Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Applicability of Research

New chapter. My research journey included defending my dissertation on 12-19-13. The findings led me to add the term embodied to the title after it was so clear to me how survey respondents were attached to their avatars, groups, and the milieu of virtual environments. 

I took my time to consider avenues of future research and applicability. Since my last post, I moved back to the Orlando area and am researching how to start a non-profit corporation to apply and continue my research. Philanthropy appeals to me to give back for the blessings I have received. 

Last year was tumultuous with taking on a new job, moving to a new city, my daughter's car accident, and then getting caught up in a reduction of force all while trying to complete a doctorate program. Waiting until degree completion would have been optimal, but the challenges served my thinking and my study. The document turned out to be about 320 pages. Hopefully, I am pioneering some new realms of thought. 

There are many other capable researchers exploring personality and identity using avatars. Several researchers are also studying collaboration. Gaming mechanics and the impact of a learning organization kept coming back to me so these elements were added to my calls for future research. In the end, I mashed up many ideas and constructs that will take years to apply in praxis. 

Last September, the OpenSim Community Conference was the first community-supported event that illustrated what committed volunteers can do with sufficient tools, time, and leadership. Things worked so well that it felt somewhat miraculous. I was merely a spectator admiring the hard work of others. The event made me think  of how transformations occur in people, groups, organizations, and society. How do we detect and see the currents of change?  
Open Simulator Community Conference 2013 venue
I have been thinking a lot about cross-generational learning and how strengths-based teaming allows those with motivation to learn and enjoy whatever they are committed to doing. The craze of massively open online courses has in my mind led to replacing the C in MOOC from course to community. It is the transformative capability of community collaboration and involvement that attracts my fascination. Such transformations enable people (and groups?) to believe in what they previously thought not possible. This is the business I want to be involved in to invest my strengths.   

Personalized learning suggests that those who have interest and ability should be able to advance and collaborate with others who share goals. Wouldn't in be revolutionary if online virtual conferences could be open to anyone with capability and commitment to engage? Such events could lead to virtual open online communities. A sort of sponsorship could make it work. Sponsorship is something I think a lot about too. 

Once virtual communities form, what makes them sustainable? My study suggested that how volunteer communities build learning communities towards transdisciplinarity impacted empowerment. The potential for virtual learning organization communities may preserve scant resources of time, energy, funding, and the environment. Much more research is required. I am looking forward to new opportunities to learn and grow now that I am finally, Dr. Truman. My gratitude cannot be more heartfelt for my mentors, peers, family, and friends.