Friday, January 22, 2010


That was the title of the AU sponsored full-day workshop that I attended yesterday. The main focus was on Second Life, but at first, virtual worlds were put into a general academic perspective, and there was some history of their development, history, and their current popularity.

A demonstration of the AU island was particularly interesting. Visitors to the site can tour the campus in a variety of ways including a zipline. They can get course and program information, and they can even access the forms necessary to register. However, I had to note that there was a real disconnect between this futuristic model and the reality of our teaching situation. If any student were to register through SL, I think that student would be in for a shock when the course materials arrive in the mail.

In a later part of the workshop we looked at some of the applications of SL in academia. There was a lot of info about bots being used in Health Care areas; at AU, SL is being used within Business and Psychology. Applications to language learning were discussed, but the presenters had limited themselves to academic research on the subject rather than actual usages. I'm hoping that Jody can respond and give some good examples of SL being used to enhance language learning situations.

What was impressive was that the work done of the site to date has been done largely on a volunteer basis by a few interested people. And that led to a discussion about the real life costs involved in building a teaching environment in SL and maintaining it--first life realities impinging on our futuristic vision. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

BAW week 1

The first week of the Becoming a Webhead course was very busy. It's amazing how these courses bring together people with similar interests from around the world. The first week was busy with introductions on a wiki--there are nearly 200 particpants from 54 different countries. We were getting used to the blog and wiki tools associated with this course and doing some readings to prepare us for a "chat". The chat took place in
Tapped In--this is a resource that I wasn't previously familiar with. It proved easy to login, set up, and use, and the chat provided a quick tour of the site. One of the interesting features is that you can set up your own room/office on the site, and others (students) can visit you in the room. So there I was, 7 AM my time, chatting with over 30 people from many different countries. It's not that Tapped In provides different resources from other possible sites, but it's interesting to explore the various possibilities and see which ones seem most useful/friendly  from a personal perspective, and what can be used or adapted for our own teaching situations.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Here's the promised blog for those in the sig to share our interests, experiences and ideas. I hope it will also prove to be a training ground for those of you who are interested in learning how to blog and how blogging can be used to enhance the learning experience for our students.
Comment on this post, and I will send you an invitation to be a co-author on the blog. That way you can publish your own posts. In the sidebar, choose to become a "follower"; that way, we can see who is involved and interested.
If you have questions about how to proceed, again, do so here, and I, or someone else, will try to help.
Happy Blogging!