ERIC Identifier: ED404987
Publication Date: 1997-03-00
Author: Turbee, Lonnie
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology Syracuse NY.

Educational MOO: Text-Based Virtual Reality for Learning in Community. ERIC Digest.

WHAT IS A MOO?

MOO stands for "Multi-user domain, Object-Oriented." Early multi-user domains, or "MUDs," began as net-based dungeons-and-dragons type games, but MOOs have evolved from these origins to become some of cyberspace's most fascinating and engaging online communities. These are social environments in a text-based virtual reality where people gather to chat with friends, meet new people, and help build the MOO.

Users (sometimes called players or characters) connect from anywhere in the world and are able to communicate with others in real time (as opposed to the delayed communication of e-mail). Users can create rooms, objects, and programs that recreate in text anything the user might imagine. For example, "Gregor" at schMOOze University created a monkey that hands out dry towels to swimmers. This program causes lines of text describing the monkey's actions to appear at regular intervals on the screens of all the users in the same "room."

WHAT IS AN EDUCATIONAL MOO?

An educational MOO has an academic theme and uses a variety of MOO communication tools such as internal e-mail, newspapers, documents, blackboards, and classrooms to accommodate a variety of teaching styles. Teachers can use these tools in harmony with the goals for the class while exploiting the nature of MOO as a student-centered learning environment.

Most MOOs are not designed with specific academic purposes in mind, and some are simply not appropriate for young people. The following successful educational MOOs, however, are suitable for learners of high school age and older.

--Diversity University, Inc. http://www.du.org/--a nonprofit organization providing MOO environments for innovative approaches to learning. Click on "Visit DU MOO" to access the MOO, or see their web gateway: http://moo.du.org:8888/ .


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