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Peer-to-Peer Mentoring in Living Knowledge Spaces

Chair, Bonnie DeVarco, VLearn3D, Media Tertia and the University of California, Santa Cruz
Panelists: Andrew M Phelps & Jeffrey Sonstein, Information Technology Dept. Rochester Institute of Technology, Allan Lundell and Marian Sun McNamee Co-founders, Virtual World Studios Virtual

Immigration Officer: Welcome to the VLearn3D 2001 Conference - "Knowledge Spaces and Information Landscapes"

Nicodemus: Feel free to say so if something isnt clear or you have a question -

Nicodemus: Jeff and I, through years of instruction, have noticed the following

Nicodemus: with regard to our students

Nicodemus: 1.Students are not motivated to seek help outside of the classroom.

Nicodemus: Backing up a sec, just in case you are not familiar with RIT --

Nicodemus: RIT is a private Institution (but does recieve federal funding), approximately 17K students both grad and undergrad

Nicodemus: just to give you some background

Nicodemus: now, as I was saying =) ...

Nicodemus: 1.Students are not motivated to seek help outside of the classroom.

hypatia: woo hoo on attendance

Nicodemus: 2.Students in programming courses very rarely, if ever, seek out the advice of those upper-division students who have taken the course previously

jeffs: [no community]

Nicodemus: 3.RIT's tutoring system is inadequate in the sense that it requires students to go to the lab at specific times and thus is not ‘always available’.

Nicodemus: (particularly at 3am which, apparently, is when almost all homework is completed judging by submission times).

jeffs: [RL... how boring]

Nicodemus: 4.Students lack a sense of community. (which Jeff said heh)

Nicodemus: 5.Upper-division students need an outlet for creative / recreational programming.

Nicodemus: So these were our observations of our MM programming students

jeffs: and of my Java students

Nicodemus: you have a lot of very talented, smart people who feel (for a variety of resons) disconnected from the student body and their peers

Nicodemus: right

jeffs: [except when hacking and slashing at each other]

Nicodemus: So, based on these criteria, Jeff and I decided to build a virtual world that is persistently available, ...

Nicodemus: offers courseware and training to our entire sequence of courses, ...

Nicodemus: and allows students to help other students in completing the learning materials. That's probably not terribly unique

jeffs: [and of course observe and try to figure out what "works"]

Nicodemus: But this is where (we think) it starts to get really interesting...

Nicodemus: As students begin to help each other they develop a reputation in world, gaining fame and status.

jeffs: [like wizarrds in an oldfashioned MUD]

Nicodemus: Those students who have the highest 'ranking' wind up extending the world in their ...

Nicodemus: own image, leaving their mark forever on the world they inhabited.

Nicodemus: I did some studies on (and read even more on) Sony's Everquest, and it seems that the primary motivating factor for players is not personal advancement -

Nicodemus: but rather 'fame' or 'glory' in the virtual setting

jeffs: ["status" means a lot in social systems]

Nicodemus: This has been noted lately at the Game Developers Conferenece

jeffs: [pardon the social scientist in me]

Nicodemus: we love the social scientist in you

Nicodemus: This peer motivation is stronger than any that we, as professors, could ever hope to provide.

Nicodemus: embarassment > 'F' apparently.

Nicodemus: and 'king' ? 'A'

jeffs: [what motivates the openSource movement?]

jeffs: [reverence by one's peers]

padraic: not sure i get diffeerence betwen personal advance. and fame; does not 1st lead to 2nd?

Nicodemus: but what is more important, to me anyway, is that this fame is achieced by *helping* one's peers

Nicodemus: not neccessarily

Nicodemus: personal advancement, say in Everquest, might mean attaining a certain level

Nicodemus: having that level, in and of itself, is meaningless except you can kill bigger badder things (as an example)

jeffs: [getting "points" isn't as powerful a motivator as getting a "rep"]

Nicodemus: BUT, if you can run through a zone with lots of players that have not acccomplished what you have, and your accomplishment is visible

Nicodemus: then that seems to be more motivating than a level system in and of itself

jeffs: [cue the marching band]

padraic: intetresting

Nicodemus: Grades, in academia, are starting to lose (apparently) the motivating factor they once had

Nicodemus: so we propose to build a world that can offer social reward for matering the material

Diane: material matters, eh?

"Atlas Island": How are students' accomplishments made visible, apparent so they gain a better rep?

Nicodemus: this 'peer space' is present in a lot of the more recent teaching models

Nicodemus: lol, sorry

padraic: that ties in nicely with the idea of students building learning tools/space for other students

Nicodemus: I'm a programmer, and therefore not a typist

jeffs: what motivated my VRML students last year was the tings they built and added to a "Town Square" scene

jeffs: they quickly ended up competing with each other to demo mastery

Nicodemus: that's where we're going padriac. As students progress from novice to master / freshman to senior - they begin to build onto the world themselves

jeffs: with little or no thouhgt to how it might effect their grades...

Stef: Hi

Nicodemus: and if you are 'well respected' in the world (ie helped others) then your space will be the most popular place on the block for a while.

Nicodemus: So we're starting to implement (tech wise) a world that can support this kind of social scene, which is (unfortunately) rather tricky

Diane: Sort of like having a personal website with great links to key topics?

jeffs: [master of understatement]

"Atlas Island": Can we see this space -- sounds fascinating... as students are rewarded, how do they display their "merits"? Do their avatars change?

padraic: I ould have thought that Activeworlds' "wild west" origins would have worked out problems like eminient doamin etc.

Immigration Officer: You are being joined by skippy.

jeffs: it ain't built yet, so you cannot see it yet

Nicodemus: Space is not public yet, as the system is still being built, but it will be. Avatars will change appearance when certain tasks or ranks are achieved...

Nicodemus: we're planning clients in Shockwave3D, AW, and JAVA

jeffs: [and perhaps their spaces and what they can *do* in them will change as well]

zg: any timescale for release?

"Grendel": have you considered a rating system for the mentors? as in certain message board sites: "How valuable was this comment? 1-10"

Nicodemus: hoping for initial rev at the end of the summer for students to beat up in the fall

Nicodemus: yes, review of the mentors will be key. Being a 'bad mentor' will not win you fame and fortune =)

jeffs: a system for users to give feedback on who helped would be a useful thing to have...

jeffs: [and automating it would be great as I am a lazy admin]

jeffs: ...

katy: What exactly will they learn in these spaces - some educ VR applications have been really exciting - too exciting to learn anything ...

Diane: have to make sure they don't "contribute" to their own ranking glory.

jeffs: ;^}

Nicodemus: The goal (for this space) is to teach multimedia programming, as we have a whole community of students at all levels to play with

Diane: So do they win prizes?

jeffs: our initial ideas involved 3D, and multi-media supporting languages like Java and JavaScript/ECMAScript

"Grendel": www.cybersites.com features themed online communities in which members rise in standing...you might want to refer to it

jeffs: thye win things which visibly express their *status*

jitterbug: from get the grade, to get that powerup. UofEverquest. Thought provokeing stuff.

Nicodemus: been there =) and Everquest, Asheron's Call, DAOC, and countless other commercial games operate on these principles, it's a matter of adapting it to educational strategy that is a challenge

Diane: Only 3D or physical world as well?

"Grendel": oops, looks like cybersites may be another .com victim :o(

jeffs: The Well had much of the same experience with novice/expert users and helpfullness

queenbee: yes, basic to community theory

padraic: epinions.com as model?

jeffs: anybody ever read a book called "Flame Wars" ??

Nicodemus: yes =)

Nicodemus: but i don't count

katy: Amazon, eBay do an excellent job in building up reputation structures.

Immigration Officer: You are being joined by emrys.

jeffs: good stuff in there about how basically unstructured online social systems work things out

jeffs: ["there" meaning "Flame Wars"]

vetunimi: what do you mean 'reputation structures'?

Richie: Who is Andy?

Nicodemus: I am Andy

Richie: Hi

jeffs: people gain a rep...

Diane: Aaargh, they're closing the lab I'm in, so 'ta. Great conference.

Richie: hehe, I like Gaming, Lego Robots and all the same stuff heh

Nicodemus: reputation structures refer to the ability for someone to develop an ongoing reputation as an avatar

jeffs: there are sometimes visible "conters" which proclaim one's "rep"

jeffs: ["counters"]

jeffs: critters in virtual spaces talk to each other

"Grendel": granting the individual extra privileges and powers in the community is one way

vetunimi: how can it be possible , Nicodemus

jeffs: people asking for help remember who gave it to them

zg: its hard to get a rep without self-publicity

hypatia: (popping up bio on phelps for all)

Nicodemus: (blush)

jeffs: people who are helpful and who can "inhabit" a regular avatar and/or home space

jeffs: may indeed be able to gain a rep which has visible symbols even when they aren't "there"

katy: The QuestAtlantis Project I mentioned before is trying to use gaming elements to build theme parks for kids.

vetunimi: actually it would be interesting to beign able to build a self virtual reputation

Nicodemus: (a) people remember who helped them and so helpers gain status that way. (b) status symbols like custom avatars and such proclaim status to others, (c) user community elements like webboards, worlds, etc seem to help users maintain and keep a rep

jeffs: [thit picture of me is actually *in* focus] ;^}

Nicodemus: Looks like we're about out of time for now, but that is the projects at RIT.

katy: Very cool!

jeffs: I must head off to the kitchen

"Grendel": vetunimi: you already have a virtual rep! ;o)

Nicodemus: you can read a (very brief) abstract up at

jeffs: CUL

Nicodemus: http://andysgi.rit.edu/andyworld2/tests/MUPPETS.doc

hypatia: Wonderful, Jeff and Andy!!! Great concepts

"Justin": very interesting

hypatia: clap clap clap

HenrikG: yep, very interesting

"lorex": claps

"Auntie Galen": yes, terrific

Nicodemus: and we'll hopefully be back in the future with worlds galore =)

AL: yeah

Nicodemus: thanks all

queenbee: facsinating and really good ideas

Nicodemus: if you want to drop me a line, it's amp@it.rit.edu and jeffs@it.rit.edu

"jan": claps

tinkerbell: Applause!

vlearn7: clap, clap, clap!!!

vetunimi: yes it is very interesting indeed

katy: Great panel!

"Auntie Galen": excelsior

"Rowan": fantastic!! LLTA

hypatia: thanks both of you for a stimulating talk!

"Sassy": Hi again...

hypatia: Now we still have another presentation

hypatia: and appreciate all of your patience

hypatia: as we went overtime in earlier sessions

hypatia: now for something "completely different"

"Sassy": I think I'm finally in....

queenbee: wonderul

hypatia: Al Lundell and Sun McNamee will talk about cross genre melding

vetunimi: how many are working at the project Nicodemus?

hypatia: in peer to peer sharing of ideas and experience

sjardijn: Thx Nicodemus and Jeff

Nicodemus: welcome

jitterbug: that got my neurons fireing.

jitterbug: thanks

"videonaut": thanx

AL: Welcome all of you to our presentation, the final one of the day, I believe. I am Allan Lundell of Virtual World Studios. And I have current 'status' of being a co-founder.

Digigardener: yay al sun!

AL: Have you seen our opening 4 min flick yet? If not, you can either click on the following link or on the center panel above..

AL: http://www.pleasureisland.com/vlearn.html

SunnyOne: hi

AL: For those of you who have seen it, we hope you all enjoyed our little movie, made at our home studio in Boulder Creek, CA, high above the Redwood forests between Silicon Valley and the vast Pacifi

vetunimi: applauding!

"Justin": it was very good

vetunimi: this is very good indeed!!!

queenbee: brilliant work

AL: You need Real Player 8 installed on your PC. If you need the player, click here for the free download of version 8 from Real.

vetunimi: clap clap clap

AL: http://scopes.real.com/real/player/player.html?src=011011realhome_2,011011rpchoice_h2&dc=122121113

AL: Our goal with this simple flick, is to demonstrate how once very complex expensive storytelling processes, like the creation of

AL: compelling cinematic movie sets for feature-length films

AL: are now within the skillsets of most reasonably-educated middle class first world families, and hence within the domain of online

AL: family educational systems and networks

AL: (sun will be up in a minute)

AL: How does one go about educating the famililial story-tellers and their cast of 'associates,' on the wielding of such powerful

AL: illusion-generating tools?

AL: Every familly has a story-teller, and often it is the one who is learning or is seriously interested in the camcorder/computer technology

AL: in the home.

vetunimi: hopefully

AL: Some might even question the decentralization of such knowledge from a relative handful of directors in

AL: Hollywood, NY, Cairo,

AL: We, however, feel that lots of others have dreams now ready for 'launch' into the 'meme streams' of the species.

AL: The tools for major decentralization and pedagogical dissemination of this particular knowledge base are now here,

Digigardener: wonderful job on the video!!!

KLICK demo: Awesome!

vetunimi: indeed!!

"Auntie Galen": the video is brilliant, you guys

AL: and online virtual

AL: world experiences are one of the best ways to teach them

AL: What is classically known as "the cinematic language," for example, can be taught very well via virtual worlds.

AL: The very nature of the virtual worlds themselves lend themselves to learning this young language.

"Auntie Galen": so, when do you guys teach your first class and how do we all sign up?

AL: the cinematic language is barely 100 years old

queenbee: (to "Auntie Galen") coming east any time soon?

"Auntie Galen": unsure, captain

"Auntie Galen": thought i was coming for the last three months, but...

AL: A good paper on cinema as language can be read at:

"Auntie Galen": think I'm coming next week, but....

"Auntie Galen": ya never know



AL: http://edweb.sdsu.edu/Courses/EDTEC653/EDTEC653s98/653.simmons.finalpaper.htm

queenbee: (to "Auntie Galen") okies, I want more info on the CD. it is wonderful

"Auntie Galen": you really like it?

AL: Even simpler than making videos, basic text-based online presentations in virutal worlds,

queenbee: (to "Auntie Galen") absolutiely, but I need the history. and awesome pix on the cover.

AL: like this one, can be visually enhanced by using the built-in functions of the 3D browser we are currently

AL: applying...

queenbee: (to "Auntie Galen") I have my theatre days shot to share.

AL: The very use of Avatars in a 3D world can teach elements of the cinematic language.

AL: Avatar movements, for example, have more meaning when associated with what is being said in the text of the moment.

"Auntie Galen": yes, I love those pictures. Jim and I used to take walks at Mohonk -- ever been?

vetunimi: as we are re starting sa whole life here on the internet

"Auntie Galen": and one fall day, we had our little point and shoot camera and it was sunset and....

AL: yep..for example

"Auntie Galen": and when we got the film back I was pretty stunned

"Auntie Galen": by what we'd captured

AL: make sure you can see my avatar...

"Auntie Galen": it was the best of what we were about


AL: Did you notice my Avatar looking around? Jump or dance if you did

"Auntie Galen": happy accident. thank you universe

mbanz: I can't see anything

AL: thanks

mbanz: I think some of the avatars are broken

AL: A simple example, and interestingly enough, this form of visual expression is just the opposite of subtitling in films.

"Sassy": me either

AL: i'll check the link at the end\

AL: Let me clarify this concept..

AL: Typically, subtitles are following the pace of the film, rather than setting it. Describing, clarifying, but not leading

AL: Here, in Avatar worlds, the text drives the image rather than the other way around.

AL: So, Avatar movements can be used for learning elements of the cinematic language, and variations of it.

AL: Avatars may even further evolve our understanding of human visual language, an even bigger concept.

AL: And, more pragmatically, we have found that Virtual Worlds can be used as 3D sets for cinematic expression.

"Sassy": Here...here...

AL: I will now ask my partner, Sun, to join me on the stage for presenting some key information about our production and creative process

SunnyOne: Hi everyone

mbanz: only problem to me is that creating avatars and avatar animation is quite a complex taks for most

"akejay": Hi Sun!

SunnyOne: of the movie you just saw and see how these can be applied

SunnyOne: to any school production.

SunnyOne: Slide01 Every Production starts with the opening title and credits.

SunnyOne: As cinematic and computer literacy become more ubiquitous, it will become quite common for

SunnyOne: groups of friends to associate around fun and social creative learning projects such as our Visit with Virtual Vincent Van Gogh.

SunnyOne: The majority of content on the web is provided non-commercially by people

SunnyOne: who are not trying to make their living via copyright earnings, and in our

SunnyOne: experience, most are satisfied with appropriate credit and communication. Give credit and create good will!

SunnyOne: When it comes to creativity, the richness of the web, plus the richness of

SunnyOne: personal creativity in the classroom and among friends, is an infinite treasure

SunnyOne: chest of resources for digital productions.

SunnyOne: Better yet, use resources created by friends, such as actors, writers, musicians

SunnyOne: and illustrators. Win Win networking gets their name and work out there, and

SunnyOne: enhances the quality of no-budget productions.

SunnyOne: For non-commercial projects like this and most classroom productions,

SunnyOne: copyright is much less an issue than for industrial productions, and a little credit

SunnyOne: goes a long way! Get permission when possible and necessary, but choose first

SunnyOne: among resources where copyright is not an issue.

vetunimi: yes copyright reasons are a nightmare

SunnyOne: Mention of the url is considered appropriate and polite behavior. As is

SunnyOne: notifying the creators of what you are using for your little project. Think of it as networking opportunity!

SunnyOne: For instance, we had support creating original art from this website from Pony Vigil, of www.mauirose.com,

SunnyOne: and www.emeraldcity.tv provided mirror sites to host the Real Video

"videonaut": I have made a lot of video-projects with chidren whoare teached to create a set in a paper-box with fotofigures acting in front of the box and direct feedback in the monitor and than improvisation now building a town inalpha aw 22000s 100w as Videona

SunnyOne: streams of our movie.

"Auntie Galen": yay Pony, who's standing right here and says Aloha to all

"videonaut": pardon

AL: ok, see you later!

SunnyOne: The animated Starry night constellation effect was a search engine discovery, very cool and appropriate for our piece.

SunnyOne: It was a Flash animation, found on on the web. at www.bewitched.com

SunnyOne: Great animations like this can be easily brought into video format by using a

SunnyOne: video scan converter attached between your monitor and PC. They cost about $100.

SunnyOne: Here we have a typical example of how visual information can be most simply conveyed in a video...holding up a book.

vetunimi: animating van gogh?

SunnyOne: Here we compare the improved production value of using a standard two dimensional title screen

vetunimi: yes in 100 years this will be considered the finest art

SunnyOne: for depth and compelling quality,

JB: sup yall?

SunnyOne: And here we go for the immersive 3d effect of a real person in a virtual world to convey information in an even more

vetunimi: great!

SunnyOne: compelling format. You can begin to see the power of blue screen.

SunnyOne: Blue screen and chroma key are very powerful tools for combining computer generated FX with live

vetunimi: that is in holland

SunnyOne: action. There is lots of information on these topics on the web. One good one can be found at

SunnyOne: http://www.seanet.com/Users/bradford/bluscrn.html

vetunimi: it's in the van gogh museum amsterdam

SunnyOne: Our next slide illustrates what happens if there is not enough light for chroma

SunnyOne: key...we had a power failure and were using camera and flash lights for

SunnyOne: illumination instead of our 600 watt studio lights.

SunnyOne: Yet even with all the technological setbacks, we managed to produce the peice

SunnyOne: with relative ease and efficiency.

SunnyOne: Tools which are available on many, even most computers, such as Adobe

SunnyOne: Premiere, Photoshop, and Sound Forge, (or other comparable software apps)

SunnyOne: can produce video compositions that were previously only possible in the

SunnyOne: hands of industry experts.

SunnyOne: This cool transition is used to create a splash entrance for our virtual star, Van

SunnyOne: Gogh. The painter is being painted into the scene. A Premiere 6.0 transition

SunnyOne: effect, called "Paint Splatter." Appropriate for this presentation, don't you think?

SunnyOne: Our real actor points to his virtual yellow house...illustrating dynamic interaction

vetunimi: yes it is very nice

"Auntie Galen": yes, brilliant

SunnyOne: between live action performer and virtual world on blue screen..There is no

SunnyOne: there there...

SunnyOne: It is easier for the performer if they can see the composited image (the yellow

SunnyOne: house with them pointing at it) in realtime on a television monitor. To achieve

SunnyOne: this, a video mixer with chroma key abilities was used.

AL: (earlier ref on cinematic language -http://edweb.sdsu.edu/Courses/EDTEC653/EDTEC653s98/653.simmons.finalpaper.html)

SunnyOne: Van Gogh waves with flowers in foreground...Appropriate props and

SunnyOne: costumes are simple, yet effective ways to enhance storytelling.

SunnyOne: To create a more compelling and 3-d effect, real props, like flowers, can be

SunnyOne: used in the foreground as well as the world in the backgrounds...

SunnyOne: Working with Nicolas, we found it very effective to cue him and allow him to

SunnyOne: act out the line immediately afterwards. Here is an example of the performer in

SunnyOne: character, delivering his lines.

SunnyOne: This is where the performer is being cued with his lines. Notice his eyes looking

vetunimi: i am curious...who is the kid?!

SunnyOne: toward his cuer. In Premiere, we muted the sound of the off camera coach.

SunnyOne: another virtual actor shot, delivering his lines after being cued. He has learned to smile while receiving his lines..

vetunimi: i got i

vetunimi: t^

SunnyOne: Pix of Paul Gaugin portrait of Van Gogh. Demonstrates how much supportive material is readily available online. I know we all know alll about that!

SunnyOne: Classroom visual aides have never been so good!

SunnyOne: Wind painter...demonstrating a dynamic ( and fun) interaction between the live performer and the blue screen virtual world.

AL: the kid is Hypatia's

SunnyOne: Tree painter...here the performer really gets into "painting" the virtual image. Truly dynamic interactive fun for both performer and audience.

"Sassy": Could you push synch. sound from one Avatr in here?

queenbee: so cute

SunnyOne: Consumer equipment which can be accumulated at much the same price as the

SunnyOne: latest Game boy or Playstation can make home studios and classrooms rich

SunnyOne: playgrounds for theatrical experimentation and educational productions.

vetunimi: true

SunnyOne: The tools which made this production possible included a video camera, lights,

SunnyOne: microphone, TV monitor and a relatively low cost video mixer which allowed

SunnyOne: us to do chroma key with a blue screen background.

SunnyOne: To bring the living set from the Van Gogh virtual world into the mix, we used

SunnyOne: our computer with a DSL connection, and a scan converter which put the

SunnyOne: computer signal into the video mixer. All the equipment we used can be

SunnyOne: purchased at a digital video enthusiast's store such as www.elitevideo.com

hypatia: well we are now way overtime... okay to continue? your group dispersing?

SunnyOne: oor Vincent...illustrates the dialog....clarifies the storyline... Software such as Photoshop makes it easy to fill in the gaps in virtual video storytelling.

SunnyOne: Crazy" transition effect...Premiere FX...further illustrates verbal dialog with cinematic language associations. Software such as Premiere allows for video

SunnyOne: editing, and even a certain amount of cinematic fun by using transistion effects to amplify something expressed by the character.

vetunimi: yes that is the rule

SunnyOne: Almost to the questions eveyone. Sorry to monologue, but we are running a bit late.

vetunimi: dear old vince you're not alone

"Sassy": He represents Several different avatars?

SunnyOne: Last slides: More credits! Good to have credits while the story

AL: hehehe


AL: btw, we are videodocumenting you all...

Mauz: :o

vetunimi: yes congratulations for the beautiful an interesting work

AL: :-)

"Sassy": Have you been to VZones yet?

queenbee: absolutely wonderful stuff thanks!

"Rowan": great work!!

AL: I hope you were all able to view the vid..

vetunimi: manipulation of fine art and the fine atrs play garden could teach art to whom isn't in it

vetunimi: yes AL very nice indeed

AL: Thanks!

vetunimi: welcome!

"videonaut": would like to cooperate with you interspace@t-online.de

AL: will check out your website...just got email from Vienna about including Open Source concepts..

vetunimi: where are you from?

"videonaut": cobinig aw and video a have a long video-based experience with classrooms

"videonaut": combining

queenbee: I would like to thank everyone for a wonderful and very stimulating day. I have to log off now. Look for the proceedings soon at www.vlearn3d.org, best Margaret

vetunimi: thanks margaret!!!

SunnyOne: We are located near digigardner, in Boulder Creek CA

padraic: thanks qb

"videonaut": thnx very inspiring

AL: you can reach us at vwstudio@pacbell.net

"Rowan": thank you margarent and everyone else!!

queenbee: ttfn, bye all my friends

"Sassy": Thank you

SunnyOne: Thanks everyone for a fascnating day!

hypatia: Thanks to all for coming!

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