More than a week has past and I've fallen horribly behind with the Facilitating Online Course.. and it's going to get worse before it gets better. I'm learning to have a new respect for everyone out there who manages to juggle study, work and family life. I realised just how out of touch with FOC2010 I have become when I received an email today from a work colleague who sent me a link to a really interesting article called 15 practices to deepen human connection and engagement online. It's a great article, and it suggests some simple and practical ways to improve social engagement online. Turns out though that she got the link from a tweet from Sarah Stewart! And here I thought I'd be able to bring something new to the group when I finally managed to catch up! Just goes to show the efficacy of Twitter though!
I have been reading some of the blogs of other course participants. One member blogged about her first experiences of Second Life, which were fairly unpleasant. I had similar experiences when I first got into SL, encountering all sorts of funny-bunnies making all sorts of strange propositions. What struck me most though was the visceral nature of my reaction to these rather odd avatars... I actually felt panicky and anxious and found the experience quite upsetting. (A colleague sitting next to me even started whispering in case the avatar on the screen could hear her!) Reflecting on the experience made me realise exactly how powerful a tool Second Life can be for that very reason - if an encounter with an oddball avatar could make me react so strongly, the scope for semi-real-life Second-Life learning experiences would be huge. Although there has been little uptake of SL at my institution, for a number of different reasons, I do believe virtual worlds are a technology whose time has yet to come.