Wm. H.’Bill’ Burkett, Ph.D. of Capella University explains how they are creatively using Second Life as an educational platform.
Capella University’s School of Undergraduate Studies Information Technology Department is proud to be an innovator in using Second Life. One use we have for Second Life is in conducting our IT2240 Introduction to Programming. We use the Linden (Second Life) Scripting Language, which is an event driven language, as our beginning vehicle to learning the theory of programming. On our parcel or land on the sim of Teaching 10 in Second Life, we have several large sandboxes for our learners to use. We have areas to gather for informal talks, a wall of distinction for past learner projects, and other areas as needed or requested.
We have upwards of 75 Learners at any one time in the course. Typically, we have two or three sections of the course running with approximately 20-25 in a section. We strive to maintain a faculty presence on the parcel each day. All faculty make their contact information available as well. The course runs 5 weeks with two 5 week sessions each quarter for an approximate total learner yearly enrollment of between 3-400 Learners a year.
In the course, we emphasize the theory of programming (pseudo code and flowcharts included) as well as the planning and actual coding and debugging of their scripts. We provide many script examples for them to learn from as well as objects to place the scripts in. They can choose to build their own object or use a ready-made one.
In addition to someone being available during the day, instructors also conduct webinars three nights a week in Second Life using the parcel, an Adobe Connect room, a conference call system and Skype.
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