Virtual worlds initiative final portfolio

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Final project for Arizona State University's TWC421: Principles of Writing with Technology, Spring 2013


  • TWC 421:Principles of Writing with technology

  • INTRODUCTION In todays modern world most dont have the luxury of pouring over the written word as they used to. On average it takes more time to make the same amount of money just to survive. So free time to enjoy the process of Reading text is at a premium. Technical communicators must be ever more sensitive to the modern audience who needs their Information to be faster, more concentrated, and available simultaneously on a dizzying array of devices and systems.Because the average audience members attention is scattered across myriad channels of Text delivery systems, trying to glean what is important to them as efficiently as possible, Moving images, motion graphics, immersive stereo headphone sound, and dynamically linked computer text have now supplanted the printed word, by an order of magnitude, as a way of communicating thoughts and ideas. So thoughts and ideas have to be paired down to their essence, 6 second twitter-vids and sound bites if you will, to reach the average audience.

    David Greenwood 2013 3

  • No longer will our mothers writing class methodology give todays technological communicators the tools to cut through modern audiences thick skin of capricious attention to reach the beating heart. Especially hard to reach are the policy makers, the ones who preside for a living, who have heard it all and have no time what so ever for subtle or nuanced. These most hard to reach and even harder to hold are the primary audience for this project. Even more challenging than the audience is the ephemeral nature of the subject matter; Immersive Networked Virtual Education Environments. So how does a modern technical communicator utilize all of the newest tools and modes of communication to convince the President of Arizona State University, the Dean of ASUs Herberger Institute, and the Director of ASUs School of Arts, Media + Engineering to sit down long enough to be convinced to fund research?

    Virtual Worlds Initiative 2013 4

  • The Plan

    I seek to convince my audience that Networked Virtual Environment Technologies (like Second Life, Open Sims,) are deserving of funding of resources for research and development if ASU wants to remain competitive and fulfill its goal of being The New American University. The best way to do that , of course is to show them how great Virtual Worlds are. But since I cant actually bring them into an immersive environment I plan to do the next best thing, I will simulate giving them a presentation in a Virtual World where they can see exemplary case studies of successful Virtual Educational Environments, all simulated by a flash website they can visit on the web in Real Life (RL).

    David Greenwood 2013 5

  • Iteration #1- Planning Although I would have preferred to jump into the final website design right away I first had to get the very complicated workflow, the roadmap as it were, out of my brain and into a technical communication form that could be understood by layman. So I set about charting it on a white board. 4 hours later I had a clearer understanding of the process AND a technical communication tool for others. The rhetorical purpose of this project was to inform and convince (for funding my research) so the project was called the Virtual World Fund at this point.

    Virtual Worlds Initiative 2013 6

  • Virtual World Fund: White Board

    David Greenwood 2013 7

  • Iteration #1 - PresentationIn keeping with my goal of simulation and immersion, I decided to give my peers a personal whiteboard presentation of how I planned to accomplish my ambitious goals. In order to do this I had to find a way of delivering this on the web via a link that I could post on blackboard. I wanted to avoid the pitfalls of regular PowerPoint presentations but keep the functionality of a step-by-step slide show. I knew of a dynamic, hybrid, authoring tool called PRESI, having seen other classmates presentations in my TV Screenwriting class, that animated the movements from one zoomed-in-graphic to another of a larger overall graphic background.

    Virtual Worlds Initiative 2013 8

  • Dynamic Slide Show Alternative With a little research (and a 6 hour learning curve) I was able to explain all 41 steps of my workflow, with self- narrated audio, individually triggered by the viewer as they move from step-to-step on the animated whiteboard presentation on-line. I was able to post the link on Blackboard.

    David Greenwood 2013 9

  • Iteration #1 - Peer Review In order to help guide my classmates critiques I asked:1. If they thought I truly needed an essay, in written form turned into an interactive slide show, to sell

    this project? 2. Did they think me crazy and should I just write the essay and scrap the rest? (adding that I was

    doing this because it is hard, not because it is easy, to push myself to do something that has never been done before, that I'm aware of, in the annals of Tech writing.) I also felt it necessary to include a few primer videos on Virtual Worlds as background before they went down the rabbit hole, per say, that included:A year in the Life - second Life;or a glimpse at social media and relationships in Virtual Worlds.ManpowerIsland doing business in Second Life.Educational Uses of Second Life

    Virtual Worlds Initiative 2013 10

  • Response A class mate affirmed my feeling that the project should speak for itself if done the way I wanted, then quite above and beyond the call of duty, went on to give me a much needed boost of reassurance when I was really doubting myself most by adding:

    Yes I think you are crazy! Haha only joking. I think this is an amazing and ambitious project! I think it would feel you failed yourself by not attempting it. after watching your presentation Im not going to lie- I really want to see this project succeed! You my friend are an incredibly talented, smart, and driven individual- so I say push the limits and make a groundbreaking project!

    I will remember this vote of confidence from a classmate, and from my teacher Michael for that matter, for the rest of my life, as it meant the world to me. I still get choked up a little just thinking about that act of kindness for a world-wearied dreamer (that made all the pain and suffering, that I would endure later, worth it right there.)

    David Greenwood 2013 11

  • Iteration #2 Work Flow

    Virtual Worlds Initiative 2013 12

    I created two separate dynamically linked projects, created in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 (a video editing program) and Encore CS6 (a DVD authoring program), to process all the video and Machinima (the term combines Machine+Cinema) needed for The final interactive web site.

  • David Greenwood 2013 13

    Site Building Then a test site had to be created from a palette, loaded with some video, tested for functionality, encoded to Flash, and uploaded Via FTP to a server to go live on the web.

    So there had to be a representation of the finished site to be accessed live from in-world before the actual site was finished. Not your normal way of doing things. It definitely made for a Cart before the horse proposition.

  • Virtual Worlds Initiative 2013 14

    Iteration #2 Hosting Of course I first had to pick a domain name, register it with my host company, fastQ, and then point my server at it. After much obsessing about long lasting functionality and self-evidentiary name appeal I finally decided on

  • David Greenwood 2013 15

    something to that it could be seen on the office wall In-World, screen captured and turned into machinima. Then that machinima could be re-routed back into the work flow to create the intro scene that would ultimately end up on the final web site.

    Once the test site was live a media wall had to be created that could be textured with a video screen that the site could be seen as an In-World presentation, screen captured, and turned into Machinima. Then that Machinima could be re-routed back into the work flow to create the flash intro scene that would ultimately end up on the final web site.

    In-World Broadcast via Media Wall

  • Iteration #2 - Peer Review 3. My teacher Michael remarked;

    You have a million details you're juggling and you seem to carry and organize them in your head quite nicely and professionally. Readers, however, can get overwhelmed pretty quickly!

    2. And a fellow classmate observed; there maybe an assumption that your audience is at the same level as you and possibly they are, if not it may just go over their head.

    He then went on to acknowledge 1st build problems;I believe you are already aware of some of the technical issues with the website(long load times and difficulty of watching a video and then getting back to the main page to watch the next video.)

    Virtual Worlds Initiative 2013 16

  • Response To clarify I restated by objectivesMy project is designed to:Convince the ASU President, Herberger Institute Dean, and Director of Arts Media + Engineering to invest in research anddevelopmentof Networked Virtual Educational Environments at ASU.My intended rhetorical effect is:toInform( about the need for and advancement of Virtual Worlds to educate viaimmersivesimulationtechnology) and toPersuade(that it is worthy of diverting resources to study it and advance it at ASU.)and I want readers to:see what an amazingopportunity and value adding proposition Networked Immersive Virtual Environments are for education today without falling back on written language. I want them to be given the chance to discover itexperientially, the way the technology is designed to be used, in as interactive and direct a