Eowyn Atlass

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User-exemplar
(Archaeology, University of Leicester)
(Eowyn Atlass)
Prior experience in SL
Before joinning the project, Ewoyn had already been on SL for a few months. She has already
“become very comfortable and confident with SL”. She found “It’s pretty easy to have a chat with
people in SL”, and she “liked it very much interacting people in SL”.
Engagement with SL activities
A meeting place for distance learners
Eowyn thought that “SL offers an opportunity to meet others”. This was the first time that she had
interaction with the tutors and other students. She described her past experience as “doing things
alone at home”, and “We’re doing distance learning, and I’ve never interacted with the teacher
before.” She concluded that “SL is really a good way to hold a class” and “It added an extra way to
distance learning.”
Eowyn described her engagement with SL activities as “It’s an interactive experience”. The
interactive experience made her feel “more connected to the class” and “part of this group even
though it’s virtual world.” The best part of this interactive experience is the opportunity “to interact
with the tutors” by “having the tutor to talk through the material” and “asking questions directly to
the tutor and to have their respond right away”. Another aspect of this interactive experience is the
opportunity to “talk with some of classmates through texting”. Eowyn described how she learned
things from others through the interaction. She said, “It makes me realize that’s a question I’m
interested too when other people asked other questions.” Eowyn thought that the interaction with
the tutors and others definitely helped her to understand the course material better.
Leading to real work network building
Eowyn thought that now she can “have some contact in SL” with others, rather than having “no
contact at all” before. SL offered a chance “to get to know each other better”. Eowyn said that she
wanted to develop further collaboration with the others. She said that now I can “email some other
students if I had any questions or comments about the course”.
Simulation in SL
Eowyn thought that the simulation opportunity offered by SL is very crucial for learning Archaeology.
By seeing and exploring the Sami tent and Kalasha village simulated in SL, she commented, “Sami
and Kalasha have been done beautifully.” “I felt the Sami was exactly what has been described in
the book”. She thought that , the opportunities to see, walk around and explore the artefacts
helped her to “imagine how they[Sami & Kalasha people] live, and what it was like not being able to
go to these places.” It also helped to “reinforce what I’ve read” from the textbook.
The cognitive map below captured Eowyn’s personal experience in SL:
1
3 SL added an extra
way to distance
learning
1 SL is really good
way to hold a class
53 To help me
understand the
material better
8 It's an
interactive
experience
52 Feel more
connected to the
class
2 I felt part of
this group even
though it's a
virtual world
5 To reinforce what
I've read
13 Make me realize
that's a quesiton
I'm interested too,
when other people
asked other
questions
12 Ask questions
directly to the
tutor and to have
their respond right
away
54 Having the tutor
to talk through the
material
10 It was a good
experiece to
interact with the
tutors
9 Talk with some of
classmates through
texting
66 SL offers an
opportunity to meet
others (This is the
first time I had
interaction with
them) ... Doing
things alone at home
7 To imagine how
they live, what it
was like not being
to go some places
65 I felt the Sami
was exactly what has
been described in
the book
64 Sami and Kalasha
have been done
beautifully
Presence through avatars
Eowyn liked the presence through avatars in SL. She felt comfortable interacting with people in SL.
She is a computer programmer in real life and she’s used to working in a computer environment. She
said, “I feel like I am an avatar.”
Eowyn noted that there is a limited way in expressing emotions through avatars, “You can do certain
gestures [in SL] like you can do a smile face in email”, but this restriction doesn’t bother her at all.
She also noticed that “People try harder to be very polite in SL.” However she thought this is rather a
good thing.
Interaction in SL
Eowyn really enjoyed the interaction and communication she had with tutors and other students in
SL. She described her first experience meeting with the tutors and others in SL like “really nervous
on the first day, because “I’ve never interacted with the teacher before”. However, she soon found
out that “tutors are happy answer all our questions”, and she felt “comfortable in asking them
questions”.
Eowyn noted a disadvantage with text-based communication, that “typing takes time”, and “People
have already changed subjects when you’re typing or when you try to ask the tutor a question”. She
also felt that during these teaching sessions, tutors perhaps have “put too much text and that [the
2
communication] went too fast”, which resulted in, “We won’t be able to absorb it and think of our
answer straight away”.
On the whole, Eowyn felt comfortable with text-based communication in SL. She commented that
voice communication can be good in some aspects, however “voice can cause other problems”,
besides, she can “have a transcript of what we’ve discussed” if the communication is through text.
Role of SL moderator
Eowyn participated in the four teaching sessions in SL. She commented that “The SL sessions went
very smoothly”. She thought that it is very important “to have somebody provide on-site support in
the teaching session”. She observed that “If someone has a question, they can ask the technologist
to sort it out without interrupting others”, and “the teacher can deal with any other issues”, which
contributed the success of the teaching sessions in SL.
Learning how to use SL
Eowyn had been on SL for a few months before she joined the pilot study. She has been “practised
the movements, chatting before the class”. And she thought, “It takes time to get used to the way of
SL” at the beginning.
Although Eowyn is already very good at the basic skills, she still read through the training guide,
“watch all the videos and tutorials in the guide”, and found it very useful. She described her
experience when she first started with SL as, “When I first started I didn’t know what SL is, no guide
is available”.
Eowyn participated in the in-world training session too and found it very useful. She commented
that “to have somebody provide the training in SL is very helpful”. She found the best part of the
training was “to have somebody showing how to do things in SL”, which is probably easier than
“reading the training guide on my own”. She described what she gained the most from the training,
“to get a quick answer if I have additional questions” and “the trainer teaches me how to use
cameral control in the session which I don’t know how to do by reading the guide”. She found that
the training session “reinforced what you’ve read in the guide”.
3
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