Author Topic: Discussion of draft thingy  (Read 14189 times)

Offline PeterT

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Discussion of draft thingy
« on: September 04, 2008, 08:21:31 PM »
This topic is for discussing changes to draft thingy

Offline Fox Phlox

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2008, 08:48:58 AM »
Don't forget to add categories to all your new wiki pages.  >:D
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Offline PeterT

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2008, 11:31:15 AM »
I think that this article is well written and gives a very good OU perspective on the stuff happening on 'the OU islands'.  8) However, I am anxious that it doesn't recognise the distinctions between Open Life and SchomeBase and, even more importantly perhaps, seems to imply that 'the OU islands' are exclusively for OU students.  :P

My view of the world (or at least this little section of it) goes something like this: The OU has an island called Open Life which it wants to use to enhance student learning. The Schome Initiative has an island (SchomeBase) which it wants to use to explore alternative education systems - with a particular focus on empowering learners, informal learning, alternative forms of recognition of learning, etc..

In the first year or two most of the OU staff involved in working in Second Life were also involved in the Schome Initiative (specifically the Schome Park Programme) - so there were strong links between the OU and Schome Initiative.

There seemed to be mutual benefit in the OU island (Open Learn) and the Schome Initiative island (SchomeBase) being co-located and sharing resources. There was also what appeared to be an obvious division of activity into 'formal OU teaching' (ie as part of a course) and 'informal learning' (with the former being focussed on Open Learn and the latter being focussed on SchomeBase). So it was agreed to move the islands together.

The community on SchomeBase originally (before Open Learn and SchomeBase were co-located) included folk who were expressly interested in the Schome Initiative (see http://www.schome.ac.uk/wiki/Schome and http://www.schome.ac.uk/wiki/Schome_%26_Second_Life for more info). With the co-location a new community has started to develop which consists almost entirely of OU staff and students (only a small proportion of whom were originally involved with SchomeBase or the Schome Initiative more generally).

The things that the new community are doing are totally schomey in nature. However, the new community has little if any knowledge of what the Schome Initiative is all about. One of the consequences of this is that there is a danger that folk who are not part of the OU but are interested in the Schome Initiative feel excluded (even if there is no intention on the part of members of the new community for that to happen). Indeed they identify themselves first and foremost as members of the OU community (and probably don't identify themselves as being part of the schommunity at all).

What I would like to see happening is a community developing which is genuinely open to everyone (whether they are an OU students or not) and which helps us develop our understandings of what education systems could/should be like. The sorts of activities that are currently taking place on SchomeBase (and are identified in the draft article) are exactly the sorts of things that I would hope were happening on SchomeBase - so the change I'm talking about is minimal in terms of activity.   :)

Does that make sense?  ???

Is there some way to reflect this in the draft - without having to change it much?  ???

Offline Becka

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2008, 01:27:48 PM »
I totally agree with you. It seems to me that the problem isn't about what we are all doing but how it is defined. We split ourselves into groups on the basis of how we became aware of the island. Perhaps a shift from calling ourselves OU students or Schomers to all being Schomers would be a good solution? I have no problem with this as our fundemantal aims (mine at least) are aligned with the principles of Schome anyway. I believe that the purpose of an OU presence is catered for by these principles to. What would be really good, is for a presentation to be arranged that outlines the reason for the development of both islands and the future of them which think is what both you and Elsa were eluding to last night?

Offline PeterT

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2008, 06:33:35 PM »
... What would be really good, is for a presentation to be arranged that outlines the reason for the development of both islands and the future of them which think is what both you and Elsa were eluding to last night?

Indeed - Elsa and I are planning to do exactly that - provisionally thinking about the evening of Monday the 15th September ...

Wondering how other folk feel about all of this ...  ???

Offline Dan

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2008, 06:52:40 AM »
I'd certainly be interested to hear how Schome is going to make a more explicit appearance on the main grid, and how it will demonstrate, not just state this.
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Offline Scathach

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2008, 09:36:49 PM »
Quote
The community on SchomeBase originally (before Open Learn and SchomeBase were co-located) included folk who were expressly interested in the Schome Initiative (see http://www.schome.ac.uk/wiki/Schome and http://www.schome.ac.uk/wiki/Schome_%26_Second_Life for more info). With the co-location a new community has started to develop which consists almost entirely of OU staff and students (only a small proportion of whom were originally involved with SchomeBase or the Schome Initiative more generally).

The things that the new community are doing are totally schomey in nature. However, the new community has little if any knowledge of what the Schome Initiative is all about. One of the consequences of this is that there is a danger that folk who are not part of the OU but are interested in the Schome Initiative feel excluded (even if there is no intention on the part of members of the new community for that to happen). Indeed they identify themselves first and foremost as members of the OU community (and probably don't identify themselves as being part of the schommunity at all).


I totally agree.  In fact you have identified the problem I had when drafting this article.  I wanted to include some information about the Schome Initiative but wasn't sure how the two communities fit together, also, how much the intended readership of the article (OU students) knew about Schome.   The article can certainly be amended to address this.  Also, the format of articles on the Sesame website provide a sidebar for links to related URLs, articles, etc.  Perhaps we could include the URLs you have given or links to some other relevant article?


NB. Edited by PeterT to put the quote code back in so that it was clear it was a quote.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2008, 04:19:31 PM by PeterT »

Offline Fox Phlox

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2008, 09:40:31 AM »
OK - now I've worked out that the 'draft thingy' is actually the draft of an article for the Open University magazine 'Sesame' introducing students to their new immersive campus based on the Second Life sim of OpenLearn.

I think it does that well - and provides a good summary of what is happening on OpenLearn, which is a good-looking, well developed sim that is obviously developing a thriving community.

However, the article either glosses over SchomeBase or conflates it with OpenLife. The two islands have different purposes. One is primarily designed to provide an immersive campus for OU students. The other is designed to support development of  'a new form of educational system designed to overcome the problems within current education systems. It will meet the needs of society and individuals in the twenty-first century and will be a system which values and supports people learning throughout their lives.'

I don't think we can refer to work on OpenLearn or SchomeBase being 'schomey' if we haven't defined what schomey is, and if the people there have no idea of what Schome is or could be. What are the key values of Schome? Where are they articulated? Are we making any effort to see that people visiting SchomeBase are aware of those values and adhering to them? In what ways is SchomeBase currently supporting the development of Scome? In what ways will it do so in the future?

I think that, if I first visited the OpenLife sim as a result of reading the 'draft thingy' I would not be aware when I crossed the boundary from SchomeBase to OpenLife, I would not be aware that there were two islands, I would be unaware of Schome, and I would be resentful if - subsequently - some people referring to themselves as Schome came to assert their rights on the island and to demand that I adhered to their values.

I therefore think the article ought to be divided into two sections or, if space does not allow for that - I think there should be two articles about two different (but connected) islands.
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Offline Kickaha Wolfenhaut

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2008, 06:22:59 PM »
The two islands have different purposes. One is primarily designed to provide an immersive campus for OU students. The other is designed to support development of  'a new form of educational system...
Either this view is slightly out of date of what's happeing on the ground is in serious conflict with policy. A number of Open University students took up residence on Schomebase some time ago. The area they occupy is a hothouse of ideas - both of the conventional type and the more "schomey." These ideas blossom into activities, many of which happen on Open Life. I would be very disappointed in the Open Life admin if they started objecting to this on principle.

What are the key values of Schome? Where are they articulated? Are we making any effort to see that people visiting SchomeBase are aware of those values and adhering to them?
The "key values" of Schome aren't presently articulated anywhere on Schomebase. This is a situation which I expect will change for the better over coming weeks. Regular meetings are held in-world to discuss on-the-ground development. The ratio of Schome folk to OU staff and students at these meetings has increased of late and can only serve to help in this area.


I think that, if I first visited the OpenLife sim as a result of reading the 'draft thingy' I would not be aware when I crossed the boundary from SchomeBase to OpenLife, I would not be aware that there were two islands, I would be unaware of Schome, and I would be resentful if - subsequently - some people referring to themselves as Schome came to assert their rights on the island and to demand that I adhered to their values.
As I understand it (and I may be wrong) the plan is for all first time visitors to arrive on Schomebase, rather than Open Life. (I'm excluding from this OU students who are making their way straight to a specific OU event on Open Life.) Not only that, but they will arrive in the "Schome nOUbie Centre" which is precisely where we can run riot with information on Schome and its values. Of course, the "physical"(!) and political differences between OU and Schome shouldn't be glossed over in the Sesame article. But it is aimed at OU students and staff. Going much beyond a tempting travel guide and brief summary of aims is likely to turn potential visitors off before they even arrive.
By the way, I don't think OU students and staff, visiting Schomebase as a result of reading the article, are likely to fall foul of Schome personnel asserting their rights and demanding adherence to their values. Some weeks ago the island was visited en masse by a group of about 10 - 20 avatars, all bearing the title "Schomer." OU students in their flats were surprised to find unexpected visitors joining them unannounced. Other OU students either chanced upon these Schomers while out and about, or actively sought the visitors out to offer help and guidance. I know of not one reported case where a Schomer did anything other than completely ignore the students concerned. I have met one or two Schome folk in-world since then and been struck by their dedication and receptiveness; but more sensitive students who have not had my good fortune could be forgiven for thinking that their presence on Schomebase (and, by implication, their efforts at promoting a lively, positive and innovative atmosphere of learning for the benefit of all comers) is, at best, part of some cold sociology experiment or, at worst, actively resented. I would love to tell those who feel that way that their suspicions are wrong.

One way to foster the continuing enthusiasm of the OU students, who, not to put too fine a point on it, are a willing and able workforce by any other name, would be to emphasise the important differences between OU and Schome while simultaneously embracing their similarities. Another is to allow Scath's article to mention Schome (perhaps, to be fair, in quite some detail) without becoming a treatise on isolationism.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2008, 06:23:40 AM by Kickaha Wolfenhaut »

Offline Fox Phlox

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2008, 06:48:11 PM »
I've heard other reports of this occasion when a group of Schomers turned up on SchomeBase and ignored everyone. Does anyone know what was going on? As far as I know, there hasn't been a Schome meeting on SchomeBase for a few months - just a few of us turning up in individual capacities.

My guess is that there was a some good reason for not talking - for example, if something complicated was going on in 'real life' at the same time. Whatever the case, it would be good to have it explained.
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Offline Amba SParker

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2008, 09:26:48 PM »
I've heard other reports of this occasion when a group of Schomers turned up on SchomeBase and ignored everyone. Does anyone know what was going on? As far as I know, there hasn't been a Schome meeting on SchomeBase for a few months - just a few of us turning up in individual capacities.

My guess is that there was a some good reason for not talking - for example, if something complicated was going on in 'real life' at the same time. Whatever the case, it would be good to have it explained.


This happened when I was actively using SchomeBase for my own research (about a year ago). I found out afterwards that there is a set of avatars, I can't remember their exact names, but they are something like Schomer[Number/Letter], which are used on OU staff training days. I seem to remember that one in particular liked my merry-go-round and had several rides on it!  lol I was told afterwards that they were very new to Second Life, were all together in the same room in RL, and yes, there was a lot going on!

Offline Kickaha Wolfenhaut

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2008, 06:17:14 AM »
Firstly: Apologies for taking the thread somewhat off topic. Looking back at my previous post I realise that perhaps this wasn't the place to mention the issue. But now we've started, lol:

The numbered avatars Amba mentions interest me. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the visitors we saw (in July???) were similarly named. A couple of my companions at the time guessed that we might be looking at a fleet of reusable avatars piloted by complete beginners. They will feel smug when I confirm their suspicions, lol.

Though we residents encounter newborn avatars on an almost daily basis without such communication problems, it's comforting to learn that our unhappy experiences were caused merely by unfamiliarity with the interface and environment. I'll certainly take that nugget back to my fellows. I am curious (for no good reason other than curiosity) about what such a swarm of avatars was actually up to that day, and about who was controlling them. I also wonder whether, in Real Life, a party of folk who have trouble moving and poor communication skills would be thought well served if they were left to wander a strange island without supervision, lol.

Do you think it might be in everybody's best interests if this type of shared avatar use by novices were explained to the residents?  If warnings - via the Schome Educators Group IM - could be given when these events are about to actually happen (along with a note on whether or not I and my friends should to leave Schomer 31a and his pals in peace) then so much the better.

Offline Amba SParker

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2008, 08:38:04 AM »
lol lol ... and I was worrying that I had taken the discussion off topic ... (I'm afraid I have no idea who is behind the numbered avatars but the idea of a safe "nursery" sounds fun!).

Going back to some of your original points, in my mind, the difference between Open Life and SchomeBase is very clear: One is a teaching (and social) island; the other is a research (and social) island. Both obviously belong to the OU and are largely used by OU students and staff.

All University teaching involves an element of research, and all research into education involves learning and teaching at some level. There is a huge amount of overlap, and tremendous potential for collaborative work.

The difference is that whilst outsiders can get involved in research through partnership (or less formal arrangements) with the Open University, there is no way that they can (or would want to) get involved in the teaching / learning directly relating to OU courses and students.

Schome research, I think, so far, has been project based. The “Schome Research Programme” is an overarching ethos / approach which has so far included a wide variety of very different research projects. It started off as smallish venture and none of us could have predicted the dramatic way in which is has expanded or the high levels of interest from outside the OU. Simple words like “Schomer” have become heavily overloaded with different meanings, so it is not surprising that a few misunderstanding have occurred.

I would have thought it would be useful if some the differences of purpose could be highlighted in the article for Sesame to reduce the potential for future misunderstandings. Thanks for explaining Fox, I had not been able to understand what this topic was about before you explained that. Thanks also for the detailed reply, Kickaha, it has helped me to see yours and others point of view.

Offline Elsa

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2008, 10:11:14 AM »
The last few months have been a huge learning curve for me in understanding how the OU might use Second Life, whilst also keeping my Schome hat firmly on my head.  It's been exciting to be part of the evolution of an inworld community and interesting to start to get some idea about the different spaces that we need inworld to meet different needs.  Peter and I had a long talk about this last week and I think finally it's starting to shake down in a way that can be used to inform a strategy for going forward.  The discussion going on here is really useful as it confirms pretty much what we've been saying about the distinctions between the islands, especially Kickaha's input and Amba's last posting.  What I'm going to do this week is try and write it all up into a formal document to discuss with Denise, who is the OU PV-C for Learning and Teaching and has the final say on strategy for the OU presence in virtual worlds.  Of course Schome is a distinct project with the right to be autonomous within that strategy, but I hope that maintaining SchomeBase as a social space that anyone can use, much as it is at the moment and with all the great things happening on it, will be a really positive way forward for seeing lots of Schomey activity in the main grid.  We are very aware that at the moment lots of people visit with little or no understanding of what Schome is about (although there is more information now than there's ever been on the island, as there are the original signs plus bigger posters in the noubie centre), so one of the topics for discussion at the noubie meeting last Thursday was how we can 'force' newcomers to the island through a process of information, and thus keep SchomeBase Schomecentric (oooooh what a horrible word).  Any more ideas on this (or anything else) are extremely welcome.

I'm off to the events page now to add a discussion for the evening of Monday 15th, when Peter and I will be co-located in the real world for once, and I hope that everyone will come along to that inworld and talk further... 

Offline Dan

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Re: Discussion of draft thingy
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2008, 03:30:22 PM »
I suppose my question is to what extent Schome should aim to not just tell people what it's about, but to show/demonstrate/involve people in Schomey behaviour and/or experiences.
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