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Social Media and Virtual Communities

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Course Topics: vLeader

This is a course for the students with a strong interest in new technologies and how they may be used to create new business opportunities, particularly new social networking media.  Topics covered will include social networking and how the business world leverages them, virtual worlds and technologies, skills in designing and implementing social media for business value using sharepoint and iTunes U (hands on projects). 

Virtual Leader is a simulated business environment in which you learn to be a leader whether you are in control (as in the first scenario) or you are the most junior person in a meeting (as in the 5th scenario). You learn to monitor your communications and influence within business meetings. We use vLeader for two main reasons.

1) These skills are critical to effective management of and within social media. The nature of influence over other changes in social media due to the lack of direct authority and control. You must focus on persuasion and carefully expend your power to introduce new ideas. vLeader trains you on these skills. It is a superb program used in major corporations with senior management and within organizations, such as the US Army.

2) vLeader is an encompassing learning game (within a virtual world of Nortic corporation) within social media where the "social" aspect is all computer-generated. Many argue that computers cannot replace people and that social skills are degraded by computer mediation. Do you believe this is true? Once you use this tool we will also discuss your experience and look for ways in which the program may actually provide social learning capacities better than you can get by learning within a group.

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vLeader Simulation Technical Support

Table of Content

This document will help you implement vLeader and will answer most of the questions you may have for a successful launch.

Purchase vLeader

Click on the above "Click here to purchase vLeader now" button to purchase vLeader. NOTE: You do NOT need to have a paypal account to purchase vLeader. Click on the continue link (above the credit card logos) to proceed with the purchase.

You will receive an email with your login and password to use for the download. The password does NOT have to be the same to use vLeader. You can create your own account once vLeader has been installed. Check your spam box if you do not see the email.

The fastest way to get technical support, is to create a ticket by going to http://www.simulearn.net/hesk20

    Your Approach to this Program Counts

    SimuLearn's award winning approach to human development is very different from traditional classes. Self-discovery and behavior change in our society do not come easily. Time and acknowledgement of your own weaknesses are critical components of becoming more experienced. This program is life changing because it is the safest place to discover your weaknesses and takes significantly less time than alternatives. However, this does not make it easy. You will take a lot of guidance from your own philosophy and attitude towards this program. Successful deployments occur when your attitude is typified by the following statements: "Your resilience to deal with tough characters is an assessment of your ability to do that in the real world. Your ability to go beyond understanding effective use of common sense and to apply it in emotionally challenging situations takes practice and repetition. This program will let you practice in emotionally challenging situations. Knowing why you succeeded or failed allows you to repeat success and avoid failure. Reflect in this program and demonstrate that you know how to think rather than what to think." This program is more like a boot camp for behavior change than a country club retreat. From experience and independent studies, we know that vLeader has a significant impact on you, even though you may not realize it.

    vLeader will help you to become aware of how your emotions drive you in the real world. If you do not like them, vLeader can help you change them by trying new approaches through reflection.

    vLeader is a practice environment for how you can work with others. As in any situation, it can be frustrating but also rewarding. Frustration means you have touched on a part of you that is not whole and you may want to look at it. Again, how you approach vLeader is how you are approaching life.

    When you are working for and with others, unexpected and frustrating issues will arise. In vLeader the same may happen and we encourage you to contact the www.simulearn.net/hesk20 immediately for help. Whining and complaining does not work very well in life. We are not here to tell you what to think, but we are here to help you learn how to think.

    Top Misconceptions

    It is a meeting skills program

    The program uses meetings as a convenient and viable place for interactions between characters, and while meetings do require leadership, very often it is in the interactions before a meeting that the decisions are made. This program is designed to help you understand how decisions are made and to use alternative approaches that reach higher and lower levels of commitment and compliance.

    If you score well in the program you are a good leader

    Scoring well is a natural aim for any person using the program. But, it is the ability to reach an outcome predictably that indicates a mastery of the interpersonal dynamic. It is just as viable to decide to complete one idea in a dominating manner, as it is to patiently wait for others to pass it.

    This program is an instructional simulation

    vLeader is powerful because it challenges a user's existing assumptions about themselves and other people. As it makes that challenge, it causes people to think about how they communicate and the effect of that communication on people and results. Successfully dealing with vLeader scenarios is not a recipe for success in the real world but it is a way to teach people how to think pragmatically in a dynamic interpersonal environment.

    How to Upload Your Scores

    Data generated when you play is stored in two different files: one locally and one on SimuLearn servers. If you are connected to the internet when you play vLeader, the software will automatically update both the local and online databases. If you play vLeader while you are not online, your scores will automatically be uploaded to the online database the next time you log onto vLeader and are connected to the internet. However, occasionally scores will not upload because of firewall settings or other technical issues.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that your scores are properly posted online.

    Here is how to check if your scores have been posted online:
    1. Click on the "View / E-Mail Scores" button on the initial login screen. This access your scores located on your computer. Read the Total Number of plays under the field "Total # Meetings Played". In the example below, you have 8 plays.

    2. Click on the "View Scores Online" button on the initial login screen. (If you cannot access the scores online this way, click on this link: http://vlo-ws.pti-intl.com/vlo/). This access your scores located online. After entering your login information, check to see if the "Total # Meetings Played" is the same as on your computer.
    If the number of plays on your local drive and on Simulearn's servers are not the same you can manually upload the scores from your local drive using the following procedure.
    1. Go to: www.simulearn.net/vlpupload/

    2. Click on "Browse" to look for the .vlp file, located in the c: (or flash) drive -> "vLeader" folder -> "users" folder.
    3. Click on "Open"
    4. Click on "Upload file".

    Reading Your Scores

    Scores Access

    Initial Screen

    The screen below will be the first screen you will see. Do not concern yourself with the scores whose Version Id starts with BC. "BC" scores are related to the Learning the Principles exercises. "Practice Meetings" are those meetings played in the "Practice" mode. "Scored Meeting" are those meetings played in the "Advance" mode.
    In the example above, the user has played vLeader 8 times: 4 times Scenario 1 in the Practice mode and once in the Advance play mode. The user also played scenario 2 once in Advance play mode.

    vLeader Guide

    This PPT file document shows all the steps and screens of vLeader Boot Camp training guide, which may or may not be used by your instructor. Even if your instructor does not use the training guide in your class, it contains some useful tips that you may find helpful. You can download and print it: www.simulearn.net/ucf/VL_BC_Guide.ppt

    Certificate

    When you complete all the steps of vLeader, you will reach Experience Level I certification with vLeader. You will be entered into a verification database and you can now add to your resume that you are vLeader Experience Level I Certified by SimuLearn.

    What does it mean? It means you have become more situationally aware, have demonstrated leadership resiliency and character, by dealing repetitively with our challenging situations, and started the journey towards applying more strategic interpersonal thinking in your life.

    We always welcome comments and feedback regarding the program from those that have completed it, good or bad.

    Forgot Password

    Go to http://vlo-ws.pti-intl.com/vlo/ and click on "Forgot Password". If that does not work, email support@simulearn.net with the .vlp file located by default in the c:\vLeader\users folder. The vlp file is named after the login you used when you created your profile in vLeader. A support team member will locate the password and email it back to you.

    Mac Users

    vLeader will run on the new Mac Intel computer such as the MacBookPro computer, that have a partitioned hard drive running Windows XP or Vista. The new software for Macs (Leopard) comes with a program called Bootcamp that allows you to partition your computer's hard drive. You can then choose at startup or while running which operating system you want to use.

    If you do not have a Mac Intel computer, we suggest that you run vLeader directly from a 1GB or larger flash drive on any PC to which you have access. You can download the vLeader installation program on a Windows formatted flash drive using a Mac, but you will need Windows XP or Vista to run the installation file to complete the installation.

    To install vLeader onto a flash drive:
    1. Download the executable installation file onto the root directory of the flash drive (usually "E:" or "F:"), or onto the desktop of a PC, if you prefer.
    2. Run the executable installation file, and replace the "C:" designation to the letter designation for your flash drive (usually "E:" or "F:").
    To run vLeader from a flash drive, simply run the file called "Launch vLeader" located at the root directory or in the "vLeader" folder.

    Using vLeader at Home and at Work - Multiple Versions

    While we recommend using a flash drive if you want to run vLeader on more than one computer, you have the alternative to run vLeader directly on local computers. The only potential drawback is that your scores may not be synchronized between the two or more computers if the internet connection is not present or a firewall blocks that data from being transferred.

    In any case, here are the instructions on how you can run vLeader on different computers. The scores are stored both locally and online (they are sent to the online database when you quit vLeader). Once you have created an account, do NOT create a new one on a different computer. Just type your email address and password in the vLeader login window and the scores will be sent back to the local computer from the online DB. This works well unless there is a very strict firewall that prevents any data from being sent (pretty rare, but it happens). To ensure the scores have been received, click on the preferences button to see if your profile is present.

    Using vLeader on a public computer / computer lab

    You can run vLeader on any publically available PC on campus by installing the software on a 1 GB flash drive and then running vLeader directly from the flash drive.

    To run vLeader from a flash drive, simply run the file called "Launch vLeader" located at the root or in the vLeader folder.

    To install vLeader onto a flash drive:
    1. Download the executable installation file onto the root directory of the flash drive (usually "E:" or "F:"), or onto the desktop of a PC, if you prefer.
    2. Run the executable installation file, and replace the "C:" designation to the letter designation for your flash drive (usually "E:" or "F:").
    To run vLeader from a flash drive, simply run the file called "Launch vLeader" located at the root directory or in the "vLeader" folder.

    Left and Right Arrows Don't Work

    You can use the left and right click on your mouse: the left click will go to the previous screen, and the right click to the next screen. Double click will be like that space bar, and goes to back to the menu. Do not single click repetitively too fast, as the system my see it as a double click.

    I cannot see my scores online

    When you click on View Scores Online from the vLeader Login Window, and it tells you that your email or password are invalid, you maybe behind a firewall that prevents the scores from being sent. Make sure you are connected to the internet.

    Go to the section "How to Upload My Scores" to force the scores into the database. You may need to upload your scores when you have completed all your work to ensure that all has been saved online (section: Upload Scores.)

    I cannot see my results when I complete a scenario

    If you click too many times when the scenario ended, vLeader may not display your result. If you still have this issue while you have not clicked several times at the end of the scenario, when the idea "Finish Meeting" has passed, click on the Quit button on the top of the screen and you will be able to see your scores.

    Note that your scores are saved even if you did not see the results screens.

    SLDryad Error


    There are four common sources of this error
    1. Other programs are taking too much memory.
    2. Your video card does not have the minimum 16 MB of VRAM.
    3. You do not have DirectX 8.1+ installed.
    4. You do not have the correct video drivers installed.

    To see if other programs are taking too much memory:
    Shut down your PC and open vLeader immediately after your PC boots up. If vLeader runs fine, then the problem was that other programs were taking up too much memory for vLeader to run properly.

    To further diagnose the issue, use this link and run the file VL_Test_Install to test your system: www.simulearn.net/download/VL_Test_Install.exe. You should get a message telling you if your system is compatible with vLeader. This program tests for DirectX, video drivers, RAM and video RAM.

    If the message tells you that you do not have enough memory, check the following:

    Windows 2000 / XP:
    1. From the START menu, select RUN.
    2. Type DXDIAG and click on OK.
    Windows Vista:
    1. From the START menu, select All Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt.
    2. Type DXDIAG and click on OK.
    3. If you get a message to have Microsoft verify the signature file, click OK.
    4. Click on Save All Information and go the help desk and attach the .txt file: www.simulearn.net/hesk20
    To check that DirectX 8.1 (or higher) is installed:
    In the example below, DirectX 9.0c is installed. If you do not have DirectX 8.1 (or higher), go to the Microsoft website to download the latest free version of DirectX. www.microsoft.com/windows/directx/downloads/default.asp



    If you have DirectX 8.1+, check that your video card has at least the minimum 16 MB of VRAM. Click on the Display tab to access the display screen. See the green box "Approx. Total Memory".



    To check that the correct divers are installed: Examine the information in the "Drivers" quadrant of the screen above. If under Main Driver you have something like vga.dll, you need to contact your computer manufacturer to install the correct drivers of your video card. If that is the case, you will also have "n/a" listed under "Manufacturer", "Chip Type" and "Approx. Total Memory" in the "Device" quadrant of the above screen.

    Characters are Disfigured

    If your screen looks something like this, your computer has an older ATI video card running Vista. Download and install the new driver at: http://game.amd.com/us-en/drivers_catalyst.aspx

    Go to the Vista 32-bit section. Most likely you want to select the first link: ATI Catalyst(TM) 9.1 Display Driver for Windows Vista (32 bit)

    Windows has generated an error

    The source of this problem can be:
    1. Other programs that are taking too much memory.
    2. A memory conflict.
    3. A file has been corrupted.
    4. You do not have the administrative right to run software on this computer (in a computer lab or computers at work).
    For issues #1 and #2, please run vLeader directly from your hard drive or flash drive:

    To do that go to your C: drive (or to the drive where vLeader was installed) -- double click on the folder called vLeader, double click on vLeader (Do not click on Launch vLeader).

    For issue #3:
    • Go to c:\vLeader\users folder and rename your .vlp file after your login screen name and replace the .vlp extention with .BAK. For example, rename mylogin@name.com.vlp to mylogin@name.com.vlp.bak.
    • Relog-in using your login and your password (if you can log in it means that the .vlp was corrupted).
    If that does not work, delete the .vlp file and create a new login.

    If the crash still happens upon loging-in, please email to support@simulearn.net a file called debug.log which is located in the c:(or flash drive) \vLeader folder. We will get back to you asap to better understand what is going on.

    For issue #4: Ensure that you have all administrative rights on the c:\vLeader folder. You can right click on the folder and see if you have all the rights for this folder.

    Get HTTP 400 Error

    If you get an "HTTP 400 Error" when you try to view your scores online, try this link instead: http://vlo-ws.pti-intl.com/vlo/
    If that does not work, you may be behind a firewall or a computer that has been set up to block outside access. Check with your IT department for their policies.

    Useful resources

    1. Review the following articles The New Core of Leadership http://simulearn.net/pdf/tdmarch03.pdf
    2. Using Leadership to Implement Leadership http://simulearn.net/pdf/Using%20Leadership%20to%20Implement%20Leadership.pdf
    3. Review the vLeader demo: www.simulearn.net/leadershipsimulationsdemo.html
    4. Download the student workbook: www.simulearn.net/download/Student_Workbook.pdf

    Here is a site that has a free emulator for running Windows on Intel chip Macs.

    If you are using a pre-Intel Mac, you need to use Virtual PC 7, which is a free download on our MSDNAA site. You can also get Windows Vista Enterprise and Windows XP on this site.