Research: Assessment


Assessment: Capturing Evidence
There are a number of ways to record activity in virtual worlds and these are outlined below.
Before considering these it is worth being clear about learning purposes and desired outcomes.

Learning, teaching and assessment in virtual worlds brings new opportunities and challenges.
See Transforming Assessment - Rethinking assessment in a participatory digital world - Assessment 2.0 and Examples


Blogs and ePortfolios

It is worth considering using Blogs, FlickR, or ePortfolios for learning and assessment because it is fairly easy for students to capture evidence of their learning in an immersive environment. These tools also support reflection, comment and sharing which can complement participatory and collaborative educational approach that might be taken in immersive worlds.

Text Chat

Text chat can be captured by copy/paste of a section from the open chat window or by accessing chat logs that have been set up in 'Preferences' --> 'Communication' (consider carefully if and where chat logs are to be saved). See video: Where are my chat and IM logs stored?
Chat Bubbles may be a useful feature - see Video: Chat bubbles

Screenshots

Screenshots can be captured using the inbuilt viewer 'snapshot' tool, the 'snipping tool' for Windows Vista/7 users, or the screen capture function in a graphics package. Fraps will also record screenshots.

If uploading screenshots to blogs or ePortfolios it is worth knowing how to crop and resize them. Picture Manager does this easily for Windows users (on screenshot in folder right-mouse-click --> Open With --> Picture Manager )

Audio

Second Life and some OpenSim regions have voice chat but these may or may not be accessible through institutional firewalls.

Skype - Skype is useful for voice where voice has been blocked or is not available. It has a number of functions that can be used to facilitate learning and record assessment evidence.
  • voice recording (independent of the virtual world)
  • file transfer
  • screen sharing
  • calls to phone/mobile

Some virtual worlds have 'Skype Badges' or other scripted tools to facilitate in-world dialogue with nearby avatars.

For local/hosted OpenSim worlds without voice consider using Mumble and Murmer or Whisper For more information see Whisper - New Voice Solution for OpenSim

Fraps and other screen capture applications can record audio (eg Skype) with video.

Video


Software
ScreenR - for quick web-based screen capture
Jing Pro - Screen capture - high quality (up to 15 frames per second) with small file size - but can't use Space Navigator so panning/zooming are not as smooth.
Fraps - Real-time video capture with high frame rates - works with mouse or Space Navigator with FlyCam

Picture: Using Jing to record video of part of viewer screen
jing2b.PNG

User Interface switches for recording video (machinima) (may vary in different viewers)
  • User Interface (UI): CTRL + SHIFT + U or CTRL + ALT + F1
  • Heads Up Displays (HUDs): SHIFT + ALT + H

Video sizes and editing
You can record any size screen but for uploading to the web (eg YouTube) it often looks better in 16:9 format.
If you are using Fraps this means manually resizing your viewer to 1280 x 720, 800 x 450, 640 x 360... (check viewer size in Preferences --> Graphics)

Video editing can be done in most video edit applications.
Camtasia Studio integrates with Jing Pro and comes with hosting at Screencast.com which is particularly useful if YouTube is blocked at an institution. (Blip.TV is also useful.)

Hardware

Panning and zooming can be done with a mouse ( using <CTRL><ALT> ) but a joystick or Space Navigator is much smoother.
In the viewer go to Preferences --> Input and Camera --> Joystick Setup. There is a button for the Space Navigator default setup.


Space Navigator

spacenavigator1.jpg
Drivers: 3Dconnexion and viewer setup

Recommendations for possible Guidelines/Standards

  • Be clear about learning purposes and desired outcomes.
  • There are many ways to capture evidence of learning processes and performances of understanding in virtual worlds.
  • Facilitate students to capture evidence and reflect on learning.
  • Be prepared to acknowledge students who gain understanding, knowledge and skills in areas not directly related to your identified learning outcomes.
  • Allow students to learn and reflect through play.

Summary Presentation: Assessment in Virtual Worlds