“CQU Learning” – early days of a Second Life island

The purpose of these posts is to provide a bit of a history of the origins and development of the CQU Learning Second Life island and the initial steps into 3D MUVE’s for learning and teaching. It’s also to encourage a bit of reflection on why and what is happening as well as to make open the ideas, discussions and experiences we’re having for the wider CQU community (and others) if at all interested.

If you have any questions, let me know and/or feel free to add your comments down below.

Access to the island

Until the island is somewhat organised we’re restricting access to any interested CQU staff member. If you’re a CQU staff member and would like to look at the island here’s what you need to do

  • Get yourself a Second Life account/avatar.
  • Become familiar with using Second Life – at least a little.
  • Email me your avatar’s name.

I’ll add you to the group that can access the island and let you know.

Current state of the island

The island has been available to a small group of four or five people for about a week. We’ve all been doing some initial playing around with what can be done in Second Life in terms of building and playing with objects.

When a Second Life island is created there are four basic templates to choose from. The following is an aerial view of CQU Learning at the moment. The white area towards the top left corner is a “mountain” in the middle of the island. The landscape drops away from the mountain down towards the ocean.

Overview of CQU Learning Second Life Island.

The entry area

Initially the island was bare. It’s somewhat simple to add vegetation and other simple objects. The first step we did was to create the entry area. The place most folk enter the island. Including some initial “branding” as CQU. Here’s the current look of the entry area.

Current view when entering the CQU Learning island.

And of course, in a virtual world it can be dark. That’s why there are a few lights sprinkled around the entry area. Here’s what it looks like at night.

The entry at night

And yes, we’ve added a bit of CQU branding to welcome folk to the island.

The eventual plan is to add various teleport devices, signs and other forms of guidance to help folk find other locations on the island.

Ignoring first life in Second Life

There are various, fairly essential components of the real world that do not have much of an effect in Second Life. Little things like gravity and the weather don’t really exist. Consequently there is actually no requirement for buildings in Second Life to be built on the ground or to have a roof.

Here’s a simple building placed on the CQU Learning island. You can just make out that we’ve used the roof for something else not traditional. There’s a whiteboard, couch, bookcase and a tree located on the roof of the building.

A floating house

When you get down to it, there is actually no real reason why you need buildings at all within Second Life. The various bits of furniture could be placed just about anywhere.

On the roof

What’s next

In becoming more familiar with the environment there are a range of tasks left to do including

  • Start using these spaces for gatherings.
    How many folk can gather in one place before there are problems? Both technically with the Second Life platform but also in terms of the quality of the experience and subsequent outcomes.
  • See if different sorts of spaces enable different outcomes?
  • Play around with scripting of in world objects to enable them to respond to folk
  • Experiment with the capability of in world objects to communicate with outside web pages, particularly for the purpose of drawing “live” CQU information into the island.
  • Experiment with the creation of machinima.
  • Experiment with the creation of sculpted prims and other advanced content creation
  • Start developing an idea of the different types of pedagogy that make sense within a 3D world
  • Start thinking about how to do a bit of “urban planning” with the island.