Tari Lin Fanderclai enthusiastically recommends MediaMOO, a MUD
operated at MIT. Students in her first-year composition class
share this enthusiasm, which is reflected in the extra time they
devote to creating their online characters and developing the
spaces within which these characters react to other characters.
The anonymity and resulting freedom granted by MUDs contrasts
favorably with the stress and oppression of the four-walled
classroom. Sadly the tyranny of architecture and division
threatens the educational MUD. Administrators and teachers
convert MUD spaces into virtual universities with the traditional
academic and punishing disciplines. Teachers re-establish
classroom control in a virtual space better left free and open.
In this way, Fraderclai asserts, a MUD becomes a limited "gadget
Fanderclai mentions some drawbacks to wide use of the MUDs.
Computing departments complain of the resources used by gaming
MUDs. The playfulness encouraged within MUDs lead some to wonder
if anything useful is being accomplished. In response she
recommends that students be given goals to achieve with MUDs. The
clearer mandate is that teachers should encourage greater use of
MUDs by students and then remove themselves because they are only
liable to stand as impediments to student learning. MUDs empower
students. Teachers, physical classrooms, and universities enmesh
them. (Norman Owens.)
Text: Selective Annotated Bibliography.
Department of English, University of Minnesota
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Created 22 May 1995
Last revised 17 September 1996