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Monday, July 09, 2007

Total Chaos: First Second Life ID Class...Total Fun

Tonight was the first "Learning in 3D Class" it was totally fun and totally chaotic. It reminded me a lot of the first e-learning classes that I taught, no one was really sure what to do, the software would crash from time-to-time and students and instructors where figuring out what needed to be done.

So here are a few lessons learned:
  • Avatar must be off of orientation island before they can teleport (we had some stuck students) A good prerequisite would be for the learner to be off of orientation island before attending class.
  • Be aware of graphic card issues. You need to have the right graphic card to participate or it will crash on you. Had three students with this issue (out of 30)
  • Show learners how to create landmarks early so they can find their way back to you. We wanted everyone to come back to the classroom on our island but they couldn't find it.
  • The scavenger hunt was a lot of fun. I hid blue cones with definitions of key terms the learners had to find. They had a great time looking for the cones and finding the definitions.

  • Things take longer than you think. Allow extra time for helping to return lost avatars and working with permissions. We had some people "locked out of areas" because of permission issues. So they had to be "opened" during the class.
  • Expect weird and strange noises periodically through class as some more experienced students would virtually "yawn" or laugh or worse.
  • Develop protocol for asking and responding to questions, everyone talking at once is too much

The lack of audio was really an issue so...we mashed together a solution. We had everyone log into Adobe Breeze and use that audio while we were in Second Life. We also had Heather demo some Second Life stuff through application sharing within Breeze. It worked surprisingly well.

So, I would say the first class was everything you expect from the first time using any new technology and I am sure the other classes will be more tame...maybe.

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Anonymous said...

Well I wouldn't be so sure about the next class session being "tame". ;) I really enjoyed the class last night but should have landmarked the "classroom" space, as I was one of those who had a difficult time returning (yeah, I even get lost in parking lots in real life so no surprise here). While it was a tad chaotic, I very much liked the hands on immersion technique to teach us this metaverse environment. I've taken classes where I counted the minutes until 9 pm, but last night I was caught off guard by how quickly time seemed to fly. Overall, I have a LOT to learn, but for now, it's off to do a little more shopping. I HAVE to get rid of the hip sway I bought--I keep falling off my stilletos. ;)

Misty Sweet

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'd have to agree with Misty. I don't know if there is such a thing as a "tame" second life class. Last night was great though! Such a cool experience. I had trouble trying to remember who each avatar represented. This was the first class I've taken in which weapons are allowed. I was afraid the kid behind me might just go crazy with his axe.

I just went back to the island to look for the rest of the scavenger hunt and it was a bit easier with less people flying here, there, and everywhere.

Definitely the fastest 3 hour class I've ever had!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, last night class was great! I haven't been in this kind class before. Therefore, there were lots of times I was lost and tried to figure out what we were doing. Haha, but it was still a fun class. I think I just need more time to explore and play with it and get use to it.

Mizuumi Clary-

Anonymous said...

I think the blend of the learning deliveries was brilliant. Breeze provided an 'anchor' learning environment -- in terms of facilitator control. It also provided a "sense of place."

Sense of place means you have expectations (i.e., a virtual classroom) and thus alter your behavior. The sense of place encountered in SL encouraged flying around -- it seemed as though learning through a recess or break session. Water cooler learning.

Kudos to pre-requisite blending as well. There is an inherent need for learners to take increased responsibility for preparing for class time. If we hadn't been prepared with an avator prior to the first class, it would of provoked a "lecture as usual" syndrome.

So, this leads me to wonder -- I wonder how much lecture at design happens as a result of non-investment to preparation for learning activities?

Connie Cassarino

Bart said...

Seems like everyone had a good experience, so you're off to a great start. A couple hints:
- Avatar's can't teleport off orientation island until they 'graduate', but other people CAN offer them teleports off the orientation space. We often have people create avatars and immediately offer them teleports to Istania.

- We often use SLurls on a class-related webpage for navigation purposes (until people get comfortable using the landmark feature). Students can run SL in a window and keep the class page with the SLurls open in another window. Good method to do 'field trips'.

- Depending on how much audio/video you want to involve, something like Ventrilo or Skype can work very well. Breeze (or Connect) works, but it's overkill and bogs down some systems when you run it side by side with Second Life.

Hope the semester continues to go well!

ChaseSteven Bailey said...

Awesome. Never had a class go that fast before. I agree with others that I was shocked that three hours could go that fast. I really liked how we used Breeze along with Second Life. This made following along and learning much easier.

This was the first online class I have ever had, I was very nervous at first that I would have trouble keeping up, but I think things moved at a really nice pace. However, my computer froze twice during class, and had to restart my computer both times during class. I was fine through the whole class until about 8:30 and then it froze for the first time and then again with about ten minutes left in class. After class I stayed on Second Life and explored for about three hours. However, every 20-30 minutes Second Life would freeze and I would have to completely restart my computer. After the 5-6 time I gave up for the night. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can fix this problem???

I also found it to be somewhat difficult to remember who was which avatar. However, the appearance of the avatars were great and some very comical. After seeing just a fraction of what is possible in Second Life, I know I will be spending a lot more time in it very soon. I never knew anything like this was possible and so user friendly.

-ChaseSteven Bailey-

Anonymous said...

This class was great! It was a very interesting online class... the most interesting one I've ever had.

I agree with everyone about the chaos in the beginning. But I found myself excited when we all convened together in the class space. Although, I also had trouble remembering which avatar was who. Incoporating breeze helped tremendously.

I believe learning in Second Life truly eliminates the idea of "distance" learning. It felt like I was actually there interacting with other students, which was great. In a "traditional" online course you feel detached from everyone and you never get to know who they are or what kind of personalities they have. Personalities were coming through people's avatars.

I have not had experience in SL at all, especially since our RFP group was the only group who didn't choose it. So as a new user, I was completely lost. However, for learning purposes I think this is a great tool and should be a great learning experience with some guidance from the instructor to avoid some of the chaos.

Last night's class was awesome and I look forward to learning more about SL and how it can be used in education and corporate training.

Bianca Pichardo

Anonymous said...

I agree with a lot of the other comments on here so far -- the class was really exciting and interesting since it's something I have no experience with. I think that one thing that needs to be worked on is communication. Since Second Life doesn't allow VOIP, all of the text chatter was distracting and it was hard to read the text posted by Dr. Kapp. Maybe in the future, the chat needs to be kept open for class-related comments

Marnie Welliver said...

Of Course, I agree with everyone else's comments. It was hard to remember who was who, however, I was lucky because of my experience in RFP last semester with secondLife and I remembered my interactions with the other avatars from last semester like Glory Mizer (Katie Rebilas, Atticus Battinger (Jake Naylor, and Heather Geest (Heather Gee).
I was bound and determined to get all the definitions last night from the scavenger hunt but could only found 11. Also, a tip for everyone, the lighthouse can be tricky to navigate in. I also find that flying in SL makes it so much easier and quicker. I had a great time in class and wish all online classes could be this much fine while learning at the same time.
Marnie Welliver
Avatar= The Insatiable "CarlyAnn Canning"

Anonymous said...

I think the time spent in class was grt fun. Actually, i didnt feel as if it was a class, it just seemed like fun time, although i could only find 9 cones even after staying back after the class for another hour.
When on Second Life, you can see different people doing different things which shows us the different side of their personality.
If i was to give one suggestion for our MSIT island, i would ask for more landmarks, the map on top right wasn't really quite helpful for me.
-Aman Tyagi aka Samaksh Singh

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with everyone else's comments in that this class was great! It's the first time that I can honestly say that a class was fun. I really enjoyed it. I could now see how SL can be a great resource for educational purposes. Before this class, I was skeptical about how that can be done. This first class was a little crazy, but it was actually reassuring for me to see that I wasn’t the only one completely unsure about everything.

Now I have to try to remember everyone's avatar name and figure out how to get a job and make some money. I'm definitely looking foreword to next class.

Kristen Tricarico

rhouck said...

RuthA Boucher
Class was interesting. Like everyone else, I have a lot to learn. The thing that I found the most interesting was...My grand children (5 and 7) kept bugging while I was in class :). But, they were less intimidated then I was. They kept tell me to try this key...or that key...I just found it interesting that they were comfortable with the environment even though they did not know how it worked.
So my conclusion is....this will be a great learning environment for the next generation.

Unknown said...

With a bit of prior experience in Second Life, I had been looking forward to this class for quite a while. As others noted, the first class was chaotic--even though I already knew how to walk, fly, sit in a chair, teleport, etc. I was one of several who were not initially allowed onto MSIT Island. Having the Breeze/Adobe Connect audio and chat pod available provided a valuable home base until we received admission. I would have felt very lost without this connection.

When I arrived at “class” it felt very much like walking into a real classroom on the first day of class. I didn’t really recognize a lot of people. Many seats were already taken because I was among the last to arrive. Where should I sit? Who should I sit next to? I grabbed a seat next to Ruth, who I had a class with before. I admired the creative attire and accessories of some of my classmates. Just as happens in real world, I developed a “first impression” of classmates based on what they “looked” like. In this virtual world, their appearance might more likely represent what they “wish” they look like.

One thing I didn’t know (or remember) was how to show the entire chat history. It was difficult to keep up with the “building” demonstration because the chat appeared only for a few seconds. Reading the chat before it disappeared was difficult as I was distracted by the guy holding the gun a few seats to my left, the odd noises, background chat and general commotion. (Was someone shooting off bottle rockets, or was he using that gun?)

I enjoyed the scavenger hunt. At first I was a bit confused as to what we needed to find. I had read limited snippets of the chat and had missed a clear view of the appearance of the objects we were to find. (I think someone’s head was initially in my line of sight.) I had less time on the actual scavenger hunt than others because the same permission problems resurfaced when I tried to enter the building. Eventually I got in and figured out what I was looking for. I found this to be an interesting exercise to get students familiar with navigating in SL and uncover useful information at the same time. I continued my search after class and returned to the island the next morning to practice my “building” skills. Anyone want to buy my cabana? --Mary Ann Mengel

Kim Shaw said...

I have to say that, although I was very overwhelmed by the amount of new "stuff", I really enjoyed class on Monday. I have to echo the comments of many others that time seemed to fly.

After class, I realized that I needed to spend some time getting used to the controls, setting landmarks, teleporting - the basics. So, I've been practicing. My husband is amazed at the amount of time I can spend in Second Life just playing around. Last night he said, "So, you could spend like two hours just designing new eyebrows for your avatar, huh?"

Chase - I had some trouble with my antivirus software causing Second Life to freeze. I don't know if that's the problem you're having, but when I turned mine off, my problems stopped...

Well, I still have to go back and finish finding the scavenger hunt definitions since I only found 9 during class. I'm hoping that it will be easier with less people and the practice I got moving around yesterday. I'm looking forward to next week's class!

Kim Shaw

Anonymous said...

Great class Dr. Kapp, I am still pretty much lost but was happy that I made it onto the island and found everyone by the end of the class!!
Jen C.

Unknown said...

That was definitely an interesting class. In my opinion there were actually far fewer problems than I would have expected. Everyone actually did make it to the island and was able to participate in the class

The breeze session definitely helped and the idea of using the blended approach for the class was helpful for those who were having trouble. I am just wondering if using breeze as a crutch for Second Life takes away from what Second Life has to offer. Hopefully they will have their VOIP capabilities implemented soon.

I am very interested to see where this class will go and what will people will create and learn to do. Should be a blast!

-Matt Monahan(Preston Straaf)

Anonymous said...

The first class was great and fun, except the moment that I was so frustrated to find the right place. Thanks to Jay' help, I was finally on the track. Everything is so new to me. I have so much to learn. One day after the class, I was back to the SL to practice, my friend asked me:"Are you having fun in Second Life?" I said "I am on the way..." Yes, I am sure I will gain a lot from this class.
Goldenpig Babii (Hongyan)

Mathew D. Milgram said...

It's not that I don't find Second Life interesting, I think that it can and should and will be used to explore new realms of education and business. I just feel as if it's not everyone's thing.

The first class was a little chaotic, which is understandable being that it was the first class. Not only was it the first class, but it's really the first class of it's kind. I'm in no position to judge the actual content of the class, because I am not familiar with this kind of learning environment. However, I do feel as if, until further research is done, these kinds of classes are always going to be a little difficult to be a part of. Although, there is some fun elements involved, which is great, I just feel as if it's a complicated procedure that needs to be looked at more in depth.

On the other hand it is a new thing, and new things tend to be a little chaotic in the beginning. I did not find it too difficult, just not something that I would normally participate in.

On the bright side, I am excited to see what may come in the next five weeks. And I am excited to learn about this new learning environment and everything that goes with it. I do look forward to getting something good out of this experience.

Heather Gee said...

Our first class was interesting to say the least. I’ve been in Second Life for close to eight months now but I’ve never attended a class so I wasn’t sure exactly how well it would go. The class definitely went by fast but I’ve spent hours upon hours wandering around Second Life on my own so I pretty much expected that. I was very surprised to see how difficult the class was without VOIP. I’ve gotten along in Second Life perfectly fine so far with just the text chat; I didn’t really think it would be much of a problem. I quickly found out it is much easier to text chat with one or two people than thirty. I think the breeze solution definitely helped but wasn’t flawless. Lastly I hope everyone got at least the very basic idea of how you start to build in Second Life. Dr. Kapp – A little warning that you wanted me to demonstrate would have been nice so I could have thought of something better to build than random shapes. ;) Anyways…can’t wait for the next class, I think it will go much smoother!

Heather Gee

JK said...

Very interesting class. It was fun to see everyones avatar and for at least it was fun getting acclimated to Second Life.

Jason Kojtek (Kawjmohtecka Barbosa)

Dawn said...

I found the first class both interesting and frustrating. This is my first experience with SL and with Breeze so I felt rather lost for a large part of the class. I could not get my mic to work while in Breeze and I had permission issues getting onto the island in SL.

I must agree with Mathew Milgram's comment regarding SL not being for everyone. I do believe there is great educational potential. However, I also think there is a very fine line between engaging the "gamer" user and completely shutting down the "non-gamer" user.

I have spent a good bit of time looking for the vocab. I have found 10 and am ready to give up on the last one. There has to be a balance between SL and real life. How much time should we be spending in SL?

Anonymous said...

I agree, it was a little chaotic for the students as some people were not as familiar as others in using SL. I wanted to mention that I really liked the fact that we used Breeze along with SL. I couldn't imagine the chaos we would have had without Dr. Kapp guiding us with his voice. I would suggest we use Breeze again when on SL to keep things running smoothly.
Thanks guys, see you tonight =]
Garrett Metz

Anonymous said...

When I first heard "Second life", I thought it was a game, something like the Sims, which I am fond of playing when I was in China. But, as I got to know it, I found it not a game, actually it’s a user centered virtual world where people can create a figure (called avatar), communicate with other people, build stuff, , purchase and sell stuff, etc. It’s more like a real world.
I created an avatar called Ivysun Allen. And I really had lots of fun doing that. I know it is the first step into SL world and I got excited.
By searching online, I know that SL becomes more and more popular in the world. It is no doubt that potential business, functional, instructional power of SL will increase in no time.
In China, we have HiPiHi, which is called Chinese Second Life.
-----“HiPiHi World is a 3D digital world as rich and complex as the real world, and is created, inhabited and owned by its residents.The residents are the Gods of this virtual world; it is a world of limitless possibilities for creativity and self-expression, within a complex social structure and a full functioning economy.”
If you are also interested in HiPiHi,you can gain more infomation at

---------Hong Sun

Anonymous said...

I still remember the first class of SL held last week. It was really amazing. I have no experience about SL before. One thing upset me was I met some difficulties for teleporting and I spent a lot of time joining into our group MSIT. Finally, I found our class group. The first class was great and full of fun. I will spend more time for the topic of Machinima. Can not wait to attend the class this evening.

Yan Zhang

Anonymous said...

I still remember the first class of SL held last week. It was really amazing. I have no experience about SL before. One thing upset me was I met some difficulties for teleporting and I spent a lot of time joining into our group MSIT. Finally, I found our class group. The first class was great and full of fun. I will spend more time for the topic of Machinima. Can not wait to attend the class this evening.

Yan Zhang