you kind of know your way around, the technical glitches will not be that relevant. The problem is to get them started, especially the less young generations.
The new generations will enter so they are getting the “training” they need.
Our current audience still need a helping hand.
In that sense, and the way I see it, the moderator will have a crucial role in phase 1 – Access and Motivation. Some “holding-hands” might have to be done to get everyone on board. A lot of experimental activities which can tie in well with the social activities, in order to get them going and keep up the motivation. I use to say the “Dynamization” of the space is an investment which will bear fruits in the end. It is necessary to keep the “troops” motivated and provide them with the know-how, and confidence, to succeed.
In SL, I perceive these 2 stages will take longer than in other online spaces. There is a lot more of groundwork to be done in SL than in blogs or wikis, for instance.
I am now co-moderating an online workshop about blogging for educators. Our audience are newbies. Some of them are experimenting the web as web 2.0 for the first time. It is not easy when everything is online and when you aer dealing with people from all continents and the most different time Zones. Yet, there is always at least one moderator online ready to give an helping –hand. We skype to give personalized support, we answered questions posed through email, which are answered through the same via and thus shared with the rest of the group. I have seen people who could hardly attach a file to an email develop a wonderful digital identity. Knowing there will be someone out there to provide them with support has give them that confidence. They have exceeded their own expectations.
just my 2 cents!
In that sense, and the way I see it, the moderator will have a crucial role in phase 1 – Access and Motivation. Some “holding-hands” might have to be done to get everyone on board. A lot of experimental activities which can tie in well with the social activities, in order to get them going and keep up the motivation. I use to say the “Dynamization”of the space is an investment which will bear fruits in the end. It is necessary to keep the “troops” motivated and provide them with the know-how, and confidence, to succeed.In SL, I perceive these 2 stages will take longer than in other online spaces. There is a lot more of groundwork to be done in SL than in blogs or wikis, for instance
I'd definitely agree with this. I think that it's several fold. As well as the technical issues getting it installed, ensuring that it works on the PC, sufficient bandwidth being available, there are other issues. For example, perhaps more so than discussion boards, it's very easy for some students to wander off and explore - and gain a lot of extra expertise. Whereas when you start to use discussion boards with students, if they want to "practise" with one that, say, covers a personal interest, they have to know how to search for & find one. With SL, you can just go wandering off. Of course, they run the risk of finding just about anything, so it's a double edged sword, but provides the opportunity to develop movement, object interaction, communication etc., skills.
A good orientation is essential - we've been looking at NMC's orientation Island ( http://slurl.com/secondlife/NMC%20Orientation/69/107/32/ ) due to the educational aspects of it - and you have a greater chance of running into other educators while you're doing it.
Later on, Gilly suggests "Using SL resources e.g. ppt presentations" I think that I'd tend to look at getting potential moderators to look beyond the "traditional", and to be really innovative. Granted, Powerpoint can be used really innovatively (or pretty direly) in a face to face classroom; lets try to encourage just the really innovative uses to be moved into SL :)
Like the web in the early days?
This where design comes in...?
Like the web in the early days?Not quite ... I guess it's still possible to "wander off" on the web now!
This where design comes in...?
I wonder if we're talking at cross purposes ... I was thinking that it's very easy in SL to enter a search term, to teleport off there, and not really know where you are, but to gain experience of the range of users, of the different types of environment etc. When it comes to designing your own area, clearly you can make your island really innovative, so that students don't want to go exploring, but we can't (and I don't think any one would want to!) stop them going off.
(Of course, you then may have to spend some time getting all the students back to "home" if they've not figured out the landmarking system!)
What do you think the best way is in SL? Are you suggesting multiple channels?
I'm interested in exploring what kind of SL-tivities can be designed to exploit the features of SL. I've designed an event in SL that will involve participants in:
- introducing themselves
- listening to an audio presentation (with PowerPoint slides)
- working in a small group (with voice/IM) to discuss the presentation and agree some ideas
- groups create note-card with feedback and post in note-card box
- groups re-convene to share feedback using voice/IM
I see the specific affordances in SL as being multi-faceted. SL has some great challenges, but also provides a great deal that Virtual Worlds provide in general.
Specifically, VWs provide spaces to develop difficult or impossible scenarios to experience, from the infantecimal to the gigantic. A user can become tiny in perspective and see the structures of a cell or become giant and stand next to a 3D working model of our solar system (I have one, it rocks!) Not only that, but the social presence of the avatar makes the learning environment truly flat, where people can't judge based upon mere outward appearances, but rather on actions and ideas.
Much more where that came from and in fact have the opportunity to get some builds developed with the company that I consult for, Firesabre Consulting.
Jeremy (Jeremy Braver the Fox - SL)
Jeremy yes agreed re the characteristics of resources, however the nature of avatars I see as a little more complicated.
In most online interactive envirionments there either isn't a visual representation of the contributor, or it's a static picture. Even if its a video its a snap shot of what that person says or does, what s/he looks like 'for real' on that day. Personally I try and avoid sending pictures until the group is well established- why introduce discriminators so early. However in SL the person is represented and in a way of their choosing. We can ignore this aspect or we can make something of it- what really matters to me is how it should be handled by (anotehr avatar- the SL moderator) to promote learning, knowledge sharing and the essential pre requisites and necessary conditions for these happy states.
How is sunny England ;-) Australia is lovely and warm come back soon!
I don't know if I can go straight to your chart. I think I need to articulate some of my experiences and feelings about moderation in SL first. So I hope this is not rambling and far from the target of your discussion.
I cold hone in on step 2 and the socialization process and this goes to the issues of social presence that has been mentioned here already. To me this socialization process in second life, as it is in other online environments, has to be modeled by the moderator. But well beyond other environments my experience in SL is that moderators need to be super lively, engaging, attentive and highly responsive - and all in real time. They have to learn to effectively use and model one-to-one backchannel communication, while facilitating the whole group, to ensure they can support everyone. They have to be thinking on their feet about why an avatar is stuck on the other side of a wall and what might be happening when a participant says "I can't seem to sit" and to reach out to participants not wait for them to ask for help.
As to task design for this step (and others)...
I have been involved in a number of instructor lead activities in SL ( I put myself out there to see how other people do this). The tasks have to use the affordances of SL otherwise it may as well be a chat session. There is NOTHING worse than sitting your avatar on a seat in an auditorium to listen (whether chat or audio) to a lecture style performance by a static avatar at a podium. That could be a podcast or lecture notes! Why did people need to manage the synchronous technical drama and bandwidth hog that SL is to join in that? We have to be much more creative about the tasks (e-tivities) and really use the visually rich 3D environment that we are bringing people into. I have started a discussion topic to describe e-tivities that do use the affordances of the 3D world and where we can talk about what moderation for these looks like and requires?
Hi Rita, I wonder if SL might be more acceptable to some teachers new to using Learning technology, compared to say the flatter wikis and so on?
Agree that its very early days- but my belief is that scaling comes from staff skills FIRST....
I agree with everything you have brought up. You say
|"moderators need to be super lively, engaging, attentive and highly responsive - and all in real time. They have to learn to effectively use and model one-to-one backchannel communication, while facilitating the whole group, to ensure they can support everyone. They have to be thinking on their feet". These are the same skills a facilitator or moderator needs in the web conferencing environment but here is where I get unstuck: once the learners are in the web conferencing platform, you don't have to worry
"about why an avatar is stuck on the other side of a wall and what might be happening when a participant says "I can't seem to sit" ". This implies that you definitely must have co-moderators or producers with you to take care of those hurdles in real-time.
You also say (as Emily implied when posting about PPT) that " There is NOTHING worse than sitting your avatar on a seat in an auditorium to listen (whether chat or audio) to a lecture style performance by a static avatar at a podium." Again, I can only agree.
I have not 'lead' learners in SL but have participated in various sessions and activities to 'see' and 'feel' what is going on there. On many occasion, I have found myself (or my avatar) sitting around a log fire or sitting in an auditorium watching PPT and every time, I ask myself 'Why am I in SL? I don't NEED to be here for this'.
Although I am a very experienced moderator in live online training using web conferencing technologies, I personally find SL so immersive that I can't do much else than concentrate on what is happening there, whereas in a conferencing platform, I can happily multitask. Consequently, this is a wonderful experience if the purpose for being there is well founded. On the other hand, when I feel that I don't have to be in this environment for the said purpose, I just want to escape and do other things. Hence the need for rich, deep meaning interaction and learning opportunites.
My 'richest' experience so far in SL was the following: I was invited at the last minute by an educator to observe a session with her learners. I didn't know who the learners were. The educator often 'disappeared' to help other learners get in to SL or 'bring them back' when they'd got lost. Consequently, her avatar often 'died' (head down, slumped shoulders). The students kept asking me 'Why are we here?' 'What are we going to learn today?' 'Where is the teacher?' etc. Their frustration and feeling of being abandoned was really acute. I myself was asking myself the same questions and beginning to feel both frustrated and bored. I didn't have much in my inventory at the time, but I did have a cocktail, a Bloody Mary. So, I started a conversation and then offered the learners a drink (the only one I had). This then led to a great discussion about cocktails, ingredients, restrictions on drinking of alchohol, other learners offering drinks they had, etc. I had some nice audio files in my inventory, so we started to dance and shared the files. Then, feeling tired, I sat down, whilst they continued to dance and exchange music. Whilst I 'sat' in SL, I thoroughly enjoyed oberving how the learners were learning on the spot how to exchange files: the peer-to-peer learning was very rich.
The the educator 'came back'
Then the educator 'came back' and the ‘lesson’ continued. Again, I asked myself ‘why in SL?’
I am still learning about SL but like any tool, the question to be asked first is who are your learners, why do you need it and what will its use bring to the learners, and if you need it, how are you going to employ it, and then you can think about moderating it.
BTW, the example I gave was an informal observation of an EFL instructor.
Following on from Moira's posts, perhaps there is a need for two moderators in sessions/situations where students are still learning the technology.
I have heard experiences of two tutors at the Open University, UK who conduct the tutorials in Second Life in a pair - one tutor facilitates the activities while the other tutor helps with the technological problems that student(s) might be experiencing via IM. The two tutors also remain in touch with one another via the IM.
I am a long time lurker coming out out of hibernation. By way of a quick introduction, I work as a technical writer with a software / hardware company. I wrote training material for 4 years prior to this and this is what got me interested in online learning. I am a Masters in Distance Education learner at Athabasca University and I am doing my final course this term.
I am reminded of a synchronous course that I took where the instructor required that we do an individual tech check at a scheduled time before the first session with his assistant. We had to demonstrate that our hardware was working plus do some basic tasks (known in advance) using the interface. It took 15 minutes if things went smoothly.
During the session, the instructor had another person to handle technical issues with predefined ways to do back channel communications. I was struck by how well this planned and prepared approach worked compared to other sessions. The session had little of the typical overload of technical issues at the beginning.
The technology was in the background where it belonged but it did require time and resources to get to this stage. It helped that the prof was a 'relic' [Grin] with 20+ years of synchronous experience including telephone, audio graphic, satellite etc. and really knew how to create an excellent synchronous learning experience.
With SL, there is less of a knowledge / skill base on how to use it effectively - unfortunately it takes time and mistakes to develop this. Many SL sessions are less than wonderful due to technical and navigation issues. The sessions never get beyond Stage 1: "Individual access and the ability of participants to use CMC are essential prerequisites for conference participation (stage one, at the base of the flights of steps)" as defined in The Five Stage Model that Gilliam referenced in her initial post.
Hello Robert and all: yes, preparations before-hand and having a helper is key especially when people are still getting used to SL and the its audio facilities. Perhaps we need to think about competencies for SL-Faciliator (Moderator? or presenter?) and the competencies for the Technical-helper. Also, how can the various communication modes - IM (individual or a small group communication), chat (broadcast), gestures, and audio be effectively combined before the actual session (for set-up) and during the session.
In some large-group SL sessions, I have come across another role: 'guide' - who welcomes you and directs you to the right 'place' for the event or gives you a note-card with the schedule of events- very much like a registration desk at a conference.
So I think that there are other 'roles' (and their competencies) in virtual worlds that need to be considered in addition to the moderator role. Thoughts? Thanks.
yes, preparations before-hand and having a helper is key especially when people are still getting used to SL and the its audio facilities. Perhaps we need to think about competencies for SL-Faciliator (Moderator? or presenter?) and the competencies for the Technical-helper.
I've been thinking about this, as we've had groups in SL; and have found that it's often easy to get sidetracked into helping someone do something. Of course, in a face to face class, students can see that you're helping someone else, and just get on, or put their hands up & wait.
In a virtual setting it's different, as seeing a "sleeping" avatar, or, worse, not seeing the avatar doesn't really let the student know what you're doing.
A second person is a help - though of course if they're busy helping x you have to encourage y to wait..
I've had groups of both staff and students in SL. In both cases it was in a computer lab, so they could see who was getting help, when my avatar fell "asleep". Interestingly, it was the staff who were both more impatient, and more demanding in terms of the help felt they needed to get "sorted out"/ just another question while you're here!
As to what roles the helper needs; I think that it's primarily just a good knowledge of the environment - other students could probably help out, if you've identified those students who are familiar with SL (or whichever environment you're using)
In response to the interesting issues raised by Bronwyn: I agree that there is a need to design activities for 3-D MUVEs that utilise the affordnaces that a 3-D MUVE provides.
I have been in a few conferences in Second life in the last few weeks (e.g. SoodleMOOT, SL Literary festival) and I agree that if its just the delivery of a lecture - there are other ways such as podcasts, web-seminars or pre-captured video recording in Adobe Captivate, and one doesn't necessarily have to be in SL for such lectures. However, its the synchronous interactions that follow a live event in SL that really add to the experience: Q&A session with the speaker, the visual and verbal intearctions with others in the audience, and getting to network with others attending the event. I have stayed behind (after the session was over) in some of the sessions just to talk to other avatars who were raising interesting issues with the speaker and have in this way encountered colleagues from other part of the world with similar research interests.
Bronwyn & Shailey
in the 'formal' diagramatic representation of the 5 stage model online socialisation is given as a stage (because most people missed it out and the 5 stage model is a scaffold- each part dependent on the previous), but of course socialization happens at each stage and contributes to learning achievements group identity and so on,.
Dear Gilly, Thanks for opening the e-moderating in Second Life [and I can add: the Metaverse]. The key thing is interactions, interactions, and...Interactions. We can start by asking what makes a great e-moderator? Moving to analyzing and mapping what the Metaverse/ Virtual Worlds such as SL afford?
How about creating a collab interactive map with successful case studies?
Dr. Hanan Gazit (VRider) | DiGRA ISRAEL Chapter | VRITech Owner
This tred was added to the DiGRA ISRAEL Calendar here: http://www.digra-il.org/calendar
Hanan there are probably just enough to start now...
Have you got one to begin?
Will there be any sessions in SL to follow-up with these discussions to demonstrate how these best practices can best be used? I have been quietly following these posts and discussions, but am having trouble as they are a bit abstract for me. That is one of the reasons I have not been active in SL, as I have not experienced some of the benefits that others certainly see.
I like your model, and hope to learn more about it. Does it support or account for helping the learners who are overwhelmed or technically challenged or pressed for time and just want to get to the piont (of whatever learning is needed)? I am thinking about some of my more quantitative students who, when facing something creative, at times just want to "get to the stuff I need to know," and may not be intersted in the virtual world experience. It is rare that I hear "Just tell me (lecture) what I need to know (for the test)," but I can imagine it for some who are easily distracted.
Thank you for facilitating this session. I wish it were longer as there is quite a bit here.
Jeffrey, yes this is just the very beginning.
A later message today is my very start of a summary- a spark to start the next diagloue (and other contributors will have much more)
However, best to get right in there and try it - please visit the Media Zoo in SL where we hang out
I was talking with a teacher in SL the other day who is very experienced in teaching interactively using a learning tasks/activities approach and talked about the challenges for her in teaching in virtual worlds. I was struck in the conversation about how similar this sounded to conversations with beginning EFL, physical classroom-based teachers. The cognitive load that a beginning teacher has to deal with. And here was an experience classroom and online practitioner talking of all these challenges for synchronous online learning in a virtual world.
It seems that there might be considerable differences and adaptations needed for people coming from differing practitioner backgrounds and familiarity with being in 3D virtual worlds:
- new to online teaching and learning in any form
- experienced online teaching and learning practitioner in asynch modes
- experienced online teaching and learning practitioner in synch modes
- experienced online teaching and learning practitioner in text-based virtual worlds
- experienced online teaching and learning practitioner in 2D virtual worlds (e.g. Palace, Tapped In)
- experienced in being in 3D virtual worlds - the user interfaces with spaces like Active Worlds and Second Life can be quite a learning curve in themselves, esp getting proficient in operating them in real time while interacting with a group of participants!
.. combinations of these and no doubt there are examples I've missed here.
oops meeting and gotta run, but wanted to put this idea in there at least.
Looking forward to the summary!
I took quite a lot of time exploring SL and learning about it (through great orientation activities like the teleportation trail created by an SL resident - not a 'teacher') before I then went on to start thinking about where the learning potential was of such environments.
(I'm spending my sabbatical in spain...its warmer here than Uk (and HK!)
thanks very much for pointing this out- of course it depends on what they've done before (well?)
I'll build that into dvpt
Sounds wonderful. I will take you up on the offer, especially as I just created a new avatar in SL, since I could not recall or otherwise retrieve my last persona. Lots of exploring to do, and I noticed the system is much smoother than it used to be the last time I logged on.
Looking forward to learning enough I will be able to better understand your research.
I've found this really interesting but again, felt I couldn't contribute as had little experience of using SL successfully. I would welcome a modelling session on good practice in SL. Could it possibly be done at different times to take into account different time zones.