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May 04, 2007



I've taken a look at the syllabus, Aaron, and have to say that it's a fascinating class you've put together. One question: How much class time/after-class time was spent in Second Life, either as a # of hours per week, or a percentage of total class time? (Ballpark estimate is fine)

A question for the group: What college-level classes are you aware of that include sessions/instruction in Second Life or other Virtual Worlds? I know that the Harvard Law School and Harvard Extension School had one class last year (CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion) and the Extension School is planning a new class, Virtual Worlds, in Fall 2007. Boston College also has a class, 3D and Virtual Reality, which is partially taught in a virtual world (I believe based on a homegrown platform that uses Quake or some other game engine).

What other classes are readers aware of, or have participated in?


"Welcome to SLeuth3d.com!
Second Life's first social networking service!"

I'm glad they're learning something, and I know it's almost required for marketers to lie and say they're the "FIRST X EV4R IN SECOND LIFE! LOL!", so they're on a good start for that career, but... would it have killed you to do 10 seconds of research with Google first, and then not make the false claim?

SL.ME has been around for over a year now, and does the whole "MySpace for Second Life" thing fairly well; I don't use my profile on it at all, but I know many people do.


@ Ian

The Second Life wiki has a solid list that is mostly up to date, although it changes quite a lot, especially at certain points on the academic calendar. Check it out at: Second Life Educators Wiki


As a student I spent around 7 hours per week in Second Life. But I think it varies from student to student... some had more and some less.


Thanks for the responses. Some specific follow-on questions below:

Barbara: Thanks for the link. The list is quite long -- were you involved with the UMN program? If so, could you describe the class/provide specific links (the link on the wiki goes to the Physics dept. website)

Manny: The seven hours you spent every week in SL -- was it just for class? What were some of the pros and cons of learning in virtual world, compared to traditional classroom instruction?


That seemed like a bit of an infomercial, Aaron, but I guess you're entitled.

What's interesting about the concept of a dating service now is that with the crackdown on gambling and now with verification required to engage in explicit adult activity coming up (everyone is wondering how this will be defined), SL residents may start to wonder if they really can go on cybering in SL, and not looking in fact for entres back to RL.

And that means dating services that can hook people up with those in their area and give them a chance to try each other out virtually at first might grow to be really popular. Then if they meet the obstructions to their virtuality that are now going to start creeping in more and more, they can then retire to the privacy of real life with their chosen virtual companions and see how it works there.


The seven hours in SL was pretty much just for the class. And I am studying to be a scholar in the communication fields (with emphasis on virtual worlds and education) so I could spend 10 pages talking about the pros and cons of virtual worlds. In fact, I pretty much did (if you google "manny alvarez virtual worlds" my paper is the 2nd link, the first pdf file to come up). But briefly, communication through typing is cumbersome, especially in lectures with questions being asked. Griefers, even among students are a problem sometimes. However, it was great that we could even have people from Linden and California talk to our class, so thats an advantage. Also, virtual worlds are a great "sandbox" to learn and practice skills like our marketing class.

Hope this helps!


Ian: Thanks for your comments about the syllabus! The course officially met on Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 3:55 to 5:10. At least one of those weekly meetings was dedicated entirely to Second Life. Near the end of the semester, as the launch date approached, the official class sessions were devoted entirely to Second Life.

I've learned that it is unrealistic to expect students to spend significant amounts of time in the virtual world when they are not in the classroom. Part of the problem is that most students have old laptops with anemic graphics cards. For this reason, I required students to gather in the lab from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. every Wednesday night for mandatory SL sessions. In addition to deepening their familiarity with Second Life's culture and creative tools, the mandatory sessions also seemed to increase the overall group camaraderie.

Regarding courses that use virtual worlds, you can find many great SL-focused examples on the list that Barbara mentioned. Also, somewhere in the TN archives, you should be able to find links to a class that used Anarchy Online to teach technical writing. The TN search engine should also direct you to courses that used World of Warcraft, Everquest, and Everquest II as vehicles for exploring communication research methods.


Ouch. Totally agree that SLeuth is not the first social networking service for SL residents. We discussed the other social networking services several times at the beginning of the semester, and we laughed at the tendency of organizations to call themselves the "first X" or the "first Y."

My guess is that the tag line accidentally crept into the designs near the end of the term, and nobody caught the mistake. A handful of students have committed to driving the project forward during the summer, and I suspect that removing that tag-line will be one of their first orders of business.


Good point about the potential obstructions to virtuality.


As their instructor, I'm obviously biased, but it's difficult to overstate the talent, thoughtfulness, and all around awesomeness of this group of students. Their blogs (http://www.trinity.edu/adelwich/metaverse/students.html) make fascinating reading.

The chat log and screen shots from the student presentation will soon be posted, as will the video clips and photos from the mixed reality event that the students organized at a local venue. As part of their final exam, the students also jointly created a White Paper that contains a list of tips and guidelines for organizations moving into Second Life for the first time.

Once all of those materials are posted on the SLeuth site, I'll add the links to this thread.

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