Immerse Yourself – Learn how ESC is Faring as Virtual Goes Open Source


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SUNY Empire State College has been one of the founding institutions in immersive, virtual education having islands on Second Life ( since 2004 and classes and meetings on the islands for almost as many years. As this fall academic year begins, a band of intrepid faculty and staff are continuing their own learning and peer support through the Virtual Affinity Group, which began as VirtualESC in spring 2011. As the education costs for Second Life rose, more open source venues emerged and extended expansive opportunities have arisen. As this virtual support community moves into yet another academic year, it will be hosting external speakers and events that will examine the borders and boundaries of emerging and open virtual experiences.

The VFAC presenters invite individual interested in learning about our past, present, and future immersive experiences to join us in the Virtual Rotunda on the ESC island; we will share what lies ahead with the speaker and our own expectations. And, we will gather your ideas for ways we might grow ESC’s holding in the future. So please do come to meet-and-greet, experience an immersive environment, and learn about our upcoming affinity group events.

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  • Overview of Suny Empire State College activity in Second Life, including the Virtual Affinity Group and Open Sim Initiatives.
  • SUNY Empire State College began investigating the use of virtual worlds for education as early as 2003, and began establishing a presence in Second Life in 2003-2004.
  • The Alumni House development was commissioned with funds from the Charitable Leadership Foundation grant for the improvement of SMAT courses.
  • The CDL Curriculum and Instructional Design Group and CDL faculty envisioned a CDL virtual campus to meet the teaching and learning needs of each area of study. The campus is now shared between CDL and the MALET program.
  • The Center for Distance Learning and the School of Graduate Studies have been offering courses with a virtual worlds component for several years.
  • The MALET program includes several courses with a virtual worlds focus.
  • Several faculty encourage graduate students to develop learningenvironments in virtual worlds.
  • Graduate courses include a number of virtual worlds activities.
  • The MAT program includes courses with a teaching and learning component in virtual worlds.
  • Students present their learning activities and lesson planning in virtual poster sessions.
  • Virtual Worlds include opportunities for academic renewal and scholarly conference participation.
  • MALET students and faculty met for the first time in the college Rotunda in Second Life.
  • The SUNY Empire State College Virtual Worlds Affinity Group is formed of faculty and instructional design professionals collaborating for the development of virtual worlds for teaching and learning. This group has a strong scholarly focus as well as creative and technical activities.
  • We are moving beyond Second Life to explore opportunities in Open Sim environments.
  • John Lester and Maria Korolov have graciously participated in our virtual speaker sessions. We plan to continue this series of “conversations with the experts.”
  • Maria spoke to us about the current state of Open Sim worlds for education, with a broad overview of the options, pricing and benefits.
  • Join us for future sessions and events!
  • Join us for future sessions and events!
  • Immerse Yourself – Learn how ESC is Faring as Virtual Goes Open Source

    1. 1. Immerse Yourself – Learn how ESC is Faring as Virtual Goes Open Source Virtual Fall Academic Conference Wednesday, October 24, 2012 Eileen O’Connor Audeliz Matias Nicola Allain Jase Teoh Mark Lewis and the ESC Virtual Worlds Affinity Group
    2. 2. ESC in Virtual Worlds – A Planned Approach –• 2003 – 2004 CDL Ad-Hoc Media and Learning Research Group recommended exploring virtual worlds for teaching and learning.• 2004 Office of Educational Technology invited virtual worlds leaders to speak to college faculty and staff about teaching and learning in virtual worlds.• 2005 Initial funding for virtual worlds initiatives though the Charitable Leadership Foundation (CLF) for: Improving Adult Learner Literacy in Mathematics and Science Through Online Learning.
    3. 3. We Began to BuildAlumni House, 28 Union AveSaratoga Springs, NY
    4. 4. CDL SL CampusInspired by Congress Park
    5. 5. Courses Emerged • Future of Being Center for Human Distance Learning • STEM courses • MBA School of • Policy Graduate Studies • Teacher Education • Virtual building Centers • Possible Human Services
    6. 6. Masters of Arts in Learning & Emerging Technology Courses on virtual learning & community Student showcase (within a virtual environment) Incubator on immersive virtual development Leadership & experimentation
    7. 7. The Future of Being Human
    8. 8. Immersive Learning Experiences for MBA Courses
    9. 9. Students develop original virtual environments creating employee training
    10. 10. Eileen O’Connor’s MATStudent Poster Sessions 12
    11. 11. Attending a Second Life Conference 13
    12. 12. MALET Opening Reception 14
    13. 13. Virtual Worlds Affinity Group
    14. 14. Virtual Worlds at ESC – Moving Forward• Sharing Research, Skills, Resources• Scholarly Collaboration• Exploring open source materials & our own server space• Creating new alliances• Challenging ourselves to grow
    15. 15. Hosting Virtual Speaker Sessions Invited leaders in virtual worlds education • John Lester (previously Pathfinder Linden), a pioneer in virtual worlds education. • Maria Korolov, Editor and Publisher, Hypergrid Business (a leading open sim expert). • More to come in 2013 17
    16. 16. Guest Speaker Maria KorolovPresentation Slides: Editor and Publisher, 18
    17. 17. Forthcoming at the Rotunda• Ongoing Virtual Speaker Series on third Mondays of each month.• Media Arts Festival in December by CDL Media Arts Students• MALET Advanced Design Seminar in SL and Open Sim by graduate students finishing their first year.
    18. 18. For More InformationContact Nicola Marae Allain, PhDChair, Virtual Worlds Affinity GroupRagitake Takakura in Second Lifenicola.allain@esc.eduOr Eileen O’Connor, PhDFounding Chair, Virtual Worlds Affinity GroupEilock Clavenham in Second