Thursday, September 03, 2009

Orientation for First Year Composition students

This last Tuesday, I held my first orientation session for WRIT 121 students on Second Life. After going over some reasons why we're using SL, I had them all visit the Virtual Ability Island sign in web site.

One of the problems I find with helping students start up a new account in any online application is that in order to be familiar with the process, you have to do it, and it's often difficult to reapply after having done so. I've avoided creating a new avatar that I'll never use just to show others how to do so.

Which leads to the problem we encountered. I assumed that if you signed up for SL through Virtual Ability Island, that once you had created your avatar, it would be dropped onto Virtual Ability Orientation Island. Well, I missed something, because when students signed up. there was no link to jump to the VA Island. So I had students open the SL viewer and log in. They were sent to a public help island and couldn't get off, even if I gave them the coordinates.

I tried different things, such as giving them the slurl and a TP as an attachment. Neither worked. The only thing that did was my offering a TP to each individual avatar.

So it took quite a bit more time just to get them to the orientation island. Once I got them all there, things went smoother, beyond the occasional scream and panicky request to help someone redress their naked avatar!

Most students got through the orientation fine, but many spent quite a bit of time adjusting their appearance and I had to goad them to move on. The good thing, though, is that everyone seemed to have a good time figuring things out.

No pictures--I was too busy putting out fires in RL and SL!

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