Last spring I shot video interviews of my students talking about various aspects of Second Life. I collected about thirty minutes of footage from each student and from those interviews I created a series of three five minute videos. Each video focuses on a different aspect of learning in Second Life; the learning curve, project based learning, and what makes learning in SL different. As a recap, I taught a course called Working in Virtual Worlds as an undergraduate Information Studies course. The class was scheduled as a face to face course but we primarily met in Second Life. Students worked on a variety of projects where they engaged members of the Second Life community in a variety of activities.

This first video focuses on overcoming the learning curve in Second Life. Over the years I’ve conducted quite a bit of research in this area and i wanted to provide an avenue for current and potential teachers in Second Life to hear directly from students about their experiences.

I hope you find this video useful and I look forward to hearing your comments. I will release the next two videos in this series over the next three weeks.
Joe Sanchez

9 Responses

  1. Great video Joe! It’s good to hear student perspectives about how they experience Second Life, and from an instructor perspective, the “Hero’s Journey” is a great metaphor for engaging students and scaffolding the learning experience.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great video, I really enjoyed your students perspectives. Letting students have a little land of their own and being able to create their own world is a great motivator.

  3. Eagerly awaiting the next video! I’m going to show this one to our dean of academic services as part of a report I’m doing for her. Thanks!

  4. Great material, but I have to ask: what got left on the hard drive? How many students were interviewed? Were negative or skeptical comments left out, or were all students interviewed positive?

    I will use this with my students; looking forward to the next videos.

    Kabbie Broadway

  5. Great question Kabbie. The interviews were taped at the end of the semester after the students had completed their final projects so they were all feeling pretty good. Most of the “negative’ feelings about SL in my courses go away after the first assignment (week 1 life story). I’ve taught ten semesters in Second Life along with several summer camps and other types of SL workshops. When i orientate students it is based on user experience research I’ve been conducting in SL since 2006. The “negative’ feelings students report can all be overcome by setting expectations and by scaffolding learning experiences so that students are challenged yet able to complete assigned tasks. It also helps that i can answer and solve any tech related or SL problems they encounter. I have a chapter where i detail my method as a Library Technology Report, it is available in EBSCO ( a blog post about the report is here

    Honestly i think i’m one of the most outspoken voices about the “negative” feelings students report in SL. Now as to your great question about what is left on the hard drive, most of the students comments were very similar so i decided to categorize the interviews into three big ideas: learning curve, project based learning, and what makes LS different. All of the comments students had about learning SL or figuring it out were put into the learning curve video. Comments where students talked about their projects were put into project based learning. Random comments about embodiment, avatars, comparisons to RL learning, and SL community were placed into Why SL is different. Some of the clips that did not make the videos were outlier clips that i couldn’t “fit” into a narrative or students weren’t able to articulate their ideas in a way suitable for a video. With that said, these are not research interviews and are not to be taken as such. These clips are just students reflecting on their work.

  6. Hey Joe,

    I’m posting this to thank you for your fine work. I just blogged it out, resisting the urge to embed it so as to drive folks to your own blog. This is simply stellar, and I can’t imagine these videos not being added to the ISTE SIGVE wiki Resources page (just Google it)–especially since I’m about to go do it right now!

    I’m hoping you will be in touch for a share session during ISTE2010 in Denver, CO, through the new Virtual Environments Playground. We’ll start putting together scheduling for that soon, and if you can share there, either in Denver or inworld, we’d love to have you!

    Keep up the great work!

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