About Second Life
Second Life is a virtual world accessible via the internet that was launched on June 23, 2003. Developed by the company Linden Lab, its free client program enables users to interact with each other through avatars. Residents can come together to interact, play, learn, do business, and communicate in an online environment which is 100% user-owned and created.
The platform provides tools that allow residents to build their own environments. Second Life residents can engage in rich, sensory experiences, authentic contexts, activities, and opportunities for reflection that form an exciting new domain for a range of educational applications including distance education, vocational and tertiary education, and workplace training.
SL at UTEP
If you are curious about Second Life and how it is changing higher education at UTEP, keep reading! Through Second Life, faculty at UTEP are currently using virtual meeting rooms for conferences, holding live office hours, and even engaging in conversations about course content with student avatars. Additionally, faculty are finding new ways of integrating existing simulations in Second Life with course activities, such as The Macbeth Island for a study of William Shakespeare's work.
ISS offers hands-on training with Second Life to help faculty create avatars and build their virtual experience. The funding for this project comes from a UT System Transforming Undergraduate Education grant which has paid for three islands in Second Life for UTEP. This project was designed to engage undergraduate students in alternative immersive media. The idea of the project is to enhance the quality of the learning experience, simultaneously lower costs of delivery of instruction, and increase reach across the diverse learning styles of our students.
ISS is in development of a 3-D representation of the Galapagos Island in Second Life. The goal of this project is to give students an interactive experience with different island species and their natural evolution. Their experiences will enable students to draw conclusions and encourage the expansion of boundaries in self-directed learning.
EVE Galapagos is a virtual simulation created in Second Life that allows students to experience the path Darwin took as he created the theory of evolution. Student avatars can walk though Santa Maria Island and analyzing flora and fauna as it is impacted by climate changes. This introduces students to an immersive experience that allows them to draw their own conclusions. The island is currently open to the general public and can be found here: http://slurl.com/secondlife/EVE%20Galapagos/87/213/29.
Student Art Gallery
As part of a graphic design course at UTEP, student work is displayed in a virtual art gallery where designers and critics can meet and discuss the art. The virtual art gallery can be found here: http://slurl.com/secondlife/UTEP%20Miners%201/176/56/27.
EPI - ISLAND
The EPI ISLAND is a real-time 3D simulation of a rural village in Northern Mexico. Used in a course in epidemiology, the simulation was developed so students could engage in an interactive exercise in data collection. Students were able to navigate the simulation and interact with bots representing the village community members, each of which were programmed to respond to student questions.