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Teaching a course in second life


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One professor's experience in teaching a course in Second Life.

Published in: Economy & Finance, Education
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Teaching a course in second life

  1. 1. Teaching in Second Life: Lessons from the field Teaching a Virtual Blended course in Second Life Second Life and Entrepreneurship ½ semester course Babson College Fall, 2007 John Bourne and Erin McCormick
  2. 2. Second Life and Entrepreneurship <ul><li>Graduate course (MBA) offered Fall semester, 2007, at Babson College </li></ul><ul><li>½ semester – 1.5 credit hours ( 7 weeks) </li></ul><ul><li>Blended – one face-to-face meeting at beginning </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual Blended – avatar-face-to-face each week in-world on Babson Island </li></ul><ul><li>Connected to Blackboard </li></ul><ul><li>Course requirement 1 hour presentation, blog postings, wiki </li></ul>
  3. 3. Challenge <ul><li>To evaluate how useful Second Life is for teaching online </li></ul><ul><li>To learn about business-related activities in SL </li></ul><ul><li>To determine what Babson should do in SL. </li></ul><ul><li>Overcoming a perception of SL as only a “game” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Overcoming the “ image” of Second Life.
  5. 5. In the beginning… ...and what do you do here?
  6. 6. And… at the end….
  7. 7. Creating the venue <ul><li>Buy - not make </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$50 invested to start </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Students created venues for their presentation – this was a surprise. </li></ul>Example venue
  8. 8. Course attributes <ul><li>Guest speakers from industry </li></ul><ul><li>Research on entrepreneurship in SL </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Constructivist approach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Presentations by small teams </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Building presentation venues </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>22 students </li></ul><ul><li>Visitors from around the world </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>One Babson alum from New Zealand attended 4 weeks </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Guest speakers <ul><li>President of Green Grotto Studios </li></ul><ul><li>Collosus Linden (invented windlight) </li></ul><ul><li>EMC group on interviewing </li></ul><ul><li>Vivox – the suppliers of second life voice </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing from Babson </li></ul><-President of Green Grotto Studios Colossus Linden – sold company In Waltham to Linden. - >
  10. 10. Administrative support <ul><li>Island </li></ul><ul><li>Encouragement </li></ul><ul><li>Why is Babson interested? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Large evening MBA program online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attacts students </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Intern at Entrepreneurship center </li></ul>
  11. 11. Our intern LN Freenote (students selected their own avatars, including apparel.)
  12. 12. Integration with other tools <ul><li>Blackboard </li></ul><ul><ul><li>URL redirect on Island </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wiki </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog (individual shared!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Podcasts (recorded in-world) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sl Tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The traffic monitor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Holoemitter </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sloodle guestures (by Jeremy Kemp, SJSU) </li></ul><ul><li>FreeView TV set </li></ul>
  13. 13. Brief Syllabus <ul><li>Week 1 – Orientation </li></ul><ul><li>Week 2 – Teaching, presenting </li></ul><ul><li>Week 3 – Interviewing in SL </li></ul><ul><li>Week 4 – Voice/Vivox </li></ul><ul><li>Week 5 - Linden Labs and Green Grotto </li></ul><ul><li>Week 6 – Presentations </li></ul><ul><li>Week 7 – Presentations/discussion </li></ul>
  14. 14. Presentation agenda (posted on island)
  15. 15. Getting started – the educational tools of “doing” in-world <ul><li>Showed students how to use FreeView TV and Sloodle gestures </li></ul><ul><li>Let them practice in the field </li></ul><ul><li>Practiced talking, using text with audio, IM’ing and Chat </li></ul><ul><li>Worked on viewer manipulation </li></ul>
  16. 16. The TV <ul><li>Put TV anywhere </li></ul><ul><li>Move TV </li></ul><ul><li>Click on Content </li></ul><ul><li>Drag jpg to content </li></ul><ul><li>When done – take </li></ul>
  17. 17. Getting ready to show slides In the auditorium How to create powerpoint Presentations in-world
  18. 18. Adding classroom gestures
  19. 19. Some photos of what students showed
  20. 25. How to do podcasts with SL <ul><li>Difficult with virtual audio cable (a product) </li></ul><ul><li>Finally used: analog mixer </li></ul><ul><li>Microphone mixed with speaker output fed back to line-in works </li></ul><ul><li>Used Audacity to record, 11 mbps </li></ul><ul><li>Converted to MP3 8 levels.. 5 MB/hour, uploaded to Blackboard </li></ul>
  21. 26. Student engagement Students tended to spend more time on this class
  22. 27. Teamwork Two thirds thought that team work was easier or about the same as in A traditional class.
  23. 28. Access
  24. 29. Learning
  25. 30. On-ground vs SL experience
  26. 31. Travel as a factor
  27. 32. Constructivist approach evaluation
  28. 33. Some Major Findings <ul><li>Social presence vastly improved over traditional online courses (e.g. pure asynchronous and mixed synchronous and asynchronous) </li></ul><ul><li>Speakers from anywhere much more willing to participate. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alumni participate! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mixing synchronous and asynchronous works well for SL+Blackboard </li></ul><ul><li>Students are energized by paradigm </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring of presence works </li></ul><ul><li>Invention flourishes (example: creation of meeting spaces) </li></ul><ul><li>Exploration works </li></ul><ul><li>Students say then get to know people better than with pure asynchronous online </li></ul>
  29. 34. More findings <ul><li>Experiential learning is key </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional presentation methods form a bridge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students invent their own way of presenting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Voice is essential </li></ul><ul><li>Buddy system for exploring works </li></ul><ul><li>Students are “captured” by the experience </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of visitors </li></ul><ul><li>Speakers easy to get </li></ul><ul><li>Social presence is palpable </li></ul>
  30. 35. Improvements needed. <ul><li>Issue: The course needs an easy way to get acquainted with SL </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Answer: Tour, bootcamp, buddy system </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Issue: A way around technical problems (these were MBA students) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Answer: Fortunately computers are getting more robust – same problem when we started online learning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Issue: Name issue – wanted RL names </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Answer: SL names are just to confusing – solution is a name tag (floating above head) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Issue: Audio is not good enough. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Answer: Use group audio – much better (note most SL users do not know about this) </li></ul></ul>
  31. 36. Acknowledgements <ul><li>Patti Green, Provost Babson College </li></ul><ul><li>Candy Brush: Division of Entrepreneurship, Babson College </li></ul><ul><li>Wendy Silverman, Babson College </li></ul><ul><li>Frank Mayadas, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Gail Sullivan, Kathleen Ives, Sloan Consortium </li></ul><ul><li>..and to the many guests and Babson alumni who participated </li></ul><ul><li>.. John Bourne ( </li></ul>