[eDebate] Watch the video of the first virtual debate

Alfred Snider alfred.snider
Sun Feb 8 04:12:46 CST 2009

The debate in Second Life is now available for viewing. There has now 
been a successful academic debate held in a virtual world. You can watch 
it without going there.


A couple of things about the video seem clear:

   * This technique works
   * We need to turn down the microphones just a bit
   * We can experiment more with camera angles when making a video
   * We need to find a way to video the debte without the file being so
     big (15 GB). Google Video did eventually process it.

Steve Llano of St. John's and I are now thinking and planning for how to 
use this medium further. If you want to get involved, please contact us.

Some background:

On the night of February 4 2009 two USA universities staged a debate 
about abolishing faculty tenure and held the debate in a virtual 
reality. At 8:07 PM the debate between St. John's University and the 
University of Vermont began in a virtual debating hall built in Second 
Life, a virtual reality. Avatars debated each other using the real 
voices of the individuals while an audience of avatars watched and then 
made comments and asked questions after the debate.

The organizers, Steve Llano of St. John's University and Alfred Snider 
of the University of Vermont, declared the debate a success in a variety 
of ways:

   * The technology worked well. Except for one brief microphone outage
     the process was error free, although some microphones were a bit
     too loud.
   * The room was full. Only so many people can be in a Second Life
     space and that limit was hit. Others were instant messaging to get
     in and ended up watching it on a video projection.
   * Tricky segments such as points of information also went well, with
     a natural flow.
   * The text messaging of comments from the audience during the debate
     worked well for involvement without interrupting the debate.
   * Observers from a number of countries were there, and the debate
     was chaired by Peter Mesarec of Slovenia.
   * There was quite a buzz afterwards as the possibilities of the
     event began to make themselves clear - training sessions, team
     meetings, a global tournament and a lot more.
   * Some audience members were unable to resist the temptation to fly
     around the room but this was not disruptive.

For those who have not seen what Second Life looks like, you can view 
the invitation at http://vimeo.com/3080355 where Steve Llano talks about 
the event through his avatar.

Attending the debate was as easy as establishing a free account and 
downloading the Second Life software, which is available at 
http://www.secondlife.com. Those unfamiliar with the Second Life 
environment are encouraged to spend time becoming familiar with the 
program before any future debate.
For those already established in Second Life, the SURL for the debate 
room is http://slurl.com/secondlife/Emgeetee/110/154/24. Clicking on the 
link will transport you to the debate venue if you have the Second Life 
software installed.

Alfred C. Snider aka Tuna
Edwin Lawrence Professor of Forensics
University of Vermont
Huber House, 475 Main Street, UVM, Burlington, VT 05405 USA
Global Debate Blog http://globaldebateblog.blogspot.com
Debate Central http://debate.uvm.edu
World Debate Institute http://debate.uvm.edu/wdi/
World Debate Institute Blog http://worlddebateinstitute.blogspot.com
802-656-0097 office telephone
802-656-4275 office fax

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