YouTube as forum for academic discussion?

Digital Ethnography (Kansas State) is one of the links in my right column, the “blogroll.” Some time ago the site featured a video titled “A Vision of Students Today.”  Now on YouTube, a visual response to the original, taking another view of the material. Rather than try to explain it all, I’ll provide a URL so that you can find background and links to both videos in the Chronicle: http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/article/2707/dueling-videos-scholar-creates-spoof-of-another-academics-youtube-hit. I would encourage you to take a look. It’s an example of how we can use these AV tools to discuss, to provoke, to teach, to learn.

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Trying to find us in SL?

If you have difficulty finding University of KY island in Second Life or if you are unsure how to get started, here’s a webpage that is basic now but will eventually grow. It will get you started. It’s a link off http://www.uky.edu/TASC/ (or go directly there at http://www.uky.edu/TASC/IT/SecondLife/sled.htm.)

the island’s been busy

We have had many new visitors to and inquiries about University of KY island in Second Life, thanks to the article in the Kentucky Kernel. That’s great! Come and visit! A couple of things I would add for your information:

  • The island is in its infancy, and so it is really in a testing phase. Please be patient as things change and grow. 
  • If you are searching for the island, search this phrase: University of KY
  • If you want to set the island as your home, you need to join the University of Kentucky group. Search on University of Kentucky under groups and then join. Send an IM to Wildcat Thursday, Island Administrator, if you have difficulty. (We’re still working out the kinks. Bear with us.)
  • Please keep building and experimentation to the Sandbox area. That’s what it’s for, and it helps by keeping the island cleaned up. (Items in the sandbox are auto-returned to you after five hours.)

Please post, IM or leave messages in-world on the island about your impressions, ideas and comments. And enjoy!

on viruses

Viruses. Of the computer kind, I mean. Yuck. We arm ourselves with antivirus software and personal firewalls, and we hope for the best. If you’ve ever lost data, irretrievably, to a virus then you know the consuming fury or anguish that inevitably follows. It happened in my household years ago after we first began exploring the online world. After that, of course, we learned all about our friendly antivirus software, linked inexplicably in my mind with a certain sidekick on a particular black-and-white television program. When that software slows down operations, my husband and I are known to snarl its name in a Kramden-like voice. Hey, if you can’t make fun of your software, then you have no business mucking about with it in the first place. But I digress. So we know how to manage our susceptibility to that type of virus. But there’s another type of computer virus: the honest-truth email that isn’t. At all. It never was. The worst kinds are armed with “statistics,” sound the note of our fears, or play on our sense of outrage. In a way, they remind me of the high school sophomore essays I once graded, full of emotion and blind acceptance of what “they” say. I’ve sung this song before, but I think another verse is in order from time to time, reminding us that part of a student’s education should include application of critical evaluation. Fortunately, electronic communications, while it does provide us more than our share of garbage, also provides us tools for sorting through the garbage. If you, your students, your friends, or that really annoying person who will not stop sending those emails needs some help sorting out the good, the bad and the ugly, here are a few resources online:

  • Snopes.com – usually a trip here will not only inform but amuse
  • f-secure – helps with information about many virus-related and other hoaxes
  • Vmyths – dedicated to the “eradication of computer virus hysteria”
  • The Urban Legend Combat Kit – just what it sounds like

And a warning: Even if an email or site says its been checked through Snopes.com or another resource, go ahead and check it yourself. Sometimes *gasp* it’s a lie. C’mon. Didn’t your mother tell you not to listen to strangers with candy?

virtual worlds

ABCnews.com carried a story this weekend about academic study of virtual worlds, like Second Life. Researchers are “following players down the rabbit hole” to learn more about the real world by observing a virtual one. An interesting thought … but what sort of conclusions can you draw in a world where you may or may not be observing behaviors that represent the real person behind the avatar? Of course, that opens the door to other interesting questions… .

le book

This has been a difficult week to get a post in. But of couse I could not miss Friday fluff. Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in a presentation for University of Kentucky Libraries. We started the hour off with this amusing video of tech support for “le book.” Enjoy, and have a good weekend!

blog-based peer review

“Blog-based peer review.” It’s an experiment that began yesterday (see the Chronicle article) on a small scale. (Well, that’s perspective speaking. If you run the blog, it’s definitely a large-scale project.) Great opportunity for multiple voices? Flame-throwers’ paradise? Check it out: Grand Text Auto