The Influence of Teacher Avatar Gender and Ethnicity on Student Expectations and Evaluations in a Virtual World Environment

ID: 35494 Type: Full Paper
  1. Dennis Beck and Cheryl Murphy, University of Arkansas, United States

Monday, March 5 4:00-4:30 PM Location: Terrace South View on map

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Abstract: The gender and ethnicity of teachers have been shown to affect student expectations and evaluations. In Multi User Virtual Environments (MUVE), people socially interact via avatars that have the capability to be customized to minute details of ethnicity and gender. This study’s purpose was to examine the influence of teacher avatar choice of gender and ethnicity on students’ expectations and evaluations. Students were asked to review a vita, image and video of a teacher avatar and then respond about their abilities. Results indicate that avatar gender and ethnicity does influence students’ expectations and evaluations. Results may aid students to discover biases toward some teacher avatars, as well as level the playing field for teacher avatars of differing genders and ethnicities.

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