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  Technical Report: Synchronous Interaction Among Hundreds: An Evaluation of a Conference in an Avatar-based Virtual Environment

Synchronous Interaction Among Hundreds: An Evaluation of a Conference in an Avatar-based Virtual Environment

Technical Report #:11-02
Author(s): Thomas Erickson, N. Sadat Shami, Wendy A. Kellogg, David W. Levine

Abstract

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This paper presents the first in-depth evaluation of a large multi-format virtual conference. The conference took place in an avatar-based 3D virtual world with spatialized audio, and had keynote, poster and social sessions. We studied it
by drawing on logs, a survey and interviews with 30 participants. We develop a model – Coalescence, Focused Interaction, Remixing (CoFIRe) – of large synchronous interactions, and use it to discuss how the technology
supported, or failed to support, the interactions that are the raison d’etre of conferences. We conclude by discussing the prospects for such large virtual gatherings.


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