Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Guidelines for Meetings and Presentations in Second Life

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Guidelines for Meetings and Presentations in Second Life

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

While the 2D world of Course/Learning Management Systems (C/LMS) like Blackboard/WebCT, Sakai, Desire2Learn (D2L), Moodle, etc. provide rich resources for online interaction/learning/educating, these resources are limited for establishing real time interaction among participants. Among several 3D virtual worlds, the Second Life (SL) has emerged as an important platform for presentations, meetings, and conferences. Many universities have established 3D virtual campuses in SL and many businesses operate in SL as well. IBM, for example, has been a leader in SL where it operates over 50 islands and holds conferences and meetings with employees, and sales meetings with prospective/current customers. While C/LMS support distance education, these systems are limited to interaction among participants in a 2D world. However, SL offers a much richer interactive environment that can be combined with a traditional C/LMS. In fact, SLoodle integrates the strengths of Moodle with SL and is in the free domain. This manuscript discusses the many uses and benefits of SL for online meetings and conferences and presents guidelines for new users of SL in an educational setting.

INTRODUCTION

Challenging Economic Times

Many governments, for-profit, and non-profit organizations throughout the world are facing limited resources to meet existing demands. The adverse economic conditions in the US and in much of the world have created challenges for US organizations. As of June 2012, the U.S. total national debt was $15.87 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office projects a $1.1 trillion federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2012. For the last several years, the US total national debt has been increasing along with increases in the federal deficits. In addition, many states have been running deficits for a few years and will continue to do so for some time (CNN, 201 1). The financial situation is not much better for many businesses and non-profit organizations. There are strong incentives in most organizations to reduce expenses while maintaining or increasing productivity. Many universities and colleges are faced with limited resources to serve an increasing student population. This calls for innovative solutions to current problems and challenges.

One way to more efficiently utilize scarce resources is by offering online courses and degree programs and many educational institutions either already offer such programs and/or have plans to start offering such programs. Typically, such online programs utilize the Course/Learning Management Systems (C/LMS) like Blackboard/WebCT, Moodle etc. While quite useful than simply web-based alternatives, these C/LMS are for the large part limited to the use of two dimensional technologies; they support interactive teaching/learning opportunities but such interactions are limited compared with what could be accomplished in a virtual 3D environment. After all, people are 3D and interact more naturally in a 3D world whether virtual or real. There are many virtual worlds (http://www.virworld.com/virtual-worlds-directory/) and Second Life (SL) is the most mature 3D virtual world and is best suited for educational organizations. The Destination Guide for SL http://secondlife.com/destinations/learning lists 75 Educational & Non-Profit Organizations that have a presence in SL at this time.

Linden Lab, based in San Francisco, is the creator of Second Life. Over time, their SL viewer has become very user friendly and Linden Lab provides a lot of helpful information within the SL viewer and also at the SL website. In addition, books by Rymaszewiski et al. (2009), Rufer-Bach (2009), and Wood (2001) provide an excellent introduction to the various aspects of SL and serve as a good reference for the new comers to SL.

Purpose and Scope

We will describe here various uses and benefits of a virtual world like SL. We will also present guidelines for effective use of SL for meetings and presentations in SL and a list of places to visit in SL. …

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