The buzz... Everyones in SL Business large and small Non profits Universities and colleges Government interest
Research: Second Life for Academic purposes being used as a service point for both business and universities differentiated from other online gaming environments and redefined as a community space systematic research to define Second Life as a platform for course delivery just beginning to be published
Research: MMOs in education (Massively Multiplayer Online environments/games/worlds) helps develop the motivation for an extended engagement that is crucial to mastering a complex body of knowledge (Gee, 2004). students learn in a flow state where they are not just passive recipients of knowledge, but active learners who are in control of the learning activity and are challenged to reach a certain goal (Peng, 2004)
Nuts & bolts Could a small academic library with no budget and little experience in SL effectively use this platform?
Considerations: Costs Less than $1 Can. $250 Linden = $1 U.S. (Jan. 2007) Avatars – free Space – free courtesy of the kind generousity of the Info Island Library Groups – $90 Linden (9 groups @ $10 Linden each) PowerPoint presentation - $110 Linden (11 slides @ $10 Linden each)
Second life - groups Groups allow for private group chats and logs
Second Life – chat/IM history and logs Re-sizable chat windows and ability to save chat logs was ideal for class discussion
Second Life - teleporting Teleporting allowed us to bring the class together in one location within Second Life
The course Employee relations/internal communications taught by Dr. DeNel Rehberg Sedo Objectives were a good fit with using SL a) evaluate this new teaching and learning environment; and b) help students better understand how to critically evaluate the various communication tools and social environments available to them in the workplace.
The classes 4 th year cohort 2 sections with 25 students each 6 class meetings in Second Life (out of 24) Reasons for use of Second Life clearly outlined in syllabus Recording and posting of SL class logs to course site clearly stated and student permission obtained to use logs for research Evaluation included working on group wikis and a final research paper
SL Class 1 Introduction to CULTURE in Second Life
Chat log excerpt – dual learning curve S. B: Okay, my inherent problem is that for no reason, I keep being launched into space and I can't come down haha A. A: its a learning curve but in a classroom we dont have the time to play around and figure things out B. H: That is very true O. B: I think the functions of this world really works our ability to multitask and be able to take everything in at onc
Group IM log - Tensions between discomfort, course work and play A. M: I actually like this second life thing it's pretty neat A. M: hehe I am a nerd P. R: Hey guys, it's really quiet in here... it's kinda creepy M. M: i'm doing ok the questions are almost done A. M: yeah everyone is dedicated to the tech P. R: and yet we are all communicatiing M. M: thas deep dude P. R: cool A. M: how about we have a dance off instead? A. M: haha P. R: how do we dance? A. M: F9
Class IM log – evaluation of information sources DD: thats mymain problem with these mediums.the freedom is great but there's no regulation AY: but why should everyone have their say when tehy aren't an expert FA: WHat abour freedom of speech A? SS: what's an expert? AY: no credibility SS: think about collaborative knowledge production. FA: but what is credible? credibility is a matter of opinion within us. I may feel a doctor is credible, others may not KK: hearing other people's views and thoughts on a subject can open others minds...I think it's a great thing AY: no I trust credible sources such as lierary and academic publications...obvioulsy the media is slanted and you would be a fool to take any of that at face value...same is for the web with this sort of thing growing
SL Class 5 Overview of final assignment & research strategies – traditional setting
Class outcomes 21 of the 39 students wrote above average reflective and well-researched final papers that integrated their own experiences of Second Life. All of the students in the course were able to demonstrate acceptable critical analysis of communication and information gathering tools, processes and networks.
Expectations and realities Web savvy students Most well versed in chat, email, and social networking Unfamiliar with second life Several students at first uncomfortable with gaming nature of the environment
Expectations and realities Griefing and intrusions No instances of harassment A couple of avatars politely asked to be included in our conversation
Expectations and realities Technical learning curve & limitations Steep learning curve Controlling your avatar Creating groups Recording logs Working with scripts and objects Troubleshooting with students Not always a stable platform time lags, teleporting problems
Expectations and realities On-campus option would mitigate some technical difficulties Lab required downloads every class Assistance essential for the first 2 classes Allowed for troubleshooting and assistance during orientation session Some students found communicating online while being in a shared physical space disconcerting After first 2 classes several students logged in from home or other labs
Expectations and realities Course content was integrated with use of SL Some students were concerned by time spent in SL and were uncomfortable with its use in the course More focused on grades Some students saw the connections, enjoyed the element of play and the opportunities to experience the new environment
Expectations and realities Meeting in virtual environment would mitigate some in-class inequities Some students reported group conversations were too fast paced for them to participate Classes reading the other groups transcripts were not able to identify participants
Expectations and realities High levels of engagement A high level of engagement among students and instructors Reactions were both pro and con
Considerations: Risk taking Both very stressful and exciting Increased need for facilitation and support Takes time Newness of the environment seem to invite a questioning and critical climate
Considerations: Avatars How does real life affect online identities? How do you decide what/who is legitimate? What are the implications for the classroom?
Considerations : Collaboration with faculty Worked together previously Trust Roles well defined Good communication Debriefed after each SL class
Considerations: Resources and support Second Life Library on Info Island I & II Librarians were tremendously generous with time and resources Tours and orientation sessions Free educational scripts and tools available Space can be booked (Lori Bell/Lorelei Junot) Administrative & collegial support supportive workplace and University Librarian (Donna Bourne-Tyson/Laken Burns) MacMaster SL librarian (Krista Godfrey/Danu Dhalstrom)
Recommendations Be prepared for how much control you are willing to give up before getting a second life. Prepare for a steep learning curve and technological glitches. Build in opportunities to discuss the dual learning process with the students. If the course is to be delivered in both a f2f and an online environment, do not meet more than once in a lab setting. Utilize small group discussions. Consider mixing delivery methods across technologies and f2f environments.
Whats next? MSVU storefront Services by request of faculty and/or students
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