Thoughts on Disembodied Debating

On the buss hauling ass to Massachusetts for what looks to bee a great tournament. About 26-28 teams are registered which is not bad for BP especially considering that the host school doesn't do BP only policy, and that the new semester just started for most of us. The attempt to recruit I know on my end has been half assed at best. I am going to give it a full on attempt during next weeks activity fair.

What's on my mind right now is the upcoming second life debate with UVM. I spent the last couple of days in my speech courses introducing second life to the students and having some conversations about it. They are saying the following things

  1. They believe it is the future of university education in some form or fashion.

  2. They are concerned that it will make us lazier people..

  3. they are convinced that it is very different from the regular classroom, and that something is lost between professor student interaction but they don]t say what, or they are unable to articulate what that loss is\looks like.

I think after the debate they will have much more refined comments since we will have a shared text to discuss and a joint experience that we can draw on.

They are also excited about holding a class meeting in second life. I`m not sure about this and have some concerns, especially since it's a public speaking class. I`m going to try it anyway. I'll tape it and hopefully make a full report.

I hope to teach a debate\argumentation course that has a partial second life element to it. That might happen next fall.

Here are my questions and thoughts from the back of the coach bus on the SL debate.

  1. What role does materiality play in argumentation?

  2. Can an arguments persuasiveness fail due to lack of body language

  3. is there a disembody language? Or perhaps an avatar body language?

  4. Will the criteria for assent to arguments in a disembodied debate be more critical or less critical than a debate that occurs materially?

  5. Will material factors such as bandwidth and computer\Mic quality effect argumentation and the debate in the ways that larger budgets and bigger schools have effected debate intercollegiate?

  6. What are the distractions and interrupti0ons that can hu8rt the purity of the debate act in disembodied debate? For example, cellphones going off, coughing, squeaky chairs, distraction via attention paid to other audience members

You will get to view this debate even if you cant attend as I will be videoing the debate using software called fraps, which works pretty good. I`ve tested it a few times. the trouble is that it doesn]t realy work well on google video, so I think I`ll need to convert it with some other program.

I really forgot how much I like using my Japanese micro top, especially the performance increase using a flash drive with portable apps to do the heavy lifting. The programs are much smaller and run on the atom processor with a lot less hangs. All I need now is a g3 wireless usb card and i]ll be rockin the mobile workstation of ultimate envy. Well at least some envy.

In other news, I`ve purchased a cheap HD videocamera that works on SD cards and I won`t be too scarred to use or travel with. I plan to use it to video debates mostly and will link them once I get some recorded. It should arrive before the Cornell tournament on Valentines day weekend.