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December 09, 2007

HSL Hosts Brown Bags in Second Life

Second Life is one of several virtual worlds or MUVEs (multi-user virtual environments). Second Life (SL) in particular has become prominent in educational circles over the past couple years, with established presences from many universities. More background information about Second Life is available from this slidecast.

The University of Michigan opened Wolverine Island for use by the UM Community this term (Fall 2007). Since then, Wolverine has continued to rapidly evolve and change, with more interesting and dynamic spaces. The first course to be taught at Wolverine was an elective for the M1 students (more on that later). The first community social event, a brown bag to discuss future needs and plans for the UM SL community, happened this past Friday. It was hosted by a team of staff from the Health Sciences Libraries, Patricia Anderson, Mark MacEachern, Gillian Mayman, and Carol Shannon. This event was planned and organized collaboratively with the Medical School (Ted Hanss and Marc Stephens), the School of Dentistry (Sharon Grayden), and the School of Public Health (who provided the meeting location).

We'd been asked to have a series of events for people new to Second Life where they could come to a campus location and practice their skills with more expert people available to help. With that in mind, this was a combined real world / virtual world event. The real world location was the new Crossroads computer classroom at the School of Public Health.

Regarding the location in Second Life, here are some images of both Wolverine Island and the people (avatars) who came to the Brown Bag.

Around 20 people attended the session*. 7 came to the real world location, and almost all of those were our team of designated helpers. So where were people coming from?
- 7 = Public Health classroom
- 2 = working from home
- 2 = Med School
- 2 = own office
- 1 = Dearborn campus
- the rest = unspecified
* 17 verified, but I didn't catch all of the names, so there were more.

Not everyone identified their departments, but those that did included people from the libraries, Medical School, Department of Kinesiology, School of Dentistry, School of Public Health, School of Information, LS&A, and Dearborn Campus.

At one point, we were talking about the potential of SL for distance education, but this illustrates real utility for just regular meetings! Think of all those meetings you go to all around campus and the travel time you plan, and then imagine going to a meeting by popping onto your computer, with your office around you and your desk and files and favorite beverage ready to hand. With this Brown Bag, at the end, about half the people leaving on time said they had real world meetings they needed to get to, making for a bit of contrast.

The group discussed a variety of ideas for future events, so stay tuned. For the short-term, please feel free to join us at more brown bags in Second Life. They are Fridays, noon Michigan time or 9-10 SLT (Second Life Time) at the campfire on Wolverine Island (unless otherwise specified).

December 14, noon
TOPIC: prioritizing future brown bag topics, what is most important to the UM Second Life community

December 21, noon
TOPIC: A tour of Wolverine Island

For more information, ontact Patricia Anderson, pfa at umich dot edu, or IM Perplexity Peccable in Second Life. For more details about this event, see our other blog entry on this topic.

Posted by pfa at December 9, 2007 09:12 AM


Kudos, Patricia - You did a great job facilitating the meeting. This is an outstanding report, and I like the way you've used web2.0 technologies to share information about the meeting. Looking forward to next week's meeting.

Posted by: janeblum at December 9, 2007 10:14 PM

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