A friend of mine who goes to SUNY Purchase is taking a class in Second Life! While I don’t know too much about it, he explained to me the basics: the class meets twice per week in a computer lab. They conduct some of the class as their avatars and some of the class in real life. Additionally, their coursework includes spending a certain amount of out-of-class time in Second Life observing the people there and participating (it is a Sociology class).

I did some more research on college classes in Second Life and found an interesting article about a Comparative Literature class at DeSales University in Schnecksville, PA. In their class the professor was able to recreate the setting of the book her class was reading, so it was like they were literally having class in the book.

To me, this seems to be getting the most utility possible out of a resource like Second Life. As their avatars, the students could experience the book as if they were characters—what a cool interactive experience!

This opens a lot of doors for other subjects. Chemistry students could potentially perform dangerous experiments with inaccessible chemicals in Second Life, or medical students could even practice procedures if the technology would allow them to (perhaps it already does; I don’t know).

Additionally, there is a forum for educators who want to utilize Second Life for the ultimate classroom experience. They can exchange information or bounce ideas around with fellow teachers and professors who are also becoming accustomed to this new and developing technology. As a graduation senior, I have to say that I am sad I will never have the chance to experience a college class in Second Life.

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