nmc virtual worlds

NMC Campus Featured in Linden Lab Case Study

published 16.Apr.09 by Alan Levine

There is a new Second Life Case Study created together by the NMC and Linden Lab. Announced today at the EduScape Blog as “Behind the Scenes of The NMC: The Largest Education Project in Second Life”, the study aims to capture the breadth of the NMC’s 3 years of experiences in Second Life.

As most of you know, The New Media Consortium (NMC), a non-profit consortium of learning-focused organizations founded in 1993 with nearly 300 college, university, and foundation members, has been in Second Life since 2006 and is responsible for introducing immersive learning to many of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world. Although pieces of the NMC story have been told throughout the years, it’s always interesting to take a more holistic view of the largest education project in Second Life and—for that matter any virtual world—to both understand the history of how the NMC project in Second Life came to be and glean best practices.

The case study Developing New Learning and Collaboration Environments for Educators: The New Media Consortium (NMC) in Second Life is available in English as a 548k PDF with soon to be released versions in German, French, and Japanese.

NMC CEO Larry Johnson’s quote on the cover, “I think it’s safe to say now that nearly every college and university has some sort of project in Second Life” seems to be the catch-phrase:

The NMC Campus in Second Life was originally built to provide NMC members a place to experiment in virtual space, but quickly became a conference center venue for virtual conversations, such as the MacArthur Foundation series on Digital Media and Learning and the IBM Global Innovation Jam. The original design has since evolved into a full campus with dozens of thoughtfully designed virtual facilities for meetings and learning interaction. There is a library, a fine art museum, a conference center, an orientation island, an island-sized open-content object repository and much more. Over a 100-day period in 2008, 15,518 visitors from 56 countries visited the NMC’s virtual campus for an average of 98 minutes each.

We at the NMC are proud of this work, yet much of it rests on the interests, efforts, and energy of thousands of educators that make of the NMC Campus community. And it is very fitting that this comes out just a few days before the 3rd anniversary of the April 2006 NMC Campus opening. At that time, we had no idea how far this would go, and even at this point, we don’t see any sign of an end of how far we will go.

The case study includes quotes from several key people in the evolution of the NMC Campus, such as from former NMC Board Chair Lev Gonick, CIO at Case Western Reserve University:

The NMC’s business model for virtual worlds is consistent with the mission to spark innovation and creativity,” Gonick said. “Second Life is an invitation to explore, create community, and advance common interests and purpose. This is also the core mission of most universities and colleges. The NMC Campus Project is one of the most exciting undertakings ever made by the NMC in its 15-year history.”

And we plan for the excitement to continue…