Whooshup Reorganization

To reflect what this blog has become, the format has changed to emphasize the enormous number of useful links to resources we provide. To go to the whooshup blog and conversations about these resources, just scroll to the bottom of the lists of resources!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Second Life Meeting FAQ List

With the official kickoff of Second Life discussion group meetings coming up this Saturday January 26 at 6:00 PM Pacific Time, let's maintain a checklist of instructions, hints, warnings and frequently asked questions - FAQs. If you have questions, or want additions or changes to items, please comment on this post, or email. Thanks everyone.

How to download and install the Second Life program. Start by going to their main page at http//secondlife.com, and follow their instructions. The download and install process is pretty standard. It will warn you if your system is somehow incompatible.

How to register and get oriented. Again, follow the directions to register and create your own basic avatar. Just accept the defaults on choices they give you - the most basic (and free) account details should enable you to participate. Go through the recommended orientation course to learn how to move around.

How to enable voice. There are two main options for communication - chat typing and voice. You can do both. The chat is set up by default, but you need to enable the voice feature by clicking Edit > Preferences > Voice tab > run the Voice wizard and be sure to check your microphone level. You will need to set your computer up with appropriate speaker/earphones plus microphone. A combination headset is handy, but other setups are also possible - speakers and a hand mic, etc. Note: You do not have to have a microphone to listen, only to talk. You can always type questions, and listen to answers, but you will need to activate voice to hear them.

How to use voice in Second Life. Find the Voice control in the lower right corner. Press the Talk button, hold it down, and speak into your microphone slowly, clearly, loudly. The quality varies based on equipment, connection, server load, background noise, etc. If it is simply not working well, switch to chat, and try again later. We know that when everyone is set up and being quiet, we can all hear the group leader (Dreyfus or TA) talk. Note that when using voice, you can lock it to be continuously on by clicking one part of the Talk button, or you can set it to toggle on only when you click the Talk button. To cut down on background noise when discussing in the group - use the toggle on method if you can.

How to find the meeting place. From your starting point, you need to move to EdTech Island, where the first few meetings are being held. The easiest way to do this is to go to Search in the upper right corner > Places tab > enter "EdTech" and click Search > select the top item > find and click the Teleport button. You should end up at a location you can easily find the central garden spot with radiating paths, that has a calendar of events. The coordinates are Edtech:106,133,25. Here is a web shortcut: http://slurl.com/secondlife/EdTech/106/133/25/ This should link you to the meeting place if you are running Second Life.

How to recognize each other. The names you get in Second Life are not normally your real names, or your nick names from blogging. We will need to recognize each other "on the fly." The direct approach is to walk up to someone and ask. Here are a few names I know to look for: Dreyfus is Farnsworth Roux. He may have a TA there, first name Solomon. The names Hammerer and Bratislav are Whooshup participants that came for the trial run. My name is Dahr.

How to raise your hand. Type "/hey" into the chat box and hit Enter. This simple gesture may be the best way to help the discussion flow smoothly, just like in real classrooms.

How to ask a question. Raise your hand. When recognized, ask a question either by typing it in chat or asking by voice. When the group leader (i.e. Dreyfus or a TA) is finished with the spoken answer, he or she will indicate that by saying "and that's my answer," or something like that, to break back to open questions again. (Note: This is the preliminary idea to prevent confusion and talking over each other. We may adopt additional procedures for asking followup questions, establishing topics, etc. See foundrysmith/Hammerer notes in comments.)

How to look at chat history. There is a scrolling history of what has been typed by you and the avatars around you. Click the History button when in chat mode.

How to get out of chat mode. While typing, you can't do other things, like move around. Use the Esc {Escape} key to jump out of chat mode. This trick is useful in all sorts of situations when you just want to back out of what you are doing.

How to make it bright. The lighting dims to simulate nightfall after sundown in California. But you can override this effect and make it bright and sunny. On the top menu, go to World > Force Sun > Noon.

How to sit down. If you see anything that looks like a seating accomodation, you can try sitting. Hold your mouse over the object and right click (I'm not sure how Macs do it). You will see a circular menu with a "Sit here" option. If you click that, your avatar will sit. To stand up, either click the Stand Up button if you see one, or right click again on your chair underneath your avatar - there will be another menu item on the circle called "Stand up" - just click that.

How to recover from lag and crashes. In Second Life, sometimes the program, the connections, or the servers, get overloaded and affect the flow of the virtual simulation so that you really notice it. Lag means that everything slows down, avatar motion gets jerky, or pauses a few seconds then speeds up, as if catching up with itself. When this happens, the best response is to do nothing, and wait until the lag dies down. Sometimes, your program will crash - it is as if you are thrown out of the program, back to your computer. When this happens, wait a few moments, close and restart your Second Life program, and log in to your account again. You should be transported back where you were before the crash.

We will add more FAQs as we go this week. Please try to work out the basic technology beforehand and plan on attending. If you can't attend for whatever reason, please join us in building other online discussion groups.


foundrysmith said...

The SLurl sure is handy!

How might we handle follow up questions? Does the moderator say, "does that answer your question? Perhaps one question and one follow up per turn? I suppose it should be at the discretion of the moderator.

If another person had a comment on the moderators answer, how might that be addressed? Perhaps the moderator could ask if the question were answered, or if there was any comment before moving on.

I am still learning Second Life, but it appears in the voice menu you can have your microphone on all the time, or by choosing a different setting, only on when you toggle a button. Maybe the moderator should keeps his or hers on all the time, and the questioners toggle their microphones to cut down on background noise.

I was able to join the EdTech Island group at the Kiosk where we first tele-ported in. It may be if we all are members of a group, we can then use Instant Messaging features within the group to see and record what everyone is saying. I haven't had a chance to practice this yet, but it looks promising.

Finally, should we have some discussion topics posted or suggested on this blog prior to the discussion?

cathy from saint paul said...

I can't join this Saturday, but hope to join future meetings. my secondlife name is cathy Moomintoog.

Andrew(Bill93) said...

Hello All, All things considered, great session.

many thanks to you karl for setting this up.


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