UW Avalumni celebrated five years of virtual world learning with the graduating class of 2013. The new graduates shared Infoville, the culminating project of the course, as graduates of previous University of Washington Certificate in Virtual Worlds classes, family and friends witnessed a successful completion of a unique and inspiring program.
Valibrarian (Dr. Valerie Hill from the UW Avalumni Class of 2010) created the video with screenshots. Val shared, “I was disappointed to crash repeatedly during the ceremony and festivities, so I tried to get shots on three different computers. The avatars were all “grayed out” making the quality of the shots unusable and the audio was full of clicking sounds! Although frustrating, I believe this illustrates our learning how to move forward through constantly changing digital hardware platforms, updates and formats without letting tech issues stop us. Unable to capture machinima shots, high hopes for filming this exciting graduation event were dashed. I used animoto to create a slideshow and downloaded it into Adobe CS5 to edit with a few lines from the audio speeches.”
The animoto version of the UW Certificate in Virtual Worlds Class of 2013 (without the speeches) is also available.
A look back at the past
Val was able to record last year’s graduation with a tour of the Virtual Media Museum built by the class of 2012. She says, “The Virtual Media Museum may be my favorite machinima edit, so far. Filming the event with night shots made it difficult to really see the environment, even though it added to the realism of the festivities, so I switched to mid-daylight at the end of the tour during the bird flights over the museum. I think this machinima demonstrates collaborative immersion in multi-media as we “fly” through past formats.”
The class of 2011 built the award winning 3D environment Maya Island which Val shares in a machinima called “UW Virtual World Class o 2011 Graduation”. Graduates shared tours of the island throughout the year and dispelled the “end of the world” hype of 2012 surrounding the Mayan calendar. The tours allowed participants to interact with a variety of education resources: hieroglyphics, ancient astronomy, and music and more.
A graduate of the UW Certificate in Virtual Worlds class of 2010, Val shared a mixed-reality machinima of her own graduation (where she was class speaker). Val states, “This virtual graduation was as real as any physical world event from my life and I was honored to have shared it with others through video which led to a colleague across the globe entering the UW program. When Stylianos thanked me for sharing my experience during his commencement address the next year, I realized we were experiencing something that has never been done throughout history- pioneering virtual territory across space for high level academic work.”
Val wonders if the UW Certificate in Virtual Worlds Class of 2009 archived photos from the first graduating class. She says, “I remember when I first heard of the course offered from the UW Ischool. I met a librarian at the American Library Association Convention in Chicago in June 2009. Having just finished the course, she highly recommended I enroll because I was researching the use of virtual worlds for education and libraries for my doctorate. Then, I remembered that I had met the instructor (Randy Hinrichs) in Second Life at one of the camp fire learning sessions on ISTE Island. I remember right-clicking on his profile and seeing that he was associated with the University of Washington. We conversed about SL, education and librarianship.. The ability to right-click on a person and read about their interests is a great tool for professional networking (pre-twitter). Twitter is like a fast-paced virtual world without any immersion or any of the artistic appeal of a creative 3D environment. Today, we live in participatory digital culture in a default mental state of distraction. I have no idea what the future holds for virtual worlds as I see education rapidly embracing MOOCs and mobile devices. I do know that I am thankful to have participated in a high level virtual world program, sponsored by a well-respected school of information (my profession), that no quick app or massive webinar could possibly deliver.”