Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Strategic Use of Virtual Worlds EM825 - Virtual Juror

At my day job I get to be involved with some incredible people and initiatives that inspire me to become more of a "player" in the field of higher education. One such group for which I am involved is the American Association of State Colleges and Universities  (AASCU). Each year, my institution has hosted a conference with AASCU and EDUCAUSE that engage senior leaders about the strategic use of technology for transforming education. It is always fun to recruit students to share their perceptions of campus use of technologies for learning and student support. Enter my own perspective.

July 2011 marks my third quarter as an adult student at Colorado Technical University in the Doctorate of Computer Science Emerging Media Program. Dr. Cynthia Calongne and her trusty assistant, Lyr Lobo,  attracted me to CTU for their work with the New Media Consortium. I am pleased and honored that Dr. Calongne has agreed to be my mentor and dissertation chair.  

This quarter I am taking EM825 Strategic Use of Virtual Worlds with Dr. Andrew Stricker who along with Dr. Calongne won the $25,000 prize awarded by the Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge for the Mars Expedition Challenge. A more complimentary team may not exist than these two extraordinary, talented, positive deviants.

EM825 features group projects using a studio design process. Now I am enjoying how to better collaborate with students whose majors differ and are in different states and time zones. Our project focus is on community and civic engagement. A fellow doctoral student at UPenn, Cecilia Orphan, worked for AASCU to create the American Democracy Project to raise awareness and promote the values of engagement. This initiative made a significant impression upon me as it originated from pure will without substantial resources. Celilia's reflections of the project are captured in this blog post.

My group decided to pursue "Virtual Juror" as a project. We have chosen to contrast the legal systems of the USA compared to South Africa, Iran, and India, and specifically the use of jury trials. Just think about that idea. How much do you know about what is legal and what punishments may exist in these countries? Perhaps if we do a good job, when you see the "Jury Summons" in the mail, you will appreciate the opportunity to serve.