CDB Barkley (aka Alan Levine) : Jul 18, 2007 02:17pm
Today I did a little bit of acting at the request of colleagues at Johns Hopkins University– not strictly for my acting abilities, but because my avatar seemed to fit a role. Although a very short activity, it did bring home the power of being able to “play” different parts and roles in a virtual world.
The request from Kidkooley Xu (aka. Mike Reese) was:
I wanted to ask for your help in facilitating a SL demo for a university diversity training committee I sit on at Johns Hopkins.
The committee is tasked with rolling out a new diversity training program to all faculty, staff and students at the institution (30-40,000 people). It will include both f2f events along with e-learning/pre-learning activities. [We] discussed how SL could be used to facilitate a diversity training activity at the 2007 NMC conference (inspired by Angela Thomas’ presentation).
We brainstormed a case study that we wanted to request your help with. The situation would be a group of development office staff interviewing candidates for a major gifts staff position – the people who handle the big donors. The interviewers are excited about a particular candidate based on his resume. Their mood changes when he walks in the room and they find he is a…. furry. (“How will our donors react to him?”) We thought you could be a great help because of your SL experience and presence as CDB Barkley.
We selected a “set” – a conference room on the Quad at Teaching 2. Yesterday, we met in world to review the activity, to run through the script. After talking about the set up for the demo, i asked if they would consider trying the First Look client and the voice capability- which should be more impressive than watching a text chat. The colleagues at JHU downloaded the client, rummaged around for working microphones, and we had a great practice with full voice capability.
Mikes plan today was to give the committee a short overview of Second Life, and show a brief video (I believe he selected the one from Ohio University– thehn we would do the roleplay and end with some Q&A.
Somehow it slipped my mind that this was occurring on a Wednesday, the blackest day of the SL week. Fortunately, all of us tried to log in early and found we needed to download another updated client. Everything was looking good leading up to the demo, but for some reason, while they could hear all of the audio, for some reason, one of the avatars was not transmitting audio to me (yes, I checked for muting him). So we had to do a quick adjust as one of them had to prompt my lines via chat.
And my hoped for audio recording was not going to work out.
But I did grab enough pictures to put together with the script to give a sense of the activity. This was fun thing to try and I am eager to hear how the discussion went back at JHU. Voice, when it works, is wonderful for conveying a little bit more social presence; however, it is still difficult to be able to generate body language (how to express boredom, inattention, shock, anger besides the triggered animation gestures??).
Anyhow, read on for the story…
Diversity Training Second Life Demo Script
BACKGROUND: A animal avatar is interviewing for a position as director of major gifts at Johns Hopkins University. He has been directing fundraising for the SPCA for the last 10 years moving up through the organization to his current position. Before that he held a junior staff position at Canisius College’s development office.
All interviewers are sitting in the conf room talking.
Lead Interviewer: Thank you all for participating with the search for our new director of major gifts here at JHU. As you know we have looked at a lot of resumes and spoken with many internal candidates, no one’s resume is as strong as Mr. Barkley.
Avatar 1: Yes he looks very good on paper. His track record is impressive.
Lead Interviewer: We will have to see what he is like face to face because interpersonal skills are such an important part of this position.
Lead Interviewer: Mr. Barkley, will you come in?
Mr Barkley walks into the room. The interviewers show some surprise.
Lead Interviewer: Mr Barkley? Welcome to JHU. Thank you for joining us. Please sit down and tell us about yourself.
Mr Barkley: Currently I an Director of Fundraising for the SPCA where I have been for 10 years, moving up from an entry level outreach coordinator for the Chaffee office to now being in charge of all events in the Greater Niagra region. Our major event, the annual Bark and Whine Ball, has eclipsed our goals every year, and funds about 25% of our operating costs. Before this I held a junior staff position at Canisius College’s development office, where I actually started as a student aid.
Other avatars are looking surprised and not giving him their full attention.
Lead Interviewer: How would you describe your relationship with your colleagues?
Mr Barkley: Very strong. In fact, my rise through the SPCA is often credited to my interpersonal skills and ability to handle difficult situations. People just seem to like working with me.
Lead Interviewer: I don’t mean to be rude but some of our donors are conservative and might be put off by your appearance. If you were offered this position, would you be willing to hide your tail and cut your hair?
Mr Barkley: (internally outraged and offended, use /fear animation to express emotion) Iâ€¦. Iâ€¦ excuse me, I am really taken back by that question. I Would have to give it some thought. Would that be a condition of employment?
Lead Interviewer: Oh, JHU is an equal opportunity employer. Thank you for joining us today.
Mr Barkley: Well, thank you for your time.
Interview ends. Barkley leaves. Interviewers debrief.
Lead Interviewer – He’s got some good skills and relevant experience.
Avatar 1 – But I worry about his style and how our donors will relate to him. What do you think?
And that was it- nothing big, and it took only a little bit of time to write a script and practice.
So.. will we soon see the bright lights of SL Hollywood or “SLollywood”?