Jul 6, 2010

Inter University Collaboration Assignment

• What challenges did you face in the project in SL? How did you overcome those obstacles and/or challenges?

Other than being new to SL, the other main challenge we came across was our objectives for the project. Initially it seemed like we both were given different directives for the project. The first bump came in the form of selecting a concept for our project. We both had the same task ahead of us but I was not aware of the first step of choosing a concept from the IBM concept area. Since I couldn’t get access to that area, I asked my team mate to pick a few that seemed interesting and then went from there. The next problem was tying in that concept of IP telephone technology in the task of represent IBM as a fun work place. We were really confused about that part, but we seemed over come that pretty easily as well.

• Consider the positive and negative aspects associated with using Second Life to collaborate with your teammate. What features of the Second Life environment or the collaboration process stand out as being beneficial or counter-productive, and why?

There were a number of positive aspectes working in Second Life. It acutally felt like I was in a room with all the supplies I needed to accomplish the task at hand. The proximity of my teammate and the ability to constantly see what she was doing was very helpful. Being able to see what the other one was doing at all times, helped us to ensure we were on the right track and helped us in being productive given the time differences and constraints.

• In the past, you might have used communication tools such as video/web conferencing, IM, email, and telephone for collaborative projects. Think about your Second Life collaboration experience. What are the important characteristics that are similar and different between Second Life and other tools (media) you have used previously?

In the past I have used IM and Skype mainly to work on collaborative projects. But they were mainly used for discussions. Those tools were mainly for communicative purposes only. In contrast SL while being a communicative tool, allowed for a space where you can actually build something, which was pretty cool. That capability really helped create an environment for team building. It was a great exercise and medium to practice and build any team building skills. Being able to see the results of your work in a 3 dimensional place also gives a sort of sense of accomplishment and boosts the confidence of the individual and the team.

• What advice or guidelines would you give to students who will be working on a similar project in Second Life in the future?

The only thing that I can think of is to put more time in Second Life exploring before you begin the project will prove very helpful. Go visit other build areas and maybe take a workshop on building will certainly improve your own building capabilities.

• Consider how your experience with using Second Life to collaborate on a task compares to your previous use of other communication tools for collaborative projects? What are the important characteristics that are similar and different?

This is my first experiene where we have used Second Life to collaborate on a task. I have always worked in very small companies with employees ranging from 5 to 15 at the most. In those work environments, email and IM were the most commonly used collaborative tools. If any larger interaction was needed, we always met in person and used a projection screen to access the company’s central servver for any need of sharing or showing. In a company where the employee number is little as 15 or under, email and IM seemed to have been sufficient. Those two tools provided instant access to anybody within the company and also provided the need to share documents. And of course if you needed to see somebody, I would just pop in their cubicle!

But I can see the scenario being completely different in globally situated multi-national corporations with thousands of employees. There is certainly a big need for use of collaborative tools that help teams interact across different time zones and nations! In such situations Second Life can be really usefull. The proximity and the ability to be in a same room virtually with your team mates or customers provides for great interaction and feedback. That can be of great value since it provides an environment for innovative ideas and solutions.

• Consider how Second Life might be used in business collaboration. Are there any business tasks or projects where you might see Second Life being useful for business collaboration? Where would it not be appropriate?

Second Life can certainly be used in business collaboration. In the field trips we took in Second Life to various business venues certainly showed that there can be multple applications to Second Life. Companies can have multiple venues in Second Life that can host team meetings and team building skills. Companies can also have SL presence for it’s customers where they can explore the products and give valuable feedback to a company. Second Life can be useful in any situation where there is a need for users to interact and provide feedback.

Images from Second Life.

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