Virtual Worlds Case Study:
Two sim installation serves four schools of pedagogical strategies as well as a central purpose.
Four schools from the University of Sydney collaborated on a two sim installation which has space for each individual project, as well as an area to anchor the projects to their common roots.
- A central area modeled after the University of Sydney quadrangle, which provides students and staff and area to promote cross faculty communication
- Four unique areas designed by faculty with separate pedagogical goals.
- Projects rooted in Medicine, Pharmacy Science, Engineering, and Literature.
Purpose:The sims University of Sydney and Sydney II are used both for central gathering and teaching, reflect unique faculty needs, and can be used by students for experimentation and building. The collaboration involves staff members (and their respective colleagues from other faculties such as ITL, Digital Culture), trialling a range of pedagogical strategies and monitoring their success and challenges with respect to virtual worlds.
Finding Persephone: â€œThe darklit journey of the soulâ€ by Dr. Angela Thomas is a Second Life adaptation of the Greek myth of Persephone and Demeter (also known as Prosperine and Ceres), symbolizing loss of innocence, resilience and rebirth. The project includes several scenes from the myth to create an immersive background including the kidnapping of Persephone to the Underworld, leading into the snow struck Village of Eleusis. The village allows visitors to be immersed in the after-effects of Demeterâ€™s wintery curse (cast in the throws of rage over loss of her kidnapped daughter), and to take on a role of one of the villagers who is affected. The myth immersion continues with a role-playing journey to the Underworld complete with Charon, the boatman, and Cerberus, the three headed dog and gatekeeper of the Underworld. In order to find Persephone in the Underworld, one must navigated a maze of tunnels and obtain clues from other mythological figures.
Virtual Engineering Project:The main goal of the Virtual Engineering Project, designed by Dr. Ali Abbas, has been to design an interactive avatar-based virtual laboratory for engineering education which will integrate various advanced technologies of emerging interactive and digital media (IDM) tools with modeling, simulation and learning management systems (LMS) in a seamless IT and internet-based framework. Courses can then be delivered using the virtual laboratory in the context of chemical process engineering education, both locally and internationally. With the generic architecture, the project space has the capacity to serve courses from all engineering and science disciplines. The virtual laboratory emphasizes on a learner-centered education in a habitable avatar-based immersive experiential learning environment. The goal was to create a comprehensive Process Dynamics and Control virtual laboratory to support learning within the Chemical Engineering discipline. This projectâ€™s results will be scalable to large student memberships and extensible to courses in other engineering and science disciplines.
Medical Project:The medical project included in the University of Sydney TIES project was designed to create a specific role playing atmosphere not only so that scenarios could be developed, but also so that current Case Studies used in the curriculum could be reenacted. The hospital contains waiting areas, wards, patient rooms, offices, and a lecture theater along with various medical equipment, machinery, and costumes for role play of doctors, patients, and surgeons.
Pharmacy Project:The Second Life Pharmacy project on the USydney II is a space for Pharmacy students to orient themselves to some aspects of a typical community pharmacy. The prototype version contains a few tasks which students can complete, plus features of a real pharmacy which can be used as springboards for role play; such as pharmaceutical equipment, various types of medical mobility equipment, and health/beauty products typical to an average pharmacy. The key areas of the pharmacy are the dispensing areas, which allow dispensing activities to be carried out by multiple participants simultaneously.