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101 Uses for Second Life in College Classrooms

101 Uses for Second Life in College Classrooms

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101 Uses for Second Life in the College Classroomhttp://trumpy.cs.elon.edu/metaversePage 1 of 31
101 Uses for Second Life in the College Classroom
Dr. Megan S. ConklinElon UniversityDepartment of Computing Sciencesmconklin@elon.eduhttp://trumpy.cs.elon.edu/metaverseVersion 2.0Last updated: February 25, 2007
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 HowardStreet, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.
 
Introduction and History of this Document2.
 
Getting Started2.1.
 
Physical Setup2.2.
 
Bandwidth2.3.
 
Downtime2.4.
 
Introductory Material (Books, Blogs, Wikis)2.5.
 
The SL Forums2.6.
 
Orientation2.7.
 
Choosing Last Names2.8.
 
Choosing First Names2.9.
 
Setting Up User Groups3.
 
In-World Dynamics3.1.
 
The Lindens3.2.
 
Money and Stipends3.3.
 
Unsafe, Mature, PG3.4.
 
Creating a Safe Lab3.5.
 
How to Report Abuse4.
 
Sample Assignments4.1.
 
Avatar and Identity4.2.
 
Build a Chair 4.3.
 
Simple Scripting4.4.
 
Compare to Snow Crash4.5.
 
Scavenger Hunt5.
 
Classroom Objectives, Issue-by-Issue5.1.
 
Cooperation Games5.2.
 
Reputation Economy5.3.
 
Sharing economy5.4.
 
Monetary Policies and Gaming Economies5.5.
 
Grey Markets
 
101 Uses for Second Life in the College Classroomhttp://trumpy.cs.elon.edu/metaversePage 2 of 315.6.
 
Business Simulation5.7.
 
Real Estate5.8.
 
Intellectual Property5.9.
 
Sweatshops5.10.
 
Class and Status5.11.
 
Subcultures5.12.
 
Religion5.13.
 
Marriage and Relationships5.14.
 
Death and Dying5.15.
 
Race5.16.
 
Gender 5.17.
 
Crime and Punishment5.18.
 
Legal5.19.
 
Anti-Terrorism and Military Training5.20.
 
Avatars and Identity5.21.
 
Experiments in Government5.22.
 
Disabilities, Illness, Awareness5.23.
 
Gambling5.24.
 
Geography5.25.
 
Language and Culture5.26.
 
Art, Public Art, and Theater 5.27.
 
Biology5.28.
 
Mathematics5.29.
 
Programming5.30.
 
Physics5.31.
 
Astronomy6. References7. AcknowledgementsAPPENDIX A: Dailey Bibliography
1. INTRODUCTION AND HISTORY OF THIS DOCUMENT
The 1.0 version of this document was originally presented as part of the Second LifeSymposium at the Games, Learning, and Society Conference [1], June 23-24, 2005 inMadison, WI. The featured speakers for this symposium were Cory Ondrejka and JamesCook with
 Brace for Impact: How User Creation Changes Everything 
[2].In my short portion of that same symposium, I presented a variety of ways to use theonline virtual world Second Life in the college classroom. Second Life is a 3-D virtualworld created by Linden Lab [3] in 2003. In 2004, the company launched an innovativeeducational program which makes the software free for approved university courses [4].My piece of this symposium began with a brief discussion of how I have used SecondLife in my own classes. Although I am a faculty member in the Computing Sciencesdepartment at Elon University [5], I teach a 300-level General Studies course that isdesigned for 3
rd
and 4
th
year students from all majors to meet their general education
 
101 Uses for Second Life in the College Classroomhttp://trumpy.cs.elon.edu/metaversePage 3 of 31requirements. My course (
 Imagining Technology
) focuses on the future of technology,and it has a different theme each year (inventions, hacking, virtual communities, artificialintelligence, etc). Second Life helps me meet my course goals in a variety of ways, whichI will share with you in this document.The information presented at the conference and summarized in this handout (and nowupdated in the 2.0 version) is based on my personal experience using the software, aswell as my readings and ideas for how a variety of academic disciplines might be able tomake use of the software. These ideas are grouped and outlined in an easy-to-read formatfor the participants to refer to later, and include listings of sample assignments, essaytopics, discussion topics, and in-world activities that I have developed for use by mystudents.
2. GETTING STARTED
2.1 Physical SetupThe physical requirements of the machine running SL are a significant considerationwhen planning lab space for your course. You will need sufficient graphics cards and bandwidth for each machine that will be connecting.In addition to these physical requirements, the SL software (client) may need to beupgraded frequently. This requires that a user get the new client either by (1) going to thedownloads area of the Second Life web site [6], then getting the newest client for thecorrect operating system, or by (2) trying to run the software and following the "upgradenow" prompts. In either case, the new software will need to be saved to the file system onthe local machine. This will require some write privileges on the machine. Someeducators have indicated that this can be an issue if their lab machines are using a disk image that is overwritten each day.To cut down on class time spent on doing these tedious installation procedures, I went tothe lab each day before class and logged into the machines, then upgraded each of themindividually. This way, the students could jump right into their work and we wouldn'twaste class time downloading Second Life clients for all the computers.2.2 BandwidthIn addition to graphics card requirements, SL takes quite a bit of network bandwidth. Inthe SL forums and on blogs, serious home players often talk about having dual highspeed"his and hers" solutions (one person will use cable, one person DSL) to try to avoid someof the lag associated with pulling massive amounts of data over the wire for rendering onthe client machines. In my case, it turned out that this was not a problem in our particular lab. My original plan for the first day of in-class SL use was to bring up each section of the lab separately, 5 students at a time.2.3 Downtime

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