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Colloquium - Bruckman

The Design of Thoughtful Virtual Communities
MIT Media Lab
4/3/1997
3:45pm-4:45pm

Recall your best experience in a virtual community. Perhaps it was gaining an important new insight from a discussion or making a new professional contact. Now recall your worst -- perhaps a long, pointless online meeting, or a formerly valuable mailing list that deteriorated into a distracting waste of time.

Virtual communities are becoming an increasingly important part of how we work, play, and learn. What design factors make them succeed, and what factors make them fail? What are our criteria for "success"? What about them can be designed?

This talk will present a set of design principles for addressing these issues, drawing on experience from the design of two communities: MediaMOO (a MUD designed to be a professional community for media researchers), and MOOSE Crossing (a MUD designed to be a learning environment for children.) While most virtual communities are not, strictly speaking, educational environments, educational theories such as constructionism are a key to helping make them more valuable to their members. Plans will be presented for applying these design principles to communities of senior citizens mentoring children, and film makers supporting one another's creative endeavors.

Refreshments will be served immediately before the talk at 3:30pm.
Hosted by Dirk Grunwald.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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