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Journal of Virtual Worlds Research: new issue

The latest issue of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research has been out for a few weeks now, and I’ve been meaning to posts a synopsis, so here’s exactly that for  the peer-reviewed articles in Volume 3, No.3, with some horribly abbreviated summaries of findings for those too lazy to read the articles or the abstracts themselves.

 Synthesizing Presence: A Multidisciplinary Review of the Literature

 A detailed cross-discipline review of research on presence. 97 citations were found across Mass Communnications, Human-Computer Interfaces, Education and Psychology. Findings: there are very different perspectives on the issue depnding on the discipline and that an agreed framework for understanding the area is needed to move forward.

Collecting conversations: three approaches to obtaining user-to-user communications data from virtual environments

A very interesting look at how one effectively captures user-to-user communications in a virtual world environment. There’s a focus on establishing accuracy and three methods of collecting data are assessed within a Japanese MMO, Uncharted Waters Online. Findings: All three approaches explored are statistically viable and the choice of method depends on the individual research.

Developing an Obesity Prevention Intervention in Virtual Worlds: The International Health Challenge in Second Life

 A detailed look at a Second Life-based health initiative tackling obesity. An in-world exercise program, health information and social support was provided with promising outcomes. Challenges and opportunities of the approach are outlined. Findings: Good participation occurred, there were challenges in recruitment and retention and technical hurdles with Second Life were a barrier to a number of potential participants. Further research is recommended on optimal in-world exercise programs to deliver physical world results.

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Aside from those three articles, there’s a group of research papers:

 Design Principles for Doing Business on Second Life: an immersive ethnographic study

 Virtual Assisted Self Interviewing (VASI): An Expansion of Survey Data Collection Methods to Virtual Worlds by Means of VDCI

 Third Places Take First Place in Second Life: Developing a Scale to Measure the ‘Stickiness’ of Virtual World Sites

Methodology of a Novel Virtual Phenomenology Interview Technique

It’s fair to say that the research being undertaken continues to grow, although I remain a little concerned at the level of research demonstrating detailed qualitative or quantitative outcomes. It’s happening, but unfortunately at this stage the industry is still very fragmented and disseminating that information is challenging. Journals like the JVWR are obviously helping in that regard.

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Avatars and body image: further research participants needed

A little over a year ago we reported on a research study underway into the link between avatars and body image. That research has been continuing ever since and the initial results were inconclusive. PhD student Jon-Paul Cacioli wants to delve a little deeper on a few things, so there’s a follow-up survey for any male over the age of 18 who has an avatar in a virtual world.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Second Life, World of Warcraft or an OpenSim grid, you can take part. The survey itself will take 15-20 minutes to complete, but all respondents go into a draw for Amazon vouchers.

To take part, here’s where to go.

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Multiracial Identity in Second Life: survey participants sought

Passing on a call for survey participants from Hong Kong Polytechnic University. To participate you need to be from a multi-racial background. The full details:

This is research conducted by Dean A. F. Gui (Second Life avatar, Hartwig Valerian) for research into multiracial identity in virtual worlds. Your participation is voluntary and identity kept anonymous. The only pre-requisite is that you have an avatar in Second Life (http://secondlife.com) and that you consider yourself from a multiracial (more than one racial bloodline) background. Additional enquiries may be sent, via note card, directly to Hartwig Valerian in Second Life, or emailed to ecdafgui@inet.polyu.edu.hk. Thank you and I look forward to your prompt responses.

Until further notice, all participants who submit a completed survey will receive 100 Linden dollars sent to their Second Life avatar, but only if avatar names are spelled correctly in the consent portion of the survey, and only as Hartwig Valerian is able to generate the funds… so please be patient! 8-)

Please click on this link to complete the survey: https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dGlqRGRVRjdqdVBRNG9RWk1mR3c1ZUE6MQ

Popularity: 1% [?]

Virtual International Day of the Midwife

This post appeared earlier in the week over at Metaverse Health.

A collaboration between Griffith University (Australia), Otago Polytechnic (New Zealand) and the University of Canberra (Australia), the Virtual International Day of the Midwife is in its third year (2009 and 2010 proceedings links).

For more information or to express interest in presenting, check out the VIDM Wiki.

The call for expressions of interest is as follows:

*Call for Expressions of Interest*
The organising committee are now calling for Expressions of Interest (EOI)
to present at the VIDM eVent. While the EOI must be in English we welcome
presentations in other languages. We also welcome EOI from non-midwives and
midwifery students. Presenters need not be experienced in using electronic
media – members of the organising committee will be able to give support.
Please provide a short paragraph (no more than 150 words) describing your
presentation and the form it will take (for example a PowerPoint
presentation, live or email discussion, video, photographic slide show,
story-telling session). Please also include your status (eg midwife,
non-midwife, midwifery student), country of origin and language of
presentation. Your presentations or resources should;

– Have a clear aim or purpose
– Focus on maternity care or midwifery
– Be of interest to an international audience
– Be appropriate to the chosen media

If you would like to give a live presentation, please indicate what time and
time zone you are available in your EOI.

*Support for speakers*
Please note: We will be using the web-conferencing platform Elluminate. All
live sessions will be facilitated by an experienced online facilitator so
you will be supported at every stage.

*When and where to submit your EOI*
Please submit your EOI by 11th March 2011 by;

– Email to Sarah Stewart:
sarahstewart07(at)gmail.com
– Or add it to the VIDM wiki

– Or add to the VIDM Facebook page

Popularity: 1% [?]

Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education 2011

Monash University’s Debbie McCormick dropped me a line over the weekend to ask if I could post a heads up on VWBPE 2011. Obviously it’s something we’re more than happy to do, so if you’re an educator or interested in education and virtual worlds, read on:

Greetings Fellow Educators,

“You are here” – well many of you are, but there’s still room for more!

Last year was a year of change and many of you are transitioning to new and exciting teaching spaces with mixed feelings (was that tactful enough?); but regardless of where you are practicing and what you might think about those who shall not be named, we are still a community so don’t let those changes prevent you from participating in your community.

The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education is a community conference; it is YOUR conference, and your chance to share your experiences with the rest of your community (wherever and whatever that community might be).  We have already received some excellent submissions but we would like more!  The Call for Proposals (papers, workshops, posters) has been extended to midnight 15thFebruary, 2011.  All that’s required is a 50 – 100 word abstract (full papers optional) that:

·          Indicates how your work illustrates best practices in education

·          Indicates the outcomes/learning objectives participants should expect from your sessions

·          Describes how your work might be applied to a particular or multiple sectors of education, i.e. K-12, large universities, community colleges, adult education, etc.

Tell us how you learn and teach. Tell us your stories of what works well and what can be done better. Where does learning happen for you?  Who do you teach? How to you engage learners? Why is learning within the virtual important to you? What is the key learning you want to share with others?

The VWBPE is a free conference, organised and run by  committees of volunteers from K-12, colleges and universities from around the world.  While most activities will happen in Second Life (Linden Lab have kindly donated 20 sims) presentations and field trips can be scheduled for other parts of the metaverse – contact Kavon and her team at proposals@vwbpe.org for more information.  Likewise, while the main language of the conference will be English we welcome submissions for presentations in languages other than English.

As a community conference we are always in need of extra funds for activities such as providing transcribers and recording the sessions for viewing after the event; if you know someone who would like to be noticed by more than 2000 educators at the premier virtual worlds education conference then please direct them to http://www.vwbpe.org/calls/call-for-sponsorship..

You are already here – so come be part of the discussion and bring your friends.

http://www.vwbpe.org/calls/2011-call-for-proposals

Debbie McCormick

VVWBPE 2011

Chair – Marketing and Communications

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Journal of Virtual Worlds Education: inaugural issue

Just a quick heads-up of the launch of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Education. Published by The Center for Virtual Worlds Education and Research, there’s a mix of research and discussion papers covering a wide gamut.

Check out the main JVWE website or view the first issue here.

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World of Warcraft as leadership incubator and education platform

Just a heads-up that I’ve written a small piece for the ABC Technology site on the use of MMOs in education and business. For the seasoned virtual worlds watcher there’s nothing earth-shattering in there, but it’s a useful overview for the newcomer or casual observer. Obviously these concepts don’t just apply to World of Warcraft (WoW), but as the behemoth in the arena it’s one of the better showcases.

I wrote recently on the lessons the latest WoW has for virtual worlds as well, if you’re interested.

For those of you out there playing through the new Cataclysm content, is there anything that’s really impressed you or frustrated you so far?

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