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David White :: Blog :: The Importance of the Cheesy Disco?

December 04, 2007

I have just returned from the Online Educa conference at which I was part of a symposium panel discussing Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVES) with some other members of Emerge (Helen Kegan, Steven Warburton and Graham Attwell). The session was entitled ‘No Life in Second Life’ and was a look at some of the current practices and issues around teaching in MUVEs. My 10 minutes was on the range of environments in Second Life from amphitheatres to ‘cheesy discos’. Each brings with it a set of cultural expectations and modes of use.

After the session the point was raised that the term ‘cheesy’ may not be universally understood by an international audience. What struck me about this discussion was not its content but the environment it was taking place in. We were attending the conference dinner and ‘entertainment’. The venue for this entertainment was an oversized, modernist hall on the ground floor of the hotel with floor to ceiling glass and orange up lighters. The view out of the 12 foot windows was of a stark courtyard containing a number of neat, isomorphic trees and plants. Inside, small groups of smartly dressed individuals stood round in clusters and made small talk while an untidy mass of energetic attendees executed a range of jerky dance moves with no overall style or pattern. The music was slick and very definitely middle of the road.

In short we were in a cheesy disco which appeared to have been designed as a re-enactment of many scenes in Second Life, certainly in architectural terms but also socially. Love them of hate them it struck me that this real life cheesy disco was an accepted part of the conference system and designed to help people to talk and network. For undergraduates the nightclub or union bar is an integral part university life. For online distance students there is no clear equivalent. As we experiment with MUVEs for teaching and learning will the cheesy disco in prove to be as important as the amphitheatre?

Overview for Keywords: Cheesey Disco, Community, Educa, MUVE, Second Life

Blogs with Keywords: Cheesey Disco, Community, Educa, MUVE, Second Life

Posted by David White


  1. Hi Dave,

    thanks for that. It became much clearer to me now what is meant by "cheesy"!Cool

    And what can I say... "Cheesy" is part of the individual's social life. Can’t think of a German word you could have used there to convey that menaing without being a little bit offensive though …LOL

    Your post just reminded me of another one I read about SL sometime ago.

    The University of Aveiro purchased an Island in SL and when the Uni opened its Island’s doors, dancing was apparently one of the main activities planned for the first event to the hosted. As someone blogged about: "when there is nothing better to do, what a better way to spend time than dancing!" LOL     

    No one seemed to complain. So, a cheesy environment is OK once in a while, I guess…

    I am actually growing fonder of SL, especially when it is used as an online stage for presentations, because the avatars really give you a different sense of presence and you also start getting used to the other avatars' presence. 


    Cristina CostaCristina Costa on Tuesday, 04 December 2007, 20:40 GMT # |

  2. It's good news for me that there is no German word for Cheesey. This would explain why it didn't get the laugh I was hoping for. Of course there could be other reasons...

    David WhiteDavid White on Thursday, 06 December 2007, 14:23 GMT # |

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