Posted by: Randolph Hollingsworth | February 13, 2009

Fall 2008 Courses and Research on UKSL Island

Discovery Seminar Program 110 – Between Shadow and Light: Co-mingling in Physical and Virtual Communities

This seminar for first-year students asks big questions: Why do we form communities? What do we gain from our participation in communities? What do we give up to belong to communities? How are communities in virtual worlds different from real life? What does the phenomenal growth of virtual worlds such as Second Life tell us about ourselves? In this course we will examine these and other questions about the nature of communities, both in the virtual world of Second Life and in real life. We will explore how our participation in virtual communities affects our understanding of social and personal identity, and what implications this might have for the dynamics of social interaction in our real life communities. This course fulfills a USP Social Sciences requirement. In this course, students learn to work collaboratively in explorations of a virtual world, the immersive environment of Second Life, especially as social/community environments; to use ethnographic field methods for doing research; and, about their new personal identity as a University student expressed in social networks at the University of Kentucky and in Second Life.  See the syllabus uploaded as a .pdf file.  Information about the class and its members was centered on their use of a private/closed class wiki <http://ukshadowlight.wetpaint.com>.  They also created individual blogs to show a close reading and analysis of assigned readings and of themes, characters and events that provide further understanding of the topic of the course — the blog identity was the same as the student’s Second Life avatar in order to maintain appropriate anonymity on a blog with public access.  See for example, http://phoolendunaidoo.blogspot.com; or, http://reeciefoxtrot.blogspot.com; or, http://zopuudimo.blogspot.com; or, http://mehjigsaw.wordpress.com; http://dspblogs.blogspot.com/; or, http://shoresofconfusion.blogspot.com.

Contact Randolph Hollingsworth, Undergraduate Education, dolph@uky.edu (SL: Bella Yan), Richard Greissman, Provost’s Office, richard.greissman@uky.edu (SL: Ansel Guisse), Beth Kraemer, UK Libraries, kraemer@uky.edu (SL: Alice Burgess)

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