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Please note this page is for an old version of the HI2 course - the Overview link above will return you to the archive page.
Topic 7- HI2
The aim of this section of the course is to illustrate some of the concepts discussed in the previous topics in a particular setting termed the "Synthetic Environment". Here, the "Synthetic Environment" is used to describe a setting where any electronic cue to the persons identity is entirely under their own control. In the case of text based systems (such as Chat Lines and MUDS ) the person using the system creates the own identity (or identities) through the use of descriptive text. In systems such as MOOS that use VRML, the participant is free to select which ever avatar(s) they wish.
You should note that the term "Synthetic Environment" is also used widely by those who wish to create simulations of work settings (such as The Synthetic BattleBridge and the Virtual Cockpit).
More information about Virtual Environments as a framework for shared knowledge can be found here which describes some work carried out in the MIS Research Group.
Articles/web sites focusing on Synthetic Environments and issues of Identity and Gender
- VR: Self and Society - http://www.chris-kimble.com/Courses/cis/cis8.html
We review the modernist notion of community and how Descartes separation of the soul (mind) from physical existence (body) has lead to judgments about the nature of a person's identity being based on an appeal to external evidence or actions. We then go on to consider how applicable these ideas are to 'Virtual Environments' such as MUDs.
- Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community - http://smg.media.mit.edu/people/Judith/Identity/IdentityDeception.html
Identity plays a key role in virtual communities. In the physical world there is an inherent unity to the self, for the body provides a compelling and convenient definition of identity. The virtual world is different ... it is composed of information rather than matter ... one can have, some claim, as many electronic personas as one has time and energy to create.
- The Psychology of Cyberspace - http://www.rider.edu/users/suler/psycyber/psycyber.html
The purpose of this online hypertext book (web site) is to explore the psychological dimensions of environments created by computers and online networks. It is intended as an evolving conceptual framework for understanding the various psychological components of cyberspace and how people react to and behave within it.
- Will the Real Body Please Stand Up? - http://www.rochester.edu/College/FS/Publications/StoneBody.html
"My interest in cyberspace is primarily about communities and how they work. Because I believe that technology and culture constitute each other ..." Covers many of the activities that take place in such environments - from phone sex-workers to VR engineers.
- Computers and the Communication of Gender - http://www.itcs.com/elawley/gender.html
This essay attempts to provide not only a "woman-centered" vantage point for the examination of communication technologies, but also to examine the ways in which our definitions of "woman" and "man" are shifting in this new communication environment".
- Technologies of the Self - http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol1/issue2/aycock.html
This paper uses Foucault's notion of self-fashioning (souci de soi) to provide a perspective on "the fashioning of self "online by using instances of postings to the Usenet news groups.
- Distributed and Collaborative Synthetic Environments - http://www.ticam.utexas.edu/CCV/projects/shastra/projects/syntEnv/syntEnv.html
"The goal of the Shastra research project is providing a substrate of geometric data structures and algorithms which allow the distributed construction and modification of a synthetic environment, efficient querying of objects attributes, collaborative interaction with the environment ..." Provides some examples of the applications areas for which we are building Synthetic Environments are built.
- Shared Synthetic Environments as Learning Objects - http://www.ed.gov/Technology/Futures/dede.html
"High-performance computing and telecommunications are driving the rapid evolution of devices that facilitate learning ..." This short paper is focused on new types of devices that might be used in a Learning (educational) Context. It discusses Interface Issues for Smart Objects, Interface Issues for Knowledge Webs and Interface Issues for Virtual Communities"
Examples: Chat Lines, MUDS, MOOS, MUSH's, etc
The following links relate to the content of this topic and may be of interest. Listing here does not imply endorsement. Although I do not believe this not to be the case, some of these sites may contain material that could be considered offensive.
- Virtual People Chat - http://www.vpchat.com/
Will provide some examples of chat rooms - "Here you will find Chat Rooms, Avatars, Gestures, Message Boards, VPostcards, Help and More. This site is for use with the Virtual Places Chat Client. VP is the Hottest chat client on the net" ... etc.
- The MUD/MUSH/MOO Catalog of Catalogs - http://www.educ.kent.edu/mu/catofcat.html
List of links from the Research Bureau at Kent State University. "Although the MUD was originally designed as a social role-playing game environment, many universities around the world have been working to use this text-based "virtual reality" to build tools for distance collaboration, education and conferencing ... To enhance our own and other's investigations, we offer a collection of collections, as well as our own resources. Hopefully this will aid in the further development of this diverse medium of learning."
- Using, Learning, Playing, Teaching, in MUDs - http://www.daedalus.com/net/border.html
A basic introductory guide (what to do and how to do it) together with a list of (mostly) educational resources for "MOOing" and "More Advanced MOOing".
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