2021 Second Life Educational Usability Survey

In 2021 at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference, Rockcliffe engaged with Linden Lab to conduct an educational usability study focusing on the nature of how educators were using the Second Life platform. 

In general, the platform is being used primarily for interaction between students that specifically ask students to create and evaluate presentations that are focused on visualizations or rudimentary simulations.

Opportunities exist to understand concepts mostly in demonstrations and peer-to-peer discussion or group activities.

However the platform isn’t being used effectively to support knowledge analysis, application, or retention within the environment. These cognitive skills are primarily conducted outside the environment with instructors having difficulties determining how to engage students based on the existing tools and services within the environment. 

Services that still need to be comprehensively added or improved to the environment to help support educators include

  • Streaming
  • File Sharing
  • Accessing Cloud services
  • Accessibility Tools (text to voice / voice to text)
  • Editing Tools (mesh models)
  • Pre-loading, prioritizing downloading assets
  • Integrating Office products

among others. 

2021 Second Life Educational Usability Survey Results

Click for Full / Accessible Survey Results

As is apparent from the survey information collected, Second Life continues to serve a broad swath of educational needs and demographics. There is a steady interest in the platform however at only 20% of the users surveyed, this does not represent a significant growth factor to drive significant numbers of new teachers and students. While there is an estimated 350K new accounts generated each month,  concurrency has remained fairly stable at 40K and has done for over 10 years now.

Most educators involved in the platform claim to have significant experience with the platform however the ongoing need for building and scripting expertise would seem to imply that such experience is not in the more advanced features of the platform. 

Hardware and internet requirements are significant barrier to entry to the platform with most educators in a professional setting have little or no support from their institutions in managing the environment.

The majority of educational users are reliant on in-world groups, such as Rockcliffe, in order to support their understanding and development of skills to use the platform effectively.

We Need Your Insight: Using Second Life for Education

We Need Your Insight: Using Second Life for Education

Rockcliffe University Consortium is collaborating with the Linden Lab Research Team and the Virtual Worlds Education Consortium to gather data in order to suggest product enhancements & new features which will benefit both instructors and students.

We would like to invite you to participate by completing a short survey that should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete although it could take longer if there are substantive comments you wish to include.

The objectives of this survey are to understand:

  • more about who is using Second Life,
  • your experiences and challenges,
  • your views on what would make the platform better, and
  • what support systems are available to you.

The goal of this survey is to gather data for suggesting product enhancements to the Linden Research development team for consideration in upcoming product releases.

Rockcliffe will be conducting optional follow-up focus groups in August and September if you are interested in participating.

If you could share and let other educators know about the survey, it would be much appreciated.

The 2022 Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference is happening March 31-April 2, 2022.
Please remember to save the date. Watch for the Call for Proposals to be released mid-fall.

Going Virtual with the Journal of Virtual Studies

Going Virtual with the Journal of Virtual Studies

Being virtual means different things to different people, depending on available technologies and experiences.

The Journal of Virtual Studies defines virtual broadly, to be inclusive of all the different ways in which the marvels of computer-mediated communication have brought people together synchronously even when physical distance separates us. Our virtual selves can be manifested in different ways:

  • on a video screen through a video conferencing application,
  • through a two dimensional flat image of ourselves in online chats,
  • represented as three-dimensional avatars in virtual worlds or environments, or
  • simply as a username displayed in the list of users in an online application.

These different aspects of the virtual define our basic human need to maintain connections even in times when being physically near each other is not advisable, or not possible.

Journal of Virtual Studies

“This journal considers a virtual space to be broadly defined as one that extends the learning space, opening up new forms of interaction and communication, based on technological innovation that does not limit the creative potential of the instructors, nor their students.”
Journal of Virtual Studies

In the last few weeks, we have seen how the virtual in all its possible formats has connected educators to educators, to students, to researchers, to professional development, and to resources.

Being virtually there has not been a limitation.

The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education has been pushing the boundaries of virtual education for thirteen years, and the Journal of Virtual Studies has supported those endeavors by publishing the conference’s proceedings. The proceedings is an amalgamation of abstracts, featured programs, and papers, which showcase the work of educators, researchers, practitioners, creators, and non-profit organizations.

The new proceeding is now available at the Journal of Virtual Studies Current Issue, Vol. 11, No.1, and it contains a multitude of ways in which the virtual is defined by those who presented at the conference. The conference proceedings marks the first publication of the journal this year.

Submissions are currently open for the next issue of the journal, and we invite all of you to share your amazing work with us. We publish much more than research in the journal. We also feature the best practices of innovative educators who define virtual in multiple ways, not just in three dimensions. We also are a multimedia publication, which means you don’t need to write a paper to be published with us. See our For Authors section for details, or you can contact us directly for specific questions about your work, and if it is a potential fit for the journal.

Social Distancing Together

Social Distancing Together

I would first off like to personally thank all the volunteers working on the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference. People from around the world are coming together to make this year’s VWBPE conference something special in a time of uncertainty. This is one of the few conferences that is still moving forward and we are looking forward to seeing everyone during our main conference presentations this coming Thursday-Saturday. Simply go to the VWBPE Gateway Pyxis region in Second Life.

Today we are being challenged more so than ever before. Colleges, Universities, High Schools, and Public Schools are facing a new reality of having to migrate quickly to online methods of teaching and practicing safe social interactions.

Information on how you can keep yourself safe can be found on the:
US CDC Website

Throughout this time, Rockcliffe will be open and available to all educators to help support them in their questions and assist with networking with other educators to get you through this difficult time. The Second Life campus can be a safe place for you to engage in social interactions with your peers while maintaining social distancing practices that are going to be so very important over the coming months.

If you are available to help run programs, discussion forums, or other activities to help others please let us know by contacting us at info@urockcliffe.com.

It is my firm belief that this is one of the best communities in the world, who look out for each other, and are there to support each of us in the good times and the bad. By working together we can get through this crisis.

I wish for you, your family, and friends to remain safe. Please look out for each other.

Kevin Feenan
Rockcliffe University Consortium

VWBPE 2019 Conference Proceedings

VWBPE 2019 Conference Proceedings

Volume 10, Issue 1, May 2019

VWBPE 2019 Conference Proceedings Now Available

The Journal of Virtual Studies publishes a special edition once a year for the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference proceedings. All papers were peer reviewed with the same level of care as journal papers typically are, convening an additional special editorial staff to assist in the process.

This yearly conference is one of the largest events for showcasing the work of individuals who lead the charge to re-imagine education. The proceedings found within these pages represent how virtual world educators and researchers continue to break the rules of what a virtual space is, and how it can be leveraged in education.

In this special issue, we have collected papers and abstracts from the conference that represent the vision of JoVS, which intersects work in virtual spaces with education. They explore the possible and the theoretical and present ideas that engage and immerse.

Regardless of whether you choose to read all the papers or to take a brief view at the abstracts, the richness of research, praxis, and conceptual ideas is evident in the varied and critical lenses that each of the authors and presenters utilized. Whether you are a researcher or a practitioner, reviewing the proceedings of this virtual conference is a way to expand your own ideas, to provide you with opportunities to extend your practice in ways you may not have previously imagined. 

We invite you to download your own copy of this biannual, peer reviewed, and open access publication that encourages continual renewal of what a virtual space for learning is and how virtual spaces can be best used in multiple educational contexts. We encourage teachers, academics, practitioners, and others engaged in the use of any virtual space for education, research, or training, to submit proposals to the journal for the upcoming issue.

New Editorial Board for JOVS

New Editorial Board for JOVS

Rockcliffe is pleased to announce the appointment of our new Editorial Board for the Journal of Virtual Studies. We are excited to have some familiar faces back and some new talent joining the Board for this term. In addition to having a wealth of experience, the editors are going to have their hands full with categories that extend traditional peer review to both video and infographic submissions.

Managing Editor
Leticia De Leon
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA

Research Editor
Susanna Nocchi
School of Languages, Italy

Praxis Editor
Carmen Pena
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA

Conceptual Editor
Peggy Daniels Lee
Indiana University, USA

For a complete list of the Editorial Board and Peer Reviewers, see the JoVS About page.

Those interested in joining the journal’s editorial board should should review the requirements published in the first Editorial Board Call Out.

JOVS Celebrates 10 Years In Publication

JOVS Celebrates 10 Years In Publication

Rockcliffe is proud to announce the relaunch of their flagship publication, the Journal of Virtual Studies. JoVS (ISSN: 2155-1070) is a biannual publication, peer reviewed, and open access. In print since 2010, the journal is now celebrating its 10th publication year with a new look, a new domain name, a new vision and mission.

Our vision aims to create a medium that encourages continual renewal of what a virtual space for learning is and how virtual spaces can be best used in multiple educational contexts. Our mission is to provide a peer-reviewed multimedia publication that showcases papers and multimedia productions describing research, program implementation, and the conceptual that feature education for all ages in virtual spaces.

The journal is further expanding upon our existing mandate to include additional formats for peer review including video or machinima, and infographic submissions. Rockcliffe is treating this as a stepping stone to expanding the definition of what a journal should be in a modern information age. We are looking forward to new means of combining research with modes of communication that are accessible in multiple formats and available on multiple devices.

Please have a look at our updated publication at https://jovs.urockcliffe.press.

Journal of Virtual Studies Editorial Board Call Out

Journal of Virtual Studies Editorial Board Call Out

The Managing Editors of the Journal of Virtual Studies (JOVS) are inviting qualified peer reviewers to submit their interest in joining our Editorial Board for 2019.

Published by Rockcliffe University Consortium, the Journal of Virtual Studies (ISSN-2155-0107) is an international, open source, and peer-reviewed journal with a nine year history of research and praxis involving virtual spaces and their use in education. Rockcliffe is currently implementing aggressive plans to raise the impact factor and readership in 2019. Such plans include an updated vision and mission, acceptance of multimedia, not just traditional papers, and a modernized website currently being re-constructed under new guidelines and new publishing workflows.

The Journal of Virtual Studies aims to create a medium that encourages continual renewal of what a virtual space for learning is and how virtual spaces can be best used in multiple educational contexts. The Journal will begin publishing biannually (twice a year, in May and November), and will include both papers and multimedia (i.e., infographics, video/machinima, audio, and other forms of interactive media).

A full write-up on the vision, mission, and submission categories can be found on our current website. All submitted manuscripts and multimedia will undergo a double blind review process, as coordinated by the Journal Category Editors.

Qualified candidates should be able to show expertise in the use of virtual spaces in education , in any discipline and any grade or level. This expertise should be demonstrated in the curriculum vitae by listing relevant research, professional development and/or teaching experience, and service that demonstrate educational uses of virtual spaces, as described in the journal’s updated vision and mission.  

Your cover letter should include the following:

  • any experience you may have as a peer reviewer
  • Whether you are able and willing to review for all three categories in the journal
  • Whether you are able and willing to review both papers and multimedia
  • and/or any additional information that you feel strengthens your candidacy as a reviewer.

Peer reviewers will benefit from having their name published as part of Editorial Board in every issue’s masthead, receive recognition in Publons, and be provided a a yearly letter of recognition for service.

Those interested should send both the cover letter and curriculum vitae attached in an email to Leticia De Leon, Managing Editor, at journals@urockcliffe.com. by no later than January 31, 2019.