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Scenarios for the new VMT Lobby

See also [Fall 2005 Planning] for additional scenarios
And [Development Notes] for the Lobby coding materials]

Scenario #1: Interactive help

Aznk is frustrated by the reference link that appears when he does not want it.

Aznk clicks on the interactive help button and a dialog box opens. The dialog asks who should see his interactive help message. The default is the VMT facilitator and the chat stream. Aznk leaves the default and types his message, "i have a question: i accidentally got this arrow onto my name...how do i take it off?"

The message appears in the chat stream as a message from Interactive Help. It is also sent to email alias for VMT facilitators.

There is no VMT facilitator in Aznk's chat room, but there is a VMT facilitator monitoring, named Fac, monitoring Interactive Help messages. The message from Aznk appears on Fac's screen, indicating the room, sender's handle and timestamp. Fac clicks on the room name accompanying the message. The room opens on Fac's monitor. Fac's presence is not announced in the chat stream or listed on the participant list. Fac can interact in the room, producing chat whiteboard and referencing entries, but chooses not to. Fac can review the history in the room. Fac sends a return email message to the room. The message appears in the room's chat stream with a reference to the outgoing help message: "You cannot remove it once your message is posted. It is used to point to a previous message or part of the whiteboard."

Aznk reads Fac's message and responds: "i know, but when i'm typing, how do i take it off then?"

Fac responds: "When you are typing, hit the Esc key to get rid of it."

Aznk responds: "ok"

Fac leaves the room in order to be ready to respond to messages from other rooms. In this way, a facilitator (or teacher) can interact with all active rooms without having to monitor each room full-time and without having a visible presence in the rooms. The facilitator has a lobby view that lists all active rooms with their present members and allows unannounced entry into any active room. This reduces the staffing requirement for providing interactive help to a number of active rooms.

Scenario 1.1
An alternative yet relevant scenario could include a search feature that will be implemented in the help system. Instead of sending a message, Aznk clicks on the Help button and enters a set of keywords on the search tool bar such as "remove arrow". FAQ and manual pages which contain the search terms will be displayed in a browser window. (The search experience could be improved if we come up with meta-tags for our pages so that alternative formulations of similar actions such as remove a reference, delete a link, take the arrow off would point to relevant pages.) If Aznk is not satisfied with the results he got, he can still use the message interface to send his query to a facilitator.

Scenario #2: Finding a next room

Aznk, Bwanx and Charm have completed a session discussing the "Regions of a Circle" problem and are psyched to try some different kinds of patterns and to learn some new methods for analyzing patterns.

While they are all still in the Regions room, Aznk goes to the VMT Lobby. He is in the default version of the lobby that is not customized for any particular community. He sees that the "Regions of a Circle" room was classified under the subject, "patterns." So he searches for more rooms under that subject. He discovers that there is a sequence of increasingly challenging patterns rooms and that some of them include resources or hints for solving these problems.

Aznk returns to the room with Bwanx and Charm. He tells them to follow him to the next room in the patterns sequence by giving them its URL, as well as explaining how he searched in the lobby for it.

As the team moves from one room to the next, the VMT system credits them with finishing the first room and starting the second. This information will appear in each of their profiles.

Scenario #3: : A Math Forum student forms a VMT group

MathPrincess? (MP) is a student in Costa Rico who was an average student in algebra last year. She did some Problems-of-the-Week in her class, where each student went to the Math Forum, read the week's problem, worked on it individually, discussed it in a small group in class and then submitted their own answer.

Now it is summer and MP is cruising the Internet with time on her hands. She happens back to the Math Forum site and an announcement about VMT catches her eye. She goes to the VMT Lobby (default version) without registering.

She first encounters a Welcome page. It introduces the idea of VMT briefly and suggests checking out some topics. It provides a simple form to fill out to specify one�s broad interests. MP fills in the form and is presented with a list of rooms that resulted from a search based on the form.

A sparkling topic, "Diamonds on a crown," catches her eye. (Her deep brown eyes are easily caught by shiny metaphors.) MP opens the topic description and reads a version of the Regions of a Circle problem that peeks her curiosity. Just as she is starting to daydream about a crown with several large diamonds set in a circular crown at even spacings, her cell wrings and her buddies moan in her ear that they are bored this hot, still afternoon. MP IMs them the URL of the VMT Lobby and tells them to meet her in the crown room.

The three girls each register and meet in the room. In the whiteboard, they see a sparkling crown with diamonds, a statement of the problem, a table filled in with numbers for 2, 3 and 4 diamonds, and links to some hints for the problem. They have a lot of fun working on the problem. They imagine interviewing princes who can afford to give them a crown with N diamonds. They speculate that as their demands on local princes drives up the price of the diamonds, it goes up proportionate to the number of regions created by the N diamonds.

The girls have so much fun that they decide to meet every Wednesday at noon in a new VMT room and to invite other friends to join their math royalty club. They set up a group of buddies, invite a number of friends, and send their friends instructions for joining their group and working in VMT.

Scenario #4

A mother heard VMT chat from her colleague and wants her daughter Anna who is in 6th grade to try the service. She contacts one of us at VMT and instructions are sent on how to register and where to go. Anna got her account and signs in VMT chat in the evening one day. She sees a list of users who are present in the lobby and there are conversations going on. She browses through the list of math problems, trying to find an interesting one.

"huh, one hundred pets sounds fun, but there is no chat going on for that subject -- I don't want to say hi to random person and ask if they want to do the problem together." She notices that you can create a room for this problem and set the status to "open invitation." She creates a room and sets a flashing sign on the room, which catches the attention of present users so they could come and join the discussion. While waiting for potential interested people, Anna continues checking the activities.

"wait, here are two chats. This one started at 5:30p, which was half an hour ago. I'd rather join one that just started so I can catch up. Here is one that started around 7 min ago, that's not bad. This one is about Grid World. I don't know what grid world means but it says the difficult level is 4. May be good to start with."

Anna peeks in the chat Grid World:
SithLordVader?, 18:02: What is the shortest way to get from point A to B?
bob, 18:04 (10.05): you can't get from A to B, because B is not on a line
qwer, 18:05 (10.05): It isn't?

It seems these people are doing serious math discussion. She clicks on the "enter" button and enters the room. She had quite a fun chat talking about grid world. After her group members left, Anna checks her "one hundred pets" room, but nobody joined yet. She modifies the open invitation to 5p EST July 17 since she decides to leave now. Hopefully there will be people who see this and come back at the scheduled time to do the problem together.

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Last edited July 25, 2006 10:45 am by Johann (diff)