Campus: Traditional buildings, non-traditional buildings, no buildings?

Eloise Pasteur eloisepasteur at
Sat Nov 5 03:03:07 PST 2005

Ramesh, can I ask if you're streaming the audio and video from the  
same machine/connection as you are using for SL? I've once or twice  
streamed audio that way, and it sucks. SL hogs almost all of my (not  
inconsiderable but still domestic) bandwidth, and streaming from here  
tries to do the same, especially up bandwidth which is much tighter  
on my connection. I have, however streamed from other sources (audio  
and video) and although there's a little hit (there's extra detail  
after all), it's not too heavy.

You also need to consider the quality of materials you need - where's  
the cut off for resolution on that streaming video (which is always  
going to be more of a hit than streaming audio). When such things  
were new I streamed a friend's (beautiful) high rez video of a dancer  
performing. It crippled both our machines, but we were sitting still  
watching, so that was OK. I can, and have, streamed flash videos  
(silly or otherwise) which has much lower bandwidth and doesn't  
produce an appreciable hit at all. Finding the balance between those  
two extremes might make it all quite usable.


On 5 Nov 2005, at 03:10, Ramesh Ramloll wrote:

> This is an excellent analysis from an experienced SLer (Eloise). I  
> completely agree with the points you make and find the questions  
> you ask very relevant. One observation that I would like to share  
> is this. I am very keen on using streaming video and audio in SL  
> for tapping into the booming wealth of freely available  
> instructional streams on the net. If you parcel a terrain properly,  
> you can even have a multiple party video conferencing with students  
> looking at multiple screens (each showing a speaker) etc... But  
> this (even with a single streaming session) also hits my frame rate  
> significantly. So I have minimized all far. In short,  
> the design of the educational space will probably be very context  
> specific and will definitely change as we progress to later  
> versions of SL (assuming of course that the FPS will not be  
> inversely proportional to version number ;). It's all a question of  
> balancing priorities. See what your users prefer... great  
> graphics / ease of navigation/ smooth non-jerky interaction...etc....
> R
> On 11/4/05, Eloise Pasteur <eloisepasteur at> wrote:
> I'm not going to pretend I've got all the answers, but I've got some
> questions about this. I'll tell you why at the end.
> Why do we use buildings IRL?
> How many of those reasons make sense in SL?
> How many of those reasons actually form barriers in SL?
> Why do we cluster academics and students into a campus IRL?
> How many of those those reasons make sense in SL?
> How many of them form barriers in SL?
> What would we and the learners gain from a traditional campus
> setting? (And whose tradition?)
> What would we and they lose from it?
> Is it worth it?
> As I've already said I don't have all the answers.
> But we use buildings to protect us from the weather (especially on
> cold, wet days like it is here at the moment), maybe to control
> access (shut the door when you start teaching), to limit the spread
> of our voices, and if we're lucky to form a focal point for the
> learners' attention amongst other things. We also use them for
> politics on most campuses.
> Weather, control of access and limiting the spread of a voice? Not in
> SL... No weather, how do you stop a TP, and how (without a lot of
> awkward tech) do you stop your chat radiating?
> Forming a focal point, always good, but actually a circle of 20m
> radius around the teacher is the limit of the voice without shouting,
> microphones etc. so maybe something more like theatre in the round is
> more appropriate? Four sided displays are easy enough to produce in
> SL so the learners can see them easily from the circular seating
> arrangement. There might even be an argument for making 6 sided
> displays (also easy enough) and spherical lecture theatres if the av
> limits rise high enough that we can pack in the bums on seats.
> Loses: Well if we're talking about access shopping might be something
> to consider, as well as WA, TLC and other such structures. Open tops
> are actually a benefit in SL - most people will be flying in and want
> that easy access. Suddenly I'm thinking a traditional looking campus
> isn't the way to go... amphitheatres start looking interesting.
> We make, in my opinion, campuses for a mix of reasons too. A lot of
> them are based around centralisation of resources: libraries, lecture
> theatres, practical workshops etc. That makes a lot of sense. We also
> use them to promote networking, although you can argue that email,
> video conferencing, and even SL is changing that, we now network with
> colleagues doing parallel research anywhere in the world, maybe more
> easily than the person in the next office!
> It also, not entirely coincidentally, makes it easier to cluster the
> students and for them to get around whilst maintaining diverse study
> programmes. It keeps their travel times down, but I'm pretty sure I
> can reach the remotest corner of the northern continent in LESS time
> than I can cross the department I used to work in. TP and fly is a
> pretty fast way to travel. Biology departments by the nature of the
> discipline, are pretty big and not always easy to move around in, all
> those labs take room.
> But SL tends, at the moment to struggle with 30+ avies in a sim.
> Depending on your discipline you might say "Well that's three
> classes"  or you might say "There are 150 students in each lecture I
> give, where do I put the other 120?" I'm sure there are bigger
> classes than that out there, but I have taught groups of 150 IRL, so
> that's the limit I went for. It makes the point. That limiting number
> will rise I'm sure, but gives you some idea.
> So a campus where you can only have one class at a time? Or whenever
> there's a class you can't access the library? I'd rather not have to
> work out that timetable thanks very much.
> Then the intangibles: What do we gain and lose from traditional, non-
> traditional and no building campuses, or even no campus?
> I'll leave it for us all to think on, and for people to point out
> things (pros and cons) that I've missed in the analysis.
> Eloise.
> ___________________________________________________________
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> -- 
> Rameshsharma Ramloll PhD
> Research Assistant Professor / Technical Consultant
> Idaho State University, Pocatello
> Tel: 208-282-5333

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