Staff Resources

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Why we are here

Schome is going to be 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. We are using Second Life to help us (a) explore ideas and (b) to help folk think more creatively about visions for schome.

On our islands in Second Life (SchomeBase on the Main Grid and Schome Park on the Teen Grid) we are currently working to develop the knowledge age skills of all participants - staff and students. We are using the P21 Framework to focus our thinking.

Check out Schome & Second Life for more info about why we are using Second Life within our schome work.

Staff

Information for staff planning to join the project is here.

Schome is based at the Open University, with many staff based at its centre in Milton Keynes. Other staff live and work across the UK - and in the US. As all staff work on the project part time, there are a lot of us. This should be the complete staff list - if you are a member of staff and are not on the list then please add yourself to it!
Staff have many roles on the project, but share responsibility for:

Try to keep the focus on knowledge-age skills and on how everyone who is part of the project can develop them.

Check the Events Page to ensure that there are events happening in world each week, and that these are supported by staff.

SParkers

Teenagers on the Schome Park islands, Alpha and Beta, have the second name Schomer. They have their own government with departments for building, co-ordination, education, events, general affairs, safety and scripting.

Active long-term members of Schome Park become members of a group called The Hawaiian Shirts (THS), who sometimes share modification rights on builds and who have access to a private section of the forum. To qualify for membership of THS

  • it must be at least two months since the student first took their avatar in world on a Schome island
  • they must have spent at least ten hours in world on a Schome island
  • they must have posted at least 20 times on the Schome forum
  • they must have made changes (however minor) to at least five Schome wiki pages
  • current members of the Hawaiian Shirts must be in favour of their membership.

These qualifications were formalised in November 2007, and Mars agreed to act as Membership Coordinator.

For more information on terms used on the project, see The Schome Park Dictionary.

Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)

Everyone joining the project has to sign up to the acceptable use policy, which can be summarised as:

   * Respect everyone in the schome community
   * Stay anonymous
   * Keep your password to yourself
   * Respect peoples' privacy
   * Keep it clean
   * Don’t harass people
   * Don’t assault
   * Don’t disturb the peace
   * Don’t overdo it

Currency

The official currency of SecondLife is Linden dollars. Linden dollars have real-world value and can be exchanged for real dollars via Paypal. As Schome Park is an isolated island, which has no traffic with the rest of the Teen Grid, there is little to spend money on. However, Schomers need money to form groups and upload textures. Staff can obtain Linden dollars from PeterT (TheSchome Ranger). Any money passed on to Schomers should be recorded immediately in the spending log.

Chatlogs

Schome is a research project. As well as our work in world we produce reports, journal articles, conference papers, posters and much more. To do this, and to judge the success of our work in world, we need to collect data. Staff in world should log chat at all times (talk to another member of staff in world if you are unsure how to do this). Chatlogs should be sent in to schome attached to an email, with a title line including your name and the date. Please note, Second Life will file all your chatlogs to the same file until you rename it. If you are in world a lot without submitting any chatlogs you will end up with one vast, unwieldy folder (we've all done it!)
Please set Second Life so it records dates and times of messages in chatlogs, and records instant messages with the chat rather than as separate files.

  • Chatlogs should be sent to schome-sl-help@open.ac.uk on a regular basis (as an attachment)
  • Rename the chatlog file 'SPP chatlog - <YourAvatar'sName> - <DatesCoveredByTheLog>' before sending it
  • The subject line for your email should say 'SPP chatlog - <YourAvatar'sName> - <DatesCoveredByTheLog>
  • In the body of the email provide a brief summary of any particularly significant things covered by the chatlog

The emergency button

If someone has a problem in Schome Park then this is what should happen:

  • They seek help in-world - (or via the forum/wiki - if the problem is minor or about how to do something in Schome Park) - in the problem is serious (ie needs immediate staff involvement) then they push the Emergency Help button in Schome Park
  • The system then checks whether any staff are on Schome Park and IMs them if they are to say that the person who pushed the button needs help - at which point that member of staff should contact the person who needs help (ideally by going to where they are in Schome Park)
  • If there are no staff in-world when the Emergency Help button is pushed then an email is sent to the schome-sl-help@open.ac.uk email account. This gets forwarded to all the staff on the circulation list.
  • When you receive an email that says 'SCHOME PARK HELP REQUIRED' - if you can go in-world at that point then you should
    • respond to the email to say that you are dealing with it
    • go in-world and find the person who requested help (the email tells you who pushed the button and when).

Remember that if you need help yourself then you can contact a member of the core team - the Schome Park Emergency Procedures document (which you will have been given a copy of) includes a list of contact numbers for core staff.

Staff discussion and coordination

There is an expectation that all staff will be keeping an eye on the following parts of the forum and wiki:

  • Personal messages (in the forum – accessed using the MY MESSAGES option in the menu that runs horizontally across below the header bar and above the discussion boards)
  • Schome Park Staff - a private discussion board only visible to members of staff – ie all adults – on the Schome Park Project
  • Reflection and forward planning - a public discussion board for discussion of how we are going to move forward with the Schome Park Programme
  • Schome Park Events - the page in the wiki where we document all scheduled activities (this is less important at times when Schome Park is closed to students but is critical at all other times)
  • Schome team wiki - this is a private space where staff can plan events/lessons if they want the final thing to be a surprise. You need to email peter to set up an account to use/see this.

The expectation is that all discussions will be held in the public discussion areas unless there is some very good reason why they should be private (eg they involve confidential or sensitive information).

Building

There are two sims (distinct parts) that make up Schome Park – the original island (SPalpha) which has lots of builds on it already and the new island (SPbeta) which is still being developed.

If you want to build on SPapha then you either have to stick to the Sandbox or you need to get planning permission from the building and planning department.

If you want to build on SPbeta then you need to get PeterT's agreement – we are keen to keep new builds on SPbeta in tune with the overall theme for that part of the Schome Park.

Any builds that are outside the Sandbox and which have not been agreed will be returned to their owner - this applies to staff and students.

Wiki moderation

Whilst there are staff who have a specific responsibility for moderating the wiki we rely on all members of the community contributing to this effort.

If you spot something in the wiki that you think is inappropriate then you should:

  • Notify the core team (details in the Schome Park Emergency Procedures document)

And

  • If the item is dubious but not extreme then post a comment which highlights your concerns in a constructive way (eg suggests a more appropriate way in which the same or similar things could have been expressed)
  • If the item is extreme then take a copy of the offending item and post it in the Moderation topic in the Schome Park Staff board and then either edit or remove the offending item from the wiki (it is important that we keep a record of any item we have removed cos we think it is inappropriate)

We use the Recent Changes facility (in the left hand menu on each wiki page to track changes to the wiki). The wiki moderation log is used to show which pages have been checked by a member of staff. The formal moderation process - which all members of staff are encouraged to assist with goes something like this:

  1. Go to recent changes
  2. Locate the last time that the Wiki moderation log was changed (ie find the first occurrence of it in the list of recent changes)
  3. Check each of the pages in the recent changes that have been changed more recently than the Wiki moderation log
  4. Repeat step 3 until all the pages have been checked
  5. Edit the Wiki moderation log (as explained at the top of that page)

Forum moderation

Whilst there are staff who have moderating the forum as an explicit part of their roles it is essential that all staff (and students) play an active part in moderating the forum.

If you spot something in the forum that you think is inappropriate then you should:

  • Notify the core team (details in the Schome Park Emergency Procedures document – copy attached)

And

  • If the item is dubious but not extreme then post a response which highlights your concerns in a constructive way (eg suggests a more appropriate way in which the same or similar things could have been expressed)
  • If the item is extreme then take a copy of the offending item and post it in the Moderation topic in the Schome Park Staff board and then either edit or remove the offending post from the forum (it is important that we keep a record of any item we have removed cos we think it is inappropriate). If you edit a post then you should add a note at the end of the message in the colour TEAL explaining that you have edited the post and why.

In-world support

All staff are expected to spend time in-world supporting the students. When you are new to Schome Park you will probably find the idea of running sessions a bit daunting - so initially what we expect is that staff will spend time in-world getting to know other members of the community and joining in with the activities that they are involved in.

Staff are expected to post information on the Schome Park Events page identifying when they are in-world - this is partly so that we can ensure sufficient spread of staff cover in-world and partly because the students like to know when staff are around to work alongside them. Use the Staff in world column if you are not running an activity but will be in Schome Park. (To edit the page you need to be logged into the wiki (using the same username and password as for the forum) - then click on the edit tab near the top of the window. Don't worry about messing up the page - the worst thing that can happen is that we have to roll-back to the version of the page before you edited it - so you really cannot do any damage - and having a go is the best way to figure out how to edit the page! You can get help by clicking on the Help option in the useful stuff menu on the left of each wiki page.)

Direct communication with students

Please note that no member of staff should communicate with students via email – unless they are using the schome-sl-help@open.ac.uk email account. You can use Private messages within the Forum to communicate with students – but you must ensure that you retain copies of all such communications.

(The exception to the above is where you have a dual role in relation to a student – ie you are a teacher in their school as well as a member of staff within the Schome Park Project. In this situation, and when you are acting in your capacity as a teacher in your school then you clearly can communicate with students in any ways that your school permits – however, Schome Park Project communications should abide by the Schome Park rules).

Research

Our research data includes chatlog data, forum/wiki data and sensor data. Faji's sensors on Schome Park record which avatars have been where, and for how long. See the summary page. More detailed statistics.

SPP Phase 3 - Staff meeting planner

Staff Research Interests in SPP