15 Apr 2009

Delivering a Hands-on Workshop

After analyzing some workshops, it was my turn to deliver one and here's the report of that experience.

This story is about a newbie who had to prepare a hands-on workshop in Second Life and reflect upon the advantages and drawbacks of delivering a workshop in Second Life.

Situation: What was the setting in which this case study occurred?
Last summer I decided to join Second Life and understand its potential for teaching and learning. I felt a bit lonely, and without knowing what to do, where to go… then a friend told me about MUVenation and the course “Teaching and Learning with MUVEs”. I was really excited as I thought it could be a great opportunity to learn in context, by doing, with my peers and mentors, so when I got the news that I had been selected for the course, I was really very happy.
So one of our tasks was to attend some hands-on workshops, evaluate them in order to deliver our own.
After watching some workshops and reflecting about good practices, I chose a topic and prepared it: How to use the tube (a prim) to build table and a stool.
In spite of preparing everything in advance, there are always some problems that we can't control like some technical issues that prevent us from doing everything as planned. For instance, just a bit before the workshop, I began having trouble with my Internet connection. I was crashing and had to opt by a mobile Internet access which quality isn't the best as you know. Also II wasn’t able to rezz a tube because my upload bandwith was with problems. Even my voice was heard with cuts, interruptions but the notecard reader solved this problem. I didn’t use text chat because I wanted to be able to look at the participants and focus on their progresses and/or problems to help them out. At the end of the workshop, I helped some participants getting a notecard reader and explained to them how it worked so that they could use it during their workshops.

Task: What was the problem to be solved, or the intended effect?
My aim was to design, deliver an interesting and useful workshop that enhanced the participants to understand how prims work and create nice objects, like a table and a stool, just with one prim each.

Actions: What was done to fulfil the task?
To perform the task, participants would manipulate a tube, by setting the different parameters, in order to create a table and a stool. Finally participants would texture them.
I explained the task and gave the instructions both through chat voice and a notecard that was being shown by the notecard reader. At the beginning of the workshop, a folder containing several textures and a poseball for the stool was given to each participant.
At the end of the workshop, the notecard was given to all the participants. I also have to thank Dracut Renneville, a great instructor for inspiring me and helping me out.

Results: What happened? Was it a success? What contributed to the outcomes?
All the participants managed to create a table and a stool. Some still struggle with pose ball for the stool so we will meet in-world to try to solve this issue.
All the participants managed to create a table and a stool. Some still struggle with pose ball for the stool so we will meet in-world to try to solve this issue.
I think that what contributed to the outcomes were several factors:
- Previous preparation and checking (Special thanks to Jerit Weiser who tried the chairs to see if they were working properly, if the text displayed on the notecard reader was perceptible and gave his opinion on the setting).
- Using written text so that participants could visualize the instructions.
- Short and clear instructions.
- Managing the communication: hands up to ask questions.
- Few issues/topics in each session.

Lessons learned: What did you learn from the experience?
I learnt that we can overcome SL technical drawbacks and that with patience and calm “we can”, I mean, by being assertive, not being afraid to ask for help, and collaborating we can have good results.
Next time, I will try some collaborative work between the participants, may be pair work to start with.

Keywords: tube, table, stool, poseball, link objects, SL, workshop

About me

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you. B.B. King