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August 15, 2008

Student part-time work offered: controlling the VC's avatar

A nice quote in yesterday's Times Higher by John Coyne, VC at the University of Derby, in an article about transliteracy:

"While I was on the walkabout in Second Life, I bumped into another avatar (online persona) and it was one of my lecturers. He was surprised to discover his vice-chancellor there," Coyne explains.

"We engaged in a conversation, but I think he realised my avatar was being directed by a student colleague when he asked me a question. Apparently I responded by saying, 'Cool.'?



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I didn't get this when I read it in the Times Higher, and I still don't get it. For a start, how did the lecturer know it was his V-Cs avatar? The, why was the V-C letting a student 'direct' his avatar?

What worries me is that this is from an example of a V-C being held up as an example of someone embracing 'transliteracy', and yet the fact he is happy for a student to direct his avatar and masquerade as him suggests he doesn't take this type of identity as seriously as (for example) email.

Am I taking this all a bit too seriously, or is this a genuine concern?

Hmmm... yeah, I think that's a good point (though I wasn't intending any of this to be taken very seriously tbh).

Being generous, one could say that the VC is recognising the importance of something, but not putting it into practice in a sensible way. Being cynical, it reduces the whole thing to a publicity stunt - which is probably all it was anyway.

For all we know, he might also get someone else to read his email - though in this case it is more like asking someone else to both read *and* write his email :-)

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