Student induction

Second Life induction session

[This document, and the exercise described below, is intended primarily for students taking the final year Virtual Reality module in CISM, though is also recommended for all students who will be using Second Life as part of their study programme.]

In this induction session you will undertake a group project that will help you familiarise yourself with the Second Life virtual environment.

Most of you should already have a Second Life account, in which case you can ignore the next section and proceed directly to the tasks for Week 1.

A prefatory cautionary note 1: Second Life, like the real world, has its casinos, its sex clubs, its gangsters, and its dens of vice. So please do not be shocked by titles of some of the places returned in searches.

A prefatory cautionary note 2: Second Life and Real Life are best kept separate. Do not reveal your real-world identity to others in your profile or to strangers you may chat to.

A prefatory cautionary note 3: Do not harass others and politely ignore any who might harass you.

Your preparatory tasks prior to start of semester

If you don’t already have a Second Life account, here is a list of things you will need to do prior to the start of the semester.

  1. Open a web browser and go to http://secondlife.com
  2. Click on the ‘Sign Up Now’ button and complete the registration form to create your account.
  3. Add your Second Life name to the Google Docs spreadsheet and notify me that you have done so.
  4. If you are connecting from your own computer, you may at this point want to download and install your personal copy of the Second Life client software. If you are using a university computer, log in to your university account and download the Second Life client to your H-drive (your personal ‘home’ space) and install there (not to the C-drive!).

You may also wish to read the Getting started page before going on.

Your schedule for your first SL workshop

You must have created your Second Life account and have the client software installed in order to participate in this workshop. You must also have completed the initial induction session on Orientation Island (you are teleported there by default when you first log in to Second Life).

You will work in teams of 6 (six) students, collaborating together online as a team but with each team member responsible for finding and reviewing exactly two locations (as in the task descriptions below). You will document your team work [1] by customising your own tourHUD (this will, of course, be identical for every member of your team), and [2] in the ‘Induction week tourHUDs’ section of the course wiki, at http://vorticism.wetpaint.com.

Procedure:

  1. Group yourselves into teams of six, and elect a team leader. Ensure every member of the team knows the SL name of every other member (e.g. each team member writes a list of all names). As soon as you have assembled your team, your team leader should inform me, and I will allocate a task.
  2. Each of you will log into Second Life with your personal user name and password. You will each add every other member of your team to your ‘friends’ list.
  3. This is an optional but probably useful step. Go to your Preferences panel (select Preferences from the Edit menu) and click the Communication tab. Check at least the following boxes: ‘Log instant messages’ and ‘Log chat’, then click the Change Path button to select where your chat sessions will be saved. This will be a transcript of your discussions, important extracts from which you may feel useful to copy-paste into your team report.
  4. You will now need to grab a ‘tourHUD’. You can either get the generic tourHUD from Idea City at:
    » http://slurl.com/secondlife/Idea%20City/74/222/40
    or, if you’ve been given access to The Knowledge Zone, my customised CISM tourHUD as part of the CISM Starter Pack from:
    » http://slurl.com/secondlife/The%20Knowledge%20Zone/78/187/25
    (Look for the object, inside the building, on the right, labeled ‘tourHUD Dispenser’.) Copy the tourHUD to your inventory and ‘wear’ it (i.e. find it in your inventory, right-click on it, and choose Wear).
  5. The team leader will decide a starting location (for example, Help Island) and will offer teleports to the other team members by searching their names, opening their profiles, and clicking ‘Offer teleport’ (other team members will then accept).
  6. All six team members should now be in the same location, and should be able to see each other. Look at your allocated group task (these are listed below), discuss it using the Chat facility or a conference IM, and then individually use the Search dialog (in the centre of the button bar at the bottom of your viewer) to search in ‘All’ or in ‘Places’ for locations whose descriptions match the search criteria. When a team member has found a location, s/he should announce it to the others, but in the first instance teleport to that location alone. Using IM s/he should then communicate with the others, indicating whether the location is suitable for inclusion. Feel free to teleport each other, during this stage, to the location you have found.
  7. Once you have agreed on the inclusion of a location, add it to your tourHUD (see instructions below), stating in the DESCRIPTION field of each location the following: “<short_description> Found by <your_K_number> <your_real_name> aka <your_SL_name>” (for example, “Museum of Scottish history. Found by KU01249 Chris Hutchison aka Khoisan Fisher”). This will identify who has contributed which locations. At the end of the exercise each team member will have an identical tourHUD consisting of 12 (i.e. 6*2) locations.
  8. When you have completed your HUD, go to http://vorticism.wetpaint.com and follow the instructions there for reporting and documenting your work.
  9. This final step is optional but recommended. At the end of the exercise the team leader (or any member of the team) will submit the tour as a notecard. Right-click on your tourHUD and select Edit and then, from the Edit dialog, the Contents tab. There you will see a notecard labeled ‘Locations – Fill this out to change the tour!’: drag this into your inventory and rename it as follows: ‘tourHUD for <task>‘ where <task> will be the number of the group task that you have undertaken. Then go to the CISM building and find my Mailbox on the right-hand side of the main entrance; drag the renamed notecard from your inventory and drop it in my Mailbox.

Note: scenes in some locations may take a minute or two to resolve (or ‘rez’, as they say in SL), i.e., to display fully and clearly on your screen. Be patient!

How to configure your tourHUD.

You have acquired a tourHUD from one of the two locations (Idea City or The Knowledge Zone) listed above.

Here follows a step-by-step explanation of how you will customise it with your own set of locations:

  1. Find the tourHUD in your inventory and either rez it to the ground or ‘wear’ it. Right-click on it and select Edit from the pie-menu; then select the Contents tab. In the contents you’ll see a notecard named “Locations – Fill this out to change the tour!”–double-click to open the notecard. For each location in the tour you’ll see four fields, as in the following example:

    TITLE: CISM at the Knowledge Zone
    LANDMARK: CISM, The Knowledge Zone (74, 198, 25)
    PICTURE: d35903d8-fc65-eec7-3176-56ceb93b47a4
    DESCRIPTION: The main CISM building on the Kingston University virtual campus.

    You’ll see the TITLE in the menu bar at the top of the browser window (though feel free to change it to a more descriptive title), and the LANDMARK field will be the name of the landmark–you can simply copy these into the notecard; the DESCRIPTION you can write yourself using the format specified in Step 7 of Procedure, above (viz. “<short_description> Found by <your_K_number> <your_real_name> aka <your_SL_name>”). (Note that, since the entry in the LANDMARK field has to be identical character-for-character to the name of the landmark, the most fool-proof way to enter this will be to copy-paste from the landmark name–see figure below.) But what about the PICTURE? or, more accurately, the UUID (the 32-character ‘Universally Unique Identifier’–see UUID in the Glossary) of the picture?

    tourhud.png
  2. Go to Tateru Nino’s search form at http://taterunino.net/searchform.html and type in the search field the name of the location. Click the “Search Second Life!” button, which will return a list all items matching the search string.
  3. Click the location you want from the list (locations are preceded by the ‘landmark’ icon)–this will display a page of information about the location, including a photo on the right of the page.
  4. Right-click on the photo and do one of the following:
    • select View Image from the pop-up menu; the image will be displayed on a new page. In the address field you’ll see: http://secondlife.com/app/image/<UUID>/1
      where <UUID> will be the unique reference of the image, for example:
      bed5773a-bb26-e095-7f44-9d63bb40b317
      Copy the UUID and paste this into the PICTURE field of the notecard.
    • select Copy Image Location from the pop-up menu–this will copy the image URL to the clipboard. Paste this into the PICTURE field and remove all but the UUID
    • select Properties from the pop-up menu, and copy only the UUID from the Properties dialog. As with the other methods, paste this into the PICTURE field.
  5. Save the notecard and close the Edit dialog. Click the picture in the HUD and wait for it to refresh (you’ll see the sequence in the figure below). Repeat the above steps until you have filled in all 12 locations.

changehud.png

Further guidance is given at the top of the locations notecard.

Outline of activities and deliverables

For each group task you will ensure the following:

  • as detailed in Procedure, above, you will visit and review twelve locations, only one of which may be taken from the examples that I have given in each task description below. This may mean, however, that in all you may have to visit perhaps 20 locations in order to select the best twelve.
  • for each location you select you will (a) take a screenshot and paste it (maximum size 400 by 300 pixels) into your document, (b) write a short descriptive review (250-300 words), (c) give the SLURL (you can get this by opening the Map, clicking ‘Copy SLURL to clipboard’, and pasting it into your document. In each case, look for richness of experience, e.g. animations, ‘pose balls’, notecards, etc.
  • you will write an introductory paragraph explaining the purpose of your brochure—make it sound good!
  • the finished brochure text should not be more than 3 sides of A4, in Times 12 point.

Learning outcomes:

You will have learnt the following SL-specific skills:

  • how to navigate your way around locations in SL and around SL in general, including how to teleport
  • how to search for locations using the Search panel
  • how to communicate and coordinate activities with others within SL
  • how to pass landmarks and notecards to others
  • how to edit notecards
  • how to configure a tourHUD

List of group tasks

Group task 1: In the interests of increasing tourism and promoting virtual travel in Second life, you have been commissioned to produce a ‘travel brochure’ showcasing some of its more colourful and interesting locations. You may choose to list and review either fantasy locations (i.e., that do not exist, or no longer exist, in the real world) or virtual models of real world locations. Examples of the former are Babylonia, and the Lost Gardens of Apollo; examples of the latter are Krakow, Barcelona, Dublin, and Venice.

Group task 2: You have been commissioned by an entertainment magazine to write a short review of notable music venues, jazz clubs, opera houses, piano bars, and such like. Examples are My Blue Heaven, the Psycho Drive Rock Club, and the Hot Sax Jazz Club. Give good reasons for your choices.

Group task 3: You have been commissioned by a gaming magazine to a short review of role-play games (MMORPGs) in Second Life. Examples include World of Warcraft, Shadows of Ithilien, DarkLife, and The Realm of Everwind.

Group task 4: Although there are thousands of shops and shopping malls in Second Life, most goods cost money. Newbies who do not have paid accounts, and thus do not have Linden dollars at their disposal, therefore need to know where they can acquire items for free. You have therefore been commissioned to compile a catalogue of Second Life locations offering free objects. Examples include Freebie Planet and Ali Baba.

Group task 5: Second Life is an ideal environment for recreating historical and archaeological buildings. You have been commissioned to produce a brochure for historians and archaeologists highlighting the potential of SL. Examples include Stonehenge, the caves of Lascaux, and ancient Babylon.

Group task 6: You have been commissioned by a literary magazine to write an article on Second Life locations related to literature, books, and theatre. Examples include Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (there are at least 2 of them in SL), the Shire in Middle Earth (The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings), Book Island, and Brigadoon.

Group task 7: You have been commissioned by a sports magazine to write an article on sport-related locations in Second Life. Examples in SL include Go-Karting (at Airport north-east), bastketball (in Berlin), hang-gliding, hot-air ballooning, and SL Triathlon.

Group task 8: You have been commissioned by an arts magazine to write a review of fine-art galleries in Second Life. Examples include the Louvre, Virtual Starry Night (Van Gogh Museum), the Gallery of Masters, and Degas (Impressionist gallery).

Group task 9: You have been commissioned by your local history society to produce an electronic brochure of the Seven Wonders of the (Second Life) World. Examples include the Great Pyramid and Sphinx, the Taj Mahal, ancient Babylon, and Stonehenge.

Group task 10: You have been commissioned to produce a ‘starter-pack’ brochure of well-designed museums in Second Life (whether or not they are based on real world museums). Examples include the Palaeozoic Museum, the African-American Museum of Culture & Research, and Fort Malaya (Malay History Museum).

Group task 11: You have been commissioned by a popular magazine to compile a short indicative brochure of places in Second Life offering services such as tarot readings, clairvoyance, astrology, and fortune-telling. Examples include Tarot Garden (Wyrdsisters) and Soulgiver Psychic Services.

Group task 12: You have been commissioned by a computing magazine to produce an electronic catalogue of computer manufacturers and computing companies. Examples include Dell, Sun, and IBM.

Group task 13: Supporting religious studies in schools, your Local Education Authority has commissioned you to produce a pamphlet highlighting places of worship. You will visit and review twelve places representing at least four different religions; for example, a mosque, a church or cathedral, a Hindu Temple, a Jewish synagogue, and a Buddhist shrine.

Group task 14: You are interested in discovering how real-world non-profit organisations and charities are using Second Life as a platform for their work. Your group will visit and review twelve such organisations. Examples are Uthango (SL Africa) and the European Homeless & Orphaned Children’s Charity.

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