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Virtual Worlds at Case Western Reserve

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 3 months ago

 Virtual Worlds at Case Western



" Many educational and community-oriented events have taken place

over the past two years on the eight ClevelandPlus islands in Second Life.

What distinguishes ClevelandPlus from other SecondLife environments is its

community partnerships which connects us to many of our community assets

including not only schools but museums, the library system, and our

healthcare systems. Several of Case's founding partners include the

Cleveland Clinic, the County Library System and Western Reserve Historical

Society. Although we are proud of the physical layout of our ClevelandPlus

islands, our primary focus is on teaching, learning and research. Assessment

is fundamental to all of our projects and events.


Classes, office hours, tutoring sessions, peer-to-peer group meetings,

international learning experiences and virtual campus tours make up much of

the educational activity on our Second Life islands. For these events we use

embedded sensors to gather metrics on the number of participants per event,

returning visitors, new visitors, time spent in world, and a heat map to

visualize places within the world which have been visited. Metrics are

important but we are even more interested in understanding the dimensions of

learning in a virtual environment. Currently assessment methodologies

include the use survey instruments, student reflections, student/faculty

focus groups, and individual interviews.


This year we have added a new dimension to our Second Life program. We are

working with three medical research projects; two at Case Western Reserve in

communication disorders and dental medicine, and one with the Cleveland

Clinic medical school in the area of psychiatry. In all cases the

researchers' interests center on the ability to standardize the learning

experience. We have developed avatars with speech disorders, created dental

offices and dental patients and most recently created a schizophrenic

patient with behaviors representative of the disease. During the experience

experts take the role of the patient while students communicate and interact

as "doctor" avatars. All interactions have or will be recorded using

machinima and with cameras focused on the real students. In addition,

motivation and perception research instruments have or will be administered."


Assessment and Research questions Case is focused on .....


1) What can be done in Second Life that cannot be done in other


2) Can Second Life be used as a viable learning platform?

3) What are best practices when using Second Life as a teaching and

learning platform?

4) What are the learning effects of Second Life?

5) What are best practices when using second Life as a learning


6) Metrics – adoption rate, usage patterns, satisfaction




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Wendy Shapiro, Ph.D.

Senior Academic Technology Officer; Director of ITAC Case Western Reserve




Wendy Webb (SL)

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