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C Varenhorst

Second Life helps students stay in touch when far away

September 25, 2008

Approximately 15% of MIT undergraduates will spend time studying or researching in another country. Following DUE's strategic theme to foster global leadership through foreign travel, this percentage is predicted to grow. Using the capabilities of Second Life, OEIT's VW expert Evan Leek has created - within MIT's existing Second Life SIM - a gathering space for globally distributed students. Although far away from MIT in the real world, students will nevertheless be able to communicate in this virtual space and thus maintain connected to their peers and to the greater MIT community. Eventually the space could be extended to reflect realtime events and activities on the MIT campus.


Currently in its development phase, Leek's virtual space was recently used in a UPOP setting as a vehicle for students to explore interactions between remote and local attendees at a mock business meeting. The 'remote' attendees were in separate rooms instead of thousands of miles away, but the technology used was identical to a global setting. Leek's virtual boardroom provided a visual framework for the remote students, allowing them to better communicate among themselves as well as with the local group.


More related projects will soon be emerging from Second Life.

Editor: Molly Ruggles

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