TCC08: Second Life: Teaching Tips from the Virtual Frontier

Lyr Lobo at TCC2008 Preview EventPresented by Cynthia M. Calongne, Colorado Technical University

OK, I admit that I’m not really expecting to be able to apply anything in Second Life for my current job. However, Cynthia is a sweetie and a great presenter, and I want to see the neat things she’s doing.

People are interested in avatars, sense of self

Tips for Teaching in a Virtual World

  • People: sense of presence
  • Places: learning environment
  • Content: course design
  • Assessment: assignments, rubrics

Sense of Presence

  • Appearance–like real or ideal self? Do you want to look exactly like yourself? Different people make different choices
  • Movement–it matters how you stand, sit, walk, dance, etc.
  • Communication–voice, text, gestures. Crucial to being successful for learning


  • If the technology is not working with the behavior, change the behavior
  • Have to be flexible when working with technology (considering the problems with slides for this presentation, that is very true)

Groups: Have students use groups so you can easily share messages and items. Also sends emails for asynchronous communication. Can use kiosks with info for asynchronous communication too.

Uses small groups for collaborative work. Works best to have each student create subsections of a project, then integrate the sections at the end.

Experimental Design Classrooms

  • Virtual classrooms don’t have to have desks in rows
  • If you want students to be active, create an environment to encourage that
  • “Why create the brick and mortar when you can do magic?”
  • In her environments, students sometimes don’t leave when class is done–they stay to play more
  • Had students put avatars in wheelchairs to think about how to design for that restriction–good for teaching accessibility issues

Site to compare virtual worlds provided in chat:

The world keeps changing, so it affects how objects behave. The changes teach you to be more tolerant and accepting of change and problems.

Dr. Dobbs Life 2.0:

Second Life is a “context-rich environment”

Meetings can mix people in SL and outside–you can use a webcam from outside SL that is projected in-world. Sloodle lets someone who is logged into Moodle chat with someone else in SL

Teaching and Learning in SL

  • Office hours in SL
  • She is more social in-world than in RL
  • Roleplay & conflict
  • Blended reality

80% of the world’s internet users will be in a virtual world by 2011

Suffern Middle School students acted out trial from Of Mice and Men

Autism & Aspberger research in SL–virtual worlds can be helpful

Important to be familiar with camera controls so you can control what you see

Social networking–Cynthia Twitters for backchannel while in SL

Learning environment should include

  • communication tools
  • content
  • variety of course delivery methods

Teaching object creation–she has samples of each stage, gives them the textures, they can walk through each step with an example

Edumuve: sites of interest to educators in Second Life

She has “stuff” available in world so you can contact her and ask (Lyr Lobo in SL)

Her slides are available on Slideshare


Lyr Lobo at TCC2008 Preview Event by WI Burt

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3 thoughts on “TCC08: Second Life: Teaching Tips from the Virtual Frontier”

  1. Pingback: My History of Live Blogged Notes | Experiencing E-Learning

  2. I am using two computers. I run an open source program called Synergy that lets me share the mouse and keyboard back and forth between the two. It’s effectively a virtual KWM switch. This is my usual setup for working. I do a lot of switching back and forth during the day between my laptop and PC.

    Liveblogging an online conference has been a little challenging. I haven’t ever done this much liveblogging in such a short period of time before. I’ve done a lot of single webinars and one live conference, but nothing on this scale. Last year I just did a summary post on ubiquitous learning after this conference. I think the act of doing the summary was a good reflection, but I don’t think I’ve really looked at the rest of my notes from TCC07. One of my hopes is that I’ll be more able to find and use my notes from this conference because I’ve recorded them here and can easily search through them.

  3. Christy – are you using 2 computers (one for blogging, one for the conference), or just one?
    How are you finding the experience of liveblogging an online conference?

    Just curious. Hope the conference is going well.
    – Wendy

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