Resources for people new to the virtual world.

Eileen O’Connor is a college professor at SUNY Empire State College in science and technology teacher education, focusing on emerging technologies including virtual worlds & web tools for learning. She began as a chemist, moved to IBM in the 1980s, then went into education in science and technology.

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Salie Davis works as a recruiter for a global company preparing remote workers for a successful career. She has a Master’s degree in learning in emerging technologies focused on the benefits of virtual worlds for immersive training with a graduate certificate in teaching in emerging technologies. Her work experience includes twenty years working with home school organizations, and private schools, and presenting at global conferences for adult learners and professionals.

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Challenging Goliath Avacon OSCC 2018

3:33[Music]

3:39hello everyone and welcome to the 5 o’clock to 6 o’clock session of the 2018

3:44open simulator community conference as a reminder to our in world and web

3:50audience you can view the full conference scheduled at conference open simulator org and tweet your questions

3:57or comments to at opensim cc with the hashtag pound sign OS CC 18 this session

4:06we are happy to introduce a terrific session called challenging Goliath bringing virtual reality into higher

4:13education our speakers today are se Lee Davis Cheryl Moore Eileen O’Connor and Albert

4:21Ando dr. Eileen O’Conner and Elaine who was unable to be with us today our

4:28associate professors at SUNY Empire State College and they’re working in learning and emerging technologies with

4:35the Master of Arts in learning and emerging technologies program called mallet sailing davis has been an

4:42educator for 20 years working with homeschooled children private schools and special needs she has degrees in

4:48creative marketing and media communications Sheryl Moore is a master’s candidate and learning and

4:55merging technologies at mallet from Empire State College Moore is employed

5:00as a financial educator at se FCU a New York State credit union and where she

5:07works with individuals served by nonprofit organizations schools and credit union members al rotundo has

5:16written produced and directed hundreds of corporate video presentations and has taught video production techniques at

5:22associations conventions trade shows and through podcasts always embracing the

5:29entrepreneurial spirit of his work he pioneered the production of one of the first podcasts for the video production

5:36industry while producing broadcast and corporate TV and earning a learning and

5:41emerging technology master’s at Empire State College the three speakers of

5:49let’s see and now I want to say welcome all let’s begin the session okay well

5:59thank you very much everybody for staying here this late or early evening for all of you

6:05we’re here from Empire State College which is part of the State University of New York and just a little background on

6:13us we’re a rather unique SUNY school and that we pretty much serve adults so we

6:19have a very interesting population the school started in the 1970s we have

6:25almost 20,000 students but we’re distributed across New York State so

6:30what you’re going to hear from these students and myself I’m Eileen and I’m

6:36one of the instructors is how we create community within an online network and

6:42so remember these students have never met each other physically they think

6:50I’ve met a couple of them physically but really we are we know each other from a distance and so tonight we’re gonna be

6:57looking at a little bit of the history of how Empire State College got into this and then we will look and see how

7:06some of the instructors that are here tonight and I’m going to be representing my colleague dr. Nicola Ilan she has she

7:15and I have been pioneers in this for over 10 years and then we’re going to look at what we’re doing today and then

7:22in the middle we’re going to actually see what some of our illustrious students have done and then we’ll wrap

7:27it up by looking at some of the things we’re doing presently so what I do want

7:35to point out and I think a lot of people have brought this in before what online

7:41courses can be somewhat isolating and we’ve been able to use the virtual

7:46reality over the past 10 years as a way to create a sense of community you all

7:51know a sense of presence you’re we’ve been able to do shared development which

7:57is one of the things that you’re going to see here how we supported each other and developing things but we find that we can encourage

8:05creativity and immersive medias but we’re also challenged it takes a while

8:11for people to learn how to get into these environments and we tend to be very much our own self supporters we

8:18don’t have a lot of institutional support coming in and giving us the help so that would be the things we would

8:24like but undaunted to go back a little

8:29bit through our history Empire State College headquarters and it’s in 40

8:35locations around the state but it’s headquartered out of Saratoga New York which is a Starkel town what you see up

8:41here is the Alumni house when funding came through a grant which Nicola could

8:48have talked more about but in the mid-2000s funding came and the original

8:53buildings were designed by artists made it look kind of like our actual alumni

9:01house what we did initially was work through Second Life and here is one of

9:10the meetings that Nicola herself was at she’s there with the long hair in the red dress she actually makes avatars so

9:19what happened to was Nicola was able to take that concept of kind of going back

9:27in history and she developed a course over ten years ago called the future

9:33being human a very interesting futuristic course and she the storyline

9:39was she brought them into the bottom of this ancient building and then when the

9:45students came in they became teleported in through an avatar system into another

9:52reality so she really was getting people to start thinking about the concept of

9:59being human but also where are humans going with these virtual spaces and

10:05virtual environments so in that process she gave here some of the assignments

10:12that she had they went through this experience they went into their online courses and they wrote using this mist right from

10:19her notes some of the expectations within the course and started to think about how humans would start working in

10:27these environments and but at the same point while she was doing that

10:33futuristic work the artists that were funded initially were developing tech

10:40similes I don’t know if you can see to the left that was something we had on our original Second Life Island which

10:46was a replica of one of the buildings the historical buildings right near our campus so their initial II we did have

10:55that type of funding the other thing we also had back in around 2007 when I got

11:03involved was there was some grant funding that allowed me to get a private island and I don’t if you remember you

11:11couldn’t bring young people onto Second Life they had I forget the name teen

11:16Island but I got actually a private island and back then we did have some

11:23support from the college we did have some of our tech people would help us with if we had a meeting they would help

11:32people with their microphones and some of those supports that you wish you had but when I went and worked with this

11:39grant I worked with middle school students very different environment they had no problem with the environment the

11:46problem was more keeping them focused and so I learned a lot from that and one of the things I’ve always done is tried

11:52to publish my work more as what you call action research I haven’t had the time

11:58of the funding to do research much outside of my classroom so this was a publication that I created or about ten

12:06years ago bringing this to some of the teacher education conferences and what

12:12Nicola and I did the other faculty member we tried to bring this beyond our

12:19immediate students and at that point I was in the science education program and

12:24so what we started to do was our own rude effort to get other faculty

12:30involved to get instructional designers involved this little website that you see a screen capture of was some of the

12:38work that we assembled we had monthly meetings and we we were able to maintain

12:45funding for Second Life for a while simultaneously the college and myself

12:51and it’s a part of that we started a master’s program in learning and

12:57emerging technology you’re going to meet some of our illustrious students shortly and along with that it became cost

13:05prohibitive to stay in Second Life Nicola and I we really had to be our own

13:10support and along with the wonderful ability to now get islands and artifacts

13:17that we could use from others we were able to kind of move out on our own and so what we did when the program started

13:27we were still at that point in Second Life using some of the materials that were created by different artists so

13:34this was a building that Nicola had commissioned and this is just one of our

13:39early preparatory meetings in our new master’s program what we have since done

13:46and this is the work you’re going to be learning about shortly was developed a

13:51course where students themselves create Islands and we’ve been very happy with

13:58Kitely Kitely has given us the ability to have islands that are affordable students come in we’ve had over 30

14:05students now develop their own islands to suit their own needs some of them become becomes part of their final

14:12thesis and what I did in the process was create a number of online tutorials way

14:19back in my past history I’d been a technical writer for IBM so I I have that kind of technical writing

14:25background I have a lot of materials that it would be glad to share with anybody they’re open source on how to

14:31create Kitely islands which just gives us the benefit of a wonderful server

14:36along with firestorm and the very wonderful open-source materials that

14:43have been allowed that have been given to us so one of the things that Nicola

14:49and I have continued to do is we still promote the online worlds within SUNY

14:55the SUNY system itself has I think some half million students and we’re part of

15:00the consortiums there what we often do is bring forth our work we still have a

15:07lot of old perceptions that the islands are expensive we have the competition

15:13now in online environments with a lot of a communication tools so it holds us

15:18back sometimes but I think what you’re going to find is the communities that we’ve developed have kept us going what

15:27I have seen though and I think maybe some of you might identify with this there can be disruption bringing in a

15:34new technology like this that really is outside of the learning management systems and sometimes that can cause

15:40issues among faculty themselves you know innovative technologies can be perceived

15:45as being a little threatening but what I want to applaud are the students that I’ve worked with here’s

15:52one student who is a social worker he’s created his own environment and he

15:59brings parents who have been sent over by court-appointed systems and he has a

16:05virtual environment that he’s developed where he can bring parents and social workers and children together in a very

16:11new way and this just is student presenting at a conference we’ve had

16:17other students oh and this happens to be the part of the students Island there

16:24was a key researcher out of England and he decided to make some of his buildings

16:29like the place where the research was done in England and on these slides are the ways you can find these islands and

16:35Kitely we have another student who was working on in culture rating people

16:42coming in from other countries she wanted a safe place for them to come in and explore she created this space this

16:51happens to be a historic setting for Japanese cultural studies

16:58for high school students so we’ve had students who’ve actually created some

17:05work dealing with some of the materials that been made available by artists this

17:11one I think is the last before we go on to the students themselves was a very unique Island that’s just under

17:18development right now we did encourage you to visit these Islands created by a graphic artist and to the left you’re

17:25gonna see the aerial view of his Island and to the right you’ll see one of his actual creations a very interesting

17:32space so being that I’m in the academic and part of what I do is see how my

17:40students work in these spaces some create them this last slide is just students visiting a space I had them

17:48play around pull some artifacts out of their inventory and do some playful

17:53things with them and you just see that this I used to build community and I a recent publication there and it really

18:00could tease out and see that these students themselves really have enjoyed

18:05the process so now to let them speak for themselves I’ll ask I’ll pass the mic

18:11over to al Rotondo and I will try to turn the slides for him but al cue me if

18:16I don’t do them at the right time thank you first slide please the concept began

18:31as an exercise in teaching three-point lighting in a skybox hovering above one

18:40of two Empire State College Islands in Second Life functioning video lights

18:47were developed and once this was achieved I knew that further concepts could be

18:55flushed out in a virtual environment to the next line please Second Life

19:06just opened up their code the recent emergence of the open simulator

19:12environment the one we’re in right now made virtual environments now accessible

19:18to everyone I began to design an implement of fully functioning virtual

19:25learning environment and named it video production world this provides a way for

19:31video production learners to see experience situationally engage and

19:38learn the tools of and techniques of the trade of video production without

19:44leaving home this saves the traditional costs of traveling to learning

19:49conferences and the conference costs of setting up live learning simulations

19:56leveling the playing field for learners of all economic backgrounds next slide

20:02please I created wayfinding kiosks that’ll

20:14located in different parts of the island for easy navigation throughout the island when you click one of the names

20:25it highlights the area on the map and

20:31therefore you know where to go see that particular event and display next slide

20:40please this project was effective in five

20:48distinct areas one harnessing the in world Sun to mimic the real world Sun in

20:57helping teach outdoor lighting techniques through the use of scrims

21:04and reflectors this was the first bit of

21:10physics that we played with myself in a developer that I work with on this and

21:19as I saw that we could control the actual Sun the in World Sun to act as a

21:27real Sun I was really excited and and

21:35and knew that the rest of the physics would fall into place so this was the first of many technical developments to

21:48creating working functioning video lights to teach three-point lighting techniques we had started with some

21:55lights in Second Life but then we further developed them were able to turn

22:02them on and off adjust the intensity of the lights etc next likelies 3 we

22:12achieving in world balance of cameras on booms with counterweights to teach this

22:20type of camera mounting and movement we created two different booms and the

22:28physics of adding weights and in different size weights was just very

22:35very interesting and amazing to do in an in world environment next like leaves

22:44providing an amphitheater to play a variety of video production

22:50instructional videos that I created just for this video production training

22:57environment next slide please

23:02and five recreating a working active TV

23:08studio teaching camera switching techniques mannequins or teaching agents

23:15were used to play the parts of camera people the director and onstage talent

23:22next slide please reviewers of this thesis project had a five choice answer system for their

23:30survey they could express their agreement with terms ranging from strongly agree to

23:35agree to indifferent than disagree and strongly disagree the reviewers were a selection of

23:43novices and existing video professionals analysis of this data indicated that

23:50overall favorable responses were evenly distributed between novices and professionals making video production

23:58world positively received among both types of learners and visitors next

24:05slide please video production world proved that the

24:13physical three-dimensional aspects of video production can be taught in a virtual environment with considerable

24:19success success was achieved in several we’re real-world physical replications

24:25such as control of the in world Sun creating functional and control

24:31controllable video lights and developing real-world weights weight differentials

24:37in a virtual environment thank you and

24:47now we’ll have se Lee talked about her work Thank You al Thank You Eileen well

24:54the virtual world is like the Guy Fawkes mask some see it as inspirational others

25:03view it with fear and distrust is this based on its facelessness technology or

25:11darker fears well I once shared the same prejudice and just to kind of speak on

25:18that before I started my master’s program I would have never set foot in

25:25any virtual world so what I have learned in my studies is that breaking down

25:32those fears to help others see the potential of virtual worlds is not an

25:38easy task

25:50so working as a student I explore aspects of the virtual world using my

25:56island in Kitely multiverse masters I make builds to serve as a meeting place

26:01for gamification of Education simulation testing grounds interactivity playground

26:09games and for educational content for varied ages and levels I convinced the

26:25graduate student collaborative to fund a club Island for presentation displays to

26:30give students a place to practice presenting and a place to meet out of for fellow officers one was already

26:38familiar with virtual worlds one was hostile and aggressively against it and

26:43two had no opinion so I used zoom and

26:57multiple virtual viewers to do live training although I gained support for

27:03the attempt one of the two joining decide the learning curve was too high and the other was open but

27:09non-participatory after the training so if feedback from members was also

27:16mixed with a majority remaining indifferent the college cut funding for the project after only one month of the

27:22island being live this is an example of the need to communicate intensely with

27:29others to overcome these inhibitions concerning this technology I also

27:39presented one of my builds multi-verse moon based masters at the couny gaming

27:45conference in New York City as a proof-of-concept via distance with the

27:50help of my on-site college professor Mark Lewis technology at the conference

27:55did not allow foreign world participation I presented via phone over

28:01a portable speaker as a professor controlled the slides later we had

28:09one-on-one sessions for participants to try out the games designed again the

28:15campus did not allow virtual world connectivity so we used Skype conference

28:23sharing my screen I walked through the gameplay while answering questions this

28:30did not allow for first player interaction however this is an example of how we must work through barriers to

28:38promote the potential virtual worlds offer to help support developers I

28:46create tutorial videos and presentations this one on virtual world design was

28:52presented in world for the Institute of new paradigms I have found the best way to change stigmas and open minds to

29:00these opportunities is to research publish and promote I use videos

29:05presentations websites and blogs to do so I create curriculum supports on where

29:11Polycom and developer supports on multiverse masters blog spot.com if you

29:17are interested in making a positive impact on the open sim community then I strongly encourage you to do the same

29:23thank you very much so thank you say Lee and our lovely

29:31participants we’ll be inviting you to their spaces but let’s go over to Cheryl

29:38Moore who has something to tell us about her recent piloted financial space that

29:46she created Thank You Eileen as a student of learning with emerging

29:51technologies at Empire State College I became enamored with designing virtual spaces in dr. O’Connor’s virtual

29:57practicum courses my profession is in financial education as you heard so I

30:03was inspired to create an environment in which people could have fun learning something that otherwise can be

30:10considered boring or stressful on even intimidating which is the the financial education piece so what you’re seeing

30:16here is an aerial view of the shopping center that serves as the backdrop for the financial education I created an

30:24environment named pixelated in which individuals can experience real world practice and have fun and then I

30:32conducted a pilot study to test the environment and examine how to bring financial education into a virtual space

30:39the design is a mixture of realism and simplicity and a little humor sprinkled

30:46throughout so for example there’s a restroom because as we know you know when you’re shopping you you need a

30:52restroom right go ahead and the next site Thank You Ellen as an educator and

30:57instructional designer I follow an approach to financial education that is rooted in the principles that you see

31:03here on the slide and the focus is on behavior and capability you know

31:08inclusion not judgment so having a virtual space in which to learn is exciting because people can practice

31:14without having concern over you know real-world failure and the things that tend to cause that stress and anxiety

31:21around finances for some people and actually using humor and dynamic visuals is a great way as you may know

31:28to put people at ease and establish a safe and fun learning environment this

31:37slide is an example of a shopping list or the shopping list that can be used to

31:43teach budgeting saving and sharing and actually also prioritization of needs

31:48and wants that enables autonomous decision-making so students learners and

31:53the environment would work through this list to accomplish the items and they get to practice several concepts around

32:00financial education that way here you see the credit union and this is where

32:06learners log their transactions in a tool provided free by Brite Bank comm it

32:11simulates a checking saving and even credit card account which provides practice for record-keeping and money

32:18mindfulness which is an important concept this is an example of an

32:23important habit which may not be modeled at home or taught elsewhere and so it can be practiced safely in world and the

32:31users in my study actually really enjoyed using that tool so just to conclude the educational approach

32:38involves these elements that you see on the slide and they’re all very easily achieved in an immersive space so that

32:44really contributes to the appreciation of those spaces for what I do in my professional work and if you’re

32:51interested in learning more about the study you can learn more about the study tomorrow evening I’ll be on at 5:30 or

32:578:30 Eastern Time so I hope to see some of you there and I hope you learn a

33:02little bit more about what happened in that study so thank you ok thank you as

33:10you can see we have wonderful adult students who really bring their own

33:15personal history and interest in as they’ve been designing work and so I hope you will get a chance to speak more

33:22with them visit their Islands and join Cheryl tomorrow evening she had a very productive pilot study but just to kind

33:30of wrap up this part of the presentation with where are we going now as you can

33:36see we’ve got a combination of faculty who work and teach within these spaces using

33:43them in an online forum sometimes for meetings sometimes for as you’ll see in

33:49a moment a residency we’ve been using them in different ways and hope to continue to use them at the same time we

33:55have had some 30 students develop their own spaces over the past couple of years

34:01and again thank you so much to OpenSim to Kitely and to the many generous

34:07artists that have allowed us to do this and what we are seeing though is I’ll

34:13show you a couple of our new ventures we in the mallet program we are 100% online

34:19and we now have a group of wonderful students who’ve graduated or working and

34:26we wanted to consider continue with a quote residency model the school has

34:32such other master’s programs where the people get together geographically and

34:38that’s very nice when you’re together it’s expensive though our main headquarters is out of New York City

34:45it’s very expensive to go in there and so we’re trying to see and it’s been brought into the strategic plan of the

34:52graduate program to look at alternative ways of meeting and so we piloted a

34:58virtual residency and wonderfully al who’s already graduated Sayle who’s

35:05actually still close to finished with her graduation they came and helped

35:12support other newbies coming into this environment so it was a very multi

35:18students in different parts of their own careers and what we are doing is trying

35:25to get more groups involved in these virtual environments but I will tell you

35:31between teaching and I recently became program coordinator with a lot of administrative responsibilities grading

35:38publishing I don’t have time personally to go out and be convincing all faculty

35:44so what we’ve done though among ourselves is created a think-tank and we’re starting to think and I’m

35:50think we can encourage some of you to join us but I’ll show you these last few

35:55things that are helping us take the message forward this was the residency that I mentioned

36:02I’ll show you some of the feedback we got from the residency we ran it to be very similar to a conference and I think

36:10that had its pluses and minuses but there’s a lot of interest within our

36:15program because we’re an emerging technology program in things that are

36:21augmented reality as well we’re looking at 360 cameras so the goal of this conference was to introduce some of

36:28those areas too so we had some classic more like this where you have now we

36:35call them our TED Talks in the background where we introduce some concepts doctor Ilan brought people on a

36:42walking tour which was very well received to some of her Island she does very beautiful work I have a science

36:49background my work is very practical she’s got an art background her work is very elegant and so we went on a walking

36:55tour we got a chance to talk about some of our other courses in media and arts I

37:01run stem courses we talked about those and ended the residency with one of our

37:07instructors talking about some of the game design work he does with unity what

37:14was particularly pleasing to me these were some snapshots from our residency

37:20was that the Dean came as well and faculty members the Dean came launched

37:26the residency explained about the strategic focus we’re trying to get and

37:34starting to see the role of innovation within our graduate program and here are

37:41these are no snapshots of some of the people who were here we have now brought

37:46in people beyond the college so we had founded a very enjoyable time what we

37:53did ask for people to an anonymous way give us feedback so we could improve it

38:00and there were three questions and the first one was how does this how is this differ from a

38:09quote regular conference everybody’s been to conferences and this

38:14was anonymous so they could be honest but again they these are students and alums and people who kind of know us

38:21they were pretty kindly one person did comment is just like any other

38:27conference sit and listen so I didn’t know whether how to interpret that but thought that’s a little bit negative but

38:33they found that it was very engaging in general and I highlighted the leaps and

38:38bounds ahead of a typical webinar or conference calls I’ve heard my students

38:44talk now about how often they literally claim they hate webinars which we have

38:50to see in many different ways what we did ask them was what was interesting to

38:57them we did talk about augmented reality some people were pleased to find out

39:02they could build a world we told them about open source some people really

39:07noticed the fact that it was a community so one person expanded quite a bit about

39:13that we had a walking tour which was very popular I we have to remember

39:21though to walk slowly enough the tour in person lost some people but we did find

39:26that you know people enjoyed that opportunity to actually walk around and they want to know how could we improve

39:33this now I will have to say I wish we had the support and time that this

39:40lovely conference has been run around we didn’t and you’ll see in some of the

39:47comments they really wanted better organization they wanted us to you know

39:54scaffold them into the environment more there were some very good ideas about

39:59having two speakers somebody who speaks and somebody who watches the chat so he

40:05got some very good productive ideas none of which really whether they would be

40:11excuse me within the realm of durability provided that we had more staff to help

40:17us go through these but we continued on using these meetings

40:24we have our students now present when they do their final projects we recently

40:30had people presenting about their final projects which we tried a different

40:35format this time where we had a quote poster session it worked and didn’t work

40:41the students brought their work we put them out in posters and the students

40:46stayed there as people came around to discuss what was going on in the

40:51different projects we had microphone problems that more came from the fact

40:57that some of the students hadn’t prepared in advance of their mics didn’t work right and another problem for me I

41:04had put the posters a little bit too close to each other we had sound overlap so I think there are ways we can improve

41:11but the concept of going around and seeing the posters of different people’s work has seemed to work I think we need

41:18to polish it up a bit but in terms of polishing what I had observed was we’ve

41:25had a lot of wonderful students come through I still continue with these

41:30students Elle has graduated two years back he still is kind enough to come

41:35back we started something that we’ve called the Institute for new paradigms and it’s to be a think-tank we’re still

41:43thinking through what our think tank will be we’ve had meetings on a monthly

41:49basis since last spring we’ve had enough interest to really say that this is an

41:54idea to pursue and what we did was buy

42:00by the summer when the summer started I took a poll of people’s interests and

42:06based on the poll which was through a Google Form we started breaking this down into an

42:14executive group and also into a research group and those are the planning pieces

42:21now so far we haven’t gotten as far as I would like in terms of passing over some

42:26of the management I still do most of it myself which is got a little challenging

42:32when I had pick up an extra roll among the six weeks ago when somebody got promoted up

42:37and I had to pick up a lot more administrative work but we do have a faithful group that comes to these

42:43meetings we want to invite others I think we’re close to being well enough

42:49to invite others we’re very much still more of a professional development than

42:55research oriented think-tank we’ve been sharing ideas we’ve another students

43:01working with me we Co published something just a week ago just turned in

43:06all the paperwork so what we’re doing is what we hope some day to give spielberg

43:12to run for the money we’re going to be having that threaded environment where we work sometimes virtually in an

43:20immersive space maybe someday when we do get the the headsets in 3d here we can

43:25do that as well but we’re finding that this environment does allow us to

43:32continue to work together and just a couple more wrap-up slides where what we

43:39did ask the the Institute members themselves who really were a core of

43:45people that I’ve known and worked with over the past number of years and we’ve invited some guests a Selby might be

43:51here with us Selby has been wonderful in helping us but last June we asked what

43:57is it you’d like to know more about you know so these are progressive thinkers this these slides I’ll make available if

44:04anyone wants to read the fine detail but you’ll see that people are looking to things like 360 cameras augmented

44:11reality they’re wanting to know more about web world so all of this new dimension that’s coming in and that’s

44:20something that this group really would like to learn more about and we’re period we’re starting to line up

44:27speakers we’re starting to look logistical ëhow we can focus in the number of areas at once the other thing

44:33that came through on that survey in June was that the 12 people who did respond to this question said they would like to

44:41continue with research now I’ve made that the

44:46and I knew that if I just said yes or no they would not want to say no directly to me so I asked them would they want to

44:52be part of this or maybe in the future so that was a polite way to say no I’m not interested or at least not

44:58interested now but we had almost 90 percent interested in kind of continuing

45:04on with the you know kind of future research into these areas so as we

45:10formulate a little more of where we’re going with these next steps in summary

45:17I’m finding that this interest recently

45:22in augmented reality which is coming into a lot of the groups within which I work is really starting to drive us to

45:31to be able to open more conversations and I think we’re looking to see how we

45:40can leverage this going forward and also what we’re seeing is that to really continue this though we need some kind

45:47of sustained professional growth not just for people like the folks on the stage here who will do this on their own

45:54but to get more faculty involved things I would love if we could have a nice web-based interface I understand though

46:01that the technology is too robust to probably be web served for a while but I

46:08was delighted to hear this morning that we might be getting 3d headset 3d

46:13interface sooner than I had anticipated um but I think that and this is

46:19something kitely’s working on we can get more pre-designed Islands ahead to institutions I think

46:25they can start jumping on board faster so I think you know we’re all living

46:31proof here at this conference that there are many ways we can use these two into

46:36to meet and to talk I’m still interested in understanding how we can kind of

46:42create a conceptual framework for what I’m calling immersion which is something

46:47we do here but something that some of these other 3d environments are allowing us to get into so I’ll stop at that and

46:55thank you all for listening to very much a lecture but I’m hoping maybe we’ve inspired some

47:01questions and maybe you’ll continue to join us because we would very much like to have you come with us so thank you

47:13Thank You Eileen and thank you to to all our panelists are there any questions

47:20from the audience we’re getting late in the day and everyone’s getting ready to party you

47:26know well I want to thank our panelists and I’m watching the chat oh I see one

47:33coming in Buffy says really great presentation and congrats on getting your Dean to attend that’s that’s like a

47:41minor miracle right when I had a

47:46champion when I started my program with the 52 university classes our vice

47:52president of academic affairs and and he came out into world then our president

47:58for a while Mary Jane Paulson also came out into world so I was very impressed with that let’s see we do have a

48:06question from lisanna wisdom seeker how can I get your online tutorials I will

48:13gladly as a matter of fact I have to hold my phone because I had I have to

48:19use Skype on my phone I will type e tutorials the link there all right now out on Google Sites and I have anything

48:27from just the basic walk around to how to build and so I will put the link here

48:32and gladly share them and I think a question went by too would any of these students want to work with OpenSim

48:40people and I will pretty much speak for them but I think they would be delighted to and if you could contact me or some

48:48of the students directly I think you’re going to find that and when our Institute meets again on Monday night I

48:56will bring that forward I think they would depending on where they stand in their career and their their you know

49:03also adults working they also are pursuing a masters but I think in theory they would love to continue to work with

49:10others so yes I would say that’s a very possible area and we’ll make some

49:16contacts there oh and say Lee by the way is she I’m you

49:22know 101 virtual world say Lee is the advanced course she has created many

49:29wonderful tutorials too with non plane characters she teaches all about

49:34scripting so I can teach you how to do the nuts and bolts put the buildings down she can teach you how to really go

49:40in an advanced way so please do keep up with us thanks Eileen and Lisa Laxton

49:48had a question do you have a wish list for what you need technology wise mmm

49:56well I wish all of my students who are at a distance could have robust

50:01technologies themselves they could have powerful computers good internet what I would like I mean if I really just could

50:08have my druthers a web-based interface so I don’t have to go through the challenge of getting people signed on

50:14the other problem I’m having if people work from home they can generally sign on if they’re trying to come in from a

50:20school or an institution downloading firestorm is a real problem they often

50:26have locks down I have some of the new Macs right now we’re not being able to download firestorm we’re working on that

50:32I am my own tech support and I’m not smart enough to know all the combinations so I would like to have an

50:39easier interface to download also it would be nice to have the 3d environment

50:44there will always be a learning curve in terms of how you get your avatar to walk and talk so I that will always be there

50:50but an easier way to get in would be very nice it looks like one Ganesa

51:03link and it did not work for him so we’ll have to run that down later yeah

51:09what about putting the HTTP in in front of it that might well okay and let me

51:14I’m trying to put my phone down and get the link to some of my tutorials as well

51:22because I think we will and we’ll be sure that you folks do know how to reach out to us

51:29if you’re interested in finding out more about some of the islands we’ve created

51:35the power point it’s excuse me well the power point that prompted the slides

51:40actually has the names of all of the islands and Kitely if anyone wants to

51:45come and visit the work that these wonderful students have done and I’m sure they would be quite delighted to be

51:53able to continue on and we had one more question as we wrap up Rhiannon asks how

52:00can we go about becoming part of the Institute or participating in the think tank just send the email and my email is

52:12just my name it’s Eileen e IL e en dot o

52:17connor o co and n o R and at ESC edu

52:27typing it in and we will be glad to put

52:33you on our mailing list which leaves you the option of joining us or not but we can keep you apprised of what we’re

52:40doing and we we need some thinkers to help us think and we have very good

52:46professional development process going we have meetings we are developing a collegial support but I think we need

52:53more of a framework to so we’ll put you to work

52:58Thank You Eileen and thanks to our panelists what a terrific presentation as a reminder to our audience you can

53:05see what’s coming up on the conference schedule at conference simulator org next we’re gonna have a social event so

53:12stay tuned for that and Rihanna is gonna have some closing remarks tomorrow oh did you want to cut

53:19in tomorrow the first session will begin at 7 a.m. in this keynote region and it

53:25is entitled virtual machine’ viewers enable open seminar Act access on mobile

53:31devices by Tulane also we encourage you to visit the OSC c18 poster Expo in the

53:38Oh SCC Expo 3 region 2 find accompanying information on presentations and explore the hyper grid

53:45tour resources in OS CC export to region along with the sponsor and crowdfunder

53:52booths located throughout all of the expo regions thank you again to our speakers and to the audience over to you

53:59Rhiannon great ok I think I’m unmuted

54:06can you guys hear me I think so so yes thank you everybody for for being here

54:11today the first day of our two-day conference and you know it’s been great

54:18for us to you so far as Lear was saying

54:23at 6:15 so gives you a few minutes to get there grab a drink if you’re still

54:29want to hang out socialize and network with any of the folks that you that you’ve been with today that you’ve been

54:34interacting with we are having a music showcase that is on the OS CC music

54:40stage region so if you just open up your map and type o SCC you’ll see all the

54:46regions that are listed o SCC and just look from UCC music stage there’s also some signs around these regions near the

54:55info science as a signs that have just been put down during this presentation and in the landing zones that will give

55:02you a landmark to go directly there so it’s open ones up on the stage it’s about to jump up in front of me I guess

55:09so yes please join us there if you want

55:14to kind of chat and with your fellow attendees as well again as Lyra said

55:21meet us again at 7 a.m. I also wanted to encourage folks there’s this goes to the

55:27speakers and this also goes to many of you in the audience and I’m gonna grab a URL for it but we have several social

55:35events and that and community events that are scheduled that besides the one

55:43that we’re organizing tonight there are many community and social events that are being organized by other

55:50speakers and community folks would then open simulator other users so if you would

55:58like to host your own and it could be as simple as if your speaker meet up in your in your region or for folks to to

56:06see your work or or if you want to host

56:12a tour of your build if it’s or whatever resources that you might have or a music

56:18or social event you can go to conference that open simulator slash 2018 slash

56:28community – event – signup slash so it’s

56:33in the it’s in the D chat so and just submit an event and we’ll get it up on the schedule and that does not have to

56:40be just for today and tomorrow we will continue to keep listing them probably

56:45up till Christmas so your grid as a holiday party or you want to host a tour

56:50next week once the dust clears from this weekend that is fine to just get that to

56:55us and we’ll put it up and it’ll be kind of a nice central resource for the next couple weeks for folks who might want to

57:01share off their work for everybody who’s attended the event so with that thank

57:08you again – to all the presenters and all the attendees and especially our

57:16crowd funder folks and and andand the sponsors as well who this wouldn’t be

57:22responsible for and the many volunteers and staff you’ll see them wandering

57:27around with the OS CC staff group some who have worked literally tirelessly and

57:34so and again this is all kind of gratis

57:41in that way any most be the money that we comes from this kind of keeps the

57:46wheels rolling to keep having these events with hosting and tools and paying

57:53grid admin and that’s about it so and other resources like that so

58:00myself and my avek on team thank you as well and hope to see you guys tomorrow

58:07at 7:00 a.m.

The Art of Cultural Communicaton

Challenges our Leaders Face in the Global Work Community

I was born in a rural town in the northern most part of Maine. I had little cultural awareness as our small town culture was set in its ways, and a good 30 years behind the rest of the country. I knew even less about global culture. Even though Canada was a short drive away, my first impression of that countries culture was my parents telling me to go outside on the weekends until it was time for meals, but not to journey too far into the woods, as I may never come out of them and end up in Canada speaking French.

Now I recruit future team members across all of North America, and have had the privilege to travel the entire expanse of the eastern seaboard working with people across the globe in education and employment. I have valued the many roles I have held in my career with Sitel Group,working from home for over a decade. Sitel Group “employs 160,000 employees across locations in 40 countries, serving 700+ customers in 50+ languages” according to the companies site. That is a statistic that I proudly declare to future employees. It is an amazing feat, to say the least.

I first discovered the need for cultural awareness while working with clients in the US that hired employees from across the continent. These teams were virtually organized and managed. Early on we did phone interviews, and had meetings through teleconferences. I remember one meeting in particular, where our leaders were venting frustrations concerning the written responses phone agents would send to them when they were being supported in chat rooms, and when they spoke to these agents on the phone. The leaders felt these responses were disrespectful, and had decided that the agents who were using this type of communication would receive written disciplinary action. When I heard what the written and verbal offenses were, I had no choice but to intercede.

The agents were referring to the supervisors by their first names, which was standard procedure at the time, however, they were using Mr. and Ms. prior to the first name, such as Ms. Barb, or Mr. John. The leaders were certain they were being mocked because as soon as they would tell one person to use the first name only, later that day or week, someone else would refer to them in the same manner. They felt that this was a serious offense at the level of group organized insubordination, and demanded support in their corrective action plans to discipline the offending employees.

At this time, a majority of our leadership was from the Northern U.S. Hemisphere. We had recently expanded and a large portion of new hires were from Southern U.S. states that we had expanded into. My trips to Miami, and the Florida Keys came in handy in ways I could not have imagined. I remember by first encounter with this cultural trend. A friend and business associate giving us a tour of his business had employees who kept calling him Mr. Monty. I looked at him with such oblivious confusion he had to laugh when in a puzzled voice I asked if the people he was working with knew his last name. He explained to me that in this southern culture they were showing their respect acknowledging his authority by using his first name with a prefix.

Our leaders were about to take disciplinary action against agents for showing them respect.

Should we have then educated the agents, that their way of showing respect was wrong. Should we have enforced that they do it our way, simply because we were the leadership? After all wouldn’t this eliminate future cultural misunderstandings?

Becoming culturally aware in the global and virtual work force is not about standardizing our corporate cultures. This is the first mistake often made and best avoided. Cultural identity is what makes a global company strong. Rather than standardizing our culture, we can incorporate an understanding of what makes us different and acknowledge how those differences give us the competitive edge in the global market. We can do this by understanding how our cultural identity may interfere with communications that are coming from a different cultural identity than our own.

My experience working with a team in the Philippines exemplifies our need to expand our acceptance of differences in written structure and cultural idioms. Working in a combine chat between American leaders and leaders from teams in the Philippines, the habit of team members to be social in the work environment, joking with each other and poking “harmless” fun at our selves and our teams, created a rift that again quickly escalated to the head of the Philippines team wanting to take disciplinary action against the American team members for insubordination. In this situation I was unable to make my observations known as I was at a lower hierarchical level than the Philippines leader. Any observation I made during the meeting would be seen as further disrespect. Instead I called my supervisor into a meeting, explained the cultural issue and he, being equal to the leader in the Philippines was then able to have a private conversation and properly apologize for the misunderstanding. We did not demand that the Philippines team “lighten up”, we did however move our social and jovial team building discussions to a separate format to improve communications with the Philippines team members. We respected their cultural identity for a serious work environment and were even able to invite them to events designed to be specifically social in nature where they could be more relaxed and participate in social group activities.

Even common idioms can cause cultural rifts in team communications. One Operations Management meeting was cut short when one of the leaders from a brick and mortar complex stated they had to leave early in order to “put out some fires”. The Philippines team reacted with genuine concern for the safety of our employees, thinking that the building itself was on fire. This brought about jovial laughter from the American team and further insult to the Philippines team. They went silent and the meeting became non-productive. Due to our insensitivity and unintentional blindness to the cultural identity team members from this other culture valued, this also required follow up meetings to alleviate the damage caused.

My last example, I have learned while working with my Canadian team. Due to the benefits that working from home brings to future employees, we have had the opportunity to tap into human resources from many different cultures and areas, both locally and with immigrant populations. North America is constantly evolving as people from all over the global community settle here and seek to join our work force. Something as simple as differences in accents can manifest itself as a barrier preventing qualified people from promotions or hindering support, even preventing qualified candidates success at the hiring stage. This is due to our unintentional bias and cultural tendency to favor people whose mannerism and speech is similar to ours. Holding employees to correct grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, when not directly related to job requirements is culturally insensitive.

We are the leading standard for excellence in Business Process Outsourcing for both Work from Home and as a global corporate community. Learning about other cultures so that we do not project our values onto other individuals on our team is essential to the development of a healthy global corporate community. Culturally diverse teams are often more innovative and offer creative results that benefit the team as a whole. Our goal should be to create a culturally diverse and inclusive work environment through understanding and cultural awareness. This is the art of cultural communication and challenges our leaders face in the global work community.

About the author:

Salie Davis has worked as a virtual employee for over a decade with Sitel Group under Legacy Sykes. Starting as an agent she has served in many roles, working with many diversified teams and clients.

She has three degrees earned through distance learning with active contributions to the global educational community and has shared her creative and written talents through virtual conferences and global communities.