Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A funny blog comic

Just thought I'd share. Breaks of the monotony of research. LOL.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Having followers!

It's really neat that Blogger has this new feature called followers! I am beginning to feel a bit self-conscious now about what I write on here. LOL. But I also find it very cool that there are people that are actually interested in what I am interested in too! I hope this blog helps other people, but I am also looking for help too. Any suggestions anyone??? :)

Through my Second Life account, I have also met up with another graduate student like myself who is interested in learning in Second Life. We may collaborate eventually on an article or project. Very exciting :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Who am I?

Hi Everyone, my name is Rebecca Meeder. I am a graduate student at the University of Hawaii. I am working on my dissertation on educators who blog about teaching and attending professional development activities in 3-D virtual environments. I like to cook, draw, watch theater, and play video games.

Include focus groups in my methodology

I had this great idea today from my coworker to include focus groups in my methdology.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Goals for next semester

I have to be honest. This summer, I really did absolutely nothing in regards to working on my dissertation. I blame the fact that it was summer and the summer rays distracted me from my goal of working on my proposal. LOL. Okay okay, I know you are shaking your heads at me. The real reason for not working on my dissertation was in essence "life." My work this summer took a little bit more effort than I expected, yet it is going well. Plus, I had two personal events this month that have distracted me somewhat. In essence "life happened," which is expected. So, for the fall I have decided to set two goals for myself, to get myself back on track.

1. Starting fall semester, dedicate one hour each day (except Sundays) and work on my proposal.
2. Attend at least one virtual world event regarding "education" each week and blog about it.

I think this will help me get back on track and start providing a routine I can follow. At first, I felt like I was grabbing at things in the dark, but now if I settle on such a routine, I believe I can look forward to getting my work done. Plus, I am really excited about it, which I think is the most important part of all :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Hey hey everyone, just wanted to keep you up to date on what I have been doing with my dissertation. I haven't posted in awhile, so I apologize. I basically have my committee set. Feel free to take a look at

I am working full time this summer, so life's been crazy. However, I plan to sit down at least a few times this summer and actually work on my proposal. If you haven't looked at my calendar yet on my main dissertation page, feel free to do so. I plan to have my proposal completed by December and my comps done by June 2009. Here's hopin'!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Now introducing ...Professor Szwarz!

Well, I changed my mind. I decided to make my inworld avatar public. Well... sort of. I have created another avatar that I have decided to make public called Professor Szwarz. I am using this avatar to attend educational events in Second Life. The avatar's profile has information about my field/focus of study and who I am in real life. The reason I decided to do this was to easily network within Second Life with other educators when I attend educational events in Second Life.

For those of you who are worried about me spying on others with both avatars, do not worry. I only plan to use the "Professor Szwarz" avatar for educational events and research. My other one is used to have fun and play around with. Much like our real life identities, no? Ah, another study for another day, LOL.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Conundrum of Triangulation

I think I have 2 qualitative methods I can use for this dissertation. I plan to use content analysis and demographic survey. Now, it is called "triangulation," so I should use one more. Not sure what to choose though... interviewing? Focus group would be a bit difficult. And not sure if I can do field notes, unless I count how often people post and when. Not sure if that would contribute any to my data. It could though... Hmmm...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Second Life scary....

One of my main concerns about my dissertation topic is the fact that it may be a fad.  Many companies and educational institutions are jumping on the bandwagon of Second Life, but like many trends, it may go away as fast as it became popular.

What I hope won't go away is the use of 3D virtual environments in education.  For now, Second Life seems like the reigning king in this field, but I am hoping that even if Second Life fades in to the depths of past fads, such as the Macarena and fanny packs, that another company will pick up the slack.  For now, the only other company that is remotely able to do this is  However, even There has its limitations.  Another company may come along as well, but what I am hoping is that it does not completely die out all together. 

 I have started on gathering resources for my dissertation.  It will probably be another 2-3 years before I graduate, so hopefully this tool is here to stay.  If not, then I could always do a historical case study.... LOL.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Another idea I brainstormed with my co-worker Adam

Doing a content analysis of virtual worlds educational blogs. Compare/contrast?

(Ethnographic study of educators who participate in 3-D virtual environments?)

- Content?
- Higher ed, secondary, primary, general, etc... (compare to the journal content analysis example, use their justification)

- Uses?
- Audience (who, how much, etc...)?
- Authors of the blog (teachers, companies, educators)?
- Purpose (of whole blog or individual posts)? (Professional development, news/events/announcements, collaboration, research, advertising, recruiting, resources, lesson ideas, etc...)
- Interactivity?

Might be moving now in to a more qualitative approach, instead of quantitative, unless I actually want to start counting words (nouns, verbs, types of vocab, etc...), then it might go back to quantitative, or I could always do mixed method.  We'll see...

I'm a bit of an English nerd (although I haven't read for pleasure/fun in years!  I think college killed that love awhile back), but I love analyzing texts/electronic applications.  It's the one thing I am good at.  Oh and being creative.  I can be creative, sort of.  Well, people have said that they like my work in SL, so something must be working. :)  SO.... I want to parlay that English/SL love into something of a dissertation.  I think my other idea about doing a quantitative survey students and their attitudes about virtual environments might be a bit much for me, especially since I will be uber-busy over the next few years.  

Plus, in all honesty, I don't think I will hired at ETEC.  I would like to, but I don't really see any openings in the near future (again, this my opinion, I can't say for sure).  But another option for me is to work in the English department.  I love to teach hybrid tech and rhetoric courses.  My former professor Dr. Payne  inspired me awhile back about this topic, and it may be something I want to pursue if I teach in a higher academic setting.  So, if my dissertation is about blogs (journaling on the Internet) and tech, I may be able to consider working in the English dept. at UH.

Other options for prospective future jobs would be working at another university/college in Hawaii,  working at another University in Japan, going back to my high school alma mater, and work as an administrator/tech coordinator and turn it in to a tech campus.  I am sure something will turn up. :-p

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stealing academic ideas

I was reminded again today about the dangers of posting such ideas online.  Your own original (or not so original for those of us who are in the "postmodern" in-the-know) content is at risk all the time from those who want to and are willing to steal our ideas, much like those who steal music, art, images, videos, and other sources of intellectual property off the Internet.

Honestly though, most people steal either when they want to get popular or can make money off it, or need something they don't want to pay for.  Would anyone really want to steal my ideas on this page?  And (another reminder from another colleague of mine), would anyone really be able to find this blog as well as my web page? This blog as well as my dissertation page is buried upon buried underneath all sorts of webpages in Google.  If you type in any combination of keywords relating to my "supposed" topic, I am still buried underneath mountains of other web addresses.  I could barely find it.  Now it may become popular later, but for now I would highly doubt it.

And if anyone in academia would steal ideas, and claim it as his/her own, then I'd mostly refer to them, in common modern academic terms, as a "scab."  Honestly!  Education is about collaboration.  The sharing of ideas and working together.  Why would anyone in the field of education be such a "scab" and steal my content?  Now, I know anything is possible, and there probably is someone out there who might.  But those who are really educators should very much know better than that.  Plus, as long as you attribute the idea to the original owner of the idea, then you stay very much out of trouble.

Well, my ideas are specific to the area I work in, so unless someone very near to where I work and study steals my ideas, then, in my humble opinion, I don't really have much to worry about.  Even if they are in the same University as I am in, I still don't have much to worry about.  Plus, if the person who does steal my ideas is within the place I work and study at, I very much know where he/she is on this island and can track them down and confront them very easily (unless they want to run off to Mexico or some other foreign country, I doubt it).  And trust me, they will not be happy if they have to confront me.  I am fair, but firm in regards to things like this. (Well, for the most part) :-)

So, that's it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

So if this thing doesn't work?

Let's say instruction is virtual environments no longer seems to be the trend in the next few years, and I need to change topics.  Well, I've been thinking, and what I might do, if my original topic doesn't work out, is change to a topic that asks the questions,

"What are the attitudes and experiences of Christians, Buddhists, and Atheists in regards to technology at home and in the classroom?"

An interesting thought.  Maybe something educators would benefit from, knowing where their students and parents are coming from in regards to their views on technology.  And as far as I know Christians, Buddhists, and Atheists aren't going away anytime soon ;-)

So why do I like Second Life?

Many of my coworkers have asked me this question.  To be quite honest, I love the creativity that goes on in there.  People create stories, use screenshots, post them in a blog. Other people create music, and perform "virtual performances" in there.  Others have created businesses, relationships, objects, a whole slew of things that one could never really do in real life.

And then there are the stories. Iraq war veterans, recovering from their wounds, using SL as an outlet.  Long distance couples, who use SL, as a means to stay together despite their locations.  Lonely people, disabled people, educators, scientists, students, people with secrets, a gamut of people with stories, ambitions, and ideas, are all in here.  And I didn't even know it.

And what do I do in here?  Well, I build.  I tried half-hazardly running a small business, an art shop with my photos no less.  I have sold a few, but mainly b/c I feature them at the virtual apartments I built.  I admit that I have made my avatar look like the supermodel, so I get a lot of attention from the guys.  An interesting social experiment that I may want to write on one day.  And I attend a few educational seminars in here, and have learned quite a bit.  I will definitely write more about this later.

And what do I want to do later on?  Well, I am not planning on doing anything in regards to research here.  I may interview someone, but probably want to interview their real life selves, not their avatar.  Most of my research will be with students at UH, maybe faculty.  What I do want to try is clothes designing.  It looks like a lot of fun.  Maybe try and attempt to be a recording artist in here.  LOL.  Well, we'll see.  And maybe try my hand at building a little more.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Who am I?

If you want to know who I am in Second Life, feel free to email me, and I will be more than willing to share it with you. I want to keep my Second Life username away from the public since there are some people I know "in-world" who have no idea who I am in "real life." However, I am willing to share my Second Life name with other educators and friends who I know in real life since I know they won't "stalk" me.

There are some "crazy" people in Second Life, so keeping my privacy in regards to who I am is important to me.

Questions questions

Some possible question ideas for my dissertation

1. Is creating and teaching courses in 3-D virtual environments a viable option for University of Hawaii instructors?

2. Are students willing and able to participate in a class that regulary uses or is held in a 3-D virtual environment?

3. Can the College of Education use 3-D virtual environments, such as those in Second Life, as a possible recruitment tool for undecided college students who may possibly consider a career in education?

My First Post

Hi Everyone, this is my journaling area where I write down my random thoughts that occur regarding my dissertation. This is where I am storing my ideas until I have an idea on where to put them.

At first I was a little hesitant on putting up my dissertation ideas online. I have heard of horror stories of people stealing other people's dissertation ideas and the original person no longer being able to pursue their dissertation idea because of someone publishing his/her idea before that person does.

However, I think if I publish this first, whether this can be considered a dissertation or not, I will at least have a record of this idea coming in to fruition. Then, if someone decides to publish, I can claim that I have this idea first. Hehe.