Monday, August 17, 2015

Abandoned Virtual College Campuses In Second Life

Description: In the middle of a virtual beach is docked a cartoonishly
rendered pirate ship, complete with a large skull and crossbones flag.
Close to a decade ago, everyone from web forums to the Wall Street Journal were going gaga over the apparent possibilities available in the virtual MMO sandbox environment Second Life. Amongst the clamor from people interested in joining a virtual gold rush, living out vampire roleplay idea, cybering with a robot or griefing newbies, a number of colleges snapped up ownership of virtual land to set up virtual campuses. Writing for Fusion, Patrick Hogan decided to see if any of these virtual campuses were still standing... and if so, what sort of things he'd find in these abandoned virtual campuses? The findings were equal parts mundane and bizarre (like the pirate ship pictured at left that held a rather plain looking conference lounge). As Hogan writes:

I actually like how most of these islands represent an attempt by education institutions to embrace the weirdness of the web. The current crop of education startups seem bland and antiseptic in comparison to these virtual worlds. I can’t take a Coursera class on a pirate ship, or attend office hours in front of an edX campfire. And honestly, that’s probably a good thing. But it makes the web slightly less interesting.
Interestingly enough, the impending release of the Occulus Rift to the commercial market might breathe some new life into Second Life.

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