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My professional practice inside & outside SL

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A presentation given by Sheila Webber (Sheila Yoshikawa in Second Life) for the Virtual Worlds MOOC, on 28 August 2018.

Publicado en: Educación

My professional practice inside & outside SL

  1. 1. Sheila Yoshikawa/ Sheila Webber VWMOOC, August 2018 My professional practice inside & outside SL
  2. 2. Outline • My professional career • The context for the talk • What is a professional? • Analysing my professional practice in Second Life • Interaction between professionalism in physical and virtual worlds • Discussion! Sheila Webber, 2018
  3. 3. My professional career • 1980 - I identified as a librarian • 1981-1992 - I transitioned to identifying as an information scientist or information professional, and as a manager • 1992- present - I transitioned to identifying as an academic (what “faculty” get called most often in the UK): a teacher (the word “instructor” is seen as negative in the UK) and a researcher – I continue to learn how to fulfil those roles • 2003 was the date from which I felt more confident in calling myself a researcher! • 2007 - when I started teaching, researching and being in Second Life Sheila Webber, 2018
  4. 4. Contexts • Coordinating a module Personal and professional development on a distance learning Masters programme: Library and Information Services Management (not using SL! Main educational tools are Blackboard; Adobe connect; PebblePad; Google+ & other Google tools) • Useful for my reflections on what “professional” means • Ongoing research (will write a research article) into my own professional practice using a framework from Practice Theory & autoethnography • “an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno)” Ellis et al. (2011, p. 273) Sheila Webber, 2018
  5. 5. Second Life (SL) context • A 3D virtual world that has existed for 15 years, operated by Linden Labs • Most of the “content” in the world created by SL residents • From early on, educators from informal and formal education have used it to facilitate learning and deliver teaching • Learners of all ages, nationalities, abilities and backgrounds have participated • The varied faces and affordances of SL are captured well in Draxtor’s videos Sheila Webber, 2018
  6. 6. Professions • Lester (2015) identifies four historical stages • Ancient professions (based on culture, broad education) • Medieval trade occupations (guilds, trades) • Industrial-era professions (techno-rationalist) • 20th century professions (reflective, developing) • Characteristics that may define a profession: • Assessment process (for entry into profession) • Body of knowledge • Code of ethics • Professional association but criteria “highly perspective-dependent” cf ancient profession of university teacher with what it means now but older professions may alter in line with new ideas of professionalism Sheila Webber, 2018
  7. 7. A professional (Lester, 2015) • “makes proficient use of expert or specialist knowledge, exercises autonomous thought & judgement, and makes a voluntary commitment to a set of principles” • “while they may be affiliated to a recognised profession, [professionals] are able to practise from this independent perspective” Sheila Webber, 2018
  8. 8. Professions (a view from Information Science) “All professions, from medicine to accounting to clinical psychology to horticulture, are mixtures of theory and practice. If a job is so simple that it consists of a series of steps that you carry out one after the other; in other words, if a job is algorithmic, then it is not a profession.” “All professions require the mastery of a body of general theory and understanding, which the practitioner then applies selectively and creatively, as needed, to a series of realworld problems. The application of the general knowledge requires judgment and experience to do well.” (Bates, 2015) Sheila Webber, 2018
  9. 9. What kind of professional am I? • Reflective • Memos, blog posts, articles, presentations about my practice • Other evidence such as (e.g. SL) chatlogs, photos, videos • Action research • Always trying to learn! • Still have a multiple professional identity • Researcher • Teacher • Information scientist Sheila Webber, 2018
  10. 10. What does it mean for me to be “a professional” in virtual worlds? Sheila Webber, 2018
  11. 11. Example: organising and running the VWMOOC panel session on 16 August! Sheila Webber, 2018Video of the panel session at
  12. 12. Some key activities • Identifying format and questions for panel • Identifying, inviting, confirming and keeping in touch with panellists • Publicising the panel • Creating the venue for the panel • Chairing the panel on the day • “Tidying up” after the panel: posting the chatlog and clearing up the venue Sheila Webber, 2018
  13. 13. Nicolini et al.’s (2015) framework for analysing Personal Knowledge Infrastructure Qualitative study of 7 CEOs in the public sector in the UK • Routine practices • Networks of personal relationships • Tools of the trade Sheila Webber, 2018
  14. 14. Routine practices: examples (that helped me with these activities) • Developed/carried out in the physical world • Email alerts from discussion lists to do with education • Scanning Twitter most days and following links to do with education • Engaging with communities of educators in my university e.g. via Google+ • Blogging • Developed/carried out in Second Life • Attending education-related meetings in SL (e.g. VWER, this MOOC, VWBPE, non-profit Commons) • Chatting to people before or after SL meetings • Outcome - that I have an idea of what are current educational issues generally, and specifically ones to do with virtual worlds Sheila Webber, 2018
  15. 15. Networks of personal relationships • Developed/used in the physical world • I had met three of the people I contacted during these activities in the physical world as well - but the important contact with them was in SL • Developed/used in Second Life and other virtual worlds • Someone I used to interact with regularly in SL about educational issues, and who I trust (used as a source of advice on panellists) • Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable - 1 panellist was a co-lead, and another a trusted VWER regular (who had suggested the panel!) • Previous conferences in virtual worlds - programmes used as list of potential panellists, but then I also used my knowledge of the people, based on having talked to or heard them in the past Sheila Webber, 2018
  16. 16. Tools of the trade • Used in the “physical” world • Email • Powerpoint (to create signs, importing the .jpgs to SL) • Virtual posits, textpad and Word for keeping notes • Facebook, Google+, Google calendar (to publicise event) • Google Drive • Used in Second Life • IM (individual and group) and group notices • Notecards • Objects from my inventory (chairs etc. to create the venue) • SL land (where the venue was situated, also examining it for permissions) • Simple scripts (in the box that gave information about the event) • SL functions such as teleport Sheila Webber, 2018
  17. 17. Also very relevant: Experience of chairing, organising and participating in panels • Physical world: e.g. general issues about how you approach panellists in a professional way; how you manage a panel on the day; what can go wrong generally in panels (e.g. someone talking too much; someone not turning up) • Virtual worlds: e.g. what kind of questions are likely to appeal to panellists and audience; what things can go wrong in SL and how to solve them (permissions, voice, poses in chairs, lag, need for text as well as voice etc.) Sheila Webber, 2018
  18. 18. So more generally - what does being a “professional” in SL mean? Sheila Webber, 2018
  19. 19. This seems to apply in all worlds: I have definitely encountered professionals in Second Life! Sheila Webber, 2018
  20. 20. Professional - carry-over from physical world to virtual worlds • Assessment process (for entry into profession) • Experiences of educating and participating in SL have been cited in physical world awards etc. • Body of knowledge • Obviously am able to bring over all I have learnt previously • Code of ethics • Are written codes of ethics for my professional association (CILIP), also for academic teaching and research • Professional associations • Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals; (UK) Higher Education Academy Sheila Webber, 2018
  21. 21. Professional - situated in virtual worlds • Assessment process (for entry into profession) • Not relevant? More to do with proving you can do things! (acquiring social capital) • Body of knowledge • Knowledge about virtual worlds (functions, etiquette etc.) necessary, in addition to physical world knowledge • Code of ethics • SL Terms of Service - but more about your own code of ethics, and what is seen as ethical in the communities you engage with? • Professional association • Inside virtual worlds - more to do with SL communities/groups like ISTE, CVL or VWER (which may/not have physical world equivalents)? Sheila Webber, 2018
  22. 22. Professional - carry back to physical world • This is all me! I learn from experience in all worlds • Valuable to reflect on what is learnt and practiced in different environments - build confidence and identify paths to further development • Experience in Second Life has given me skills, knowledge and confidence I have used in physical world and other digital environments, for example • Coping with crises in SL meetings - better able to deal with crises when using Adobe Connect etc. or even physical world presentations • Learn to use one tool (such as Google+) in one context, I can apply it in another • Relationships I have made in one world can be useful in another world • Ethical understandings (e.g. importance of accessibility) develop cumulatively Sheila Webber, 2018
  23. 23. Over to you! 1. Are you a “professional” when you are in virtual worlds? 2. Is that something different from being “professional” in the physical world? Sheila Webber, 2018
  24. 24. When you practice in virtual worlds – what is new and what are you applying from existing practice? Sheila Webber, 2018
  25. 25. Sheila Webber Information School University of Sheffield SL: Sheila Yoshikawa Twitter: @sheilayoshikawa Photos and graphics: Sheila Webber Taken in the 3d virtual world Second Life (TM Linden Labs)
  26. 26. References • Bates, M.J. (2015). The information professions: knowledge, memory, heritage. Information Research, 20(1). Retrieved from 1/paper655.html • Ellis, C., Adams, T.E. & Bochner, A.P. (2011). Autoethnography: an overview. Historical social research, 36(4), 273-290. • Lester, S. (2015). On professions and being professional. Taunton: Stan Lester Developments. Retrieved from • Nicolini, D., Korica, M. & Ruddle, K. (2015). Staying in the know. MIT Sloane Management Review. Sheila Webber, 2018