Observing that both creativity and communication are vital
elements of higher education, we envisage to deploy Second Life
for a multi-disciplinary honors-track course that will
focus on the communication of scientific research, for
example the impact of climate change and the various ways we
can mitigate or adapt to the potential threats
of global warming.
In this way we can also contribute to the issue of
media literacy, or mediawijsheid
as the Dutch Council of Culture calls it,
that is making students aware of the impact of the media
in presenting controversial issues.
In this respect we strongly believe that Second Life does not
necessarily lead to another screen-addiction giving access to dubious content,
but that it can actually be deployed in a constructive way as an opportunity
to stimulate and support active learning.
think about the domain at a meta-level
as a complex system of inter-related parts
situated cognition in semiotic domains
Research perspective(s) -- virtual versus real
Is decision-making in as virtual environment the same as or similar
to decision-making in the real world?
And what about investments?
The Second Life economy, powered by Linden dollars
and governed by the Lindex-exchange, provides an
interesting platform to study decision-making behaviors,
for example with a group of students in a course about
Another way to establish a relation with reality
is to provide a virtual context to objects
existing in actual reality, such as cultural heritage, and for example
relate paintings to the world they depict, which must
necessarily be re-constructed in a virtual environment
as it no longer exists, [Rutledge et al. (2000)].
In previous work, we did study the construction and
deployment of humanoid intelligent agents, [Eliens et al (2006)],
and we looked at ways such agents could provide
an explanation in rich media contexts, [Eliens et al. (2003)], or
guidance in finding locations in large virtual worlds, [Ballegooij & Eliens (2001)],
Also did we explore whether virtual replicas of existing buildings,
in our case museums, was the best way to provide immersive access to
art-related information, [Eliens et al. (2007)], and actually we concluded
that it was not!
In one of such virtual replica, in this case the atelier
of the Dutch artist Marinus Boezem, we studied
the effectiveness of the use of an intelligent humanoid
agent, and we found interesting relations
between the appearance (looks) of the agent, and the
trustworthyness of its advice, [Van Vugt et al. (2006a)].
However, apart from studying patterns of communication,
and the way appearance and identity may influence communication,
it seems at this stage more interesting to explore
how to enhance communication in a shared virtual world
by actually deploying virtual objects, instead of relying
on chatting and textual information,
and to design tasks that require cooperation in an essential manner.
More generally, we would like to deploy Second Life
as a platform for serious games,
such as service management games, [Eliens & Chang (2007)],
and we believe that for corporate institutions this might
well be the real benefit Second Life has to offer!
Taking, however, a more critical look at Second Life
as a platform for serious games, it might appear to be lacking
in a number of respects, including (not the least
important) security, programmability and robustness.
As the failure of many of the early CSCW (Computer
Supported Cooperative Work) applications indicates, cf. [Churchill et al. (2001)],
to provide adequate support for collaboration is not easy,
since a manifold of issues have to be resolved, such as turn-taking, gaze detection, etcetera.
And in addition, for tasks that require strict timing,
such as musical improvisation, [Eliens et al. (1997)], synchronization and
time-lag have to be taken into account.
Taking these issues into account, we may wonder whether
we should adopt Second Life, or rather seek refuge with
an open source game engine such as Delta3D,
or a commercial game engine such as offered by the Steam-powered
Half Life 2 SDK, cf. [Eliens & Bhikharie (2006)], which might be more compliant
with the extensions required to provide adequate support for
serious cooperative games.
Interestingly, the Second Life client has recently been given
out to open source, and that would allow for many
client-side hacks, such as for example multi-modal
which in combination with
the server-side scripting capabilities may result
in powerful extensions.
At this stage, though,
it might well be the level of adoption that is decisive
in the choice of Second Life as a platform for serious
- narrative(s) -- story plot
- perspective(s) -- (first person) actor(s)
- scenario(s) -- encounter(s) & challenge(s)
- challenge(s) -- problem(s) to solve
- resource(s) -- (capital) to spend
- reward(s) -- fame or shame
- visual(s) -- setting(s) and effect(s)
Hold your breath -- going live
The 1st of march 2007, we went live.
In the evening there was a news item on national televison,
RTL4 news, featuring the students showing
the virtual campus and our project leader explaining
the reasoning behind our presence in Scond Life and
how to give a course in the virtual classroom.
A similar item appeared at AT5, local Amsterdam television,
and various newspapers, among which Parool, Telegraaf and Volkskrant,
spent a multiple-column article to report on our efforts.
As a note, not surprisingly, all items focussed on what
we have characterized as the naive interpretation
of our efforts, exemplifying the old credo
the medium is the message.
To be clear,
our intention is not to provide a virtual replica,
nor to provide an analogon of the open university,
in Second Life.
After the news broadcasts, the number of visitors
increased dramatically, having stayed at a modest below 100
during the day, see fig. 2.
In the evening, however, we suffered an attack from an army of
Mario Brothers, after which we decided to close the campus for
external (potentially malicious) visitors.
So far, the results exceeded our expectations, the
students were praised for the results of their building efforts,
and as a team we may continue to think about how
to deploy Second Life as a platform for
education and research projects.
|Fig 2. (a) visitors outside||(b) visitors inside|
In this paper we have reported on our experience in building
a virtual campus, giving our university presence in Second Life,
and we have delineated the prospects of Second Life
as a platform for education and research,
embodying our university's credo: to be a community of learners.
After enjoying our 15 minutes of fame, however,
we need to reflect on what technical requirements
must be met to deploy Second Life effectively
as a platform for education and research, and,
perhaps more importantly, what paradigm of learning to adopt
to have real benefit of the potential of Second Life.
We thank the students involved, Viola van Alphen (FEWEB), Tom Bestebreurtje (FEW),
Elbert-Jan Hennipman (FEW), and last but least Bjorn de Boer (FSW),
for their enthusiasm, creativity, and of course their hard work
which led to an amazing result.
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- [Query] Ballegooij A. van and Eliens A. (2001),
- Navigation by Query in Virtual Worlds,
In: Proc. Web3D 2001 Conference, Paderborn, Germany, 19-22 Feb 2001
- [Remediation] Bolter J.D and Grusin R. (2000),
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Addison-Wesley Longman, 2nd edn.
- [Platform] Eliens A., Huang Z., and Visser C. (2002),
- A platform for Embodied Conversational Agents based on Distributed Logic Programming,
In: Proc. AAMAS 02 Workshop -- Embodied conversational agents - let\'s specify and evaluate them!, Bologna 17/7/2002
- [TIDSE] Eliens A., Dormann C., Huang Z. and Visser C. (2003),
- A framework for mixed media -- emotive dialogs, rich media and virtual environments,
In: Proc. TIDSE03, 1st Int. Conf. on Technologies for Interactive Digital Storytelling and Entertainment, Göobel S. Braun N.,n Spierling U., Dechau J. and Diener H. (eds>), Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, Darmstadt Germany, March 24-26, 2003
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- ECA Perspectives - Requirements, Applications, Technology,
In: Z. Ruttkay, E. Andre, W.L. Johnson and C. Pelachaud (eds), Evaluating Embodied Conversational Agents, Dagstuhl Seminar Proceedings (04121)
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- Game @ VU -- developing a masterclass for high-school students using the Half-life 2 SDK,
In: Proc. GAME'ON-NA'2006, Sept. 19-21, 2006 - Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, USA
- [Dossier] Eliens A., Wang Y., van Riel C., Scholte T. (2007),
- 3D Digital Dossiers -- a new way to present cultural heritage on the web,
accepted for the Int. Web3D Symposium 07, 15-18 april 2007, Perugia, Italy
- [Serious] Eliens A. and Chang T. (2007),
- Let's be serious -- ICT is not a (simple) game,
accepted for FUBUTEC 2007, April 2007, Delft
- [VideoGame] Gee J.P. (2003),
- What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy,
- [VirtualArt] Grau O. (2003),
- Virtual Art -- From Illusion to Immersion,
The MIT Press
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- Virtual reality: Do not augment realism, augment relevance ,
In: Human-Computer Interaction: Overcoming Barriers, 4:1, pp. 18-26
- [AWC] Hoorn J., Eliens A., Huang Z., van Vugt H.C., Konijn,
- E.A., Visser C.T. (2004). Agents with character: Evaluation of empathic agents in digital dossiers,
Emphatic Agents, AAMAS 2004 New York 19 July - 23 July, 2004
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- Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21th Century,
White Paper, MIT MediaLab
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- Half Real -- Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds,
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- World leaders as movie characters? Perceptions of G. W. Bush, T. Blair, O. Bin Laden, and S. Hussein at the eve of Gulf War II, ,
Media Psychology, 9 (1), pp. 157-177
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- How to become a tough guy? Identity construction through video game play,
In: Annenberg Workshop on Games for Learning, Development ∓ Change, Los Angeles, CA, USA
- [KonijnB] Konijn, E.A. and Van Vugt, H.C. (2007),
- Emotions in Mediated Interpersonal Communication: Toward modeling emotion in virtual humans,
In: Mediated Interpersonal Communicationa, Konijn, E. A., Tanis, M., Utz, S., Barnes, S. (eds.), Mahwah, NJ.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
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- Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design,
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- Ondrejka C., Batstone-Cunningham B. (2007). Second Life -- the official guide,
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- Virtual Context - relating paintings to their subject,
Culture Track of WWW9 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, May 16th, 2000
- [Ultimate] Sherrod A. (2006),
- Ultimate Game Programming with DirectX,
Charles River Media
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- Social identification and interpersonal attraction in MUDs,
Swiss Journal of Psychology, 62, 91-101.
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- Playing computer games - Motives, responses, and consequences,
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associate
Playing Video Games,
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International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 64 (9), 874--888
- [Panorama] Vyas D., van de Watering M., Eliens A.,
- van der Veer G. (2007), Engineering Social Awareness in Work Environments,
accepted for HCI International 2007, 22-27 July, Beijing, China
- [Social] Vyas D. van de Watering M., Eliens A.,
- van der Veer G. (2007b), Being Social @ Work: Designing for Playfully Mediated Social Awareness in Work,
accepted for HOIT 2007, Chennai, India in August 2007
- [DeepTime] Zielinski S. (2006),
- Deep Time of the Media -- Towards an archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means,
The MIT Press
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