About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5087-5094
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain

A STATEWIDE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM (16 CAMPUSES) CREATES COLLABORATIVE LEARNING COMMUNITIES IN SECOND LIFE

L. Jones Eaton, M. Guerra, S. Corliss

The University of Texas at Austin (UNITED STATES)
PURPOSE
For the first time in history, an entire statewide public institution of higher education is extending all of its 16 campuses into the online virtual world of Second Life and is creating one of the largest virtual collaborative learning communities in the world.

RESEARCH METHODS
There are three levels of assessment and research for this initial-entry project: (1) at the System level, to collect and analyze data that records the process of an entire state university system’s preliminary entry into an online virtual learning environment under Internal Review Board (IRB) -approved procedures; (2) at the individual campus level, to track and analyze the process of preliminary entry throughout the year, comparing the similarities and differences in campus experiences under IRB-approved procedures; and (3) to encourage individual participating faculty at each campus a voluntary basis to assess the impact of the virtual environment on student learning outcomes in their courses following under IRB-approved procedures.
Questions to be addressed include: How can educators use virtual worlds to create large scale learning communities? What are examples of projects pioneered by a statewide system in Second Life? How do virtual worlds enhance collaborative and interdisciplinary learning? How are 16 geo-spatially separated campuses collaborating in virtual worlds? How is project success being measured? What have been major obstacles? How is the project being documented and credentialed? What are current outcomes? How will this project continue to grow & evolve?

RESULTS & CONCLUSIONS
The creation of the System’s virtual collaborative learning community of students, faculty, researchers and administrators has begun to allow participants to learn, share, collaborate and grow alongside one another as new model variations emerge and as diverse needs and challenges surface. Step by step in the evolving system-wide virtual learning community, all of these players - and especially our undergraduates – are seen as learners with expanded roles: learners as scientists, learners as designers, learners as researchers, learners as communicators, learners as collaborators. The ethic of the model is generosity: passing it on to colleagues and peers and thereby widely extending everyone’s own support network. [Note: actual findings will be included in final draft of paper, if accepted].

SCHOLARLY SIGNIFICANCE
As virtual worlds become more main-stream and as the underlying technology becomes more transparent, the allure of connecting geo-spatially-distant teachers and students, researchers and community members using virtual environments is expected to attract even more participants. Educational organizations across sectors, including corporate, public, nonprofit, and educational institutions, will undoubtedly create their own presence in this growing learning environment. As of April 2009, International Business Machines (IBM) had over 6,000 employees conducting company operations across 50 islands in SL (Linden Lab, 2009).
Finally, the first-in-the-world model presented in this paper is already helping to extend its reach into virtual world learning environments, increasing student access to quality higher education, and reducing instructional costs. We hope that this initiative can serve as a learning model for other statewide systems of higher education as they consider entry at a large scale into virtual world environment learning communities.
@InProceedings{JONESEATON2010AST,
author = {Jones Eaton, L. and Guerra, M. and Corliss, S.},
title = {A STATEWIDE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM (16 CAMPUSES) CREATES COLLABORATIVE LEARNING COMMUNITIES IN SECOND LIFE},
series = {2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN10 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-9386-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {5-7 July, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {5087-5094}}
TY - CONF
AU - L. Jones Eaton AU - M. Guerra AU - S. Corliss
TI - A STATEWIDE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM (16 CAMPUSES) CREATES COLLABORATIVE LEARNING COMMUNITIES IN SECOND LIFE
SN - 978-84-613-9386-2/2340-1117
PY - 2010
Y1 - 5-7 July, 2010
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN10 Proceedings
SP - 5087
EP - 5094
ER -
L. Jones Eaton, M. Guerra, S. Corliss (2010) A STATEWIDE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM (16 CAMPUSES) CREATES COLLABORATIVE LEARNING COMMUNITIES IN SECOND LIFE, EDULEARN10 Proceedings, pp. 5087-5094.
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