The SLENZ Update – No 86, May 19, 2009

IT HAPPENED IN TEXAS … and SL

The world’s first  ‘real’ virtual graduate?

Texas State Technical College’s virtual college (vTSTC) student Julie Shannan (pictured in SL left)  earlier this month became the first known student to graduate from a recognised learning  program done completely within a virtual world.

She graduated with a certificate in digital media.

Shannan, who has a bachelor of arts in biology from the University of Texas at Austin, now also holds the distinction of being the first graduate of the vTSTC digital media design program as well as the first student to take an entire college curriculum within the virtual world of Second Life.

She now plans to take the next step in the digital media design program, and obtain an Associate’s degree at vTSTC.Shannan,Julie

“This is a significant milestone for education not only because it is the first graduate from an environment of this nature, but due to the fact that this single event represents the validity of virtual world education as a real method for educational delivery,”  Chris Gibson, associate vice president of Educational Technology at TSTC, said.

Shannan said of her course,  “… In my second life I have explored the inside of computers and servers, collaborated with people across the world, traveled to world class art museums, built 3D products for my logo designs, explored a tsunami from the ocean floor, and many more experiences I could never do in my real world. … Thank you again for this once in a (second) life opportunity.”

Additional vTSTC certificate and degree offerings are set for release in September this year.

Texas State Technical College bought its first island in Second Life in January, 2007, and founded the college’s virtual learning environment in the fall of 2008, offering a Certificate of Completion and later an Associate’s degree in Digital Media. TSTC is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award Associate of Applied Science degrees and Certificates of Completion.

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