Suggestion for Educational Builds

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Janet Rossini
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:44 pm

Suggestion for Educational Builds

Post by Janet Rossini » Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:11 am

Here, unedited, is the proposal I wrote in mid-August about how to do projects such as educational builds in a better fashion. Since I've been posting about what happened to it, I thought it might be good to have it up. I still think it's a good idea and would welcome any discussion.

Janet Rossini

This note proposes a guided family of projects, under the creative control of volunteering citizens, to develop a series of educational experiences for new citizens. These projects will be kept under appropriate control to ensure consistency and reasonable cost in prims and other resources, and will be guided so as to share ideas, advancing the whole resulting installation.


Imagine an area like an Orientation Island in purpose, with the skills, experience, and energy of NCI behind it. It might be a series of small exercises or challenges. Perhaps each one, when accomplished, gives the successful avatar a token of success or another little prize. As people go through these challenges, they might "level up" to be recognized as competent educated Second Life citizens.

Undertaken in one go, this project would be daunting. Instead, this note proposes a growing system of small installations, guided lightly by the senior NCI leadership. As the ideas mature, the senior leaders guide developers to mix and match their ideas, to improve the breed.


New Citizens are flowing into Second Life with little or no training. Even the existing facilities, when used, seem to leave people unprepared even to do the simplest things. This is believed to be partly due to the nature of the training, which does not engage people, so that they do not go through it. We would hope that a series of simple yet engaging activities could teach people the basics in a way that they would enjoy.

As NCI has grown, we have managed to create a good-looking and consistent style of build. Typically, this has required most projects to be monitored very closely. The cost of this is that, other than in the case of a few specialists, we have not always seen how to make the best use of the great talent of our up and coming members. By giving gentle guidance to a large number of people working in small groups, we can make faster progress without losing our identity or our prims.

A number of our members have been very visibly trying to help improve our facilities, by offering large build ideas, and smaller ones. This is a great opportunity. We haven't always been able to support all the ideas at once, and the result has sometimes been frustration on the parts of both members and the Board. I think with a bit of the right guidance from the Seniors, and perhaps a designated area of work, we can allow a wide range of creativity while ensuring that our consistency and quality remain high.

This overall vision is grand: what can we really do as steps to this vision?

Let's ask for a series of small experimental builds, from individuals and teams, offering interesting learning experiences. Rather than review written proposals, or verbal presentations, let's authorize and review small experiments. In essence, the idea is that if most anyone at all wants to build something to help new citizens, we give them a few guidelines that we care about, and set them free to build a prototype in some designated area. (The prototype could even be something that they keep in inventory and rez for review.)

We already allow people to build anything they want in our sandboxes. What we're up to here is to guide and review those builds, so that they create things we need. NCI gets new learning tools, and our members get the thrill of contributing something of lasting value.


We hope there will be many ideas, and many individuals who offer to try to create things. This is good, and yet we must not let things get out of control.

Perhaps we will recommend a designated physical area where these idea projects can be placed. Or perhaps they are just rezzed in a sandbox, worked on and experimented with, and then packed up. The idea is to harness and contain the ferment that comes when many people are working on separate but related ideas, and yet to allow people to be fully creative.

We certainly want to encourage a lot of creativity. We want the interplay of ideas, we want everyone who can contribute to get a chance to do so, and we want to mix all these ideas together and guide the builders to better and better results. We just want to channel the creativity as it goes on, keeping it gently on track.

At the same time, our Senior Officers need to ensure some guidance and control:

-- we want to ensure that our main areas remain attractive;
-- we want to ensure that creativity and competition remain healthy and open;
-- we want to find good ideas in separate builds and help makers combine them;
-- we have limited prims, and need to manage them wisely;
-- we want to move toward a consistent and familiar style as the installations mature;
-- management of permanent installations in NCI is difficult and can cause hurt feelings.

There are probably other issues than these, and more important ones, of which I'm not aware. I believe that for this proposal to succeed, the Board and Senior Officers will want to develop new ways of delegating without the need for extra work or strict control on their part.


I'm suggesting that we try a fair number of projects using the style I'll describe in this section: it should be harmless to authorize as many as we can. They all start small, we guide them to success, and we all learn how to be more effective as NCI grows. Here's the general picture:

1. The Senior Leadership, perhaps in consultation with interested NCI members and other citizens, continue to refine and promulgate the vision of what NCI is and should be.

2. The Seniors continue to express this vision on a continuing basis, so that all our members have a good sense of what we're up to and why.

3. The Seniors discuss and agree on the objectives and constraints for a project: main things to be accomplished, time or prim limits, and so on.

4. The Seniors select one of their number, or some other trusted member, to be the "Project Owner" for the overall vision. This individual has the responsibility and authority to accomplish the desired work, and the responsibility to involve other leaders and stakeholders as needed.

4. The Project Owner delegates to as many NCI members as possible the authority to work on the project, and to meet the evolving objectives as best they can.

5. The workers implement their ideas, subject to ongoing review by the Project Owner.

6. The Project Owner, aided by other interested stakeholders and citizens, monitors and guides individual projects, and cross-fertilizes them, working toward a "best of breed" family of ideas.

Finally, probably with a final more broad review by the Seniors, we begin to bless component learning experiences and install them in appropriate places in our facilities.


Let's combine the creativity and skill of our volunteers, and their very real desire to help out and leave a positive mark, with the mature and light-handed guidance of our Senior Leadership, to provide a growing educational experience for our new citizens.

Thank you for your attention. I'll try to answer any questions. If you would like, I can draft an announcement kicking off the project. Thanks again!

Janet Rossini
I don't work here: I volunteer here. I don't have duties: I have small gifts which I offer.

Janet Rossini
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Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:50 pm
Location: Clarksville IN USA

Re: Suggestion for Educational Builds

Post by SHIPPOU OUD » Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:11 am

A bit of consolidation may be in order, or some sort of major expansion.
I'd say a major walk-threw of all of SL's major areas would take up at LEAST 1/2 sim worth of prims.

Design is also critical.
Some sort of logical "path" to follow, with different sections, inter-teleportation, and fully labeled map would be needed.
Placing different stations at different areas with no logical "flow" and unsectioned, would lead to confusion, and may actually frustrate some one looking for specific info.
Personally "The Ivory Tower of Prims" has a decent setup/design we could attempt to emulate, but not copy.
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