• A Brief Bio of Me in 200 Words for iVERG

    While watching the ALT-C 2010 Twitter stream, I saw a posting from the iVERG group inviting people interested in gaming and virtual worlds to check them out.   I visited their home page to discover it’s a consortium of academics investigating virtual worlds for use in learning and teaching:

    iVERG logo

    iVERG is a group of collaborating academics and professionals from universities worldwide. Research on virtual environments for use in learning and teaching is diverse and complex and draws upon specialisms in education, computing, sociology, psychology and anthropology.

    It has an important contribution to make to the effective uses of these environments which are being increasingly taken up by a wide range of educational institutions worldwide. Although they have an intrinsic appeal founded upon their origins within gaming and social networking, immersive virtual environments need research informed practice to ensure their effective educational use.
    From: http://www.iverg.com/iVERG/Index.html

    They’re looking for people to join them, including students conducting research in associated areas.  The two-page application form asks for a 200-word biography.  I was struggling for something to write when it occurred to me to check my very old, but still maintained, “About Me” page, which had a blurb.  I took that as the starting point and came up with:

    Michelle finished her Bachelor of Science degree in honours computing science at the University of Regina (Canada) in October 1995. She then joined the University of Zürich’s (Switzerland) Software Engineering Group, led by Dr. Helmut Schauer, and the Artificial Intelligence Lab, led by Dr. Rolf Pfeifer. While in Switzerland, she worked with Peter Schauble’s team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology on the EuroSpider project. She’s a co-author with Kenrick Mock of several IRC-based games, including Risky Business and Acrophobia. She’s a long-time member of the IDEAs Lab in the School of Informatics at the University of Sussex, where she’s currently working on a Ph.D. under the direction of the Lab’s head Dr. Judith Good. Michelle’s part-time Ph.D., started in 2008, combines her lifelong love of teaching, community building, and gaming to examine learning and motivation in World of Warcraft (WoW). She also teaches, writes, and chairs courses at The Open University on accessibility, online learning, Open Source, PHP, and e-business technologies. In 2010, she completed the two-year Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice and got a second character to Level 80 in WoW. She’s active on Twitter as @Eingang.

    I suppose I’d like to see what other people have said.  I hate writing about myself, but it’s probably “good enough.”  Now, off to post the application.

  • The Times They Are A-Changin’

    “Something has changed within me
    Something is not the same
    I’m through with playing by the rules<br /
    Of someone else's game
    Too late for second-guessing
    Too late to go back to sleep
    It’s time to trust my instincts
    Close my eyes and leap.”

    Lyrics from Defying Gravity, out of the musical Wicked.
    Lyrics and music by Stephen Schwartz

    Sometimes you have to be smart enough to realize that the battle you’re fighting isn’t one you are going to win or even sometimes one you want to win. I walked into my supervisor’s office in September and told him I was throwing away all my document similarity and agents work from the last twelve years.

    I took the leap.

    I landed in a new Ph.D. project in the same research group at the University of Sussex but in a completely different area. Good bye, information retrieval. Hello, educational technology.

    Not only do you have to be smart enough to realize you can’t win at some things, you have to be smart enough to realize that you should be doing what you’re already good at and have been doing. My seemingly impetuous decision is not as foolish as it might sound. I have been working in online distance education using educational technology at the Open University since 2000. I am based in a group at the University of Sussex studying how technology can be used to scaffold learning. I am in daily contact with other educational technologists, practitioners and researchers, via Twitter and other social networks on a daily basis. I belong to that community. It’s time to trust my instincts and do what I am.

    Welcome to Michelle 2.0.