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Week 10: IRC

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A. I don't want your head to get too big, but I think I may be learning something in this class. The MOO stuff was really cool, and there are *all* kinds of applications to education.

B. I couldn't agree more. The more interesting part, from my perspective, is that the tech is over ten years old!

A. That part still blows me away.

B. This week's medium of interest is 16 years old, believe it or not. IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, is another place where people gather to talk to each other.

A. Does it support all the cool things MOOs do, with artifact creation, and moving from room to room, etc.?

B. Not really. IRC is built on a "channel" model. Chat rooms aren't rooms at all, in that you don't walk out of one, down a hall, and into another. Areas where people chat are called channels and normally prefixed with a # sign, like #cars or #linux.

A. But why would people use IRC if it doesn't have all the features MOOs do?

B. Why do people keep buying Windows machines when they could have Macs [another wink to the student in the back]? Why do people do any of the things they do? I believe we gave up the assumption that people make rational choices a very long time ago. To be fair, IRC has the advantage of being very topical, so while you may not be able to find a MUD full of people talking about whatever your interest is, chances are high that you can find an IRC channel where like-minded folks have clustered up.

A. How do people find channels where there are other people interested in the same things they're interested in?

B. One way is to Google for some keywords and the words irc and channel. Here's a Google search for irc channel pokemon , for example.

A. Pokemon isn't quite my thing, as you recall from the Fan Fiction conversation.

B. [smiles]

A. So what else is there to know about this stuff? Should we just jump in and start chatting with people?

B. You should probably read a few things first, and you'll need to install some software. Start by reading The IRC Prelude . It covers important topics at a fairly high level. Then move on to the IRC Tutorial which takes you one command at a time through using IRC. Skim or read the tutorial as you feel inspired to do so. These aren't the week's reading assignments per se, but you'll need to read these to be able to use IRC to really interact with others.

A. So what about the software?

B. If you're on a Windows platform, you'll definitely want to use mIRC . The documentation is great and you should be able to get it working, no problem. Mac users can try ircle , which is equally easy to get working. Of course, you could use Google to find other "irc clients" for your platform.

A. I think I'll just stick with the recommendations here. So there are other reading assignments than the articles above?

B. Yes. The academic in you should be yearning for something more than an FAQ. Here are two things to satisfy those cravings:

These are both great pieces that will give you a heads up on what to look for as you're on IRC this week. Which brings us to...?

A. The assignment.

Assignment: IRCed Online

  1. Download and install the irc client software for your platform as described above
  2. Spend five hours on IRC chatting with others about anything you like. You can use Google to find channels or simply type "/list" (yes, that's /list) after connecting with your client and choose a channel that looks interesting
  3. Post the following on your blog:
    • the network you connected to (e.g., EFNet, IRCnet, etc.)
    • some of the channels you hung out in (e.g., #new2irc, #horses, etc.)
    • a brief piece of writing describing what you perceive to be the differences between the ways people interact on IRC and the way they interacted in LambdaMOO. To what do you attribute the differences?

[whistles softly to self and gathers up things as if to leave.]

A. Aren't you forgeting something?

B. [with a sly grin] What's that?

A. I guess if I'm reminding you to remind us about not being late, we don't really need reminding.

B. [grin breaking into a full smile] Well, don't post your assignement late then!

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2008, May 20). Week 10: IRC. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.usu.edu/instructional-technology-learning-sciences/understanding-online-interaction/Week_10__IRC.html. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
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