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Smith-Robbins Dissertation Final

Smith-Robbins Dissertation Final

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Published by Sarah Robbins
My dissertation. Defended on March 28, 2011.
A faceted classification of virtual world communication mechanics developed to create a system for technology choice and application in education settings.
My dissertation. Defended on March 28, 2011.
A faceted classification of virtual world communication mechanics developed to create a system for technology choice and application in education settings.

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Published by: Sarah Robbins on Mar 29, 2011
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Incommensurate Wor(l)ds: Epistemic Rhetoric and Faceted Classification of Communication Mechanics in Virtual WorldsbySarah Smith-RobbinsA Dissertation Submitted to the Graduate Schoolin Partial Fulfillment of the Requirementsfor the Degree of Doctor of PhilosophyDissertation Advisor: Dr. Rai PetersonBall State UniversityMuncie, INMarch 28, 2011
 
 ii
Table of Contents
Table of Contents ..................................................................................................................................... ii
 
List of Tables ........................................................................................................................................... vi
 
List of Figures ......................................................................................................................................... vii
 
Abstract .................................................................................................................................................. ix
 
Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................................. xi
 
Chapter 1: Incommensurate Terms, Incommensurate Practices ............................................................... 1
 
Purpose of the Study ................................................................................................................................... 3
 
Significance of the Study ............................................................................................................................. 5
 
Study Variables and Predicted Relationships .............................................................................................. 6
 
Conceptual Framework ...............................................................................................................................
 
Constructivist Pedagogy ......................................................................................................................... 7
 
Constructionist Learning Theory ............................................................................................................ 8
 
Epistemic Rhetoric and Virtual Worlds ................................................................................................. 12
 
Research Method ...................................................................................................................................... 14
 
Limitations and Bias .................................................................................................................................. 15
 
Chapter 2: Background and Current State of Virtual World Technology ................................................. 16
 
Current State of Virtual Worlds ................................................................................................................. 16
 
Virtual Worlds as a Revolution ............................................................................................................. 18
 
Virtual Worlds as a Reality .................................................................................................................... 19
 
The Eight Realities ................................................................................................................................ 19
 
Media Reality Lacks Interactivity .......................................................................................................... 21
 
The Role and Impact of Interactivity on Media Reality ........................................................................ 22
 
Why Virtual Worlds are Different from Other Interactive Media ........................................................ 24
 
The Truths of Virtual Worlds ..................................................................................................................... 26
 
Truth 1: Virtual Worlds Allow Users to Leave and Return to the Reality ............................................. 26
 
Truth 2: Virtual World Users Contri
bute to the Reality by Constructing Their Avatars’ Stories
........... 26
 
Truth 3: Virtual World Users Form Shifting Parasocial Relationships with Their Avatars .................... 27
 
Truth 4: Virtual Worlds Create Finite Spaces of Normative Technological Determinism ..................... 27
 
Kuhn’s Cycle of Scientific Revolution
......................................................................................................... 28
 
The Development of Terminology ............................................................................................................. 30
 
Challenges in Researching Virtual Worlds ................................................................................................ 32
 
 
 iii
Growth of Virtual Worlds .......................................................................................................................... 34
 
Operational Definition of Virtual Worlds .................................................................................................. 38
 
Communication within Virtual Worlds ...................................................................................................... 41
 
Communicative Action Theory .................................................................................................................. 42
 
 Activity Theory .......................................................................................................................................... 43
 
Other Methodological Toolkits.................................................................................................................. 44
 
Chapter 3: Classification of Virtual Worlds ............................................................................................. 46
 
Faceted Classification................................................................................................................................ 46
 
Facet Identification ................................................................................................................................... 48
 
Facet 1: Dominant Form of Content ..................................................................................................... 51
 
Facet 2: Dominant Form of User-to-User Communication ................................................................... 52
 
Facet 3: Level of Stigmergy ................................................................................................................... 53
 
Facet 4: Level of Object Ownership ...................................................................................................... 54
 
Facet 5: Level of User Identity Formation ............................................................................................ 55
 
Facet 6: Level of Environmental Access ................................................................................................ 57
 
Facet 7: Nature of User Relationship With Other Users ....................................................................... 58
 
Facet 8: Nature of User Relationship With the Environment ............................................................... 59
 
Facet 9: Level of Access to Groups ....................................................................................................... 60
 
Facet 10: Number of Groups That Can Be Joined Simultaneously ....................................................... 60
 
Development of a Notational System ....................................................................................................... 61
 
Bivariate Comparison of Virtual Worlds.................................................................................................... 63
 
Level of Stigmergy vs. Level of Object Ownership ................................................................................ 64
 
Level of Stigmergy vs. Level of Identity Formation ............................................................................... 67
 
Level of Object Ownership vs. Nature of User-to-User Relationship ................................................... 71
 
Nature of User-to-User Relationship vs. Nature of User-to-Environment Relationship ...................... 74
 
Nature of User-to-User Relationship vs. Number of Groups That Can Be Joined Simultaneously ....... 77
 
User-to-Environment Relationship vs. Group Number ........................................................................ 82
 
User-to-User Relationship vs. Identity Formation ................................................................................ 84
 
User-to-User Relationship vs. Stigmergy .............................................................................................. 89
 
Chapter 4 Using Activity Theory and Genre Ecology Models to Connect Facets with Motivations inVirtual World Education ......................................................................................................................... 92
 
 Activity Theory: An Introduction ............................................................................................................... 93
 
Research Methods and Activity Theory ..................................................................................................... 99
 
Expectations in a Virtual World .............................................................................................................. 100
 
Subjects, Tools, and Objects in Virtual Worlds ........................................................................................ 101
 
Subject ................................................................................................................................................ 102
 
Tools ................................................................................................................................................... 103
 

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Congratulations, Sarah! Really useful, and very generous of you to post this.
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