A Class in Second Life

Recently, for my FYS, the class that is the reason for this blog existing the first place, we held a session in Second Life.

For thsoe of you who don’t know, Second Life is what it implies: a second life. Online. You create an avatar and live life in a world with fewer limits and less aging, disease, and inherant fear of creeping death.

See the face of your destroyer, waiting to take you into the darkened depths of the afterlife. He like's cats, apparently.

See the face of your destroyer, waiting to take you into the darkened depths of the afterlife. He like's cats, apparently.

As an avid gamer, it was… disorienting. I play WoW a lot and past a certain level you can fly. You can fly on Second Life as well. But it’s a different command, so here I sit pressing the space bar, really pounding on it, not knowing why I refuse to leave the earth. Then I realize I have to press F. And I fly like a superhero. As oppossed to riding on my own self-made, Fantastic Plastic Flying Machine.

But enough about that. I immediatly noticed some pros and cons to holding class in this environ.

The biggest pro was the ease in which it was held. Roll out of bed five minutes before, open’er up, and voila! I’m present. Additionally, all the tools of a functioning computer are, quite literally, at your fingertips. And don’t ignore the increased comfort level! You can go to class from bed if you want to! It’s telecommuting without having to shower, shave, brush teeth, or even wear clothing(though for your sake and anyone who lives with you, I suggest you do)!

On the other hand, there were some glaring flaws. First, microphone quality. Yes, you can type, but it’s slower and less nuanced than voicechatting. Depending on the mike or area you’re in, you can get a lot of static and/or background noise. Really annoying. Secondly, there isn’t much in the way of body language or, if you don’t use a microphone, inflection. This can lead to misunderstandings, though none occurred during my brief jaunt. And, finally, you can get unexpected guests.

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

In our case, it was a Portugese boy, speaking a language spoken by a grand total of two nations.

Good work guys!

Good work guys!

Google came to the rescue, but twas still a troublesome affair. Until Uncle Mutington stepped in. Then all was silent.

So, to recap, Second Life is a good environ for classes because of a. the ease in which it is held, b. the lack of personal appearance, and c. the utility of having direct access to a computer. It’s bad because of a. our lack of nonverbal communication, b. varieing qualities of voicechat, and c. unexpected guests.

Published in: on October 25, 2009 at 10:23 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. FYI, one of those two countries in the world is also the fifth largest by population…


    You might want to either start learning Mandarin Chinese or Portuguese!

  2. Chines is a dead language but just doesn’t know it yet. In this modern era, all symbol based languages have problems not seen in alphabet based languages and, I believe, are inferior because of this. Particular when it comes to keyboards. In fact, the Chinese had invented the printing press centuries before Gutenberg but never put it into mass use because of the number of symbols.

    Brazil may be the fifth largest country in the world, but South and Central America outweigh it heavily. Also, America is third on that list and a sizable portion speaks Spanish.

  3. I agree that Spanish is/will be more useful to learn than Portuguese, I just wanted to point out that one of those “two nations” in the world is, in fact, quite large. 😉

    (This is coming from someone who fluently speaks a language spoken by maybe 20 million-ish people… i.e. not many…)

  4. watch out for the spanish inquisition!!
    but check out my blog, which i finally remember to post…its on SL and has multiple pictures of….ourselves! (meaning out avatars of course)

    @maddok: Chinese is not a dead language. how are you going to call a language that over 1/6 of the worlds population speaks is dead? just not possible.

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