Sunday, May 27, 2012

Classroom Discipline

As my regular readers know, I'm a professor at Caledon Oxbridge University in Second Life.  I teach two formal classes there, "Buying and Renting Land", and "Avatar Safety."

Occasionally, a lecturing professor, even at so urbane an institution as COU, is faced with classroom disruptions.  The Avatar Safety class, in particular, draws the occasional griefer.  Perhaps they are simply trying to be helpful by providing a graphic demonstration of the class material, or maybe they wish to test themselves against the presenter.

I believe the worst such incident I've experienced was the time when, after being ejected for disruptive behavior, one of the students stood just outside the classroom and hurled a great number of school buses into the room.  For several minutes, until we could find him and ban him and his bus rezzer, it provided a very graphic illustration of the things we'd been discussing in class.

Yesterday's incident was mild by comparison.  Near the end of class, as I was lecturing, a newbie girl flew into the classroom and sat on my podium, chuckling "hehehe".  As is my usual practice in such cases, I first simply ejected her.  (This gives the student who is simply suffering from an excess of high spirits a second chance to behave themselves.)

In this case, the person in question didn't take advantage of her second chance.  A minute later, she strode back into class, hands on hips, and declaimed "F**k you, kidd" from the center aisle.  This resulted in Stage Two of the Prof. Kidd Discipline Progression, a second ejection and a ban from the classroom parcel.

Fortunately, she took the hint and took herself off and out of the COU region entirely.  Stage Three is, of course, a region-wide ban.

Other regions take a different approach to discipline.  While COU professors are entrusted with eject and ban powers, Mentors at White Tiger Help Island are not.  Those powers are reserved for a more limited number of senior personnel.  On a few rare occasions, this has caused me some frustration.  Still, it does force one to work harder on persuading the offender to change their behavior, and in many cases this has actually worked.

So, "classroom discipline" applies not only to unruly students, but to Professors (or anyone else entrusted with eject and ban powers) as well.  Tolerance and a cool head can often work as well as a banhammer.

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