Track: Best Practices Showcase

Title Teaching and learning in Second Life as Part of a Blended Approach:reflections and lessons learnt
Author(s): Ridvan Ata; Sheila Webber
Moderator(s):Shon Charisma
Date Friday, March 16 11:00
Location: CAVE/EdTech Auditorium
Abstract This paper aims to illuminate teaching experiences of the course moderator and the teaching assistant in a freshman-level module and explore the contribution of SL to students’ learning process through the educators’ eyes. The virtual world Second Life (SL) is being used as a part of blended inquiry-based approach (using physical classrooms, Blackboard, web-based resources and SL) in an Information Literacy class for 1st year undergraduate students at the University of Sheffield. We begin by describing the evolving programme design (Webber, 2010a, 2010b), the structure of the module and characteristics of learning activities that take place in the class, including identifying the rationale for using Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) as pedagogy with the disciplinary goals. We also detail some of the interventions and strategies that were adopted, such as an exhibition space of nine SL mini-islands, designed for the students’ information problem activities. In reflecting on, and evaluating, the learning and teaching experiences we draw on evidence from: students’ interviews, chatlogs, inworld snapshots, and our own notes and records. We conclude this paper by evaluating our experience of teaching to facilitate student learning, and identifying key lessons learned about: the usage of SL in relation to learning outcomes; practical issues in using SL with freshman students; and the value of SL for a sustainable Inquiry Based Learning approach (IBL).Keywords: Inquiry Based Learning, Blended Learning Environment, Virtual Worlds, Virtual Teaching, Information Literacy
Bio(s): Ridvan Ata:
Sheila Webber:

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