Virtual Reaity


10
Nov 18

Weekend Report – Celebrating Accomplishments at Work

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It’s a chilly Saturday morning in November, and I’ve got three whole days off with no plans, no social commitments, and no agenda other than cleaning house this weekend.  It feels marvelous to have a stretch of free time after a very busy few months.


 

It’s been a long time since I posted about work related things on my personal blog, but we have had several big accomplishments to celebrate the past few weeks!

Creation of the University of Cincinnati Staff Senate

The first is the creation of a university-wide Staff Senate.  On October 16th, the UC Board of Trustees approved a resolution to create a Staff Senate to give staff a formal voice in the university’s governance process, and I was honored and excited to be involved in the process.  It took nearly two years to shepherd the idea from start to finish, and though I only played a minor role in the beginning, I’ve been very involved since the start of 2018 helping draft the bylaws and advocating for the Senate to university leadership.

Chris at the Board of Trustees meeting, celebrating passage of the Staff Senate resolution!

Smiling at the Board of Trustees meeting when the resolution finally passed!  Photo: Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative Services

When the resolution passed as few weeks ago, it felt like such an accomplishment to give the employees of the university a voice.  As someone who has worked at UC for going on 20 years, it has always seemed like an oversight that faculty and student governance groups were represented at the decision-making table, but staff were not.  I hope that the creation of a Staff Senate doesn’t add yet another bureaucratic layer to the already complex decision-making process, but instead becomes a a useful forum for staff to share their institutional knowledge and expertise with the other governance bodies on campus.

Members of the Staff Senate Advisory Committee

Posing for a picture with some of the other members of the Staff Senate Advisory Committee.  Photo: Joseph Fuqua II/UC Creative Services

I’m sure more hard work lies ahead, but I feel proud of our team for persevering and working so well together, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter to get this thing off the ground and running well.  I hope we get lots of participation from around campus in 2019!

The University of Cincinnati Bicentennial Virtual Reality Experience

Another huge project that has been a main focus of our work at the UCSIM | Center for Simulations & Virtual Environments Research this year has been the development of the Bicentennial Virtual Reality Experience that will launch in January 2019 to celebrate the university’s 200th anniversary.

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Article in UC Magazine highlighting the Bicentennial VR project.

The Bicentennial Virtual Reality Experience will allow visitors to go back into “signature moments” in the university’s history through five episodes, or vignettes, celebrating the history of research, the classroom experience, our Bearcat Spirit, the struggle for diversity and inclusion, and the changing architecture of the university.

It’s been a tremendous opportunity for our team to work with so many historians, experts, and university departments throughout the development process.  We are super excited to wrap up development and prepare for the VR exhibit launch in the coming months!  Stay tuned and check out all the upcoming Bicentennial events planned for 2019.

A New Grant Award with the College of Nursing

Lastly, just as the week was ending on Friday, we received notice that a grant proposal submitted by the UC College of Nursing to create VR simulations with UCSIM was funded!  I can’t even find any announcements or news on the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center website yet, but the Medicaid Technical Assistance and Policy Program Providers as Allies in Equity and Care RFA called for applications to create virtual reality experiences and patient simulations for Medicaid providers.

Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center logo

The goal of the grant is to advance, “..health equity for the Medicaid population by increasing Medicaid provider cultural competency and awareness of implicit bias. This will be accomplished through training composed of virtual reality and simulated patient experiences that will include direct interpersonal feedback related to the interaction of patients and families in a variety of challenging circumstances.”

This will be a major project through the rest of the academic year, and I’m excited to work with our partners in the College of Nursing and College of Medicine in the coming months.  What a terrific way to end the week before we headed off for a 3-day weekend!

With all of these exciting developments at work, it’s been a hectic fall semester for me and the whole UCSIM team.  I hope everyone is enjoying our long weekend off and staying warm as the leaves fall around us.  The next few weeks will be a sprint to finish things before the holiday season, but we’ve had many great accomplishments to celebrate in 2018!


26
Apr 16

Super Name: Fleep

An Oldie but a Goodie – Jane McGonigal

I had occasion this evening to revisit Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk from 2010, and it reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

Okay, so these are four superpowers that add up to one thing: Gamers are super-empowered hopeful individuals. These are people who believe that they are individually capable of changing the world. And the only problem is, they believe that they are capable of changing virtual worlds and not the real world.That’s the problem that I’m trying to solve.
– Jane McGonigal

 

I wrote about my experience playing the Superstruct game back then (and posted a fun video dispatch), and reading that post led me to dig up the profile I created on the Superstruct site, where I imagined my (avatar) self in 2019:

Super Name: Fleep

Profile Cohabitation
I and the gatos live in a small farm house on the outskirts of town. We don’t need much space, but have a large garden and work to contribute our share to the local food economy.

Profile Communities
I founded the Chilbo Community in 2006 and remain a life-long member, in addition to my local community in terra. I’m also a member of the Screaming 3D Bootstrappers Superstruct, the SLED Community, the Velks, and many other professional associations related to higher education and the grid.

Profile Skills
Human network resource management, education and community building in the metaverse, connectivism, and I grow a mean tomato.

Profile Profession
I am the founder of Chilbo and work most days either in the Chilbo Town Hall or elsewhere in the Metaverse. I have offices and projects scattered all over the grid and pop in to wherever I’m needed when I’m needed. I also serve on the Board of Trustees for GlobalGrid University, one of the original virtual-land-grant research universities created by the United Nations in 2012. GGU serves an international learning network of over 200 million learners through GGU Nodes of Excellence on the grid.

Profile Location
The Chilbo Community is a global village in the Metaverse, made up of artists, musicians, writers, teachers, students, creative thinkers, entrepreneurs, and those who are interested in contributing to the public good.

Profile Experience
As the Chilbo Community reached its second anniversary in 2008, and I spent more time traveling and learning in terra and on the grid, I began to better understand the rapid speed with which the Metaverse was developing. I was fortunate to stumble into an emergent network of highly motivated and brilliant nodes all over the globe and it quite literally transformed my life. In the ensuing decade, our network has grown tremendously, as has our capacity to collaborate and locate the resources we need as we need them. We continue to work to teach others these important skills even as we make our own contributions to projects and endeavors that inspire us.

Profiles Ideals
Increasing access to education, research, knowledge, and learning throughout the grid and finding ecologically sound and sustainable ways to live.

Super Name
Fleep

Super Id
6428

History

Member for
5 years 20 weeks


20
Mar 16

Morning Coffee Reading – 3/20/16

The Latest Findings on Memory

Neurons in the process of synapse in the hippocampal area of the brain, which is essential for learning and memory. Credit: Ed Boyden, MIT

Many years ago, a friend of mine and I used to argue quite a lot about how memory worked.  He couldn’t tell a chronological story to save his life, but remembered specific facts with great detail.  I couldn’t remember every specific detail, but could give a cohesive and well ordered summary of what happened.  We eventually came to agree that our brains simply must be wired differently, because our memories worked in very different ways.

The Latest Findings on Memory is a fascinating account of just that, and that it is even visible in a scanner!  Amazing.

..not everybody recovers the information we store about our past in the same way. Some people keep their autobiography in their brains as visual scenes (episodic memory) decorated with great detail, while others archive events as a list of facts and words that describe what happened (semantic memory). In the first case memories would be recorded as a movie, while the second would resemble a history book (but without pictures). The most interesting thing is that these two types of memoriescorrespond to brain structures that are easily identifiable in a scanner, as demonstrated earlier this year by Signy Sheldon and his colleagues at the Canadian universities of McGill and Toronto.

Could Blockchains Be the Internet’s Memory?


KJBevan/Shutterstock

I’ve been vaguely interested in virtual currency ever since the days of the Linden Dollar (L$), and for a while when Bitcoin first came out, I was converting all of my L$ stipend to Bitcoins just for the fun of it and to see what happened.  I never really got how the blockchain part worked, and this little primer doesn’t go into any technical detail, but it might be helpful for a high level view.

Forget Bitcoin — What Is the Blockchain and Why Should You Care? gives a descriptive overview of how a blockchain works, and says the implications might be profound for the internets:

In that sense, if the blockchain lives up to its potential, it could introduce a level of democracy and objective “truth” to the digital world that even the physical world can’t match. Its promise involves a future in which no one has absolute power online, and no one can lie about past or current events. This future has yet to be realized, but every day more of the smartest people in technology are jumping on the bandwagon, and believing that one day, it will be possible.

Gaming & Gamers

Gaming & Gamers from the Pew Research Center.  I missed this report back in December, but hey, the internet has a long memory.

In my presentations at work, I used to ask my audience, “How many of you are gamers?” to get a sense of my audience, but about a year ago, I began to rephrase the question, “How many of you play video games?”  The “gamer” identity is its own thing, and although I identify as a “gamer”, I also recognize that the label isn’t welcome by everyone who enjoys gaming.

Fully 77% of men ages 18 to 29 play video games (more than any other demographic group), compared with 57% of young women – a 20-point difference.  ..In stark contrast to young adults, women ages 50 or older are actually more likely to play video games than men of the same age. Among adults ages 50 and older, 38% of women play video games compared with 29% of men.

This is an important report for VR developers to read because gamers (or rather, people who play PC games) are more likely to have or be early adopters of PCs capable of playing VR.  And hey developers, women over 50 might be part of your audience!