Thursday, April 17, 2008

Response to Seminar

I felt like our class discussion was very engaging and it was interesting to hear about everyone's different perspectives on virtual worlds, and online communities. What made it interesting was that the group was diverse in the levels of experience with online communities. Although I did agree with some who said that there are several positive aspects to Second Life, for instance, I still feel that the virtual world can ruin things that our society has been built upon. For example, I brought up the idea of using Second Life for classes on campus. I still stand strong with my opinion that I feel like using Second Life instead of actual classrooms will be detrimental to college campuses. What is the point of building colleges and universities if no one will use the actual classrooms? I could sit at my home in Anaheim and go to class to learn, yet would I still be considered a Santa Clara student? There would definitely need to be a balance as far as what classes could be taught online and which ones would require actual classrooms. As for the discussion on being able to sit in virtual classrooms with people from other countries, I think that could be beneficial in that we would be able to converse with people we may never have had the chance to talk to in person. I think Second Life could be used for world conferences or discussions, but I just do not agree with the idea of using Second Life in place of real life classrooms.
Regarding the article, A Rape in Cyberspace, I felt that "toading" the rapist was appropriate because, as I shared with the group before, I have a younger brother who plays video games and goes in virtual worlds, and I would never want him to see the things that were described in the article. Although the people behind Mr. Bungle were a bunch of college students, and it may have started as a joke, one person did sign back on after the toading and brought Dr. Jent to life. This scared me, because he must have some serious issues if he needs to use virtual worlds to act out his disgusting sexual fantasies. His behavior clearly upset those who were attacked, and I think the article made a good point in saying that being in the worlds is a mental experience. The people may not have been raped in real life, but the virtual rape obviously had profound effects on the psyche of those who were taken advantage of by Mr. Bungle. One of the women even admitted to the author that she was crying as she wrote on *social about her horrible experience and what she thought she be done to stop it from reoccuring.
I think that our discussion will continue to be debated by anyone who comes in contact with these virtual worlds, or even just experiences the internet societies such as Facebook and Myspace.

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