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Thursday, August 02, 2007

USA Today Second Life Article

Beth Sussman's August 2, 2007 article on Second Life in Education has appeared.

Drexel Island got a mention:

Jean-Claude Bradley, chemistry professor and e-learning coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel University, says he uses it as an optional study tool but wouldn't be comfortable teaching a class exclusively in Second Life.

Bradley says only about 10 of his 200 organic chemistry students used Second Life more than once last spring. But those who did found it an effective way to study.

"This is a new way to interact with me and each other," he says. "I can show them molecules in three dimensions. We can walk around the molecule and discuss it."

"Kids who used Second Life put more time into the class," says chemistry major Tim Bohinski.

Bradley is trying to get more departments to use the "land" the university bought in Second Life; Drexel Island is shaped like a dragon, the school's mascot.

Universities and other academic institutions pay a reduced rate to buy land to build structures and develop the environment. The first-time cost for a 16-acre private university island is $980, and monthly land fees are $150.

Drexel also pays for developers to build up the island, Bradley says. Students can sign up for free basic membership and use Second Life at no cost, just as anyone can.

Beth's work was also featured:

On a Tuesday night, Beth Ritter-Guth joins her eight literature students for class. Next to a grave.
Well, not a real grave. She teaches her contemporary literature course online, in Second Life.

The class met on Willow Springs-Mama Day Island, designed around the novel that the class was reading, Mama Day by Gloria Naylor. The students visited the grave of a character, then wrote obituaries.

"I build environments where students can really explore the literature," says Ritter-Guth, of DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa., and Lehigh Carbon Community College in Schnecksville, Pa. "It's the novel in 3-D."


  • The 3 dimensional aspect is something many people don't see the value in - perhaps because they didn't have it. But imagine exposing younger people to the same things... there is a payoff.

    You can describe things in 2D until you're blue in the face - but it's only in 3D that some things come to light. Congrats on your mention. I'll have to pop over and have a look sometime. :-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:43 AM  

  • Thanks NF - hopefully I'll see you on the island soon.

    By Blogger Jean-Claude Bradley, at 12:22 PM  

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