[SLED] Playing Devil's Advocate: SL vs Virtual Worlds vs Better Learning

Dan Holt dholt7 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 26 09:20:53 PST 2009

On Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 8:10 AM, Paula Christopher
<etspec at langate.gsu.edu>wrote:

>  That said, I feel that SL is just another tool in the box. It fits well
> for some situations and not at all for others. My job is to help instructors
> choose the right tools and not select one because students say they need to
> use it or because it's the latest, greatest glitz going.
>  Paula Christopher - RL
> Lizzy Saintlouis - SL

Well, there are different types of tools. Some that are specialized, and
some used by everyone.
At LCC, the one tool everyone uses is the LMS Angel. And I don't mean just
the fully online sections, which this semester, again, is over 9K sections.
Angel, or any LMS, is fine for f2f or hybrid classes (that is, when it
works--it's been really buggy this semester). But for fully online classes,
it lacks the presence and place I mentioned earlier.

I think--as do many on this list--that a fully immersive 3D environment is
the next step in online education, to bring that sense of place and presence
more richly into online learning. Pioneers on this list like Sarah and Iggy
have explored the possibilities. And more and more of us are beginning to
explore the use of MUVEs for online classes. Second Life is the most
promising in the sense that it's been around longer than most and has a
sense of geography, community, and possibility that are quite intriguing for

However, to expect any sizable numbers of sections at my institution to take
that next step, there will need to be a much more seamless easily
manipulable integration of 2D tools and the 3D environment, as Iggy
mentioned--real time access to the 2D web and word-processed documents that
faculty and students can manipulate in world together, to name two of the
most crucial. Project Wonderland promises such access to 2D tools in the 3D
world. If SL doesn't do so, soon, I expect the major forces of higher
education to flock to MUVEs that will offer such.

I envision the ability to sit on a beach, in a mountain cabin, even in an
office in-world, sitting across a desk, or in front of a screen with a
student and looking at a student's essay, both of us being able to make
changes that both see in world, or in world looking at a web site, a library
database, or a video while conferencing. The MUVE that lets me do that with
ease is the one I'll use over and over, and is one where many at my college
will flock to. Maybe not all 9000 sections. But even if a third did so, a
new day in immersive online education will have arrived.

Dan HoltSL: Profdan Netizen
Lansing Community College
Lansing, MI

What if, just as sure as we are pulled toward earth and destined to go down
into it at last, we are also at the same time pulled toward heaven?

Louise Erdrich, The Antelope Wife
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