The Social VR Journalling is a longitudinal (long-term) experiential component of the class. The premise of the assignment is very simple. At least once every two weeks you will use the VR equipment you have to stay in touch with friends or family, instead of using video or phone calls. We would like you to socialized in VR regularly, but will only require you to do it and fill out the journal on average once every two weeks (twice per month), starting the 5th week of class (five times total).
Each time you socialize with your friends or family members in VR, you will do a short journal response (mixture of short answers and some numeric answers). We ask you to submit an image or short video of the experience (you may edit out content you don’t want to submit), and optionally have those you interact with respond to the same questions (to help with the research study, below).
Your responses will be given back to you as a PDF at the end of each journal response, and you will submit that file as your proof of completion for that session. We will do an in-class reflective exercise in groups once per month, and you should refer to your responses for that month before those group discussions.
The goal of this exercise is for you to have a longitudinal (long term) experience with using 3D user interfaces with people who are not in the class. You should use your VR equipment, but can use social systems like Hubs or AltspaceVR that allow the people you are socializing with to use non-VR displays if they do not have a display. By reflecting on the experience many times over 3-4 months, and looking at your answers and how they change over time, and possibly the answers your friends and family provide, you should gain a deeper understanding of the pros and cons of the technologies you chose to use for this exercise.
In addition to this assignment being graded for class, we are doing this study as part of research on how individuals construct social relationships in virtual environments. This is relevant particularly during this global pandemic when we are not able to meet and interact with friends and family members in ways that we used to. We are interested in the role virtual worlds may play in staying connected with people around you, even when they are physically distant.
You do not have to do anything extra for this study. Your participation is voluntary and has no impact on the student’s grade or assessment in this class. If you decide that you do not want to take part in this study, you may contact me after grades for the class are submitted to ask me to remove your diary data from the pool (“opt-out”). This is designed to minimize undue influence you may feel before the grades are submitted. Participation in the study is voluntary, and your decision to participate will have no impact in your participation or grade in this class.
You will be given a unique ID to submit with you journal entries, which will be used for the study. Your real identity will be kept separately, and both will be removed from the data before any results are published or otherwise shared.
You will need to do at least five journal entries, two per month. We would like you to spread them out so you have material to discuss during the monthly discussion sessions. You are free to do more, but there will be five assignments posted to Canvas that you will upload your PDF to, for verification.
The journal entries will be graded Pass/Fail: any reasonable answers will earn full points.
For each session, you should recruit 1 or more friends and/or family to join you in a social VR system of your choice. Most “Social VR” systems (such as AltspaceVR, RecRoom, VRChat, and Hubs) allow people to join without VR gear.
There are no specific requirements on the length of the social session; socialize as long or short as is appropriate, comfortable, and enjoyable.