The Social Design of 3D Interactive Spaces for Security in Higher Education: A Preliminary View

The Social Design of 3D Interactive Spaces for Security in Higher Education: A Preliminary View

Shalin Hai-Jew (Kansas State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-891-3.ch005
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Immersive spaces offer a unique set of security challenges related to human, data, learning facilitation, and virtual environment risks. Security risks may originate from people, the technology, or a mix of unintended synergistic effects; they may originate from intentional, unintentional, and accidental actions. Understanding the risk environment will be important for those who use persistent, immersive 3D spaces for teaching and learning. Based on the current research and direct experiences in educational immersive spaces, this chapter will first define the security risks and offer real-world examples. Then, this will look at various potential social design interventions. “Social design” refers to protective measures created through awareness-raising among all participants, policy creation and implementation, human facilitation of teaching and learning in immersive spaces, and other efforts to improve and maintain the security for the socio-technical system, the institution of higher education, the learners, the faculty, and the larger cyber-sphere. These social design endeavors, one part of a larger 360o security approach, will improve security but never fully attain “perfect security” (a condition of no-risk). This chapter will include an international survey of instructors who teach in 3D immersive spaces to solicit their ideas about security and the social design of protective measures.
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Some Caveats

If security and surveillance are at one end of a continuum, at the other end would be the need for individual privacy protections. In M. Andrejevic’s dystopian nightmare of a “digital enclosure,” every human action is captured digitally and recorded (Andrejevic, 2007), in a panopticon society. Every person is theoretically trackable in wired and wireless spaces, and “black” information skimmers are alleged to be able to capture all electronic communications and sort through them for targeted messages and data (Bamford, 2008). The erosion of privacy is not the only concern. There are also risks of fomenting an unintended us-vs.-them between learners and the outside world beyond the confines of the controlled, private learning space.

Another caveat relates to the control-serendipity continuum. While control is sometimes linked with safety and security, excessive control leads to risks—of authoritarian approaches to a public architecture, of lack of chance-encounters, and of a lack of serendipity. There’s potency in the interactions of the real moment that is unplanned:

The gesture has a spontaneity, a freedom, an unfiltered physicality in its instantaneous choice. There is a depth of communication in this moment-the split second of a photograph, the subtle timing of a comedian. These instants are not planned or contrived but quickly communicated through a developed intuition (Schkolne, 2002, p. 371).

Immersive spaces capture creativity in motion and mediate the transfer of complex knowledge.

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