Monday, 2 March 2009

SL Tutorial Creating a Book

After hesitating to create a workshop to construct a house as a MUVEnation activity, Dafne and I decided to design a workshop to create a book and team teach.

Why? Because
  • "We think a book is a great visual resource for SL that can be used for many different purposes.
  • We want to use the book as the way to present the instructions for the workshop as a substitute of a slide projector.
  • We also would like to practice team-teaching which is normal practice in synchronous online environments, including SL. " Dafne's blog, overview in link below.

Muvenation Workshop: Creating a Book 1 on PhotoPeach

Further Preparations : We prepared the set up, layout and tested the material. After walking through the tutorial as a learner, there was one area which caused concern (Slide 8) but it was too late timewise to change the PPT slides. A book was made following the process of the tutorial as part of the pre-planning phase. This book was used as the sample 'end product' to be achieved in the session.

Synchronous online events lend themselves to team teaching if the target audience size requires it. I drew up a Team teaching Script so that we both knew when each should lead the tutorial. This is also essential should one tutor have technical problems, allowing the other tutor to continue the session. Although based on web conferencing, this article illustrates well how you can never fully be prepared for online events Case Study

Additional book making resources were added as an alternative.

During the workshop
Here are some snapshots I took during the session whilst tutoring and mentoring.

Here is a post session structured video

Worshop: Creating a Book - The session on PhotoPeach

Peer Evaluation
This is the peer evaluation report by Tere Short. I must say that this is very kind as I am far more critical about it myself.

Observer 1 comments
Daf Smirnov and Busy Link gave a workshop on "Creating abook" at the Muvenation Sandbox on 2Mar09.

I (Tere Short, a critical friend for this session) arrived about 15 mins in advance of the session and Daf and Moira were calmly checking last-minute details: if chat was heard in every corner of the platform and slightly repositioning a couple of slideboards and the book.

The layout was very nice, with big colorful boards on three sides of the platform containing the different content they were going to show. Everything was visible to everyone. There were several well positioned stools for participants to sit and work from during the session. Daf and Busy Link always stood to the side of whatever they were showing.

There were 8 participants: Alpha Torgsval, CorDeRosa Loire, Daffodil Fargis, Misy Ferraris, Morgen String, Sami2k Sideshow, SusNy Foss and me, Tere Short.

After Daf and Busy Link checked that everybody was sitting properly and facing them (they could rotate us in our seats), the session began. On time.

The session was delivered in voice, and participants commented and asked questions in the chat area, a few times in voice. It was a team-teaching venture.

Busy Link started the session by explaining the reason for a tutorial about a book, why they had chosen team teaching (it's collaborative and coopeartive work) and how a book could replace a presentation board. Then Daf showed examples of five different books.

This marked the end of the expository part of the session (about 10-15 mins) and the beginning of the "hands-on" part by participants, with Busy Link checking in advance, one-by-one, that everybody had all the necessary skills in the plan. We answered "yes" or "no" in the chat area.

Immediately before the "action" began for the participants, a folder with different materials, including a notecard with the instructions to be carried out, was given to all. We looked for it in the Inventory and had it ready to be used. Then we were asked to click a specific shelf to get a book each, which would be a working element, together with the materials in the folder.

The book is free and was given with full permissions, however, we were asked to remove all Properties (they explained how). Next we had to stretch and rotate the book (also well explained). Then we got a blue dropdown menu that allowed us to do several things, among them, open the book. We all did and then had to delete a specific texture in the Content (explained how step-by-step), open to folder in the Inventory and drag different textures into the Content of the book. Those textures corresponded to content and pages that we then turned back and forth. Finally, there was a texture for the cover and we got another blue dropdown menu with different colors to choose from. I should add that there was always a board with the text instructions as they were given in voice. Instructions were also available in the folder.

I hope to have described most of the process, because I wasn't able to carry it our at the same time as the others. I had problems. My book wouldn't move or stretch, only rotate. It opened, but wouldn't allow me to edit it: delete the texture and add all the textures that were in the folder. Mind you, I was doing everything correctly. Daf and Moira were very helpful and gave me different ways out, but nothing worked. It became frustrating for me and I knew it was influencing the timing, so I asked them to proceed.

In the meantime, I deleted the book, rezzed twice again, but always the same problem. I logged off and went back in, tried once again, but... the same. That's when I decided to rez a cube and see if it moved. It did. So I thought the problem was in the material given out. I deleted the folder and asked Daf if I could get another one. When I did, I read through the instructions to avoid missing a step and everything worked at once. Eureka! I ended up catching up the others, except for something about the cover, though I did change its color. This decision made me feel good, because we cannot just stop and fold our arms when in trouble. Perseverance worked!

Daf and Busy Link's session was very well planned and delivered. They were very clear in their instructions, helped whenever asked and kept a good pace throughout, in spite of some minor problems that some participants had. They saw all the books and took snapshots. There was time for Q&A, as planned, and for suggestions about how to use a book inworld: a collaborative writing project, a tutorial, a documentation about something with snapshots taken inworld, telling stories, a SL diary of students, a fashion magazine, a personal portfolio, a project. Soon the 90-100 mins were up.

Transfer of learning worked perfectly, because everybody was able to carry out the plan and show their final product. And this end product is of great relevance, since it can be edited and used in so many different ways.

Team teaching worked very well. Both had the tasks well distributed and were always very calm and helpful. Help was immediately given by one or the other. Is there a better way to delive this content? Who am I to say? I'm still very much a newbie. But all I can say is that all participants were very happy, as can be seen in some of the very nice comments: "it was really succesful", "You managed to help all of us and the good idea to work as a pair helped a lot", "very useful and perfectly managed", "we could ask for help without feeling intrusive", "great materials, very nicely laid out, very well balanced between you two, good pace, both very calm and very helpful - a great workshop!"

Tere Short / Teresa Almeida d'Eça (3Mar09)

Post Workshop Comments
  • In the space allocated for the workshop in the sandbox, we had to omit certain books or make them smaller. We decided to eliminate some display books rather than reduce the size of the visuals. Also, one sample book was malfunctioning and we decided not to include this in the display.
  • Whilst presenting the books, participants were turning the pages which meant that I was not speaking about the page I wanted to.In the future, these should be locked to one presenter once the examples are in place to avoid this.
  • The difficulties in the instructions for the front cover experienced in the pre-session trials were indeed experienced by the learners. A little tweak in the PPT would have solved this problem. We didn't take the time to so it :-(
  • To avoid colour clashes, the book sample cover should be given with a white colour and not blue. However, as participants need to click on the frame to open the book, a colour difference is required as a visual aid.
  • In order to prepare the workshop, we left the sample book unlocked. This then led to weird distortions of the book as participants were turning the pages (and perhaps other things) and final freezing and I had to take it away. Daf observed later that this had happened to her before.
  • Just minutes before the start, we observed that permissions must be taken off the book samples as soon as they were rezzed by the participants to avoid problems.
  • For some unknown reason, one participant could not open their tools in the notecard. Still a mystery.
  • With these little hiccups, we stayed calm and delivered the workshop. When I was sorting out our book, Daf continued communicating with the participants. I nearly squashed her avater when I rezzed the book again ;-) Another reason why team teaching and technology go hand-in-hand here.
Final Comment The participants seemed to enjoy and appreciate the workshop but it definitely needs tweaking and fine-tuning. This is good material for a future and more developed workshop.

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