We learnt a few things in the first phase of the Open Habitat project which have informed the set-up of our next pilots. I’m currently planning the pilot that will run with philosophy students in Second Life. The main challenge with the first pilot was the sheer speed of debate in SL. The experienced philosophy students are used to being able to gather their thoughts, write a paragraph or two and pop it into a forum.
Taking the time to reflect is important in any educational process but it is especially precious to the discipline of philosophy. Having said this, the students loved the vibrant, social feeling of SL and the sense of presence being embodied in an avatar brought. In fact they liked it so much they have continued to run non-tutored sessions in SL once a week managed via a facebook group. (This included giving the students building rights so that they could rearrange the environment each week to fit the topic under discussion)
For phase 2 it was clear that we needed to balance the reflective and the dynamic which we are planning to do by ‘bookending’ the SL session with Moodle. Here is a draft of how the pilot will flow:
Stage One (framing the debate):
- Marianne (the tutor) to post briefing page on Moodle
- students to post kneejerk response in blog
- Marianne to respond one to one
- students to reconsider in light of Marianne’s comments and prepare second kneejerk
- second kneejerk to be posted on Moodle
- all students to read, think and prepare third kneejerk for posting on whiteboard in second life
- third kneejerk to be sent to Dave for posting in world
- Everyone arrives in second life to find third kneejerk responses on board
- People read these and reflect as everyone arrives
- Marianne asks each student in turn to comment
- after everyone has responded people go into groups (arranged in advance), go to their ‘stations’ and prepare jointly a ‘final statement’
- final statements to be sent to Dave
- Marianne reconvenes students and the session ends with a final discussion.
- Marianne to annotate final statements, and add comments
- Dave to post final statements and the chat log on Moodle
- Students free to discuss final statements and Marianne’s comments by themselves.