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Office Hours last Sunday in Second Life / CyberOne

Office Hours, Sep 24, 2006
I hosted our virst official “office hours” in Second Life for CyberOne participants (official or unofficial). It was a fairly typical chat session in Second Life. The caliber of discussion was extremely high. Here’s an excerpt (edited for clarity):

[17:27] Rebecca Berkman: i am not sure we are arguing for replacing market-based activity, but possibly just for setting up norms and laws that encourage a balance between the two.
[17:27] GeoffMcG Xi: can you give us a for instiance rebecca?
[17:27] GeoffMcG Xi: i like the copyleft example from early lectures
[17:27] Rebecca Berkman: one thing i am very interested in is ways in which people can set up for-profit business enterprises that do not rely on proprietary ownership of information goods.
[17:28] Rebecca Berkman: well, for instance, i can spend my free time contributing to wikipedia, but it doesn’t pay me.
[17:28] Hart Zhao: like reputation?
[17:28] Aphilo Aarde: I think Benkler is even making the case for a signficant domain, that re-distributes information production wealth, even dramatically.
[17:28] Rebecca Berkman: if i didn’t have another job that paid me, i would be unlikely to have the free time to spend editing wikipedia.
[17:28] GeoffMcG Xi: i meant a legal arrangement
[17:28] Rebecca Berkman: so we need to have some way for our economy to produce the goods and services we need so that we can participate in things that are meaningful to us for non-market reasons.

In terms of participants, we had about 5 “at large” and 2 “official” participants. While the at-large participants were very engaged in the subject matter, it was unclear to me at the end of the session whether they were willing to commit to the class beyond watching the lectures / reading the materials. Granted, these are both significant activities, but I think the biggest value from the class for participants will be undertaking a term-long project. Of course, since we have no groups and projects set up yet, there’s nothing for anyone to commit to. We’ll find out what happens in a few weeks with our at-large group who are nothing if not enthusiastic at this point.


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