Teaching Where Text and Object Meet: The Perils
and Promises of MOO
MOO is easier to show than describe -- it's a place, a language, a
community, an experience, and eventually a way of thinking. It has that of
"potential" about it. It is text-based and object-oriented (a kind of
programming language), and shares the various potentials of other virtual
reality environments to help us reconfigure education: 24-hour access to
resources, students becoming authors, democratization of learning,
expansion of the classroom, ease in exploration of identities, &etc. MOO
also has some serious downsides, however. The environment is
programatically complex and requires some fairly intensive technical
upkeep, and instructors must feel comfortable with the technology to keep
a step ahead of their generally more savvy students. The strengths of
text-only are also its weaknesses, and as the boundaries of "work" and
"play" are blurred, interpersonal interactions can become complicated.
The questions, then, become: how do we shape a pedagogy that works best in
MOO? How do we determine whether MOO is best suited for the goals of our
There are many getting started guides around the Web. We've provided a quick start crib sheet for you.
Educational MOOs -- Web Sites
- Lingua MOO is a project of the
University of Texas, Dallas. It's web pages are particularly useful.
- Diversity University MOO has gone the
independent non-profit route, and serves teachers from a variety of
Virtual Teaching pages provided by TECFA (Technologies de Formation
et Apprentissage) at the University of Geneva
note: links in this section are to MOO welcome screens via
telnet, unless otherwise indicated.
- Online Articles
- Julian Dibbell, My Tiny Life
- Howard Rheingold, The Virtual Community
- Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen
- Cynthia Haynes and Jan Rune Holmevik High Wired
This site was originally put together by Susan
Garfinkel. Additions by me.