SLEDfaq

Contents

  1. 1 Draft Unofficial SLED® FAQ [version 0.38; 13th January 2011 WARNING: NO LONGER UPDATED]
    1. 1.1 Introduction
    2. 1.2 Glossary of key terms used in SL (Second Life)
      1. 1.2.1 Other glossaries:  Second Life wiki
      2. 1.2.2 Abbreviations in common use
      3. 1.2.3 Other lists of abbreviations
    3. 1.3 A. About the SLED list
      1. 1.3.1 1. How do I join?
      2. 1.3.2 2. Does the list have a searchable archive?
      3. 1.3.3 3. Can I read the list offline?
      4. 1.3.4 4. How do I leave the list?
      5. 1.3.5 5. How many people are subscribed to the SLED list?
      6. 1.3.6 6. Does SLED have a blog?
    4. 1.4 B. How big is the SL education community?
      1. 1.4.1 1. How many universities/colleges/schools are in SL?
      2. 1.4.2 2. How many sims are owned by educational institutions?
      3. 1.4.3 3. How many avatars attended the Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) inworld conference in 2009/2010?
      4. 1.4.4 4. Are there stats for attendance at the Education Support Faire held in 2009?
      5. 1.4.5 5. What operational statistics are available for SL?
    5. 1.5 C. Teaching in SL
      1. 1.5.1 1. How do I find out how to use SL?
      2. 1.5.2 2. How do I find out how to teach in SL?
      3. 1.5.3 3. How do I find out how to teach subject X in SL (including locating existing resources)?
      4. 1.5.4 4. How do I find out how to teach students of a particular type (age, ability etc) in SL?
      5. 1.5.5 5. What technical support is there in SL for teaching?
      6. 1.5.6 6. What support is there for disabled students?
      7. 1.5.7 7. Where are good places to bring staff and students inworld?
    6. 1.6 D. What’s going on for educators?
      1. 1.6.1 1. Is there a list of events for educators?
      2. 1.6.2 2. What is SLT and how does it relate to my local time?
      3. 1.6.3 3. How do events in SL differ from the norm?
      4. 1.6.4 4. Real Life conferences?
      5. 1.6.5 5. Are there any groups specialising in pedagogical research?
      6. 1.6.6 6. Where can I find peer-reviewed research and publish papers?
      7. 1.6.7 7. I can't login because of password problems
    7. 1.7 E. Practicalities
      1. 1.7.1 1. Can anyone use SL?
      2. 1.7.2 2. Do I need to purchase virtual land to teach in SL?
      3. 1.7.3 3. Do I have to pay to use SL?
      4. 1.7.4 4. Help, I can't register more than two peple per day (or five total) from my sub-domain!
      5. 1.7.5 5. Is there a limit to the number of avatars present on a sim at any time?
      6. 1.7.6 6. Can I display web pages or video, including live streams, in SL or, indeed, SL in web pages?
      7. 1.7.7 7. Can I archive text, images or video recorded from SL?
      8. 1.7.8 8. Can you connect SL to a VLE/LMS?
      9. 1.7.9 9. I want to do X but don't know how?
      10. 1.7.10 10. Any places/avatars I and my students should avoid?
      11. 1.7.11 11. Is there anyone I can ask if I have a question?
      12. 1.7.12 12. Are there any examples of guidance/legal documents?
      13. 1.7.13 13. If I buy some virtual goods, can I make copies for all my students?
      14. 1.7.14 14. Can I control access to land I own?
      15. 1.7.15 15. I want my class to meet students from other countries/cultures. How do I arrange that?
      16. 1.7.16 16. What's involved in running meetings in SL?
      17. 1.7.17 17. How do I find x?
      18. 1.7.18 18. Can I provide my students with pre-prepared avatars for classes to get started quicker?
      19. 1.7.19 19. Are there any relevant books?
      20. 1.7.20         20. Can I run SL on netbooks and other low-end hardware?
      21. 1.7.21         21. Is there any guidance from an educational perspective on usability and design of learning spaces in SL builds?
    8. 1.8 F. Other virtual worlds
      1. 1.8.1 1. Are any other virtual worlds being used for education?
      2. 1.8.2 2. Can I move avatars or content between the different worlds?
      3. 1.8.3 3. Broader horizons
Draft Unofficial SLED® FAQ [version 0.38; 13th January 2011 WARNING: NO LONGER UPDATED]

WARNING: THIS WIKI IS NO LONGER MAINTAINED AND THEREFORE THE INTEGRITY OF THE INFORMATION IT CONTAINS AND THE LINKS FROM IT WILL INEVITABLY DIMINISH OVER TIME.

Shortened URL for this page: http://bit.ly/listfaq

Recent changes are highlighted. (Dehighlighting appears somewhat broken in this document at the moment; apologies).

Introduction

This page and wiki are in no way affiliated with Linden Lab (standard disclaimer at foot of page, together with license). SLED is apparently a registered trademark of Linden Lab although not listed on their trademark site. Information here is provided in good faith but no liability is accepted for anything factually incorrect or misleading. Any views expressed are my own -- just trying to be helpful :-) .

The inclusion of {cits} implies that a fact needs checking and one or more citations to original sources should be included. At this stage there are bound to be errors. Please IM Graham Mills inworld with amendments and (brief!) additions.

Glossary of key terms used in SL (Second Life)

Avatar: representation of user in virtual world (actual appearance can be customised but is rendered in SL as a plasma cloud due to lag).
Camera: the virtual camera that provides the view, normally over the avatar's shoulder though this can be changed using Alt-Zoom, i.e. leftclick on focal object with Alt key depressed, then move mouse and scroll wheel to pan and zoom.
Client: the viewer that has to be downloaded to use SL. Equivalent to a web browser.
Grid: shorthand for the 30000 or so sims that make up SL.
Lag: performance issues causing slow appearance of objects and movement of avatars.
Linden: as avatar surname, employee of Linden Lab; also name of SL currency, Linden dollar (L$)
Machinima: digital video of scenes captured in SL and other virtual worlds.
Prim (primitive object): fundamental building block of Second Life. May have a variety of shapes and textures.
Rendering: the process by which scenes are generated in SL.
Rez: process by which prims are rendered.
Sandbox: area for practising building with objects being returned to the user after a fixed time.
Sim(ulator): Software supporting the virtual representation of a 256x256 m land area (or region) in Second Life (SL). Sims may be isolated islands or joined together. Standard sims contain up to 15000 prims.
Teleport: mechanism used to move rapidly within and between sims.
Texture: image used to decorate a prim.

Other glossaries:  Second Life wiki

Abbreviations in common use

afk: away from keyboard
bfn: bye for now
brb: be right back
IM: instant message
HUD: Heads-Up Display
L$: Linden dollar; currency (typically L$250-270 to the US$)
LL: Linden Lab, developers of SL and responsible for maintaining the grid
lol: laugh out loud (emoticons also used extensively)
RL: real life
slurl: SL URL that provides web-based access to specific locations in SL
TG: Teen Grid (only accessible to ages 13-17 and approved adults; LL have announced their intention to close this grid at the end of 2010)
ty: thank-you; also tyvm (thank-you very much)
VWBPE: Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (annual conference)
yvw: you're very welcome
wb: welcome back, e.g. after a crash

Other lists of abbreviations

tbd

A. About the SLED list

1. How do I join?

2. Does the list have a searchable archive?

3. Can I read the list offline?

4. How do I leave the list?

Try https://lists.secondlife.com/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/educators (be persistent; it does work!). Remember that there are also digest settings and you may be able to use your email application filtering function to save incoming SLED posts to a separate folder.

5. How many people are subscribed to the SLED list?

5509 as of 13 May 2010.

6. Does SLED have a blog?

Yes. Go to http://www.sl-educationblog.org/ . This has latterly become moribund and has been to some extent been replaced by the new LL education microsite: http://education.secondlife.com/.

B. How big is the SL education community?

1. How many universities/colleges/schools are in SL?

Estimates vary as does the size and purpose of the presence. Useful sources of information are Simteach (global) and Virtual World Watch (UK). The latter estimated that in 2008 75% of UK universities had a presence of some kind in SL (90% in 2009). A recent survey (Miller, 2009) identified approximately 60 locations that could apparently be tied to a UK higher education institution though it was unclear in some cases as to the level of involvement, e.g. personal, departmental, faculty, cross-faculty, institution, and level of activity.

A more comprehensive survey by Terrence Linden recorded that there were over 750 educational institutions that owned sims in Summer 2009. By the end of Feb 2010 there were 646 colleges and universities owning one or more sims. The number grew by 16% during 2009. There was a report via Twitter that Terrence Linden had reported at the NMC 2010 Summer conference that there were now more than 800 educational institutions in Second Life. This was confirmed at a September 2010 VWER meeting which also revealed that education owned 50% of corporate land in SL, amounting to 5% of total land, and that 10% of avatars were education-related.

Linden Lab now has a database of educational institutions at http://edudirectory.secondlife.com/ that is intended to enable educators to locate peers with shared interests. This has now been supplemented by an education microsite on secondlife.com. Miller (2010) counted >350 educational institutions by combining existing incomplete lists. More than 150 are listed on the Threadmap search engine under the education tag although some of these have expired.

2. How many sims are owned by educational institutions?

Apocryphally, in 2009 there were about 2000 sims owned by education and non-profit entities though many others operate from parts of sims and some own multiple sims. In the survey by Miller listed under B.1, the level of involvement ranged from multiple sims, e.g. University of Edinburgh, to small parcels.

3. How many avatars attended the Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) inworld conference in 2009/2010?

More than 3600 in multiple parallel sessions over the course of 3 days in 2009. Sources suggest that the number exceeded 2000 from 69 countries in 2010 for a free virtual conference comprising more than 170 sessions in 2 days.

4. Are there stats for attendance at the Education Support Faire held in 2009?

Yes. Attendance was similar to VWBPE 2009: 3785.

5. What operational statistics are available for SL?

LL provide some data on the overall SL economy. Recent press release (Sept 2009). Other interesting data from the Terrence Linden VWBPE2010 talk included that education sims have 50% greater return visits per resident. There are 40 countries active in education with almost half the institutions located outside the USA, slightly less than the norm for residents (60-70% non-USA). According to one ranking, 60 out of the top 100 universities globally have a presence in SL.

C. Teaching in SL

1. How do I find out how to use SL?

Ask local users or support staff. LL provide a generic quickstart guide (pdf), read books, read blogs, watch Torley Linden's video tutorials, Global Kids curriculum (wiki version on Simteach), NCI (Kuula slurl), RezEd, training courses (posted periodically on SLED), resources on Info Island International (slurl). If you have problems, try this basic resource toolbox. Questions can also be addressed to SL Answers where other users (residents) respond.

There are also some useful "cheatsheets"/summaries: different ways to do the same thing, SL limits, Viewer 1 shortcuts , Viewer 2 shortcuts, PDF version of Viewer 2 introduction (single page version), slpocketbook (background).

2. How do I find out how to teach in SL?

LL provide an education overview (replaced by a microsite in March 2010), case studies, Twitter feed and blog. There are a number of organisations that specialise in educational/instructional technology with a presence inworld, including NMC and ISTE. They and others run workshops, meetings, conferences, many of which are announced on the SLED list and also have archives if you miss the event itself. There is also much guidance published on the web (e.g. blogs, wikis) and in peer-reviewed journals. The former sleducation wiki (now Jokaydia VW wiki) is a good place to start. Coventry University has a good guide (pdf) to the basics of SL and its use in teaching and learning and PREVIEW-Psych has produced one on problem-based learning. John Kirriemuir has published a series of Eduserv-sponsored snapshot reports on the current status of education in virtual worlds in the UK.

3. How do I find out how to teach subject X in SL (including locating existing resources)?

Check to see whether your subject association/learned society already has a presence and can identify experienced teachers. Join relevant inworld groups and ask the question at meetings or using inworld group instant messaging. Search the SLED list archives and ask on the list itself.

For inspiration, also check: SaLamander (now CLIVE, soon to operate jointly with MERLOT), Science-related places,
Info Island International (slurl), Simteach resource database, Education, Science categories (among others) in the LL Destination Guide.

4. How do I find out how to teach students of a particular type (age, ability etc) in SL?

Ask those with experience on the SLED list.

5. What technical support is there in SL for teaching?

In addition to the extensive communication support inherent in the SL client, there are also many accessory gadgets that can be obtained inworld from sources such as CAVE, formerly ICT Library (slurl), International Schools (slurl), NMC Viewer 2 orientation (slurl), VCE (slurl), Chilbo Education Resource Centre (slurl) or via the web on the Marketplace site (formerly xstreetsl). Inworld search can also be used but care needs to be taken as it is often "gamed" by vendors, clubs, services, etc. Word-of-mouth from other educators, either direct or via one of the email lists or nings, is a good backup strategy. In general some services and gadgets are free, others you pay for. Bear in mind that there are a number of consultants who specialise in developing for SL. Some are listed on the LL site and others can be identified via contacts or the SLED list.

There is now a downloadable book evaluating 150 tools of use to educators (first 3 chapters only).

6. What support is there for disabled students?

Virtual Ability provide assistance to disabled people in getting started in SL (slurl). There is also a page on accessibility on the SL wiki which lists projects such as the textsl client (supports screen-readers) and the VHH virtual guidedog project and links to resource collections such as John Lester's (formerly Pathfinder Linden) bookmarks on delicious. Nathan Zetkin distributes a text-to-speech attachment that uses shared media.

This video is inspirational.

7. Where are good places to bring staff and students inworld?

To some extent this is a matter of taste. LL, in association with inworld groups, provide direct access to a number of communities that operate orientations for new avatars, underlining the importance of initial networking. Although not aimed at the education community, there are good orientations at Caledon Oxbridge (viewer 2) , Daden Cays (viewer 2) and Virtual Ability (viewer 2) have good orientations, the latter also permitting registration via its own as well as the Linden Lab registration website. This is an example of use of the so-called regAPI (caution: technical) which is used by some universities as well as groups such as NMC  (registration; slurls:viewer1; viewer 2). ISTE provides an orientation targeted specifically at educators with docents closeby to assist during specified hours. You can also direct students to your own sim by giving them an appropriate slurl which should load the client automatically if correctly installed. If you are looking for sims to visit, LL maintains a Showcase that includes an education category.

D. What’s going on for educators?

1. Is there a list of events for educators?

Many events are announced on SLED but Catherine Dutton maintains a consolidated list at http://sledevents.blogspot.com/ (initiated by Bruce Sommerville). There are a number of regular weekly or monthly meetings for educators wanting to share and learn good practice. Networking through such meetings and related social activities can be a significant factor in successful adoption of SL. Examples include: Tuesday VWER sessions run by AJ Kelton on Montclair State CHSS South (slurl; transcripts; Facebook), events on Jokaydia; language-learning groups: SLExperiments and EVO VWLL. If you are interested in locating practitioners, e.g. artists and musicians, and training courses (e.g. NCI) then there are also a number of groups on http://eventful.com/.

2. What is SLT and how does it relate to my local time?

SLT is broadly the same as US PDT during the summer and PST during the winter (LL HQ is based in San Francisco). Current time; time zone conversion .

3. How do events in SL differ from the norm?

  • They may be less formal; don't be surprised to see educators in unusual avatars, e.g. animals.
  • It is common to use text chat as a backchannel where presenters are using voice. However, it is advisable to confirm this at the session. 
  • You have a record of text chat that you can archive for personal use in the chat history window.
  • Voice can be tricky to setup so it is best to allow some time for this before a session. 
  • Remember that normal text chat and voice only carry a finite distance though you can elect to hear voice from the position of the avatar camera. 
  • While notionally frowned on, Powerpoint-style presentations are a staple and sometimes large images may take time to appear. 
  • Busy locations can take time to render so don't be surprised if you end up sitting on another avatar's lap!

4. Real Life conferences?

These are often announced on the SLED list but there is also a list on RezEd. Many conferences have a mixed reality format with some or all sessions also broadcast inworld. Archives of some conferences are available via the archive maintained by Mal Burns (click On Demand).

5. Are there any groups specialising in pedagogical research?

Yes. There is a separate SLED list for researchers as well as groups meeting inworld, e.g. Centre for Social Presence .

6. Where can I find peer-reviewed research and publish papers?

There have been issues devoted to virtual worlds recently in Educause Review, ALT-J (subscription-only), British Journal of Educational Technology (subscription-only), etc. There are also specialist journals such as Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, Journal of Virtual Worlds and Education, Journal of Virtual Environments, Journal of Virtual Reality, Journal of Virtual Studies, International Journal of Virtual Reality, Innovate, International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments (subscription-only), Metaverse Creativity (thanks to Cathy Walker for some new suggestions).

7. I can't login because of password problems

There is a password recovery process. If this fails for some reason and you are unable to use the phone-based service to rectify the problem, try creating an alt account and submitting a support ticket.

E. Practicalities

1. Can anyone use SL?

Anyone over 18 with a registered avatar; under-18s are presently restricted to the Teen Grid though LL has announced its intention to move those aged 16 and over to the Main Grid and to then close the Teen Grid by end 2010. Subsequently LL decided to allow students aged 13-15 onto the Main Grid under certain conditions (updated).

2. Do I need to purchase virtual land to teach in SL?

No. There are often sites you can borrow or rent temporarily and you can also take or send students to particular relevant sims or use a quiet sandbox.

While you can rent commercial land on a G/PG sim (in May 2010 I was paying L$1170 per week for a 60 x 50 m parcel and ~750 prims), there are a numer of education-friendly places, e.g.

3. Do I have to pay to use SL?

While the client is free, certain virtual goods and activities cost money, e.g. uploading images, sounds and forming groups. This is normally in L$ (purchase from LL)

4. Help, I can't register more than two peple per day (or five total) from my sub-domain!

You need to get some IP addresses whitelisted via LL support at least 5 working days in advance. Note that whitelisting will need to be renewed periodically, typically every 6 months. The following was distributed by LL at the Education Support Faire 2009. You may need help from your computer centre in liaising with LL support. In addition to the restriction of 5 accounts "per household", you may only create 2 accounts per 24 hour period. The ticket should be filed at https://support.secondlife.com/ . However, some publicly available community portal sites using RegAPI seem to bypass these limits, e.g. http://sl.nmc.org/join/ and thus constitute a useful backup strategy.
"Linden Lab limits individual users from creating more than 5 accounts from any one IP address, primarily as a feature to discourage 
misuse of the service. However, we do often encounter educators or other users who wish to create large numbers of accounts for
legitimate purposes, and in that instance we have two options to offer: The first requires a certain technical know-how on the part
of the resident making the request, and that is to take part in our RegAPIBeta. This program allows high-volume account registrars to
customize the registration process for their users and direct their new residents to a specific island that they own. If your university
is considering having a large presence in Second Life, this might be the way to go. There is more information about the RegAPIBeta
here: http://secondlife.net/programs/api/reg The second option is to clear the IPs used in your classroom/lab to register multiple
students. This is less efficient in many ways, because if your IP addresses change, the process would have to be repeated for the
new ones. Basically, we manually flag your addresses as "legitimate" and that circumvents the error message that too many accounts
have been created. You can find your IP at www.whatismyip.com<http://www.whatismyip.com>. To set this up for your IP address, submit
the following information in a support ticket: (1) name of institution and RL name of requester, (2) SL account name making request,
(3) IP address to be added (or a range, to the last set of decimals. Once added, the clearance will last for six months, so if you
are still creating new accounts at the end of that time, you will need to submit a new ticket (don't reopen the old one) with the
same information. Please allow 5 business days for processing."

5. Is there a limit to the number of avatars present on a sim at any time?

Yes. It depends on the sim and what is being done but the limit is from 40-100 for a standard sim. Experience suggests that synchronous use of voice or video tends to fail for some when sims are busy. Four sims can be abutted such that the limit increases to 400 for largescale events.

6. Can I display web pages or video, including live streams, in SL or, indeed, SL in web pages?

Via Parcel Media. Various gadgets can be obtained or purchased that simplify the process. Media is normally set via the About Land tab so requires individual or group land ownership. You can display a web URL or QuickTime-compatible image, or play a video (MP4) or audio stream. A separate audio streaming channel is also available. Web pages at this time do not handle scrolling, forms or have active hyperlinks though these are available via the client browser. SL also cannot manage Flash media directly, e.g. standard YouTube .flv video. Recent reports of problems were resolved by a change in settings.

Via Shared Media. In February 2010 Linden Lab released a new beta version of its viewer that supports Shared Media. This differs from the previous parcel media in no longer confining web media to a particular location but having it prim-based instead. This allows media to be textured on prims, including avatar attachments, according to which plugins are installed.
Up to 8 Shared Media textures (max size: 2048 x 2048) can be visible at a time, those visible being determined by proximity to the avatar camera. The initial release supported HTML (including hyperlinks, forms, scrolling and Javascript), QuickTime and Flash (including YouTube video). Note that sharing takes place locally so two avatars may not see exactly the same view if, for example, they are scrolled to different places on the page or are viewing password-dependent sites. In this context Web 2.0 apps that update synchronously include EtherPad (free text ; closure imminent now closed), Skrbl (paint-style text and graphics), Colorillo, Twiddla (whiteboard similar to Skrbl; may not work on Mac but can display PowerPoint synchronously after internal conversion to Flash-based Scribd format), Dabbleboard (similar to Twiddla), Solvr (problem-solving), Google Wave (gadgets include WaveTube for shared viewing of YouTube videos) and Google Docs. The latter has recently been upgraded to provide a more Etherpad-like performance during collaborative editing (a synchronous drawing tool has also been added to the Google Apps suite). People have also reported success with Adobe Connect and have streamed webcams using LiveStream, Ustream and Twitcam. Slideshare and Flickr slideshows also function (not sure whether this is synchronous but suspect not). Dimdim provides the capacity to synchronously show PowerPoint, PDF and web pages in a whiteboard environment (free for 20 users; also does desktop streaming through separate plugin). AuthorSTREAM supports synchronous viewing of PowerPoint files. Many Web 2.0 applications require popup windows etc that may not function fully in the shared media environment; sometimes this can be circumvented by opening them in the native web browser first.

More on Shared Media: There is a list of SL shared media applications (including most of the above) with emphasis on those that have a freemium pricing model:

There were reports that shared media works with Moodle and ANGEL VLEs although it is not clear whether Blackboard is supported at all. These developments are likely to have a significant impact on display of text and images inworld but also extend to audio media, e.g. mp3.
At present there is no direct support for Java or PDFs unless the latter are converted to a Flash format (swftools is one non-web option).

When viewing YouTube, you can get a fullscreen mp4 version via the red arrow labelled, 'View this video in a new window'. Alternatively, try changing watch in the URL to watch_popup (source) or set the texture settings to Repeats: 0.625×0.37, Offset: -0.164×0.203 (via Dedric Mauriac)

Note that audio in shared media is presently sim-wide and some people have encountered problems playing video in Windows 7.

There is a useful page of tweaks that can be applied by modifying XML files and a summary of various help here. Some graphics-related tweaks: Mac, PC (Win7, Nvidia).

Other points worth noting with the new viewer
  • On first login students will be required to accept the Terms of Service. If the checkbox signifying acceptance does not become enabled, try clicking a few hyperlinks in the Terms off Service

  • If you are seeing strange objects rezzing, it may be a problem with sculpted prims, e.g. hair, on the avatar. Try increasing the RenderVolumeLODFactor from 1.0 (default) to 4.0 or 4.5 under Debug Settings (on the Advanced Menu activated using Ctrl-Alt-D or Ctrl-Alt-Shift-D). Others have reported that the problems can be fixed as follows:

    1.       Go to Preferences

    2.       Graphics

    3.       Hardware button

    4.       Turn Enable OpenGL vertex buffer objects off.

    NB viewer may reset when Second Life starts.

  • The new viewer currently does not recognise the .mp4 extension but does recognise .mpeg and .mov.

The Shared Media system is not compatible with either the previous 1.23 viewer (which has a more limited HTML functionality tied to land parcels) nor presently with OpenSim.

Etherpad went out of service on May 14 2010 with new pad creation disabled a month earlier.

Etherpad was acquired by Google and Google Docs has now been upgraded to provide much better collaborative authoring support for a larger group (50 vs 16 for Etherpad). Other options, including implementations of Etherpad, include:

May also be available as part of EdModo (as EdModo Chalk): http://www.edmodo.com/
No idea on the sustainability of any of these and, of course, they are not suitable for anything confidential. See also:

7. Can I archive text, images or video recorded from SL?

There is a new policy for snapshots and machinima. Text from conversations may only be published with the consent of those involved.

8. Can you connect SL to a VLE/LMS?

Yes. There are varying levels of support for Moodle (via SLOODLE), ANGEL and Blackboard (who recently purchased ANGEL).

9. I want to do X but don't know how?

You can ask on the SLED list, join a class to acquire the necessary skills, purchase something or get someone to make or do it for you (there may be a charge).

10. Any places/avatars I and my students should avoid?

There are approximately 23000 sims in SL and a significant amount of adult activity located in M (moderate, formerly mature) sims although much of this has moved to a separate continent (Zindra) and islands designated with the A(dult) rating and requiring age verification, e.g. credit card details on file, and changing of default settings in the client. Many educational sites are rated G (General, formerly PG). The nature and extent of adult content and activity (behind "closed doors") remaining in M sims remains to be seen (likewise the level of policing). LL guidance.

Note that avatars with underwear painted on their skin layer are available (this is true of the default avatars, for example, and a few others are available inworld).

In general students might be cautious of areas with large numbers of avatars on the map although many of these will be clubs or shopping malls (and many of the avatars will, in fact, be software bots or campers though both are frowned on to some extent by LL). There may be some merit in giving students a list of recommended sims and the LL Showcase can be a useful starting point.

Anti-social offensive or disruptive behavior ('griefing') can occur but is quite rare in educational sims. Depending on circumstances, griefers can be excluded, abuse reported (AR), ejected (if a sim manager is present), muted and their effects mitigated by controlling the ability to terraform, rez or bring objects into an area, run scripts and by switching off particles in the client.

11. Is there anyone I can ask if I have a question?

Inworld:
ISTE docents [C.7], Alliance Library duty reference librarian on Info Island International (slurl).
Web:
Second Life Answers 
If you are a premium user, you can also file a ticket and if you own a region you have access to realtime concierge support (accessed via support page).

12. Are there any examples of guidance/legal documents?

Ask those with experience on the SLED list.

13. If I buy some virtual goods, can I make copies for all my students?

Not necessarily. The item would need to have permissions set such that it is copyable. Such items may be more expensive than non-copyable ones for obvious reasons.

14. Can I control access to land I own?

Yes. You can admit or exclude individuals or, in the former case, groups and even charge for entrance.

15. I want my class to meet students from other countries/cultures. How do I arrange that?

Ask those with experience on the SLED list. Bear in mind issues regarding time zones.

16. What's involved in running meetings in SL?

Helpful hints: http://www.scribd.com/doc/16672376/Managing-Meetings-in-Second-Life-The-Protocol-Guide

If you want to give a presentation, bear in mind that a decision to use shared media (see E.6) may exclude a proportion of your participants. Historically the solution has been to export images from PowerPoint and upload these for use with commercial or freebie players. Such images are best resized before uploading using your favourite graphics tool (I use irfanview on the PC) or a web service such as Picnik. There is also a Google Docs Presenter on xstreetsl that works under Viewer 1 and 2 (untested).

17. How do I find x?

Useful collections of generic links:

18. Can I provide my students with pre-prepared avatars for classes to get started quicker?

Yes. According to the erstwhile Claudia Linden (SLED list, 10 Dec, 2009):

"...To clarify, you can create a set of "training accounts" using the regAPI, prepping them all in advance, and placing them all in the start location of your choice. You will need to employ adequate safeguards for proper use of these accounts; change the password immediately to prevent unexpected use of the account. Keep the password secure and restricted to trusted individuals within your organization. If this account is misused, you are responsible for the misuse, and Linden Lab may close the account/s. Linden Lab's Terms of Service apply, but were primarily written for consumer users where sharing a password can be a serious problem..."

See A.2 and A.3 to access the full email.

19. Are there any relevant books?

        20. Can I run SL on netbooks and other low-end hardware?

Information on optimising performance on low-end hardware: http://joelfoner.com/2009/12/8-ways-to-make-low-perf-computer-second-life-faster/
 

        21. Is there any guidance from an educational perspective on usability and design of learning spaces in SL builds?

        See this blog for some ideas and links to other resources and the final report from the JISC-funded DELVE project.

F. Other virtual worlds

1. Are any other virtual worlds being used for education?

Yes. They may include OpenSim(ulator)-based grids (many SL conventions adopted although some are developing their own code variants which might limit compatibility), Open Cobalt, Edusim (the latter two are related to Open Croquet), Open Wonderland. The Immersive Education Initiative covers some of these options and aims ultimately to make them inter-operable and has developed a file format standard to that end. Other proposed standards are likely to be forthcoming.

OpenSim-based grids with some edu content (though not necessarily exclusively G/PG) include (in no particular order):
* Hosted by Reaction Grid

Many grids will have a recommended viewer though most of the SL-compatible viewers can be used, Imprudence (recently renamed Kokua) being a popular choice.

Private OpenSim-based sims can also be connected to OSgrid. A more extensive list of grids is maintained by Hypergrid Business (December 2010 list by size). The popular Diva Distro version of OpenSim can be installed for local use. You can also connect to grids such as OSGrid or New World Grid (which also has its own installer).

There is also a version of the Diva Distro that can be run on a USB memory stick which is both inexpensive and portable albeit limited to a single user.

http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/sim-on-a-stick/
http://simonastick.com/
http://becunningandfulloftricks.com/2010/10/07/a-virtual-world-in-my-hands-running-opensim-and-imprudence-on-a-usb-key/

It is also possible to run Hypergrid-enabled OpenSim on the Amazon EC2 service.

2. Can I move avatars or content between the different worlds?

There is limited movement of content possible between SL and OpenSim using a commercial service called Second (or Stored) Inventory. Some third-party viewers likewise enable the movement of some content although typically this is restricted to prims and textures and may not include scripts or other items in an object's inventory. It is a long-term goal to facilitate movement of both avatars and content though there are constraints due to SL copyright (basically content must have been created by the person undertaking any export although contractors can be given a prim to clone so effectively content appears to have been created by you). The standards guiding this process are managed by a group called VWRAP (background). However, LL recently announced that it is not currently funding development of specifications or implementations in this area following its restructuring although it does remain active in related areas.

There is a separate initiative to link OpenSim grids called Hypergrid (partial map as at Dec 2010; basic background; more technical background). This enables an avatar created on one grid to teleport to other grids and take their avatar appearance and inventory with them. There is a list of public sims on the Hypergrid and Hyperica maintains a directory that may be useful in locating sims with particular content.

Issues with the Hypergrid include:
  • The three versions available are mutually incompatible (hence three continents in the map);
  • Destination grids are located on a map and hypergrid jumps between them are limited by the viewer to 4096 regions in either direction so it may be necessary to make more than one jump;
  • Early versions had security issues that made it possible to copy content without the consent of the owner;
  • Content attribution does not persist across grids (this will be addressed in the next version);
  • Some grids with particular IPR concerns are not linked to the grid, e.g. Inworldz, ScienceSim.
Hypergrid use is sometimes associated with so-called Hypergrid Gates (these require that avatars set a home location on the starting sim prior to departure) although the same end-result can be obtained via standard map search (comic-style tutorial). John "Pathfinder" Lester maintains a set of notecard vendors for hypergrid tours starting from his sim Pathlandia on jokaydiaGRID. They are based on the itineraries of the HyperGrid Adventurers Club that he convenes three times a week.

One useful feature of OpenSim is that you can create backups of entire regions that can be made available for distribution. There is a small directory here as well as instructions for managing OAR files. IAR files are a complementary strategy that allow you to backup individual objects or inventory folders.

Although content for OpenSim is not as abundant as SL, the Diva Distro comes with a small library and a larger one is also available. There is a further useful list of assets here.

A number of email lists exist for discussion of OpenSim issues. These include:

3. Broader horizons

Virtual worlds are one component of the so-called Metaverse Roadmap.


Second Life, Teen Second Life, SL, and TSL are trademarks of Linden Research, Inc.

The FAQ was originated by Peter Miller [SL: Graham Mills]. It is an unfinished work licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ )

Navigation

Recent site activity

Please note