May 18, 2011 Leave a comment
“Anna spent 4 years (2006-2010) researching identity and community in virtual worlds as a Teaching Fellow with the COLMSCT CETL at The Open University UK. She continues to teach, study and research with The Open University, and manages their virtual world project through Eygus Ltd. She has published widely on activity in virtual worlds and will be chairing the second international conference on Researching Learning in Immersive Virtual Environments in 2011 (www.open.ac.uk/relive11). Anna is Editor-in-Chief of the forthcoming Springer book series on Immersive Environments. Anna and her avatar are slowly becoming one – she is expecting to see wing buds any day now.”
The title of Anna’s talk is “Can a tiger wear a turban and still be a student?” This title is based on what happened “during a large scale student induction event on Open University islands in January 2010 it was reported that some students were uncomfortable with the Linden-supplied default avatars, as none of them were appropriately dressed for the students’ religious/cultural beliefs and preferences. This raised a host of issues relating to identity and authenticity, alongside questions about institutional responsibility towards students in immersive environments. In consultation with the Equality and Diversity Office, who in turn consulted with colleagues from Religious Studies, we collated a list of core clothing items meeting religious and cultural needs that we might expect a reasonable percentage of our students to require. We then created these items virtually and put them in a freebie vendor at a core OU location in SL, with a device to capture all “sales”, offering a link to an online survey capturing reflections about avatar personalisation. Final analysis of the study is not complete, but in this session I will talk about the process that led us to this point and invite discussion around how different identities are contextually mediated in a virtual world.”
I think this discussion will be very interesting to a whole load of people – whether they are in to Second Life or not, there are loads who are interested in identity.
Hope to see you there http://slurl.com/secondlife/University%20of%20Worcester/145/188/25