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#6401228 Jul 16, 2012 at 06:50 PM
5 Posts
I knew I wouldn't fit in with the gaming culture here, but I am kind of overwhelmed by the way this course is constructed. Why are we watching videos of avatars talking? I just don't get it. Of course, I would much prefer to get information by text instead of video anyway, because reading is much faster than listening, and because I don't use headphones on my computer (the sound is normally off).

I guess my question is, is there a point to the videos of avatars?
-- "If you go a little loopy, better keep your nurse well-paid!"
#6402064 Jul 16, 2012 at 11:23 PM
12 Posts
Hi there, what a good question you have.

We are witnessing is emergent culture in this mooc. The Shivtr site has parameters that limit coherence. The videos allow broadcast and playback later. The avatars are in world adding context to persona. When you develop an avatar, identity is cultivated holding potential for perspective shifting. Dr. Jeremy Bailenson at Stanford is performing research in this area.

Gaming culture is vastly diverse and participants here represent a fraction (pun not intended with your name) with the variety of gaming cultures out there. Part of what I am learning is appreciation for the differences in backgrounds, expectations, and goals of participants.

Speaking for myself only, I think in metaphors so seeing videos and images helps me comprehend faster than text. As a sensual being I become immersed and engaged more deeply remembering concepts when I hear, see, and feel through an embodied avatar or character. Cognitive load is a concern so a combination approach to toggle text and media would be ideal if we could have the software cooperate.

I recommend that you get a reasonably good headset microphone so that when the time comes you can engage in conversation with the community when you are comfortable. There will most likely be opportunities to engage with others with whom you relate. Consuming the videos is okay, but being able to converse is ideal. Skim over parts that are confusing and take passes to layer what you really want to learn.

Many moocs now are having cyclical iterations so that when you miss something there is another opportunity around the corner. No worries.

Looking forward to seeing your thoughtful questions as our adventure unfolds. Cheers!
#6402234 Jul 17, 2012 at 12:47 AM
5 Posts
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I don't fully understand it, though. (I have no idea what "parameters that limit coherence" means.) I'm generally a lurker, and very analytical, so I can't even imagine wanting to talk to avatars. (It hadn't occurred to me that anyone would!) Nor would I know how.

Apparently I am comfortable in a "message board" culture, and since there are forums here, I am having trouble adjusting to all the other ways of communicating. I would love to have "conversations" with other participants, but here in the forums! (Maybe this is just a weird quirk of mine, because I hate talking on the phone also, and strongly prefer email.) I do know that I'm having trouble being patient enough to actually watch the videos. It would help me to just have the slides to click through. (Maybe there's a link and I just haven't seen it?)

I'm still trying to learn, and will definitely try to follow the tweetchat this week. Again, thanks for taking the time to try to explain the avatars.
-Karen Horn
-- "If you go a little loopy, better keep your nurse well-paid!"
#6405817 Jul 17, 2012 at 04:29 PM · Edited 9 years ago
Guild Officer
343 Posts
Hi Karen,

Actually the video/ screen-capture of avatars, games and 3D environments is called Machinima. It is a form of film making that is particularly popular on YouTube. In May, Google invested $35 million in the YouTube channel devoted to it. ( I almost left you a link to another video about it -oops).

Google Invests in Machinima, Sees 'Financial Return'

There is a link to slides up on slideshare underneath the link to the videos. It's an open course, so if you don't like watching the videos - please use the PowerPoint instead.

As far as communication channels, the forums are intended to foster discussion and conversations. The videos are used to provide either content for discussion or archive synchronous meetings each week.

The discussion videos are recording of live online events for people cannot make the synchronous event.

The World of Warcraft tours are recorded so people who don't play games can see what an MMORPG looks like and also have some of the game play explained.

Maybe - it's not the videos but the quality of the videos - I'll work on that! :)

twitter @kzenovka
Games MOOC Instructor and Designer
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#6415718 Jul 19, 2012 at 01:59 PM
128 Posts
I am torn about the video vs text.
I do like text, because I can read materials during my commute, but videos do break up my day, and I can have them on while doing something mechanical in the office (this way I can multitask). I can see how people might be interested in speaking with their avatars, or viewing other people's avatars, but I also acknowledge that this is not for me ;-) I have a SL avatat (Milo Vuckocic) but I rarely log in. Part of it is that I haven't been part of a community (so add me as a contact if you see me ;-) ), but part of it is also that it requires a time investment that I don't have at the moment.

Thus, I am more than happy to view videos by someone in avatar for, but it's not for me personally (unless an activity is hosted only in SL).

I think that if the videos were also available in MP3 format (audio only of course) it might make it easier for others to put them on their iPod and listen to the presentation while running/commuting/doing errands.
Feel free to call me "AK"
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