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Proposed Faculties and Services - Bruce Damer

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1. Sherwood Towne and TheU

TheU is a virtual university project. Based on our experience with Sherwood Forest Towne (built in AlphaWorld by multiple avatars) we feel that we can design and manage a larger collaborative build and habitation of a site. We will be pulling together teams from all over the (real) world who are ready to build and staff different parts of theU. TheU will concentrate its curriculum on living, learning, communicating, creating and surviving in a virtual world. TheU could become a tremendous Internet community resource to help a *whole generation* into the new medium. TheU could also serve as a first class proving grounds to further develop this medium for education, entertainment, community creations and serious business applications. TheU could ultimately move beyond its world-focused curriculum to provide a broader range of learning options. TheU would open its doors to the entire world, for people of any age, creed or race, 24 hours a day.

theU Faculties

Current faculties suggested for theU:

  • freshman world ways 101 (navigating, communicating),
  • school of architecture,
  • music and sound learning lab,
  • school of world etiquette
  • digital anthropology and archaeology departments
  • worldly journalism and creative writing schools
  • school of fine arts
  • school of criminology
  • safety and civics
  • academy of world mentors
  • the world theatre (performance, role playing, story telling, avatar costuming design), worldathletics, worldpsych (dealing with psychological issues of life in a virtual environment) and a business school (serious business uses of the medium will be explored and demonstrated)

Other areas would include:

  • student commons and social bitmixer club
  • faculty club
  • physical plant (the underworld for engineering and campus services)
  • alumni association
  • campus security
  • sacred spaces (a space for many religious beliefs).

UHome

TheU could be hosted inside one server (say, an AlphaWorld community server or in a large area in the current AlphaWorld) or it could be spread across different servers and technologies. It is conceivable that that the school of architecture would be ported together between Alphaworld technology and VRML spaces. As more people construct their own HomeWorlds in VRML, theU could be ported to them.

UBackground and participants

TheU would benefit from experiences from years of working pedagogical MUDs and MOOs operated by Consortium members such as Reed Riner, Jim Funaro and Johanna Silverthorne. Expert world designers make up another part of our membership, including Steven Hanly, Nancy and Roger Zuidema and many others. Other groups and individuals who may be participating include: Musitechnic of Montreal, Mary Munro and Derrick DeKerckhove of the MCluhan Program at the University of Toronto, Cal State LA, Mediartech, ACM CHI, Bauer Gold and Associates, Northern Arizona University, the World Network of Religious Futurists and many more are coming online all the time. We will attempt to involve many existing virtual university/distance learning projects.

UBacking

As we are a non-profit community benefit organization, we will be seeking grant funding. Any sources you could help us identify would be appreciated. We can go quite a distance on volunteer effort but some backing will be required to really develop theU fully.

USteps

We would hope to start building theU this summer and open for classes in September or sooner. We would welcome a brainstorming session on theU with all of you on our LISTSERV and value your input.

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