The SLENZ Update – No 96, June 9, 2009

WASHINGTON STATE U

Another university launches distance

education campus in Second Life

Distance degree programmes are a key part of  Washington State University (WSU) decision to  establish a a new campus in Second Life.

The new campus has been designed by staff and students who work for  the university’s Center for Distance and Professional Education (CDPE) and contains many features from the physical Pullman, Washington, USA, campus.

CillayDavidIt will be used to enhance some existing distance degree programs delivered in the US and around the world, according to CDPE associate dean and director of instructional development and technology Dr David Cillay (pictured), noting that hundreds of  universities around the world, including Princeton, Harvard and Stanford, are already  running programmes in Second Life.

“We’re implementing the land grant mission of the university in ways that were unimaginable to the founders of this institution,” Cillay said. “Thousands of far off students are getting their diploma through our distance degree program. Creating our campus in Second Life was just another way of opening up access to Washington State University.”

Brett Atwood, an assistant professor at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, plans to use the Second Life campus in both journalism and PR courses as soon as fall 2009. Atwood has worked directly with Linden Lab, maker of Second Life, as a Web content strategist.

In April this year, he invited Linden Lab® chairman and Second Life founder Philip Rosedale to WSU as a keynote speaker for the Virtual Journalism Summit (see video below), when a preview was offered of the new campus.

Atwood is planning a follow-up event in Second Life for 2010 with new Murrow College dean Dr Lawrence Pintak, who has used Second Life for a “virtual newsroom” project at the American University in Cairo.

Jitesh H. Panchal, an assistant professor with The School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, will also use Second Life to supplement his lectures from September.

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