Virtual University Collaboration: ENCKE

The Australian Digital Futures Institute is powering on with its work in virtual worlds. Coming up in a few weeks is their 2-day ENCKE Virtual University Collaboration (ENCKE isn’t an acronym, but a comet bringing change).

The details:

This unique event will begin with an intensive two day in-world meeting. Over the following 4 weeks some of the main ideas and concepts for virtual teaching, learning and meeting spaces developed by participants will be constructed on the new virtual university island (with assistance from professional SL builders). Then over the next 3 months participants will be able to book and use these spaces for their own teaching and learning sessions, role plays and meetings. During this time there will be informal follow-up and evaluation meetings. Traditional conferences last a few days and allow for ideas to be presented and for some follow-up discussion to occur.

The plan is to have the virtual university island(s) as an ongoing collaborative and space to allow for construction and testing of applications of virtual world technologies to university teaching and learning. We welcome your ideas and suggestions for this and future events.

When: 27 & 28 October 2011, 10am to 5pm Australian EST

Where: On a new Second Life island (slurl to be advised)

Registration: The fee to participate is AUD$325 (inc. GST) and includes the conference and related workshop, tutorial, demonstration and tour session plus 3 months access to the constructed spaces. It is expected that participants will have a SL avatar and have acquired at the least the basic skills of interacting in a virtual environment. The event is limited to 50 participants. We do expect the event to be fully subscribed so please register early to secure your place.

Check out our scoop.it page: http://www.scoop.it/t/virtual-university-education-in-virtual-worlds/

Registration available at: http://adfi.usq.edu.au/encke.html

Popularity: 1% [?]

Education and Second Life: the fear factor

The prolific machinima man, Draxtor Depres, has produced a concise but effective piece on education in Second Life.

Educators familiar with virtual environments will perhaps find this a useful advocacy tool when trying to get a point across in a short timeframe. Those totally new to the area may find it straightforward enough to be interested in finding out more.

It’s also timely given the 3rd Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education is running over the weekend.

There’s never any shortage of new and innovative work going on in regards to education, but the challenge remains in (dare I use a non-word) ‘mainstreaming’ these activities, and machinima is certainly one of the weapons in that arsenal.

Anyway, here it is:

Popularity: 1% [?]

Time to take out the intellectual trash?

Malcolm King is a former media adviser to the ALP and Australian Democrats. He’s written a piece on virtual worlds and it’s fair to say he’s scathing of their potential.

Once you wade through the hyperbole King himself engages in while condemning the excesses of virtual worlds, there are some valid points made. However, one point that seems totally over the top is the claim that virtual worlds are “not the place for serious dialogue”. I doubt Mr King has ever had any involvement with some of the health and education projects in Second Life if he believes that. The fact he called Linden Lab ‘Linden Corp’ tells me direct familiarity with Second Life is limited at best.

Popularity: 2% [?]

‘edna’ arrives in Second Life

Terra Incognita is a veteran education presence in Second Life that we’ve covered previously. It’s an area that next week will be hosting the launch of a new service by edna (Education Network Australia).


The full announcement:

“Education Network Australia – better known as edna – is celebrating ten years of service to the Australian education and training sector on Tuesday, 27 November and is inviting educators from across the country to jump online and in-world to join the celebration.

From 3pm Adelaide time education.au, the company that manages the edna web site and related services, will be doing a live broadcast of presentations and the unveiling of the new myedna service on the island of Terra Icognita.

Pick up a free t-shirt, indulge in some virtual cake and champagne and, following the formalities, your avatar can rock out to popular Second Life band Space Junky.

For educators that don’t have the broadband or hardware to participate in Second Life, there is a parallel being held in edna’s Sandpit Groups using Live Classroom web conferencing software.

For more information, visit the 10th birthday page on the edna web site.

Check it out in-world

Popularity: 6% [?]

Monash Uni: closed island?

In an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald this week, I was a little surprised at a quote attributed to Monash University’s Dr Melissa de Zwart: “our area won’t be open to the public; you will need to be on an authorised list to get in”.

I try to avoid real-world comparisons but it’s difficult in this case: this is the equivalent of putting a barbed-wire fence across the entrance of the local university. Doesn’t a total closed-door policy from a taxpayer-funded entity go against its purpose as a community facility? RMIT Island has blocked off most of its island from general access but it at least has a public welcome area. As Gary Hayes says in the same article, it’s not hard to prevent damage to a Second Life presence. So why the lockdown?

Perhaps someone attending this event can ask.

Popularity: 2% [?]

Victorian universities run Second Life event

Discover your Second Life is an event hosted by Monash and Swinburne Universities. It’s being held Saturday 17th November at Monash Uni in Caulfield, Victoria.


Registration is required but free.

The speakers arranged are:

Dr. Suku Sinnappan

Gary Hayes

Dr. Mandy Salomon

Jo Kay

Dr. Melissa DeZwart

Debbie McCormick

Glenda McPherson and Malcolm Jolly

Lindy McKeown

Kim Flintoff

Chris Yeoh from IBM

Popularity: 6% [?]