Is one life enough?

John O’Connor, Claudia Igbrude

Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT)

The potential of online virtual environments, such as Second Life for delivering remote learning continues to be debated by academics. It would appear to offer particular opportunities to support remote learning in art & design, where there is a particular requirement for live visual interaction.
The School of Art, Design & Printing at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) received funding to develop a module for undergraduate students to test this theory. A five-credit module (under the European Credit Transfer System) received formal approval from the Institute in 2009 and was delivered as a pilot to academic staff who were interested in exploring virtual environments for the purposes of learning and teaching.
This was followed by the first delivery of the module to undergraduates in art & design as an elective module in the first semester of the 2009/10 academic year.
A thorough knowledge of virtual environments and social networking communities is increasingly essential for those working in what could be described broadly as the content creation sector. The module encourages participants to explore this area and exploit the opportunity to create and manage their online presence and begin the process of building and maintaining an online personal brand.
The paper describes the delivery of the module in these two instances, challenges encountered and includes feedback from students. It also suggests a framework for lecturing in Second Life based on what was successful in this instance and what was not.
Keywords: Virtual Environments, Second Life, art and design

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