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MOOs in education

MOOs were quite popular in education in the mid-nineties. They were used for a variety of purposes:

  • Distance teaching virtual environments
  • Virtual meeting spaces (like Chat
  • Foreign language teaching ([1])
  • Non-intrusive collaboration
  • Learning environments (e.g. quests)
  • As constructivist environment to learn programming
  • As living hypertexts (text with people)
  • Social rules experimentation and learning.
  • Familiarization with online spaces and international exchange (activities with kids).

MOOs also were popular as environment for carrying out research, e.g. topics like

  • Collaboration (e.g. Dillenburg et al. 1997)
  • Sociology
  • Identity (and in particular online identity

In 2006, text-based virtual communities have lost a lot of attraction, since some functionality can be replaced by integrated environments such as groupware, C3MS or LMS but they are still used for a variety of purposes (since replacements are not really available). In particular, MOO is popular in language learning.


In order to run a MOO, you need a server and a database. The database contains a lot of code without which building a MOO is extremely difficult. MOO-COWS has a list of the most important software:

The MOO server

Moo Databases

There are several databases. To educators we recommend "enCore". More are indexed at MOO Downloads

  • enCore Learning Environment (MOO database recommended by DSchneider). Take version version 5 Beta (12:45, 13 April 2007 (MEST)). It works well enough for a production environment. However you also may take the earlier 4.01 version.


Lambda Core

(this used to be the most popular core and its the basis of most other cores, e.g. enCore.)

Moo clients

  • Some MOOs like encore have a built-in web client. However the experience is not the same (e.g. text tends to be not as rich, e.g. messages triggered by passing through doors may not show). Therefore, many people still prefer to use text-only MOO clients.
List of Clients
  • Daniel K. Schneider uses the RMOO client for Emacs. You need to be familiar with emacs. If you are and manage to install it, this really is the best client ever. As of 2020, I found a new revised version: RMOO 1.3. The Github page (scroll down) explains everything. Prior to rMOO 1.3 you must install xterm-color through the package manager of emacs.
  • TKMOOlight used to be a popular client (not tested recently)
  • Pueblo A general MUD client, supposed to work with MOOs.
  • Savitar General purpose MUD client for Macintosh.

There are many other clients available (some are even being improved). Google.

Moo-like environments

(e.g. alternatives)

  • Moose Crossing - "A text-based virtual world (or "MUD") designed to help kids to learn reading, writing, and computer programming" from Georgia Tech.
  • STUNT, a modern version (still under development as of 2013)

See also wikipedia article.


(This section is really not complete. Most links Daniel K. Schneider had are dead now. Some have emerged in other places, but it takes time to find them again).


MOOs in education

Consult Rachel's Super MOO List (More than 150 MOOs sorted according to categories educational, ESL, research, RPG, social, or other., retrieved 12:45, 13 April 2007 (MEST). But alas most of the indexed educational MOOs are dead ...


Daniel K. Schneider plans to replace it with an encore MOO, since we no longer have the resources to maintain this. A test version is here).

Virtual cities

  • VROMA (guest login allowed) - features an encore V5 Interface. Works as of 5/2011

Literary Worlds

  • Literary Worlds. Explore, research, interact, and role play in virtual worlds based on literary works -- a resource for students and teachers. (based on enCore Xpress 4.0)


MOO research indexes

(Most good MUD/MOO indexes are now dead)

MOO research groups

(there were many more, but we have to find them again ...)

User manuals

Programming Manuals


  • Bruckman, A. et Resnick, M. (1993). Virtual Professional Community: Results from the MediaMOO Project. In Third Internation Conference on Cyberspace, Austin, Texas. URL: PS
  • P. Dillenbourg, P. Jermann, D. Schneider, D. Traum, C. Buiu, (1997) The design of MOO agents: Implications from a study on multi-modal collaborative problem solving, Proceedings 8th World Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, Kobe, Japan. HTML.