I ended up reading two articles from The Lost Library of MOO and visiting an additional site, http://cinemaspace.berkeley.edu/~rachel/moo.html, outside the library because I wasn’t quite sure what I was reading about in ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/academic/communications/papers/muds/muds/Ethnography-of-a-Computer-Society and http://sunsite.unc.edu/cmc/mag/1995/jan/fanderclai.html, although the former makes sense after reading the latter. Unfortunately for me, I did not read them in that order.
When I first clicked on “muds-of-a-Computer-Society” and started reading, I was intrigued because it sounded something like a Dungeons and Dragons setup. I used to play D and D a little, back in the day. But, then I kept reading about commands that needed to be implemented and thought, “Oh no, not DOS.” After reading the article from Rachel’s Super MOO List, I learned that MOOs are written in a language that is a cross between C++ and LISP, called MOOCode. MOOCode is a form of OOP (Object Oriented Programming) and that users of MOOs can get what is called a Programming Bit (basically a level of access to the core computer) that allows them to program in MOOCode. Most MOOs have information about this by typing ‘help programming’.
I have had good and bad experience with programming. The good news first: I learned about DOS from my first computer class and could use it if need be. (That is, if I can find my manual.) The bad news: I took a beginning computer programming class and survived only because I had a very good partner. (By the way, I’m all for paired activities.) Strangely enough though, I am interested in learning computer languages. The problem is my processor doesn’t process so fast anymore.
In the multi-user environments of MOOs and MUDs, not only can students learn programming language, but can also involve themselves in creative writing projects that have no bounds (unless a teacher decides to set some parameters) or take part in games which also involve a great deal of imagination and writing as the operation is primarily text-based. With my Spanish classes, I could design an arrangement between my students and those in a Spanish-speaking country for a intercultural exchange of language, ideas, and fun.