Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More on Portfolios

Three New Things to Think about for Your Design Portfolios

1. NOTECARDS—As you move around Second Life, you will notice that notecards are one way to communicate a chunk of information. For example, when you arrive at the Clemson Teaching site, you usually get a note card asking you to create a note card listing your favorite sites in 2L. (Making a note card is very easy—Go into your Inventory, and click on CREATE and select NEW NOTE.) This is not an assignment to make note cards in 2L—instead I want you to think about what notecards should be made to inform people about the site you are proposing. The other class can make the actual cards, but you guys know what should be on them. SO part of your design portfolio should be to list the note cards that should be posted at your site, and write the actual text of them.

2. GUIDE FIGURES – Once these sites are built in 2L, there will be a certain amount of random traffic: people who don’t know much if anything about Woolf or Eliot. In additional to notecards, we may want to create guide avatars who can show strangers through the site. Who should be the guide avatar for your site? What would they look like? What information would they offer? What could they invite people to fo? How could they teach them more about Woolf and Eliot?

3. INTERACTIVITY – I am developing a theory that there are three levels of presenting material in 2L
a. POSTING—this s just like the web: you post information: on billboards, in notecards etc.
b. HOSTING – this is more interactive and 3-D. It involves createing actual 3D virtual sites such as the Sistine Chapel and the Globe Theater where people can roam about. Our sites were orginally convceived at this level.
c. QUESTING – this is the level where you create mini-games or quests that pull people into learning more about the concepts and history you are trying to present. The best examples of this I’ve seen are The Archetypal Cavern Site by Elioise Pasteur which sets up a quest through a cavern where youhave to read notecards in order to pass through to the next area in the cavern, and the Virtual Hallucinations site which teaches about schizophrenia by having your avatar actually experience hallucinations. Check these out and see if you can find other sites with this level of interactivity.
What I want you to do is to think creatively about what kind of interactive quests/ games etc could be invented to guide people through your site and teach them important things about it, about Eliot and Woolf, and about Modernist literary culture in general.

Assignment Design Portfolio

Here is the actual Assignmnet I gave to my students in my senior seminar on TS Eliot and Virignia Woolf:

Each member of the seminar will do research on and compile a portfolio of design specifications, including images of a particular location or aspect of material culture associated with Woolf or Eliot that will illustrate as fully as possible what the objects or location should look like in Second Life. You are not responsible for actually constructing things in 2L; that will be done by another class. But you will be providing the research they need to make their creations accurate and authentic. Depending on the size and complexity of your project, these may be done by individuals of teams. Possible class projects include:

  • The Omega Workshop – (a collaborative interior decoration firm founded by Roger Fry; we would use it in 2L as a storefront, display area for exhibiting and selling products designed by Clemson students) what did the building look like? What did it look like inside? What did the show rooms look like? What about the workrooms? What did the products look like: Furniture, fabrics, clothing? (each of these could be a separate individual project)
  • Monk’s House (Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s country home in Sussex; pictures are available of the living room, and I have maps and dozens of photographs of the garden)
  • Asham (Virginia’s earlier country home in Sussex, shared with her sister Vanessa. Now destroyed—replaced by a cement factory and chalk mine—building this in Second Life will allow Woolf scholars and students around the world to visit an important location no longer available in real life. Many pictures and paintings of the outside exist, plus a few interior photos. I have ordinance survey maps)

Parts of Second Life Project:

  • Avatar Creation (5%) get into 2L; create an avatar, get to the point that you can move around 2L without falling down all the time. Extra credit for avatars which look like Eliot or Woolf or other modernist figures or characters in their work. Due in-class W, Sep 17.
  • Site Research/2L Models (5%) Explore 2L and the Web. Make a list of landmarks of sites you find that you think may be useful models for aspects of what we want to do in 2L—this includes educational sites that are well organized to get students involved and thinking about topics, sites that incorporate aspects of Modernism or London, or websites that it would be particularly good to link to —anything that helps you think about the Woolf World project. If you are building a garden, this might include sites that have nice plants or sell or give away plants. You want to find sites in addition to the ones I have already listed on my blog. We will visit these sites together on Sept 17. You should have a write up of at least 7-10 sites, complete with SLURL’s and a brief paragraph (see my blog at: ) annotating each site. At least 5 must be from 2L.
  • Actual Design Portfolio (15%) This portfolio should contain an overview of your project, a written explanation of it significance and history, any maps or designs you found or made, a consideration of which features are most important to replicate, and as many illustrations as you could find that show what it really looked like. You can organize this anyway you want to, but it should contain at least 1250 wds (5 pages) or written text. You can also include any useful 2L models and speculations/suggestions about how this site could be used in 2L.