Research & Development

Photo of Barbara Truman April 2020Greetings. I’m Barbara, a scholar, and researcher exploring innovative ways to facilitate networks of people and organizations across education, government, military, and industry. My quest is to promote inclusivity and accessibility using virtual reality, specifically virtual worlds to create smart, enabled, and sustainable communities. Photo taken at the Red Geranium, New Harmony, Indiana, the town modeled in the virtual world grid, Virtual Harmony.

I study open source, virtual world communities. My research has found that cultivating an avatar persona creates attachment, building a personal identity as a mirror to ‘self’. When the avatar attachment is strong, enhanced collaboration with other avatars can result in attachment to the virtual world milieu that can now involve the physical world using extended reality (XR) and the Internet of Things (IoT).  Why is this important?

Discovering and using strengths! I think of Appreciative Reality as the practice of inquiry into what factors contribute to the development of avatar identity that leads to constructive, leadership activities used across virtual-physical communities for the benefit of society and sustainability. Integrating an Awareness of Selfhood and Society book

Experience has led me to be a champion of The Metaverse committed to building strength-based leaders, citizens, researchers, educators, and most of all collaborators.

My research into collaboration using immersive, virtual environments seeks to model interactions that promote Transdisciplinarity, a skill and philosophy needed to deal with complexity. In 2017, the IGI Global book, Integrating an Awareness of Selfhood and Society into Virtual Learning was released. I am a co-editor and we are working on an update. Check it out! Drax Files interview podcast from February 2017.

This site provides information about my experience, current studies, and future goals. If you are a researcher interested in these topics, please contact me about collaborating. First name.Last name at Gmail. Thank you!

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Rumblings of Discovery mean Time to Retool

July 2018- It’s been over seven years since the dynamic duo of Stricker and Calongne (aka Spinoza Quinnell and Lyr Lobo) won the $25,000 first prize of the Federal Virtual Challenge for the Mars Expedition. The duo has expanded with new recruits. Training preparation is underway to host a colony on Mars. The colony requires advanced botany using hydroponics on the space station and surface of Mars. Rumors of a major discovery cannot be confirmed. The science needs verifying. Skills must be practiced. Weekly meetings are held in Virtual Harmony either salon-style in Loire or in zero-G in space. Stay tuned for future updates to learn how you can participate.

Comic of avatar Delightful thinking about preparing for 2018 Mars Expedition

Delightful meditates in Second Life about jumping to OpenSim for the 2018 Mars Expedition

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Integration and Implementation Insights | Research resources for understanding and acting on complex real-world problems

Nice summary post. Really sorry to have missed the 2017 Science of Team Science Conference that was in Florida this summer. My schedule was jammed attending F2F conferences funded by the National Science Foundation on using virtual worlds and environments for STEM in higher education. I am really looking forward to participating in cross over events to see where virtual world uses and environment/interaction design can support the development of communities of practice.

The NSF Conferences were a Virtual Worlds Education Conference hosted at Florida Institute of Technology and STEM Education in Virtual Worlds Workshop Series hosted by Penn State Altoona.

Source: Integration and Implementation Insights | Research resources for understanding and acting on complex real-world problems

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Le rêve de danser

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Diffusion of Transdisiplinarity

It’s been over four years since I began to seriously study transdisciplinarity as part of my doctoral research into immersive learning and collaboration. Virtual worlds are a useful construct to explore meanings of transdisciplinarity since creating and developing an avatar calls into question the art of ‘Being’. The environment itself calls us to play and toy with the unnatural laws of the simulator that create what we experience. When we consider building experiences, then dynamics of the natural world unfold making us question many things.

A quick search on transdisciplinarity on Vimeo yields 128 presentations. Time to catch up and see which ones resonate to integrate living with complexity.


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Transdisciplinarity and Design: Comparative Review and Synthesis for the Design Process

In the February 2016 Edition of the Radical Designist, A Design Culture Journal (ThRAD) João Figueiredo, Nuno Correia, Inês Secca Ruivo and Jorge Lino Alves of Portugal wrote an article comparing design approaches.

The article, Transdisciplinarity and Design: Comparative Review and Synthesis for the Design Process, is written succinctly offering little elaboration on technicalities of applying the compared models, but SWOT analyses are provided for each model making the differences easier to understand.

The authors proposed a synthesis to foster the cooperation between engineering and industrial design for holistic cooperation beginning in conceptual phases. The authors synthesized model also promotes continuous interaction between phases. The implication also suggests between stakeholders if transdisciplinarity is desired.

Industrial Design LampThe article was supported by the Portuguese Innovation Agency, within the frame of Project NEWFace of the Program of Incentives to Technological Research & Development and the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and the MITPortugal Program.



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Citation for Research Approach toward Transdisciplinarity

Jay Berstein, anthropologist and librarian, describes trends involving transdisciplinarity in his article listed below. I appreciate the citation of my dissertation and acknowledgement of how I studied group use collaborative virtual environments. It is nice to see someone from the US outside of the Team Science community articulate their observations on how the phenomenon of transdisciplinarity affects inquiry.

Transdisciplinarity: A Review of Its Origins, Development, and Current Issues

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Collaborative learning, transdisciplinarity and social-environmental management in the Amazon: approaches to knowledge production between academia and society | Athayde | Revista Brasileira de Pós-…

Collaborative learning, transdisciplinarity and social-environmental management in the Amazon


Nice. The jungle not the retailer. Wonder who at UF is involved. Sounds perfect to model in an immersive environment.


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Disciplinary dilemma: working across research silos is harder than it looks


Andy Stirling: The ‘nexus’ is the latest buzzword intended to lure researchers out of their disciplinary comfort zones. But how easy is it in practice?

“Power becomes visible not just in action, but in knowledge.” I would add ‘being’ that as Dr. Stirling suggests, adds to the transcendence of “mystical romanticism about science” that offers great hope-transdisciplinarity- to assist in global challenges.

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Educating for Uncertainty: The University’s Preeminent Mission?

Educating for Uncertainty: The University’s Preeminent Mission?

The process of managing uncertainty starts by spending time thinking about the future. That may sound a bit facile, and probably doesn’t seem like an academic pursuit on its face. But planning is a discipline…


Barbara Truman‘s insight:

My dance has extended beyond the bounds of academia as I am now what Dan Pink refers to as a Free Agent, especially after incorporating a non-profit company last week in the State of Florida. Transdisciplinarity is a personal commitment of mine and the word is in my company’s mission. Woodbury University’s commitment is admirable and I agree with attempts to infuse uncertainty across the curriculum. In order to go ‘beyond’ the curriculum I think virtual environments are essential.

The uncertainty of an open source community and sottware are fitting for practicing transdisciplinarity as we strive for social benefits across society.

See on

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Innovation Excellence | Are Innovators Better at Multi-dimensional Thinking?

Multi-Dimensional Thinking – The Key to Dynamic Innovation

While I believe that innovation is a process that can and should be managed, I also believe that innovative people simply “are,” and that some people simply cannot (innovate), even if coached.

Barbara Truman‘s insight:

Fraser’s article makes the connection between innovation and transdisciplinarity and lacks only the 3D virtual environment to spawn creativity and imagination. Producing environments rather than just consuming them creates critical thinking too. Personally, I think innovation must arise from authenticity within rather than being required as a business force. This is why the embodied avatar is so important. Who was it that said work is the organized results of play?

See on

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