Wednesday, November 08, 2006

course requriement for next semester

gotta put $10 into the game - not having money slowed people up - couldn't play with their avie as much, couldn't buy cool things

$10 would get them a couple thousand linden bucks and expose them to more aspects of hte game - buying things which hopefully will lead them to think about how people make money in the game and why

I wonder if i need to require them to buy things? need to think about that some more

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

class so far

They don't seem to be having as much fun as last semester. I'm having fun (see my other blog) but they don't seem as willing to experiment. There have been problems getting into the lab but overall - just not as playful. They did good observations for hteir first papers but.

I learned how to make a "machine" to give out notecards. I think i'll make use of that next semester - give out notecards with the locations to visit and little assignments. One group online talked about a treasure hunt; that might be a good exercise.

I think i'm going to go back to the group blog too - that may have spurred them on seeing what other people are doing. ANd i have got to remember to have them blog at hte end of class.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

This semester I think we will focus on 2 main questions
- how do you define basic terms - game, fun, learning
- how do you learn to play something like secondlife 

i like the ideas of constructivist learning - have to create the shared reality, reflective writing - with a world like secondlife who do you share your reality with? how do you knwo if your understanding is the same as someone elses?

SO i need some measures for before, during and after the semester. 
-I'm thinking that weekly or more frequent blog posts for their descriptions of what they did and what it taught/showed them

-a survey with a list of the activities we did during the semester and their assessment of how much and what they learned from each (to get them to sort of rate the assignments rather than evaluate them one at a time - that will be in the blog)

- i need a pretest - what do you know about secondlife now, have you ever hung out in a mmorpg - can't be anonymous so can't ask too much - need to be able to combine it with their blog posts and endof hte semester essay

- end of the semester essay - what do they think they learned about learning, about how they learn best

Monday, May 01, 2006


Second life is becoming a real thing.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Rice Blog Post

Eric is right on a few points in this blog post. It most definitely is “too big to summarize in a soundbite or in a skimmable culture.” We’ve been trying to define this program all semester and I’m not even sure if we’ve come up with a great definition for it yet. We’ve called many things -- a game, a virtual world, a complete bore – and it may be all of them as Eric said himself. SL is so broad because it satisfies so many different areas of interest. In his second bullet point, he highlights all the different things that you can do within this program. Depending on your purpose, as he said, SL means different things.

However, I do not think that SL will replace videogames. He doesn’t define himself as a ‘gamer’, and nor am I one either, but I do know of many others who are currently obsessed with all the different systems out there (my 15 year old brother being one of those people). From what I’ve seen, video games are way more fun than Second Life… or rather, what interests me in video games, I don’t see in SL. I like action and story narratives which, as only a sporadic SL user, I don’t come across. I do, however, find those in video games and the hardcore gamers that I know aren’t about to completely switch over to the supposed new innovation of SL. Although Eric was mostly astute throughout this blog post, I have to disagree and say that SL won’t be disrupting the video game industry any time soon.

stalk much?

I am most definitely a people watcher. I always have been. Sitting back and observing people in a particular environment is probably what I do best. Now, don’t get me wrong, but if you put me in a social setting, where I’m hanging out (and possibly even consuming a few beers), I can talk anyone’s ear off. But interviewing, in general, has always seemed too forced to me. It seems a little unnatural – because it totally is. It’s so much better to just sit down and have a conversation with someone at a party rather than going up to a person knowing that you have to interview them and ask certain questions and look for certain specific reactions.

Sitting back and watching is way more fun. It’s probably easier too. That’s why I’m more comfortable with it. I can be that fly on the wall and not have anyone notice that I may be watching their every move. Sure, that’s a little stalkerish but sometimes you get more out of it. If people don’t know you’re watching them, you can see them do some pretty ridiculous things, (e.i. stick their fingers in the chip dip at a party or pick their nose.) There’s a lot you can witness when you’re pretending not to be present.

Interviewing can be a lot more useful. You can sometimes find out a lot more personal information. Content Analysis can give you more insight into what you’re trying to observe. But I think observing is the most fun you can have when doing research. You just keep quiet, watch carefully and take a few notes as the unaware people go about their business. And if your research is an extended observation, then it’s totally possible to find out just as much information as the other types of research.

technologically inept...

after writing my last little rant and checking out the site to see it uploaded i noticed that my last two posts for the weekly blog questions were posted on to my personal journal instead of this one. so i'm transferring them over. enjoy.

Should it bother us when we interview people online that we can't see them as they answer our questions?

Online interviews have their upsides and downsides. Frankly, I’m sort of glad I can’t see the people that I’m interviewing for my paper. I’d much rather randomly IM someone I didn’t know than go up to a stranger on the street and try to ask them questions. The internet gives people some personal space. I’ve found that people are a lot more open in online interviews than in RL. It’s easier to chat online and give out information because you don’t have an interviewer staring at you in the face and scribbling notes about everything that you say. Online interviews allow you much more freedom as an interviewer because you can just copy and paste the conversation at the end rather than trying to recall exact quotes. And with the kind of interviewing that we’re doing, it doesn’t really matter who the real person is who we’re interviewing. This person could be anyone; we’re just interested in their thoughts on their avatars and SL. I’m not concerned with their real lives per say. I don’t ask any questions about their personal lives. If a person does mention something about their real life, I will comment on their statements but I won’t probe into their life. That’s not the point of this project. It helps to have some anonymity when doing interviews of this type. Not being able to see the interviewee gives me a little more freedom in asking questions. When interviewing someone in person, I feel a little awkward because I may not know the person and I may feel a little uncomfortable writing down what that person is saying while they’re talking. Online, I can be a little bolder with my queries because I can just fly away if they get really offended for some reason. I can also just sit back and read what they have to say, having time to think of responses to their answers. Not seeing the interviewee gives you more time to think in your own space.

A down side to not seeing your interviewee is the lack of facial expression and tone of voice. As an interviewer I may not be completely sure how that person is saying his/her answer or I may miss the non-verbal messages that one would send when talking in person. The development of online-speak however has diminished this a little (terms like “LOL” and “JK” obviously help) but it hasn’t eliminated the benefits of watching a person and the way they speak. Overall, though, I enjoy the online interview because, in all seriousness, I’m not too sure how many of these SL users I would really want to meet anyway. There are some weird avatars out there…

major SL issues

I too, am having major issues getting on Second Life. It doesn't work on my computer at home and i have been done to campus twice today to work on interviews and it says that Second Life is unavaible or something to that nature. What to do? It's getting down to the line, these issues that continuously come up are making it impossible to get my research done. It is very frustrating. It is difficult enough for me to get onto campus with the hope that SL will work there. I've been to two separate labs already, Park and Williams, and nada. Not working. I am not sure how we are supposed to do this when there is little to know way of getting onto Second Life, any suggestions? I can't imagine that there will be many suggestions, considering that many of us are in the same boat. I guess i will keep trying, what else can i do?

stop upgrading!

you know what the most annoying thing about second life is? -- it's limited availability.

trying to get on this game from my apartment is pretty much impossible. the internet service that ithaca provides for us is ridiculously slow, making any kind of exploring a painfully slow process... that is if i could actually get ON the game from my apartment. my computer doesn't have a video card. and apparently, none of my friends computers are advanced enough for this game either so playing off campus at all isn't possible.

and when i AM on campus to play the game, i get pop up messages from the site saying that "the system may be down. please try again in a few minutes". if linden labs is always uploading a new version of SL, how am i ever supposed to play?!

i understand that linden wants to put up better graphics and make things faster for its players, but if they upgrade it too much, not too many players computers will be compatable! so what's better for SL: faster, more aesthetically pleasing with less players? or a little slower with better compatability to people's computers.

argh, i'm frustrated.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Data Collecting Techniques

I am the most comfortable gathering infromation by way of Interview. I feel that actually talking to people is the best way to understand them. When you interview you are actually soing more thank just talking, you are observing as well. When I was interviewing for the final project I not only was talking to my subject but I was also noticing how the subject was talking to the people around her. Another reason interviewing is my favorite way, is you can be as specific as you want. When I observe I will not be able to gather specifically what I want all the time, when I am interviewing I can get any peice of information that I want (usually). I also enjoy talking to people. I have really enjoyed interviewing for the final project because i have talked to people that are so different from myself and in doing so I have learned so much about the different beliefs and routines people have. Comfort level for the subject for the most part is also better when they are being interviewed, that is if you have built good rapport, when you are just observing you sometimes won't be able to see the natural behaviors of the subject. For all of these reasons I am comfortable in saying that my favorite technique for data collection is interviewing.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Check this out

I think this will have an effect on second LIfe and its members

Interviews, Observation, or Content Analysis?

All of the methods that we have used have their merits and their ups and downs, if you will. Interviewing clearly gets the most specific response with plenty of room for questions. Observation gives you the opportunity to see people in their natural habitat. Content analysis, gives the opportunity for deep study and many different views. However, when it comes to which one I prefer to do, then it’s a easy choice.

Although interviews may get the best responses and give you the most flexibility, they also have several down points. The first being that you actually have to find some one who will let you interview them, and in Second Life especially I have found this to be very difficult. On top of this interviews can often be awkward and time consuming, neither of which I particularly enjoy.

Observations aren’t as awkward as interviews, but they too have some problems. Unlike with some other forms observation can be seriously effected by the time when you conduct your observation. At different times areas will be more or less populated and by different groups, to effectively observe you have to go at the right time. Also observation is entirely based on your own observations, thus if you miss something, then it is gone forever.

Then there is content analysis. Although this method is by no means perfect (it involves a lot of reading, and looking for content) it is the least awkward and most convenient of the methods. Your sources will neither ignore you, nor will they restrict you to a specific time. Thus, for me, I find content analysis to be the most comfortable method. Naturally this is only my opinion, others may differ.

data collection technique

i personally feel most comfortable with observing.

interviewing is ok, but sometimes while talking to people i don't know, i can tend to get uncomfortable and nervous. and if the person you're interviewing knows you're nervous, it could affect the way they react to you.

observing is out of the way... and i personally like reading people's body language. so it's really easy for me.

check out our pimp rides

jim and I got a hold of some pimp rides...if you want some go to FlyinTails Airfield & Skydive Sl, Rabbit Valley (188, 98, 21). Go into the building where the red column from teleporting is going through...its grey on the ground and theres a bunch of free aircraft stuff in it.

Which data collection technique do you feel most comfortable with - interviews, observations, or content analysis? Why?

I'm huge on observing other people, real life especially. I actually like the combination of observation and then content analysis.

Observation is something that most people do naturally. Rather than asking people how to do things all the time, it is usually more effective to observe others - it is the most efficient way to assimilate in a culture. For me, it is the easiest way to find out what people are really like. When researching SL, I was able to observe people through their actions on SL, their blog posts, pictures and movies. Observation allows for a lot of fact collecting, I mean you have to realize your own biases, but for the most part, what you see is what you see.

I then take the observations and analize them for the content. I make connections and create my own threads. This is the easiest way to explain the data to other people.

I don't mind interviewing, its just that this method of research requires a lot more effort and confidence in the game then pure observation. I do believe that there is an aspect to personal interview that allows for much better information about a subject, because you can supass the boundaries of observaton. Obseravtion can only go so far in research; if you want to find out more about a specific topic, it would be harder to find a lot of blog posts directly related to the thesis, when in questioning, you can directly relate all questions back to the thesis of research.

Some Random Pictures

Just some random pictures....I forgot to post earlier in the semester.

1. is of the tons of snowmen i happened to have found at a sandbox

2. who ever said avatars don't go to the bathroom...i found a random toliet in the middle of the one club I was in and apparently you earn money for sitting on it...similar to a money chair. WEIRD!

Which data collection technique do you feel most comfortable with - interviews, observations, or content analysis? Why?

I'd have to say that I feel most comfortable observing. This is not to say that I get all clamy and nervous before I conduct an interview or that I hate reading blogs and posts. Quite simply, I would liken recording my observations to writing a journal entry. I enjoy being attentive to all the action, dialogue, and occurences that happen around me. With observations, I get to interpret how the "world" appears to me. Any thought that comes to mind could be important and so I just write as if I were capturing my stream of consciousness.

With observations, there is very little for me to concern myself with. I just have to write down everything that I see, hear, feel, and think. When interviewing, I have to pay attention to the other person (sometimes offering feedback or words of encouragement). With content analysis, I have to consider the parameters of my study (perhaps my focus is too specific, or maybe it's too general).

Sidenote: I think that I might prefer to interview people in person. As classmates of mine have mentioned, sometimes the other person takes forever to respond (or they could just stop answering my questions without any explanation). We discussed the benefits to interviewing on SL (no real-time travel required, no need to be self-conscience, if the other person is weird you can just teleport, etc...), but I would probably feel more comfortable (maybe even less self-conscience) interviewing in person.