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Second Life at Sussex

The Sussex University Web Team have recently been working on a Second Life version of the university campus. As one of the InQbate CDF projects was focussing on the teaching and learning potential of Second Life we linked up with the web team to see how we might collaborate on this project. This resulted in some internal publicity in the Bulletin, and was picked up by the Argus in an article on 5th March entitled “Sussex University gets a Second Life “

Judith Good, from the department of Informatics at Sussex, had won a CDF bid to explore the potential of Second life for teaching and learning, Judith re-wrote her “Interactive Learning Environments” course to include a student project based in this virtual world. She decided to work with tutors from some of the university’s partner institutions (in the Sussex Learning Network) to provide students with ‘real world’ teaching and learning problems. She was helped on the project by Katy Howland from the InQbate team, and by Liz Thackray (Sussex Learning Network & OU) who acted as a consultant - and engaged with the students both in person and remotely, using a variety of technologies.

The students formed groups which were then given one of the real world clients to work with. The briefs were varied, and included teaching Police officers how to spot a likely drugs dealer, training student nurses in calculating the correct drugs dosage for IV drips, and helping social work students become sensitive to some of the cultural differences they might encounter in their work. The client tutors involved were from the University of Brighton, City College Brighton, the Open University and The Kent & Medway lifelong learning network.

The students presented their work in the form of short video clips or ‘machinimas’ - taken “in world”. These were presented to the real world clients in the creativity zone, where a prize was awarded to the team who made best use of the affordances of second life to fulfill their brief.