the avatar as a representation of “self”

One of my current students uses her dog, Bishop, as her profile image. I love that she does that. It gives me a warm feeling about her. She mentioned in one of our discussions that she chose him because she was concerned about her privacy and security.

She said:

I think it is funny that you mention my use of my Bishop for an image. I had a reason. In a class we had on cyber security, it said to never use a real image of yourself unless you want it broadcasted. We learned how to build an Avatar. I do not like my Avatar because when I made it, the selections did not include large or handicapped people as a choice. Everything was “beautiful people” and personally, I think that is very wrong. I have never gone out there to look further to see if there are other places (I used Yahoo) to see if you can build a real person. So I chose Bishop as he is my familiar.

As soon as i read her post i did a google search and started playing with 2D avatar generators to see what i could come up with. Below are links to the ones i found an played with. The resulting images i have inserted in to this post.

Avatar Generators:



These last 2 are my SecondLife 3D avatars. I lived in my newbie SL skin (left) for almost a year before changing her to a more “realistic” me (right) : ) Not sure why, but i never messed with her looks much till i saw someone walk by that looked just like me, and then i started thinking about it and wanted her to look more like the real me, so i plumped her up and got some “good” hair to look more like mine. Then i didn’t touch her looks again till i had to do a presentation in SL ( and wanted to represent myself more realistically and less like a newbie. Have not really touched her since… i had a hard time finding appropriate clothes. I think about the online representation of self often. Colleagues and i have talked about, especially in the hyper-sexualized world of secondlife. I note it everytime i log into some place on the social web and see how friends and colleagues choose to represent themselves, or when i am required to upload yet another image to another profile somewhere… I am charmed by those who choose animals or some image that whispers insight into the person. I like that invention and creativity very much. None of the new little avatars i generated “really” look like me. There is a suggestion of me, i suppose. Brown skin, hair, and eyes. long curly hair… i really like the little one with the black skirt and shirt, but i will not be running around the web changing my profile images to any of these anytime soon.

I understand and respect the need for privacy, and for some, not wanting one’s “real” image floating about the net. For some there may be a sense of loss of control. I guess i feel “in charge” of what i put out there.


so my course has started… 14 enrolled, so far there are 9 that have shown up. One has dropped

i am concerned about several things.
I am not confident that i know exactly how certain things in the course are going to work – the gradebook, the discusion ratings. I just discovered how to make a custom rating scheme today and set it up, but i have no idea how it will work.

I finally got my rubrics finalized. It has been a challenge designing assessments for this Pass/Fail course. I don’t like it.

I have not gone in and tested yet with a student identity. (i confess – this is not good – so do as i suggest, not as i do).

No problems with using voicethreads and setting up the blogs. Except no one has done a video post… might be becuase they don’t have the hardware. I LOVE that they have interacted with each other. I had hoped they would. What i had not anticipated was that they would script and read their comments. And provide them in both audio and text formats.

I am not happy with how the written assignments had to be designed. I want to be able to attach files, reply to posts/have a discussion, add subject lines, and i can only do that with the discussion forums sort of… The problem is that i want to collect them all and then once all have been collected, then turn them back over to the students for review and comments…

I had to recreate the BB. The news forum is not working. The students can’t see the add new topic button and can’t see any of the reply links on the discussion topics. weird… So i hid it and recreated it and now they can see it. It is a bummer though becuase the news forum has an announcements block tied to it that is a nice feature. Unfortunately, that too is buggy and the see previous announcments link does not show anything beyond the current post.