Let us look at the most popular educational MUVE.
I was not able to access the virtual tour and therefore, I have relied heavily on what others have written on River City. Students can enter the virtual city as a team. They use avatars (graphical representations of themselves) to enter
This city has a river flowing through it and different types of terrains that influence the houses, water, industries, hospitals, and universities. At
The city comprises of avatars, computer-based agents, digital objects, and avatars of instructors. It has around fifty digital objects and data collection stations provide detailed information on water samples across the world. I was able to view a screen grab of a lab at
I was also able to see a screen grab that displayed a computer-based agent in conversation with the learner. Computer agents share information on the happening around the city. They provide subtle hints to the students. The dialogues are shown in the text box below the screen. The interface is supposedly designed carefully:
As an aid in their interactions, participants also have access to one-click interface features that enable the avatar to express (through stylized postures and gestures) emotions such as happiness, sadness, agreement, and disagreement.
- C. Dede, “Multi-User Virtual Environments,” New Horizons May/June 2003
Students share the data that they have acquired with other teams. They can also send ‘snapshots’ of their current situation (seen through their eyes) to their team members for a joint investigation.
MUVE is a very interesting topic. Several corporates are designing MUVEs for corporate training. They buy land on virtual world's such as Second Life and design elements that facilitate learning in it. MUVE is a fairly new teaching tool and it is definitely worth considering, researching, and studying.