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Adventures in research and teaching in Second Life®


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From pre-conference workshop, Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division, Association of American Publishers, Washington, DC, February 4, 2009

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Adventures in research and teaching in Second Life®

  1. 1. Susan Toth-Cohen, Ph.D., OTR/L (SL – Zsuzsa Tomsen ) Jefferson College of Health Professions, Philadelphia, PA Adventures in Research and Teaching at the Jefferson Occupational Therapy Center in Second Life® Professional and Scholarly Publishing, Association of American Publishers, Washington, DC, February 4, 2009
  2. 2. Basic Questions <ul><li>What exactly are virtual worlds? </li></ul><ul><li>How did they come about? </li></ul><ul><li>Is Second Life the only one? </li></ul><ul><li>What are academic researchers and educators doing there? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Virtual Worlds: Offspring of gaming & virtual reality (Siva, 2008) <ul><li>A synchronous, persistent network of people, represented as avatars, facilitated by networked computers. (Bell, 2008, p. 2) </li></ul><ul><li>Many virtual worlds exist, for people of all ages, which may be used for many purposes </li></ul>Virtual Reality Gaming
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  5. 5. Characteristics of Virtual Worlds 1. Shared Space : many users can participate at once. 2. Graphical User Interface : depicts space visually 3. Immediacy : interaction takes place in real time. 4. Interactivity : users create or alter content. 5. Persistence : continues to exist regardless of whether individual users are logged in. 6. Socialization/Community : allows and encourages in-world social groups Play2 Train
  6. 6. Unique Features of Virtual World Education <ul><li>Deliver information and reach new audiences in a cost-effective manner </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborate with other disciplines and institutions to develop projects </li></ul><ul><li>Meet needs of learners accustomed to virtual environments </li></ul>
  7. 7. T he Jefferson Occupational Therapy Center in Second Life ®
  8. 8. Current Aims of Project <ul><li>Provide exhibits on health and wellness for residents of the virtual world and conduct ongoing evaluation and improvement of these exhibits </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborate with health professionals and consumers/residents to create the content and format of the exhibits, and </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a way that graduate students can learn to deliver health information for consumers that is engaging, accurate, and benefits everyday life. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Exhibits Produced <ul><li>Healthy Aging </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptation Home </li></ul><ul><li>Carpal Tunnel Syndrome </li></ul><ul><li>Backpack Awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Stroke Awareness </li></ul>
  10. 10. Healthy Aging Exhibit Theme: The “garden” of the brain never ceases being pruned and newly planted. This quote from http:// reflects the focus of much research on neuroplasticity.
  11. 11. Adaptation Home Exhibit Displays adaptations for low vision, mobility challenges, and impaired cognitive functioning
  12. 12. Evolution of Second Life ® Focus <ul><li>Bring classes into Second Life ® </li></ul><ul><li>Structured assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Content provided through powerpoints, video, & quizzes </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative projects & exhibits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Program dev. & evaluation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Exploration & brainstorming </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive displays </li></ul><ul><li>Events </li></ul>
  13. 13. Keys to Success of Project <ul><li>Graduate assistants (paid) </li></ul><ul><li>Graduate research students (final MS projects) </li></ul><ul><li>Building and scripting classes </li></ul><ul><li>Active Collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Project focus </li></ul><ul><li>Regularly scheduled meetings & consistent presence in-world </li></ul><ul><li>In-world GROUPS! </li></ul>
  14. 14. Program Development Process <ul><li>Faculty-Student Collaborators Team </li></ul>Weekly Meetings Meeting schedule varies according to project
  15. 15. Program Evaluation <ul><li>Data Sources: </li></ul><ul><li>Online Survey – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Demographics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overall response to all exhibits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specific response to the Healthy Aging exhibit (newly developed) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Follow-up Interview </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Optional with open-ended questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus group (new healthy aging exhibit) </li></ul>Purpose: To further develop and evaluate the content and format of exhibits and visitor response
  16. 16. Institutional Review Board Application <ul><li>3 levels of review: </li></ul><ul><li>Full </li></ul><ul><li>Expedited </li></ul><ul><li>Exempt </li></ul><ul><li>Approved with no revisions or questions </li></ul><ul><li>Procedures for recruitment and consent were patterned after a study conducted by Texas A&M </li></ul><ul><li>Participants recruited through education and healthcare groups and event notices </li></ul><ul><li>Notecard provided for consent </li></ul><ul><li>100L honorarium (about 50 ¢) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Results of Program Evaluation <ul><li>30 survey participants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>11 male, 17 female </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(2 declined to give their gender) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>40% >45 years of age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>83.34% with some years of college </li></ul></ul><ul><li>23 follow-up interviews </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Voluntary face-to-face virtual chats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open-ended questions with probes if needed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Constructive and supportive feedback given </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Survey Findings <ul><li>88.33% strongly agree/agree </li></ul><ul><ul><li>visual, interactive 3-D displays help them learn better than 2-D websites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>80% strongly agree/agree </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the information will be beneficial in real life </li></ul></ul><ul><li>93.33% strongly agree/agree </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the materials were presented clearly </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Backpack Safety Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Healthy Aging Adaptation Home Most Useful Exhibit
  20. 20. Sample Comments: Real Life Applicability <ul><li>I thought the content was immediately applicable and practical…I think it is a great resource for the OT’s in the state. </li></ul><ul><li>I never realized how hard it is for someone in a wheelchair to do basic tasks like get things out of the cabinet in the kitchen! </li></ul><ul><li>I am dealing with aging parents at present and found the suggestions very helpful. We are thinking about re-modeling the bathroom, so it it was timely as well. </li></ul><ul><li>I am in that (older) age group, and knowing that certain things I do…are actually part of a healthy aging lifestyle - and other points - will keep me focused on pro-active strategies. </li></ul><ul><li>the backpack display really helped me out because I carry a lot of weight in my backpack with all my books. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Discussion of Program Evaluation Results <ul><li>Virtual worlds appear to be a promising new venue for promoting health and wellness </li></ul><ul><li>Exhibits in the virtual world can have practical, real world applications </li></ul><ul><li>Participants in program evaluation are partners whose feedback helps improve and expand upon exhibits </li></ul>
  22. 22. Graduate Student Participation <ul><li>Project-based approach provides rich benefits for both graduate students and researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual environment affords unique opportunity for students to develop, test, and refine ideas for educating consumers about important health topics </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration is key for development and review process </li></ul>
  23. 23. Questions about research and teaching in 2 nd Life? Want a full list of references? Email me.