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Activity Overview

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  • Welcome

    This activity will be in the form of a structured controversy.  A structured controversy is similar to a debate in which you work in groups to construct an argument from a particular perspective.  You then reverse positions and argue from the opposite perspective.  At the end of the discussion, you construct a new position based on the most appropriate arguments and which all group members agree on.


    The Topic

    Virtual Worlds.  Real eLearning?
    Virtual worlds are computer-based simulated environments where participants interact via a computer-generated representation called an avatar.  A virtual world is a simulated version of a real world environment and the most well-known form are online games such as World of Warcraft and online virtual worlds such as Second Life.  The ability to interact and real-world representation have identified virtual worlds as platforms for learning.


    The positions

    Virtual worlds contribute to eLearning
    Virtual worlds do not contribute to eLearning


  • Assessment Criteria


    The assessment for this activity will be based on your participation in the group work and the quality of your contributions in the discussion space and the blogs.  This activity is worth 15% of the overall grade for the course.  The assessment criteria that will be used to grade the activity is listed below:


    • Evidence of use of facts to support an argument
    • Evidence of use of persuasive language
    • Evidence of synthesis of positions
    • Evidence of reflection
    • Evidence of collaboration
  • Learning Outcomes


    By completing this activity, the learners will be able to:


    • Perform web-based searches to locate information
    • Identify multiple perspectives related to a controversial topic or problem
    • Critically analyse information and ideas to formulate a logical and cohesive argument
    • Synthesise multiple perspectives into a logical and coherent position
    • Communicate and collaborate effectively using web-based social learning tools.
  • The Steps

    Research and plan your position - resources are provided in the Content section of the group page to get you started with your research. You will need to decide how much background information you will need to support your position.  Your group will need to negotiate the position that you want to argue.  A separate discussion space will be provided for each group to discuss the position plan and share information and ideas.
    Present your position persuasively - your group will need to construct a position statement based on your research on the topic.  A blog will be created for each of the opposing sides to post their position statement and review other groups’ position statements.
    Discuss the issue advocating your position - each group should use the discussion space to argue their position and counter-position.  Each group will need to use sound evidence to support their argument.  You will need to use the persuasive language and techniques that were identified in an earlier session to argue your position.  The objective is to try to persuade the opposing side that your perspective is stronger and more sound.
    Reverse your perspective - using the discussion space, you will reverse your position and present a persuasive argument for that perspective to counter the opposite position.
    Reach a decision - each group will need to use the arguments from all of the perspectives to construct a new perspective supported by the facts.  The groups will need to post the new perspective to the New Perspective blog in the group space.
©2006 Sandra Humphrey (sandyh)