Wading Through the MUD:

The Process of Becoming M** Literate

What is a MOO and what's there?

What is a Mutli-User Domain-Object Oriented or MOO? What objects can we expect to find there? The simplest explanation describes a MOO as a virtual environment that attempts to emulate three dimensions: height, width, and depth, as well as all five sensory perceptions: sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste, all using plain text (ASCII) characters. MOOs may be social, educational, or professional environments, usually structured to "look" and "feel" like actual physical locations, complete with all manner of rooms, including libraries, auditoriums, meeting rooms, courtyards, offices, and lounges, classrooms. Since these environments are text-based, new users are sometimes greeted by ASCII character maps, which visually display the M** space for us as maps, to better acquaint us with the look and feel of the place. In the absence of maps, or in addtition to them, we may also encounter a text description of the objects we see. Although objects are the primary difference between a MUD and a MOO, they are not a new concept to the MUD, because characters themselves, which are explained in What is a MUD? are also simply objects that we have created on the MOO.

| . . W E L C O M E . TO . THE . M O O ! . . |

Usually, when we arrive at a MOO, we see a description of the room we have entered. The description can be short and simple, spanning only a line or two: 'Welcome to our MOO. You are in the waiting room, filled with comfortable chairs and decorated with wall maps and an information directory.' If this flashes by on our screens too quickly, we can simply type look and we will see the description again. If the descriptions mentions other objects, such as the wall maps named above, we can also 'look wall maps' for more details on the map. We can also read some objects, such as newspapers or notes. All of these objects should suggest to us, as teachers, how flexible and how effective, teaching in the MOO can be.

. . . . . .
Again, not only as teachers, but also as newbies, we must keep in mind that learning how to manipulate objects takes time, and that, in addition to the time we allow ourselves to learn and practice these techniques, we must also allow our students that time during the semester.

The Object Oriented aspect of M** enables us not only to look at and read objects that the wizards have created, but also to create, carry, deliver, drop, and recycle, objects of our own. These objects may vary from creating mail, lesson plans, handouts, and assignments for our students, to creating a room of our own in which to prep, teach, and learn.

Remy Evard notes that

The MUD requires a bit of time to learn. There are perhaps 10 commands that everyone must learn immediately (say, emote, page, whisper, look, and so on). Learning to administer a MUD is more difficult. This involves making sure the database is backed up, creating or disabling guest characters, and learning the MUD's programming language in order to extend the environment. This is something that can be done incrementally, but does take time. On the other hand, it can also be fun.

Next Up:

  1. Why teach in the M**?
  2. Who teaches in the M**?
  3. What is a MUD and who's there?
  4. How do we communicate with characters?
  5. What is a MOO and what's there?
  6. How and why do we move, create, and recycle objects?
  7. What are some key words and their definitions?
  8. When and where can we start learning how to teach in the M**?
Last updated: May 25, 1996 by Claudine Keenan Send any comments to cgk4@psu.edu