From Jim Ang at City University:
My interests on virtual worlds lie in the fantasy representation and 3D visualisation of such environments, which potentially make sociability different from conventional text-based online communities. Virtual worlds such as Second Life are made up of virtual locations that either resemble real life places or represents a fictional simulation of a fantasy world. Even for virtual worlds that attempt to simulate real life (e.g. real world physics, economics, etc), the user experiences in such worlds are often a mix of reality and fantasy. Therefore, it is of great interest to examine how people behave in such 3D fantasy reality through interacting with other people. Through detail analyses, we are able to examine sociability at two levels:
- The pattern and the social trend of the whole community network
- Individual interaction embedded in a whole social network
Apart from this, it will be interesting to compare virtual community on 3D and 2D settings.
In respect to learning and teaching, understanding patterns of interaction might help us design courses in virtual worlds that would cater for all types of learners with different interaction styles (thus learning styles)