Sunday, March 09, 2008

Article on Second Life

The Second Life article ran Sunday in the Duluth News Tribune. They are notorious for disappearing links on their website, but hopefully this article will still be available for a while.

The following lines were taken from my interview with the reporter.

"Using it for educational purposes can have downfalls, said Barry Dahl, vice president of technology and the virtual campus at Lake Superior College."

"Powerful technology is needed to run the program, and while the college has accommodated this, not everyone has that at home. Behavior “in-world” as it’s called, can also be a problem, he said. Linden Labs, which runs Second Life, has taken steps to end illegal gambling. But a large amount of sexual activity and “griefing” takes place on Second Life, he said."

"Griefing is when someone causes harm to another avatar or disrupts others."

"If a student were to complain about something done to an avatar on Second Life, Dahl said, the college couldn’t treat it as a serious offense because it didn’t really happen."

I have no qualms with any of this except for the last sentence. That is not what I said. In fact, I've never said that we "couldn't treat is as a serious offense." In fact I'm concerned about whether our existing policies and procedures are applicable to some of the things that could happen in SL, and I'm not exactly sure how we would handle something that is a serious offense. I believe that the potential for a serious offense is actually quite high.

All in all, I wasn't painted as the extremely negative SL-guy - which is probably a fairly accurate portrayal. I do however, have many more questions than answers about using SL for serious academic pursuits.

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