Thursday, November 14, 2013

This week in LIS 201 (week 11)

Week 11: Games, simulations, and avatars


  • Video games



  • If it's your turn to write a 500-word article critique, you must post this to your section blog before your section meets.
  • If it's your week to give a speech, prepare and practice!  Otherwise, prepare for a possible extemporaneous speech response.
  • Upload a working "skeleton file" of your slideshow presentation to your discussion section wiki, and make a link to your personal wiki page. This should be a PowerPoint file that has all the timings correct for the Ignite presentation, with 15-second auto-advance of the slides.


  • First five minutes: Pop quiz? Maybe!
  • Two student presentations (# 17 and #18) on the readings (and two student extemporaneous responses).  These should be the last article speeches of the semester.
  • Discuss this week's lecture and required readings.
  • Discuss your book slideshow project.


This weekend you'll explore the phenomenon of creating online characters representing human identity through textual or graphical means, called "avatars."

  • Read this short selection from Neal Stephenson's early-1990s book Snow Crash in which the main character, Hiro Protagonist (get it?) visits an online world called the "Metaverse."
  • Now visit the Second Life web site and download the necessary software to create an avatar of your own. Or if you're a member of another online community or online game (like "World of Warcraft") you may use an avatar from that system. (Or you may want to simply create a rather cartoonish avatar like the ones available on the Nintendo Wii system, which you can do here.)
  • Read through this photoessay on people and their cyberspace avatars from the New York Times and think about the different ways that people choose to represent themselves online.
  • Post a screen capture image of your Second Life, WoW, Wii, or other avatar to your discussion section blog, and write a bit about the process of creating this avatar. Did you try to represent yourself, or split from your real life persona? Was it easy to create an avatar, or did you feel limited by the range of options? How are race and gender and ethnicity and other markers of "difference" present or not present in your avatar?
  • Take a look at the other avatars your fellow students have posted, and comment on at least one of them. 
  • You must finish this online activity before next week's lecture.


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