Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Activity in the Metaverse begins.....

Students play drums as a group in Second Life.

Over the last few weeks, the students have become more confident in building and texturing with Second Life’s 3D content creation tools, with a few dabbling into scripting interactive elements into their builds.

Fio's Geisha doll - self directed building project in Second Life.

In total – 16 ( out of the 20 ) of the 1st year cohort have created a Second Life account.
2 have not joined as they don’t feel it is for them, and 2 don’t have adequate connection to Second Life at home, ( though they have been encouraged to uses it whilst at College )
Of the 16, 7 students are particularly active – logging into Second life at least three times a week. With the rest on average, once a fortnight.

As Second life has been introduced to them as an extra-curricula activity, the students work autonomously with the online environment, choosing to develop their own projects and buddy teaching each other second life skills. Tutor interjection prods individuals towards resources and techniques, which they themselves disseminate to the others in the group.

To date this has included:

  • Students have been using Second Life as a tool for CMC outside College hours, which has been useful with the course Team briefs in Video that have been set recently.

  • Collaborative Building project – 6 students have been remodelling the sandbox into a Fantasy Garden. – This is particularly interesting process, as the students are beginning to take ownership of the 3D space they are working in, rather than just their avatars
  • Co-operative Building – Individual students have been creating their own builds, but sharing resources like textures and scripts between themselves.
  • Several students have been using Second Life for Research, tie-ing into their Critical studies Essays and recent module in Interactive Presentation - example Link Here
  • Experimenting with Machinima making ( involving directing other people ). Link Here to work in progress

Recently – a new module called Personal Development has started. This contains a range of ‘live’ and simulated briefs, with several being solvable (or aspects of) via Second Life. This has brought Second Life more into the course structure, specifically allow students to self-direct a project to use their Second life techniques.

Issues to resolve:

Uptake of Second Life, - due to the extra curricula nature of the bringing Second Life into the course, many students do not want to take on more work beyond the course requirements.
With the Collective’s own private island coming online soon, specific activities will be introduced into the course structure, which will be another opportunity to encourage students to engage with Second Life, Particularly a project focused on End of Year Show, that will involve the outgoing 2nd Year HND Interactive Media course.

The island will also be accessible to the students over the summer, where they will be encouraged to create a machinima film for the Bradford Animation Festival.

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