Learning Sociology in a Massively Multistudent Online Learning Environment

Learning Sociology in a Massively Multistudent Online Learning Environment

Thomasina Borkman (George Mason University , USA) and Joel Foreman (George Mason University , USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-304-3.ch003
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Abstract

Is it possible to enhance student learning in Sociology 101 by staging simulated field studies in a MMOLE (massively mufti-student online learning environment) modeled after successful massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) such as Eve and Lineage? Lacking such a test option, the authors adapted an existing (MMOG) -"The Sims Online" - and conducted student exercises in that virtual environment during two successive semesters. Guided by questions keyed to course objectives, the sociology students spent ten hours observing online interactions in TSO and produced essays revealing different levels of analytical and interpretive ability. The students in an advanced course on deviance performed better, with the most detailed reports focusing on scamming, trashing, and tagging. Although there are no technical obstacles to the formation and deployment of a sociology MMOLE able to serve hundreds of thousands of students, such a venture would have to solve major financial and political problems

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