Jun 28, 2010

Working Collaboratively in Second Life - Part 1

This was the most fun exercise that I have ever done in a classroom setting! Although I admit that I was a little apprehensive at first. I thought it was going to be a mundane task to follow instructions and do this project. But, boy was I surprised!

After I got in touch with my team mate at Wright State, things started to move at a very fast pace. We met in Second Life at our workspace. We both had some pre-reading done on this assignment. But we were a little confused in the beginning as our assignment expectations differed a bit. But we overcame that by exchanging notes, sending links to each other's class assignment outlines. Then we chalked out a task - sort of steps to follow. The first thing we decided was to narrow down a concept and then apply that towards our Team's task.

We are part of the yellow team whose task to design & build a fun working environment and thereby creating IBM's image as a fun company. Me and my team mate Jeannette Fish, finalized IP telephony as a concept for our workspace. We decided to create a room which would allow for informal interaction between managers and executives. Essentially a game room where workers come together, unwind and play. That would in turn help create a relaxed atmosphere where managers & executives can freely interact. This game room would feature video games, TV, relaxed seating arrangements, pool table, vending machine, etc. At the same time this room would also have laptops with IP telephony system incorporated along with Internet and the company's other collaborative tools. The idea is that the mangers & executives come here to play, unwind, brainstorm and then use the IP telephony system right from that room to collaborate with whoever they need to. This space essentially is meeting room in the non-traditional sense. It's a place to completely shed the typical corporate look of a conference/meeting room with a fun play area to interact and collaborate - all in the same space.

So with the above goals, in mind me and Jeannette and me set out to find items relevant to the concept in our work space in Second Life. We split our jobs. I started digging up seating options, while Jeannette started to look for electronics for our room. Then we started to design the room with the items we found. For the most part we were working in the same room independently doing our task, but intermittently we asked each other for our opinions as well. The interaction was seamless after we set our concept down.

The thing that made it so interesting was that we were both working and we could see exactly what we were doing although we are situated miles away. That was the beauty of working in the virtual world collaboratively. There were times when we saw what we each were pulling out from the boxes and we commented on it saying "oh, that would be good" or "mmm...not really working". That kind of spontaneous feedback was crucial since it kept us both from deviating from our project given the time constraint. Actually, we began the project with no time restrictions and ended up spending a good 2.30 hours on it. It was very cool! Looking forward to completing the project the next time we meet which is in a week's time.

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