[eDebate] Debates in Second Life
Tue Dec 23 06:07:08 CST 2008
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What is Second Life?
Second Life? is a 3-D virtual world created by its Residents. Since
opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is
inhabited by millions of Residents from around the globe.
From the moment you enter the World you'll discover a vast digital
continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and
opportunity. Once you've explored a bit, perhaps you'll find a
perfect parcel of land to build your house or business.
You'll also be surrounded by the Creations of your fellow Residents.
Because Residents retain intellectual property rights in their
digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other Residents.
The Marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly
transactions. This commerce is handled with the inworld unit of
trade, the Linden? dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at
several thriving online Linden dollar exchanges.
St. John's University and the University of Vermont announce plans to
hold debates in Second Life. This will be done using the beautiful
facilities of St. John's University within Second Life and with the
technical assistance of the University of Vermont.
Teams from around the world will be able to debate against each other as
long as they have an online computer, a microphone and a speaker.
Distance will be irrelevant.
Sponsors for a series of real time global debates are now being sought.
Those interested in participating can contact Alfred Snider at
alfred.snider at uvm.edu .
A demonstration debate will be held in January 2009. Look for it. To
inspect the space, go to Second Life and search for "St. John's
University" and then teleport to the location. Wander around and check
it out. There are two spaces in which we plan to hold debates, one a
smaller classroom and the other a large auditorium, although oddly
enough with very comfortrable chairs.
In such a debate, the self-designed avatar of each individual debater
will speak in real time using their own voice. Judges seated in the
audience will listen to the debaters, but also be responsible for
calling the house to order, announcing the speakers, and everything else
one would expect of a formal debate. Points of information will be
enabled. At the end of the debate judges will adjourn for a decision and
then return, announcing the decision and explaining it. Audience members
will be seated and watching the event from their own individual perspective.
Second Life offers free membership at http://secondlife.com/
Here is an example of what is being done educationally with Second Life.
Professor tests digital classroom in event management course
Updated: Thursday, December 11, 2008
Imagine waking up to see snow falling outside while still being able
to attend class in the comfort of your pajamas.
At this point it sounds too good to be true, but this reality might
be closer than many people think.
This week, Betsy Barrett, associate professor of hospitality
management and dietetics, with the help of her teaching assistant
Nellie Feehan, junior in hotel and restaurant management, organized
the first K-State class period in the virtual world, ?Second Life.?
About 30 students were enrolled in her course, Convention and Event
Management, which students attended on K-State?s campus all semester.
As a special project, Barrett had her students attend one class
session via Second Life and assigned the students projects to be
presented in the digital classroom.
According to Second Life?s Web site, secondlife.com, Second Life is
a 3-D virtual world created by its residents.
Since opening in 2003, it has expanded and is inhabited by millions
of residents from around the globe.
The students spent weeks creating avatars, which are computer
versions of themselves, and working on their projects. The projects
included presentations for the entire class and a party in Second
Life. The computerized class session was Dec. 4. The students will
organize two other events in Second Life to complete this special
Barrett said the students? party, which was planned for Thursday
afternoon, is to launch the department?s new name, Hospitality
Management and Dietetics, formerly known as Hotel, Restaurant and
Institution Management and Dietetics.
The students planned the event using real-world application measures
of event planning, though they did not need to physically coordinate
the event, Barrett said.
Larry Jackson, director of information and educational technology,
first approached Barrett at a technology meeting about the
opportunity to teach in Second Life.
?Educational organizations are becoming a force in Second Life,
where it?s not so much anymore about watching some second persona I
have, it?s becoming more a tool for educational purposes,? Jackson said.
?That?s what our interest at K-State is. It?s about how to use this
environment for an educational purpose that makes students and
others go away smarter than when they arrived, and it?s a really
great tool for that.?
Jackson helped instruct Barrett and Feehan on the use of Second Life
and helped them find a location, called an ?island? in Second Life,
which Barrett leased for one month for this special project.
The pair was then ready to introduce the students to a new platform
Barrett was quick to point out that the help of her TA was
instrumental in reaching the goal.
?Nellie has done a lot to help me,? she said. ?She really knows the
ins and outs of the technology of Second Life. She has helped the
students out a lot throughout the project.?
Aside from just being able to avoid inclement weather to attend
class, Second Life opens the doors to a borderless world.
?These students could have been in the Port of Maine if they wanted
to and still attended class,? Barrett said. ?They could have been in
their offices at home or wherever and still got the information.?
Online classes and events also provide the opportunity to cut costs.
?I would like to be able to be in my house and still go to class,?
said Jessica Smith, sophomore in food science and industry. ?If we
had the opportunity, I think most students would want to do that.
Also, it might lower costs since all we would need to do is pay the
Alfred C. Snider aka Tuna
Edwin Lawrence Professor of Forensics
University of Vermont
Huber House, 475 Main Street, UVM, Burlington, VT 05405 USA
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