Call: closed systems / open worlds

Closed Systems / Open Worlds

Edited by: Jeremy Hunsinger (Wilfrid Laurier University), Jason Nolan (Ryerson University) & Melanie McBride (York University)

This book will consist of explorations at the boundaries of virtual worlds as enclosed but encouraging spaces for exploration, learning, and enculturation. Game/worlds like Second Life, OpenSim, Minecraft, and Cloud Party are providing spaces for the construction of alternatives and reimaginings, though frequently they end up more as reproductions. We seek to challenge those spaces and their creativities and imaginings.

These worlds exist as both code and conduct. Code is a modulating multiple signifier, in that the interpreters of the code vary from human to machine and that our understanding of the signifier changes the worldliness in itself. The conduct of both participants and administrators of these spaces influences how they flourish and then fade. As such the worlds and their anima/animus are socially constructed fictions where authors/creators/users, both above and below the actions are sometimes in concert, yet often in conflict with the space and intentions of the originators.

This book seeks critically engaged scholars who want to risk the possibility of change in the face of closed systems. We are looking for critical or speculative essays that must be theoretically, empirically and/or contextually grounded chapters of 5000-6500 words plus apparatus. Doctoral students and non-tenure faculty members will be afforded blind peer review upon request.

We are aiming for 12 -14 chapters that define the boundaries and thus likely futures of research on virtual worlds.

Aug 1, 2014 – 250 word précis with 5-10 key references
Aug. 30, 2014 – accept/reject proposals
Feb 1, 2015 – final draft due
July 1, 2015 – feedback from reviewers
September 1, 2015 – final version
December 1, 2015 – in press

Queries and submissions:

Topics may include:

  • alternative and minor game/virtual/etc. worlds
  • archeologies/genealogies of virtuality
  • augmented and mixed-reality worlds
  • distributed cognitions
  • early explorations in virtual learning environments
  • the freedom of limitations
  • identity construction and/or identity tourism
  • the limits of simulation and emulation
  • memories and forgetting in virtual worlds
  • multisensory virtual environments
  • multisensory exclusions in virtual worlds
  • narratival and post-narratival andragogies, ‘learning worlds’
  • negative spaces as learning spaces (bullying, trolling, flaming, etc.) in virtual worlds
  • non-social virtual worlds (dwarf fortress, some forms of minecraft, etc.)
  • real world virtual worlds and boundaries (Lego, Hello Kitty, WebKinz, etc.)
  • replication of real world environments/problems
  • surrealism, unrealism and constructable alterities of/within virtual worlds
  • transformative virtual classroom
  • vapourware and virtuality
  • the virtuality of learning
  • What is "Thayer's Method"?

    Thayer’s is the teaching method and style used at west point. The students do the work before class, prepare well the night before, then arrive and ask questions about the work done and the work they are preparing to do.

    Student Shortcomings – Anything but Masters of Technology –

    When it comes to today’s kids and their use of technology, a new report sponsored by the British Library and the Joint Information Systems Committee reveals some very interesting results. The biggest shock to many will be one that is actually quite obvious to those who work in education.

    [From Student Shortcomings – Anything but Masters of Technology – ]


    open education has a nice revealing report about student’s skills with technology.

    as an online teacher, most of my students are fairly adept. they have to be to choose this way of learning, but… all students have some problems with technology as this report suggests. those problems are not the ‘plug it in and play’ variety, they are the epistemological and judgmental variety. Our students need higher order skills. However, unlike many people. I won’t say those higher order skills are related to the use computers. It is merely that they lack those skills in that arena also.

    teaching with technology

    “teaching with technology” seems to be a conceptual misconstruction that highlights the two issues of technology in classes that are pretty moot when technology is used right. the first is the teacher, the second is the role of technology. to be with, means to be not ‘of’, so teaching with technology will always be bringing it in, but keeping it outside of the practices. I think the proper frame is “learning through technology”. Learning focuses on the learners in the classroom as they are coming to be, the place of technology as being something that we learn through, something that we holistically embrace as part of the learning process transforms it to something that is closer to the everyday lives of our students.

    we should give up on “teaching with technology” and move to “learning through technology”.

    ‘Middle School Syndrome’ Undergoes a Reversal – New York Times

    ‘Middle School Syndrome’ Undergoes a Reversal – New York Times:
    “There are superintendents who want to avoid teaching to the test,” Dr. Lodovico said. “I say, we’re going to provide the kind of instruction that the state standards want us to provide. If that is teaching to the tests, so be it.”


    and this is why the students might be able to take a test, but not be considered learned, or otherwise educated. teaching to the test is to teach failure in everything other than the test.

    Chaos in the Classroom

    Chaos in the Classroom:
    It won’t always be called chaos in the classroom. It will soon be known as interactive, hands-on, collaborative, personalized learning with choice. Just not soon enough.

    the question though… is whether it will be called ‘good’… by whom, and for whom. I’d generally think that this is good in general… it fosters collaboration, discovery and creativity, which is the backbone of the economy much more than sitting still in a chair, working on your own project, which seems much more inclined to train people to be office workers at best and assembly line workers minimally.

    Wiki Project Shut Down

    Wiki Project Shut Down:
    is part of the reason why I was tremendously disappointed to read today that his students have lost contact with a group of students across the country when a parent from the out of state class complained. As I said when I left a comment on Ben’s blog, I was disappointed, but not totally surprised. I knew someone was going to get criticized for hooking their students up with others somewhere for some reason.


    it is truly sad when a parent’s fear… ruins the lives and learning of current and future students.