[SLED] avatar appearance matters

Esme Qunhua esmequnhua at gmail.com
Fri Dec 4 16:26:48 PST 2009

I think an important aspect of any new technology is that some will always
be more open to exploring its possibilities.  Even here, in a group made up
of early adopters, we see relative differences in our ability to see the
opportunities and dangers.  No doubt on one topic _I_ will be the
possibility seeker while on another topic I will be ringing the danger

To push the envelop on the "true identity" issue a bit.  Suppose a company
or university or government agency were to use a single avatar to represent
a group of people.  What are the implications?

The contributions of the individual more and more are being replaced by the
collective contributions of the group.  I think this will cause us to
rethink how we assess our students, what we look for in telecommuting
employees and how much stock we put into our perception of who is on the
other side of a computer screen.


On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 3:09 PM, Martin, Jocelyn <martinj at apsu.edu> wrote:

> But, like a minority of people I find it surprising, probably shocking is a
> fairer word, that a group of people who presumably mostly consider Second
> Life as a good place to educate others and equally presumably a place in
> which they can ask questions to determine the learning that is taking place
> simultaneously find it a place in which it is inconceivable that they could
> ask probing questions and determine from that the suitability of a candidate
> to do a job. Could someone explain it to me in short, simple to understand
> sentences please?
> El,
> My unease is over the issue of identity: can I ask a question of an avatar
> that will allow me to know if the person I am interviewing is the person I
> am hiring.
> And yes, I do have some unease about online testing, for the same reason-
> and because I’ve been told by students that they’ve heard other students
> bragging about how they cheat on online exams. And because I’ve had a few
> term papers that were obviously plagiarized turned in to me, I’m uneasy
> about using a standard research paper as an assignment. As an educator,
> though, I think that the impact of having a student cheat and gain a falsely
> high grade is one that will affect the student more than it affects me; as
> an employer, the consequences of hiring an employee who has faked job
> credentials is going to affect me more severely, so I’m more concerned about
> protecting myself against that.
> Someone raised the issue of webcam interviews, which strikes me as being
> somewhat protective.
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Esme Qunhua/Jane Wilde
Faculty, Marlboro College Grad Center
Marlboro College Graduate School
28 Vernon Street, Suite 120
Brattleboro, VT 05301
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