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Designing for learning in Virtual Worlds

Seminar at Roskilde University
Department of Communication, Business and Information Technologies
Monday, October 13, 2008, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Room 43-2.29

Presented by Virtual Worlds Research: Sense-making strategies and user-driven innovations in virtual worlds (


9:30 Registration and coffee

9:50 Welcome
Associate Professors Sisse Siggaard Jensen, head of the Virtual Worlds Research project, and Simon Heilesen.

10:00 Keynote: John Lester (Pathfinder Linden)
The Oasis of the Surreal: Real Minds in Virtual Worlds

Immersive 3D online virtual worlds are a new medium for education and training, giving educators and students a platform for collaborative work, simulation, and experiential learning. John will give an overview of Second Life as a platform for innovative learning environments, providing examples of current educational and academic use as well as ideas for future exploration and strategies for success. During the presentation John will also give a live demonstration of Second Life, allowing attendees to see firsthand examples of educational projects and spaces in the virtual world. Lastly, he will touch on why virtual worlds in general resonate with human beings, and how they can be used to leverage our basic biological tendencies while at the same time giving us a change to grow beyond them.

11:00 Denise Doyle
Critical Works in SL: Reflections on Developing and Supporting Creative Practice in Virtual Worlds

The Immersed in Learning Project began in 2007 to evaluate the use of 3-D virtual worlds as a teaching and learning tool in undergraduate programmes in Digital Media at the University of Wolverhampton. The purchase and development of Kriti Island on the Second Life grid saw the online virtual space rapidly assumed a sense of real presence, and become a focus for collaboration, nationally and internationally. The successful submission of an artist led project to ISEA2008 saw ten international artists develop work for Kriti Island under the theme of Reality Jam. This presentation will reflect upon the impact of the Kritical Works in SL exhibition on the future development and use of the island for research and creative practice.

11:45 Jeremy Hunsinger
Interactivity and Information: Designing in SL for Knowledge Production

This presentation considers the interplay of interactivity and information found in constructions in virtual worlds as a question of designing for knowledge production. Construing the construction of objects as locations of intersubjective experiences, I argue that there is a varying mix of information and interactivity that is necessary forthe production of knowledge in virtual spaces.

12:30 Lunch

13:15 Terry Beaubois
Architecture, Community, Virtual Environments and Education

Terry Beaubois will present the experiences of the CRLab in applying advancing computer technology to education, research, and professional practice – which includes engaging art, music, film, and architecture students in the process. What have we learned and where are we going from here?

14:00 Kim Holmberg
Experiences of education in virtual worlds

“Researchers at the Department of Information Studies at Åbo Akademi were the first ones in Finland to use Second Life in their education. The first experiences showed that for some students the barrier to participate in teaching in virtual worlds was lower than in face-to-face teaching. Encouraged by the first experiences the researchers have studied the possibilities of virtual worlds in education and continued developing their own teaching in the virtual world of Second Life.”

14:45 Refreshments

15:00 Panel discussion: Designing for learning in virtual worlds
Terry Beaubois, Denise Doyle, Kim Holmberg, Jeremy Hunsinger, Sisse Siggaard Jensen, and John Lester

About the presenters

Terry Beaubois has combined the professional practice of architecture (building design) with the application of advancing computer technology, for the last 30 years. For the last three years he has been the Director of the Creative Research Lab, College of Arts & Architecture, Montana State University. Current projects include: A two-year, statewide (Montana), education project integrating Web2.0 technologies in with traditional methods of educational communications. Researching, planning, designing and building a Demonstration House in Second Life (VE) and then real life, featuring sustainable, low-energy, disability design. And: Researching and planning an island in Second Life for an international science magazine editor that involves adventure, science, and education.

Denise Doyle is a Senior Lecturer in Digital Media at the University of Wolverhampton and a PhD researcher at the renowned SMARTlab Digital Media Institute at the University of East London. She is a Media Arts practitioner and theorist and has recently presented her Second Life research at ISEA2008 Singapore and will present at the Creating Second Lives conference at Bangor, Wales and ReLIVE08 at the Open University, England later this year. Her research interests include: interactive film, database cinema, virtual worlds, philosophies of the imaginary, practice-based research methods, digital narrative and virtual learning environments.

Kim Holmberg (,Department of Information Studies at Åbo Akademi, Finland, is the only researcher in Finland who has specialized in Webometrics. He is an expert in social media and Library 2.0 and he was the first university lecturer in Finland to use Second Life in education. He is also a frequently invited speaker on these topics.

Jeremy Hunsinger manages the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and coordinates the Learning and Research in Second Life workshop series.

John Lester (Pathfinder Linden in Second Life) joined Linden Lab in 2005, bringing experience in online community development as well as a background in the fields of healthcare and education. Previously, he was the Information Systems Director for the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he pioneered the use of the web in 1993 to create online communities supporting patients dealing with neurological disorders. As a Research Associate in Neurology at Harvard Medical School, he also created online collaborative education environments for professors and students to advance the case-based teaching method in medical education. John currently serves as Linden Lab’s Boston Operations Director, coordinating the growth of Linden Lab’s East Coast presence. He also leads Linden Lab’s Proactive Education and Healthcare Mentoring Program, acting as Linden Lab’s primary mentor and evangelist for people using Second Life for teaching, academic and healthcare research, medical education, simulation, and scientific visualization. For more information, please see

Practical information

Register for the seminar by e-mailing to Simon Heilesen ( with a cc: to ms. Heidi Hansen ( no later than Wednesday, October 8 at noon (GMT +1).

There is no charge for the seminar and refreshments. But all participants (except presenters) will have to buy their own lunch.

Venue is Building 43, “Building North”, level 2 (ground level if you access from the ramp between Buildings 44 and 45. The room is immediately on the right). For maps, see: It is a 12 minute walk from Trekroner station. If you drive: use only marked parking spaces.

For further information, contact Simon Heilesen,

Posted in Workshops and Seminars.

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