Classes on the MOO

Of course, in view of such successes in using MOOs and MUDs for acedemic conferences and scholarly collaborations, many teachers were eager to try to make use of MOOs and MUDs to enable collaboration and interaction for their writing and literature classes. Some of the earlier MOOs and MUDs used by writing and literature teachers were WriteMUSH, the Hypertext Hotel, Diversity University, Daedalus MOO and Virtual Online University (now Athena University). Several of these pioneering teachers have provided us with examples of the inroads they have made with their classes in this new networked teaching environment.

Leslie Harris, Assistant Professor of English at Susquahenna University in Pennsylvania and director of the Composition in Cyberspace project, tells us the story of his involvement with MOOs and MUDs in "Using MOOs to Teach Composition and Literature." Harris explains how he conceives of the role of MOOs in English classes, as "incubators for powerful" ideas, a phrase he borrows from MIT education expert Seymour Papert. He also examines the role of gender in synchronous CMC, as well as the possibilities for using MUDs and MOOs for explorations of cultural diversity with students from different subcultures. Finally, Harris discusses his students' creation of and engagement with literary artifacts in text on the MOO, through projects such as his class's interactive Dante's Inferno, on Diversity University MOO.

Creating new MOOs for writing and collaboration

Another MOO, and another vision of pedogogy in synchronous CMC environments has been created by Cynthia Haynes, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Texas, Dallas, and Jan Rune Holmevik of the University of Trondheim, Norway. The world they created is Lingua MOO, and their contribution to this web is called "Enhancing Pedagogical Reality with MOOs." Haynes and Holmevik were intrigued with the possibility for both synchronous and asynchronous interaction offered by webbed MOOs, and in their web discuss issues such as the design of rooms, teaching techniques, planning MOO events, preparing classes, and evaluating student work.

Haynes and Holmevik take a look at some of the freedoms MOO-based pedagogy offers while keeping an eye on the administration and technology MOOs require to keep operating smoothly.

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