Muddy Learning: Evaluating Learning in Multi-User Computer-Based Environments
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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Computer based environments where many users interact in real time are growing increasingly popular, especially as more people gain access to networks like the Internet. One class of such technologies, known variously as MUDs Multiple User Dimension or Multi-User Dungeons and Dragons, take your pick, MUSEs Multiple User Synthetic Environments, and MOOs Multi-User Object Oriented, enables users to create new rooms in virtual worlds, define their own personnaes, and engage visitors in rich dialogues. Most MUDs, especially the earliest ones some have been evolving for well over a decade, are text based however many now incorporate graphics, as network tools increase in sophistication and bandwidth to support the demands of multi media. At the same time, MUDs have started to expand their market niche. Previously used mainly as chat rooms for social interaction or as programming environments for creating new rooms, many developers are now seriously considering how MUDs might provide novel educational venues. In this paper we consider briefly some claims about the possible educational benefits of MUDs, and the challenges of evaluating MUDs from an educational perspective.