Online virtual worlds

Victoria Szabo, Program Director for Information Science + Information Studies, Arts & Sciences

Project description
ISIS (Information Science + Information Studies) explored Second Life for teaching and learning. Students studied virtual worlds as social phenomena and “texts” as well as technical aspects like 3d modeling, scripting, and virtual space design. Projects included: construction of a student project gallery and virtual labyrinth for the ISIS Focus cluster; research assignments in Gender and Digital Culture; developing virtual world content in ISIS 140 and 240; a “getting started” script garden; a Next Newsroom prototype, and a virtual economics experiment (co-funded by VSI).

ISIS is currently consulting with faculty in several departments: in Education, to create the English Café, in Nursing, to provide an online classroom environment; in Writing, to launch a Virtual Writing Center and with the Office of Institutional Equity to launch a virtual diversity training center. In addition, ISIS explored Croquet, Qwaq, and Project Wonderland to assess appropriate applications.

“We came into this project with some experience with Second Life, but also with the broader goal of understanding how virtual world environments can benefit our curriculum as well as be a rewarding object of inquiry. Second Life’s strengths are in its sociability, the ease in getting started, and the support resources available for it. Its limits are in house-only tool, the time it takes for users to get up to speed for construction activities and scripting (as opposed to just participating), and the challenges in integrating it into other systems.”

–Victoria Szabo

Find out more about these virtual world explorations, consider using Second Life in your class,  or learn how to get started with Second Life.

Project start date: 5/4/2007
Funding awarded: $ 2,500

More information:
Focus Cluster on Virtual Realities
Course descriptions
Project wiki
Second Life at Duke