May 3, 2012: Special Interview with Shailey Minocha

May 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Grizzla in Transcripts

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Transcript of the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable May 3, 2012

Special Interview with Shailey Minocha

Photos by Grizzla & Sheila. Join our VWER groups at Flickr and Koinup to add your own pictures!

VWER 3rd May, Shailey and Kali

Kali Pizzaro: Hi everyone, and welcome to the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable. We meet each Thursday at 11:30am SLT for an hour. 7:30pm In UK, 2:30pm EST

Kali Pizzaro: The Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable is a forum to educate and inform the community about issues that are important and relevant to education.

Kali Pizzaro: This is a public meeting, so we will be keeping and publishing a transcript of what is said in local chat. If you’ve not seen our transcripts, you should check them out – they are an excellent information asset.

Kali Pizzaro: The transcripts can be found at our web site – select the LIBRARY tab at the top.

Kali Pizzaro: The Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable continues to develop a community of educators from around the world with a variety of thoughts, needs, and ideas. Please join the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable group here in SL. If you are on Facebook, please

Kali Pizzaro: join our group there – Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable.

Kali Pizzaro: You can also find and post pictures to our Flickr group and follow us on Twitter @VWER. When you blog or tweet, please remember to include the tag #vwer.


Kali Pizzaro: Tonight is a Special voice meeting, an interview with Dr. Shailey Minocha from the Centre for Research in Computing at the Open University. Transcription will be supplied by Sheila and Dan so you will see them post into open chat

Shailey: I work at the Open University

Shailey: in the department of computing, supporting masters and phd students

Shailey: my main research domain is human computer interaction

Shailey: e-commerce etc. plus elearning

Shailey: We wanted to introduce web 2.0 tools, and wanted to evaluate them before and after they were used, and that is how I got interested in use of technology in learning.


Shailey: In Jan 2008 it was suggested I look at Second Life – but I hadn’t thought of using it. I thought at first it was another “fancy” idea.

Liana Hubbenfluff: Dr. Shailey Minocha website:

Shailey: I asked my brother’s advice; he said to give it a try – so I gave myself a deadline, try it for 2 weeks.

Shailey: I visited Simon Bignall at the University of Derby and asked how he used it. He gave several examples particularly working with autism.

Shailey: I then attended the sloodle conference and I met people from all over the world.

Shailey: I met Esme from ISTE, who gave me tours.

Shailey: I met people I would never otherwise would have met.

Shailey: In less than 2 weeks I realised SL was worth investigating – especially since the OU has only distance learners

Shailey: so those 2 weeks were very significant

Prof. Dan (profdan.netizen): Echo

Kali: Socialization and online learning–getting students engaged can be difficult, what do you mean by socialization and its importance to online learning?

Shailey Garfield: is the paper that Kali is talking about.

Shailey: this paper is now in the public domain, open access

Liana Hubbenfluff: Yay Open Access!!!!

Shailey: I wrote this in 2008

Shailey: Socialisation is the process of coming together for a common purpose, learning about norms and rules of social conduct, so before you start with collaborative activity this is the first stage

Kali: In f2f environment that can be easy, but much more challenging online; how do you promote such online?

Shailey: Yes, that’s why I started looking into this: we had introduced wikis and blogs in our courses, the tools in our VLE moodle,

Shailey: What we found in research – despite giving them a place to collaborate – students weren’t using those tools

Shailey: They weren’t commenting on each other’s contributions or collaborating.

Shailey: We asked them why.

Inertial Voom: I suspect they didn’t collaborate because we tend to reward competition

Inertial Voom: Which is the opposite of collaboration

Shailey: They said we don’t know each other well enough to review each others’ comments

Grizzla: This fits so well with what Dan talked about too

Shailey: This made me realise we had to have more than an icebreaker – so they know what their constraints and commitments are, their personal interest and so forth – so we should help them get to know each other.

Edith Halderman: Were these students taught collaboration in high school in context of PBL?

Liana Hubbenfluff: Inertial: opposite of collaboration is ignorance?

Inertial Voom: Currently, I work with incarcerated children or juveniles

Edith Halderman: Liana – I think the opposite is competition

Shailey: We looked at a course with blogs and we found that there was one group where the tutor had introduced social discussion – for example why did you take this course, what were your holidays

Liana Hubbenfluff: Antonym of collaboration = noncooperation

Shailey: We observed that this one group was continuing to use the blogs more than the rest of the class

Shailey: they even took this practice to the next module

Inertial Voom: When we compete, we tend to treat others as enemies, unless they are on your team.

VWER 3rd May,

Shailey: so we understood that you can’t expect people to understand the affordances of the tools without familiarisation – so this is where we saw that SL could be excellent for this familiarisation

Inertial Voom: Competition kills collaboration.

Grizzla has the humble opinion, based on experience, that there can be healthy competition within collaboration


Shailey: through hunts, discussions and we indeed find that the students then collaborated with others in other platforms too e.g. in blogs – so this is why I started looking at socialisation.

Shailey: SL synergistically complements other environments. Other educators were asking us – how does SL fits with these other web 2.0 tools?

Inertial Voom: I see the biggest problem with incarcerated people, but most especially juveniles, is a lack of positive self esteem and poor socialization skills.

VWER 3rd May,

Prof. Dan (profdan.netizen): 27 people on sim

Shailey: so that’s why I wrote the paper, showing how to combine with other blogs, discussion forums etc.

Kali: I can see what you’re talking about, however, tutor’s role in socialization?

Shailey: The role of the tutor is on the design of activities. VWs provide a number of affordances: persistant environment etc etc etc

Shailey: The role of the tutor includes making best use of these affordances.

Shailey: When we designed – we had quizzes , hunts etc when we were designing together in SL we got to know our students better

Shailey: You must design activities which exploits these affordances

Liana Hubbenfluff: I wonder how “play” affects education

Shailey: Indeed you may still have tutorials and seminars; some people like them.

Shailey:But integrate activities e.g. go on a trip, then have a panel session

Prof. Dan (profdan.netizen): panel discussion, good idea!

Inertial Voom: Kairos prison ministry does this, and truly creates socialization in prison.

Liana Hubbenfluff: oh interesting Inertial

Inertial Voom: We have the creation talk which tells the individuals that they are a special creation improving self esteem

Inertial Voom: we next have masks, which we use to hide from each other

Kali: A number of activities/tasks you can do here that can’t be found in 2D online venues, like social presence, how do you see socialisation and social presence working into knowledge construction?

Shailey: We were looking at the literature while we worked on the paper.

Shailey: What I noticed interaction and social presence, they influence each other if there is a high level of interaction that results in more social presence.

Inertial Voom: We have skits of 6 negative masks, with two in a skit or 3 skits

Edith Halderman: Liana – watched a toddler play recently? what is happening? ah, they are learning. who says we all don’t learn well this way?

Inertial Voom: “I do not need anyone” and Religious

Liana Hubbenfluff: I’m with you Edith ^^

Inertial Voom: King of the Hill and Victim

Inertial Voom: finally anger and laughter

Edith Halderman: like I said, great minds think alike

Shailey: You get to know more about norms etc and also a sense of sharing same time and space

Liana Hubbenfluff: wow Inertial

Shailey: The lit say that asynchronous communication forms cannot build up social presence

Shailey: there are not such well defined norms, more options for lurking, there is low immediateness

Shailey: So that is the problem with asynchronous technologies

Shailey: socialisation is the antecedent to interaction

Edith Halderman: how does the level of trust here compare to the level of trust experienced in a RL classroom?

Shailey: An icebreaker is NOT enough; socialisation must be done throughout. Also using blogs and wikis as well as SL

Edith Halderman: socialization -> let’s dance!

Inertial Voom: In Kairos we create “Table Families” which create a safe place for people to open up, and allow others to know them.

Shailey: So you design it through the course so socialisation can lead to knowledge construction

Shailey: When looking at this we remembered the Nonaka and Takeuchi model of knowledge construction

Kali Pizzaro: do you have a copy of that?

Shailey: tacit knowledge being converted to explicit knowledge

Shailey: tacit knowledge being the knowledge you have in your head, not expressed outside you

Shailey: socialisation is the first element in the model

Shailey: this leads to externalisation, the 2nd box in the model

Shailey: the tacit becomes explicit, out there

Spiral Theas: SECI Model:

Kali Pizzaro: thanks Spiral

Shailey: having done the externalisation activity you can combine the knowledge e.g. by putting it on a wiki

Shailey: then the 4th element is Internalisation where you internalise the knowledge, make it your own

Edith Halderman: interacting with the content at each stage

Shailey: so I thought, you can do the 1st 2 stages in SL, the third in wiki or blog; the final one can be done anywhere

Liana Hubbenfluff: sounds like life

Edith Halderman: doesn’t it?

Liana Hubbenfluff: yesssss

Liana Hubbenfluff: it’s how I learn


Shailey: I wanted to show how you could combine these web 2 tools; this models enables you to demonstrate that

Shailey: our learners and tutors because they are in different locations, students have jobs etc

Inertial Voom: What I would like to see is a plan to allow incarcerated juveniles into a virtual world where these kids could learn good values, and socialize successfully

Kali Pizzaro: nice point Inertial

Shailey: so this means not everyone can attend all the time synchronously so you can’t have anything synchronous

Inertial Voom: I have been working as much as I can for this concept.

Shailey: that is impossible

Liana Hubbenfluff: oh I like that!!! can’t do everything in SL but combine! lol

Edith Halderman: Inertial then SL is not the place for this

Liana Hubbenfluff: *facepalm

Shailey: but with the structure of these 4 stages you can construct activities using all the tools – so I could situate VWs distinctly and properly with the other virtual tools

Edith Halderman: I would go to OpenSim

Inertial Voom: Not necessarily SL, but a virtual world that has many of the the tools of SL.

Edith Halderman: less “Las Vegas” elements in other words

Liana Hubbenfluff: awesome Shailey!

Shailey: this was the first paper I wrote on VWs

Inertial Voom: With the use of machinima the kids could actually see how they respond to specific phenomena or problems

Kali: We are still many years after you wrote the paper, still faced with the challenge of convincing colleagues this is an effective place to learn.

Edith Halderman: Inertial : would be interesting to measure the empathy, integrity, or whatever we call it, levels of people in VWs

Edith Halderman: do these differ?

Inertial Voom: I do not think it will be an effective way to learn, until the avatar can interact with objects directly and not through scripts and animations.

Inertial Voom: I see this coming with mesh technology.

Liana Hubbenfluff: Edith: I wonder if there’s really much difference; we are who we are

Kali: some questions from Moderator:

Prof. Dan (profdan.netizen): “Have you done any research comparing social presence between virtual worlds and 2D conference apps or software?”

Shailey: comparison of the social presence of these 2 elements

Edith Halderman: ProfDan – How do we move forward convincing colleagues of the engagement level of VWs?

Inertial Voom: if we can not show a simple thing like removing a nut from a bolt.

Shailey: I introduced it to a level 2 undergrad course. They had been using Skype and some other tools

Inertial Voom: we can not truly train people how to do things.

Shailey: Then we compared their experiences… I will just look this up

Shailey: as some of the students said how it differed e.g. from videoconferencing

Edith Halderman: Liana: Yes, but doesn’t exposure to addictive elements negatively influence certain personalities?

Shailey: Here in SL we feel like we are sitting in a real space

Shailey: Another said – we could communicate as if we were in the same room

Edith Halderman: there it is – no judgement applied

Shailey: Another said it was like meeting them but even better as we are not influenced by ethnicity

Edith Halderman: THAT is key

Kali Pizzaro: Please try to keep the text free for the transcript and we will have open chat for q near the end

Prof. Dan (profdan.netizen): cool

Shailey: Also that it is better than videoconferencing because you don’t have to worry about appearance, what you are wearing

Kali Pizzaro: thanks

Shailey: So I didn’t compare social presence explicitly but the tools in general, including conferencing software:

Liana Hubbenfluff: Edith: need to think about that… sometimes you discover things like your addictions in SL and then can see it better

Edith Halderman: back-channeling

Kali Pizzaro: How important is a “handshake” period (where people get to know each other) in subsequent collaboration?

Kali: question from Edith.

Shailey: I don’t think I could define a definite period, but it shouldn’t only happen at the start, especially when it is distance learning

Edith Halderman: continuously throughout – great thoughts!

Edith Halderman: that is best practices


Shailey: Perhaps have them at different milestones in the course, because the sense of presence can diminish over time if you are not collaborating all the time.

Liana Hubbenfluff: Many instructors think just have socialization in the beginning then it’s done

Shailey: If it is a large class it may not build so quickly, it depends on the learning space and the design of activities

Shailey: The space also impacts on the sense of awareness of the students

Liana Hubbenfluff: The activities are a challenge which the students all share: experience builds familiarity

Inertial Voom: I think you can have several teams working together on a project with different focus on the various aspects of the problem.

Shailey Garfield: is the paper that compares VW with other conferencing tools (response to Dan’s earlier Q)

Kali Pizzaro: Were these students taught collaboration in high school in context of PBL

Shailey: We have a very diverse population of students in terms of age and background experience

Al Supercharge: <copies and pastes chat – for the best argument for SL vs Skype/Webex/GoToMeeting >

Spiral Theas: Shailey, have you found that there is a preferred or recommended order in which to use the various tools. Blogging following a virtual world experience? before? Wikis when?

Sheila Yoshikawa: they may be looking for a better career etc

Shailey: We can’t make any assumptions about their background

Shailey: also the courses are diverse

Shailey: When we first introduced blogs etc in courses, we couldn’t assume students knew about them

Shailey: Also students take different routes, so we introduce everything afresh. Lots of OU students are working, not straight from school

Inertial Voom: which OU, Sheila? I live in Norman, OK

Grizzla: 28 here for the transcript

Sheila Yoshikawa: I can say that the open uni is THE distance learning university in the UK

Kali: does the level of leadership play a part in the learning?

Tori Landau:

Shailey: We were investigating the relationship between the design of learning spaces and the design of learning e.g. the level of “realism”

Shailey: There were different kinds of Realism: photorealism, artistic realism.

Shailey: For distance learning students, some kind of realism helps because they don’t visit the university itself except perhaps for summer schools

Shailey: Students prefer learning spaces that are realistic to start with. Only when they are more familiar with VWs and how to interact with VWs, then they feel more comfortable with fantasy spaces.

Shailey: these fantasy spaces foster creativity and fun so whenever we gave them a set of spaces we gave 10 or 11 choices

Shailey: they chose boardroom style etc to start with, then in the middle of the course they liked treehouses, finally building themselves houses in the sky etc

Shailey: So, for design courses, we conduct them in sandboxes as then people can work together; you can see what people are doing

Shailey: so this also inspired colleagues to take this approach

Liana Hubbenfluff: would love that!

Shailey: There is a paper that discusses findings and design principles for VW learning:, also

Kali Pizzaro: How often did students meet? Once a week? Twice? An hour, two hours at a time? What is optimal

Shailey: It depends on the type of activity. Once a week, for the software engineering course i’ve been talking about, as it involved teamwork

Shailey: but we noticed they were coming in more. They enjoyed being here – though of course not all, but those students who had fewer constraints on time


Shailey: In another course it was whenever the coursework was due, so targeting sessions for when the students needed the support and face to face most, giving them tutorials

Shailey: So whatever we’ve done, it depends on the learning activity, it depends on the learning design

Kali Pizzaro: Galileo asks: how do the more negative aspects of VWs fit into the socialization calculus? e.g. griefing seems as common as collaborative activities, negative experiences in collaborative activities?

Shailey: I have been very fortunate! I have never had these difficulties

Kali Pizzaro: I have no problem either

Shailey: I don’t know whether it is because our students are adult learners, or to do with the venues, the islands we used

Shailey: In fact I normally take students to different spaces to match different spaces. Very difficult to do this in RL, but can in SL, but still I didn’t have the griefing problems

Shailey: is the paper that discusses the relationship between design of activities and design of spaces (in response to the realism Q earlier)

Kali Pizzaro: Is there a place in SL you might suggest new SL users could go to learn the basic skills to feel at ease with their avatar?

Kali: NAVY project came out with guidelines for navigating the world. Please tell us about….

Shailey: Normally we impart these skills ourselves, so they can do communication of different types, designing our own activities, imparting basic skills through tours

Shailey: otherwise, I would say Virtual Ability island

Shailey: Looking at the project on navigating, we found Virtual Ability island was at the top in our evaluations on a number of factors

Shailey: coming back to the NAVY project conducted by an MSc student: we evaluated 11 islands, developed a set of guidelines from the usability literature and also from RL way-finding and from virtual reality literature

Shailey: We kept adding guidelines so now we have 200+ guidelines on how to design navigation, how to use teleports, landmarks, notecards, landing points …

Shailey: and as part of the project we observed users, we gave tasks to people e.g. find the library! and noticed where they struggled to find their way

Shailey: We used post-observation interviews, and various other things

Al Supercharge: can’t download report without logging in

Shailey: also there are different navigation preferences –
and this won a best paper award ;-)) at a conference

Shailey: one thing was that the designers of the islands started immediately REdesigning the island

Shailey: People adding tour guides and so forth, so the reviewers were impressed by the impact of the research

Kali Pizzaro: applied research woot

Shailey: and this shows how the SL community works together

Liana Hubbenfluff: yes applied research wow

Shailey: Nothing would be feasible without the community we have here. I feel that it cannot be replicated in other VWs

Sheila Yoshikawa: ๐Ÿ˜‰ yay

Kali Pizzaro: When do you think it will be time for educators to migrate en masse out of SL to other VWs? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Shailey Garfield: is the paper on navigation and wayfinding

Kali: tell us about STEM project in Unity 3D?

Shailey: I give you a story of how we got this funding. I had to present on Tuesday

Edith Halderman: a timely subject

Shailey: I was told the Friday before! I contacted SL people over the weekend. Over that weekend they give me so many examples of how I could demonstrate, so by tuesday I had a poster prepared

Shailey: I was told you can only speak for 8 minutes, and just one demo, so I picked on genome island

Shailey: I presented this cell so I was only supposed to stay for 8 but the trustee kept me for 20 minutes! he was so interested he could see how the environment could provide extra over 2D

Shailey: But SL was not the preferred platform. It is a large project, 1 million funding for the whole thing

Kali Pizzaro: woo 1 million

Shailey: BUT only a little bit of that for VWs

Prof. Dan (profdan.netizen): wow, and that’s not linden dollars!

Shailey: It needed to be integrated into a web portal so, Unity 3D. We design this virtual trip of a RL mountain, going from a birds eye to microscopic view. Unity 3D keeps within constraints e.g. available on mobile devices

Shailey: The project just started; by jan 2013 we will have something to show

Shailey: some people averse to VWs have come around from seeing Unity

Graham Mills: marvelous ๐Ÿ™‚

Prof. Dan (profdan.netizen): sounds really cool!

Shailey Garfield: Many sincere thanks for your time and attention.

Kali: times up, thanks so much to Shailey for sharing her wealth of knowledge and research on virtual worlds!

Shailey: and also want to thank Graham Mills

Sheila Yoshikawa: yay for Graham

Graham Mills: yay me ?

Prof. Dan (profdan.netizen): Your papers sound outstanding, Shailey.


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