Taiwanese Undergraduates’ Digital Story Quests for Art Treasures in Second Life
To promote cultural understanding, the authors attempted to discover how Taiwanese students develop digital stories, personal narratives told through words and images in response to quests to find artwork within the virtual world of Second Life [SL]. The undergraduate one-semester course occurred in Chiayi, Taiwan, in “real life,” or life as we usually experience it, face-to-face. Through participant observation, the authors planned, taught, documented, analyzed, and interpreted results of the digital storytelling project. Participant observation in the virtual context included gathering data to identify themes that students used frequently within the stories, interpreting the stories, and determining implications. In the beginning, the undergraduate stories were mostly travelogues and some animal transformations. Frequent themes in Taiwanese undergraduates’ digital stories were identified, including such descriptors as “lonely,” “funny,” and “dream.” These psychological transformative themes revealed students’ real-life concerns of finding a purpose in life, alleviating loneliness, overcoming fear of the unknown, raising awareness of social enterprises, and struggling to survive in a competitive environment. Implications call for collaboration and social action in negotiating multiple perspectives, respecting and embracing diverse or contrary opinions, creating double entendre examples, and delving deeper into the historical roots of cultural practices.