This article represents what I would call a Defense and Illustration of MOO-Based English Pedagogy. In order to prove that MOOs can be serious, effective environments for the teaching of English, I discuss how I have used Diversity University MOO in English composition and literature courses. After giving a brief introduction to the MOO as a writing environment, I describe one way I have used DU MOO in my composition classes. In several classes of first-semester composition, I have paired my students with peers at another college campus, holding synchronous class meetings on DU MOO. Since writing becomes the primary means of communicating with a synchronously present audience, students learn that writing is an important, powerful act--a way to influence one's peers and to convince them of the validity of one's views. I have also used the MOO as a creative, literary environment. By recreating literary worlds in the MOO (such as a MOO version of Dante's Inferno), students learn skills of close reading, while gaining a greater appreciation for the richness of Dante's descriptive detail. In a utopian literature class, furthermore, students can draw upon their readings throughout the semester to represent their own ideal worlds on the MOO. Through such a creative project, the students involve themselves in a process of active learning, in which the goals of the project reinforce the goals of the course: to determine the most effective political and social institutions for an ideal world, and to assess critically our current institutions as the students create their own utopian communities.
OOs and English Composition
iterary Microworlds: Using MOOs to Teach Literature