Reflections Onna MOO

Janet Cross and Kristian Fuglevik

The most recent summer issue of Kairos  features eight excellent hypertexts in the coverweb: "Pedagogies in Virtual Spaces: Writing Classes in the MOO." These texts will show how some have indeed "heard the call" and have answered with a variety of different perspectives. This collection is quite appropriate as "summer reading" in that teachers who would like to incorporate MOO into their teacherly bag o' tricks have a place to start and, one hopes, some time to investigate what MOO can do for them. These perspectives, because they are varied and focus on different features of MOO are (and will become ever more so) a significant resource collection and starting place for additional research and development of eduMOOs. Kristian and Janet would like to take this opportunity to celebrate what we have in common with these educators, as well as welcome and embrace our differences, those places where our kairic  conversation about the research, development and praxis of MOO education continues.

In 'nuther words, we wish to add our .02 (in the very best MOO tradition), but first the celebration.

Cynthia Haynes and Jan Holmevik share their perspective as online collaborators, designers of Lingua MOO, who have extended certain "pedagogical realit[ies]" of MOO space, writing an important pulp guide to MOOs. Their book, High Wired , will inform the offline community of just "what's up with all that Internet stuff."

Jane Lasarenko hyper-dances her MOO, in the best Burkean conversational tradition, offering a dialogue, a meta-commentary, and a delightful invitation to the "hyper dance."

The dialogue and commentary in this piece are meant to initiate a polylogic "hyper-dance" on this topic. Your extensions, commentaries, narratives, dialogues, dramas, short essays and ideas are necessary for that to become a reality. RhetNet will provide publishing space to allow this beginning to grow and flourish into a MOO content site that uses as much of the hypertextual nature of the web as we can.
Major MOO applause and general MOO pandemonium for "So You Wanna MOO" and RhetNet for this dance of the hours. We can't wait to sign Lasarenko's MOO dance card.

Claudine Keenan assists in mud wallowing pratices, giving a needed teacherly nudge to "do our homework."

There are some teachers, however, who have expored M** space in a limited fashion, become excited by the technology, and invited their classes to join them for a virtual representation of the exact traditional model that they had previously been enacting absent the technology. These teachers (and, no doubt, their students) have been resoundingly disappointed by their experiences in the MUD.
We personally have found no more playful and supportive place for teacherly MOO training than on Judi's Coconut Cafe. The teachers there are eager to do their homework. Judi Kirkpatrick spins a webby tale of the Coconut Cafe, where teachers sip MOO Mai Tais and play in the Kindergarten room.

While MOObies frolic with Judi, others have been bringing their students online, pioneering the possibilites of MOO. Leslie Harris (one who always does his homework, we are sure) notes the importance of global contact zones where, "Students confronting such difference often learn that they need to defend their views--that others might not agree on what they thought was `natural' or `self-evident.'" Harris shows how students can, and do, take "advantage of the MOO environment," by creating "whatever their imagination dictates."

Aside from alternative classrooms, MOO offers professional conferencing, replete with cameraderie, both serious and jesterful. Sharon Cogdill AKA Scog reminds us that there are no simple binaries of online/offline on these MOOs called home. "The acts of construction are real, and so are the interactions." And this stance is reiterated by Avigail Oren from a slightly different perspective:

In a MOO, the duality of immersion and interaction is more than clear. The immersion derives from the way a MOO might simulate the real world through its structure and metaphors. The interactive nature derives from the communicative features it owns.
MOO is indeed more than just Scog says, MOO is one of the places where "we work,...hang out and unpurposefully build very purposeful communities." And so, we would suggest, is Kairos .

From here we offer some additional guidelines. One set from the GEEKLY perspective of Kristian, a computer scientist, the other from the wannabe_geek humanist, Janet. Bet you can tell which is which just from the table of contents below ;-)

Bovine ImpleMOOtation and MOOtenance MOO Commandments
Starting the MOO: Before You Milk the Cow I Know Thy MOO VI Spam Not Unto Others
Planning the MOO: Know Your Breed of MOO II Know Thyself VII Suffer Newbies
Setting up the MOO: Fencing your Pastures III Know Thy Pedagogy VIII Forget Not Thy Password
Running the MOO: Bringing the Cows on Home IV Know Thy Students' Needs IX Know Thy Security
Janet Cross and Kristian Fuglevik V Covet Not Code or Words X Be Thou Not a Quota Hawg