Second Life is a 3D virtual world where users interact in simulated 3D spaces. In the context of higher education, educators have realised the potential for 3D virtual worlds to enhance the student experience, particularly in distance education (DE). In Second Life, not only can students exchange messages in real-time, they can see the animated images of each other. Avatars, created to represent the user in the virtual environment, can then interact with each other and their surroundings. Interactions in a virtual world can help to build a sense of community in DE courses. The Second Life project at the University of Glasgow was initiated to promote a sense of “being at” the University of Glasgow for online distance education students. The aim is to create a space where students can interact with each other and their tutors in an environment that promotes a feeling of “being part of” the University.
At present the University of Glasgow’s area on SL encompasses the Gilbert Scott Building, which is equipped with a virtual café, conference room, tutorial spaces and orientation area. In addition, the Wolfson Medical building houses further tutorial rooms and conference spaces, and further developments to create laboratory and clinical simulations are in planning.
The University of Glasgow virtual campus in Second Life - a tour:
- University of Glasgow Virtual Campus on Second Life
- Introduction to Second Life
- Second Life: GUSL Getting Started Guide
- Second Life: Poster Area
- Visit our virtual campus: gla.ac/secondlife