Posted by: patsycat | November 10, 2017

UK Island Now Closed

UK Island in Second Life is now closed. Visitors to this page are welcome to read previous entries and review the exciting work completed in the virtual world. We thank all who contributed!

Posted by: patsycat | August 2, 2017

UK Island will close this fall

UPDATE: Closing day will be Oct. 30.

This fall will see the University of Kentucky’s presence in Second Life come to a close. Many thanks to those who have been active in the past on UK Island. A sign has been posted to let visitors know. We hope you have enjoyed this blog and your participation.

SL closing

Posted by: Randolph Hollingsworth | April 21, 2016

JVWR article on researchers inworld

Journal of Virtual Worlds ResearchWorking in virtual worlds as a researcher? Check out this new article by Jaime Banks (Communication Studies, West Virginia U) and Rosa Mikeal Martey (Journalism and Media Communication, Colorado State U):

Put on Your Game Face: Designing the Researcher Presence In immersive Digital Environments

Researchers’ appearance and behavior may influence study participants’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors during in-person data collection. However, investigators in online settings can manage this influence by leveraging platform affordances to craft purposeful, scripted presences. We argue for a revisioning of approaches to researcher presence in immersive digital environments. In particular, we draw on the metaphor of a video game non-player character (NPC) to position researchers as characters embedded in study narratives. The researcher-as-NPC is designed by purposefully selecting visual, verbal, and behavioral features in relation to the norms and requirements of both the research and the immersive digital environment. This balance allows an avatar to function as a more transparent research tool and as a character within both the research and world narratives, rather than as a mere extension of researcher agency. We offer two case studies – one in an open digital world of Second Life and one in a structured online game World of Warcraft – to illustrate how this framework can contribute to effective parameters for participant interaction that minimize potential threats to validity and advance specific research objectives.

Posted by: Randolph Hollingsworth | March 24, 2016

Australian educators’ research article on collaborative learning

This just in from Mark Lee (Charles Sturt University, Australia) via “SL Educators (The SLED List)” <>, March 22, 2016.

… To our knowledge, this is the first article comprehensively reporting empirical results from a study of this type, but if you have done research in the area of classes that bring together real-world and virtual world participants my co-authors and I would be very interested in hearing from you.

The article has yet to be assigned to an issue of the journal, but is available via the publisher’s “Early View” initiative.
Bower, M., Lee, M. J. W., & Dalgarno, B. (2016). Collaborative learning across physical and virtual worlds: Factors supporting and constraining learners in a blended reality environment. British Journal of Educational Technology. Advance online publication.
(If/when citing in the future, please use the DOI link to determine the volume, issue and page numbers.)
Abstract: This article presents the outcomes of a pilot study investigating factors that supported and constrained collaborative learning in a blended reality environment. Pre-service teachers at an Australian university took part in a hybrid tutorial lesson involving a mixture of students who were co-located in the same face-to-face (F2F) classroom along with others who were participating remotely via their avatars in a three- dimensional virtual world. Video and sound recording equipment captured activity in the classroom, which was streamed live into the virtual world so the remote participants could see and hear their instructor and F2F peers; the in-world activity was also simultaneously displayed on a projector screen, with the audio broadcast via speakers, for the benefit of the F2F participants. While technical issues constrained communication and learning in some instances, the majority of remote and F2F participants felt the blended reality environment supported effective communication, collaboration and co-presence. Qualitative analysis of participant evaluations revealed a number of pedagogical, technological and logistical factors that supported and constrained learning. The article concludes with a detailed discussion of present and future implications of blended reality collaborative environments for learning and teaching as well as recommendations for educators looking to design and deliver their own blended reality lessons.
Posted by: Randolph Hollingsworth | April 22, 2014

Richardson-Hatcher and Hazzard featured in UKnow article

Richardson-Hatcher in front of computer showing virtual lab in Second Life

Image from UKnow article by Elizabeth Adams (April 22, 2014)

Congratulations to Dr. April Richardson-Hatcher and Matt Hazzard for the terrific article in UKnow today showcasing their anatomy lab on the UK Second Life island!

The reporter’s description of the Team-Based Learning Collaborative design connects well to the concepts of immersive learning experiences readily available in Second Life. Connecting the Cranial Nerve Skywalk with globalization – an important strategic goal for the University – was a stroke of genius. Of course this happens – that’s why we have an island on the SL Main Grid to help ease this internationalization of the learning experience. However, for those of us who have been inworld for a long time, we take that too much for granted! This is a great way to show how the UK island in SL can help to further the University’s larger goals.

Posted by: Randolph Hollingsworth | February 21, 2014

A&S Wired class returns to Second Life again this semester

So excited to see how quickly our A&S100 students in the A&S Wired Living Learning Community take to the Second Life interface now. This short course, “Between Shadow and Light” for first-year students has always been fun, but with the new, more user-friendly way for creating an account – much of the headache in orientation for students has simply gone away.

Prezi for A&S Wired Class 2014I handed out a flyer about SL with some web resources (download .pdf here) that I thought would be helpful for orienting students.  I also showed this Prezi (click on the image to see the presentation) on one screen while demonstrating how Bella Yan gets around inworld on another screen. Within a few moments after my presentation, several students had already created their accounts and found their way to the UKSL Perennial Peace Garden on their own. Soon Bella was surrounded by newbies bumping into each other and running around — only 30 minutes into the classtime! I wish I had taken a picture…

We’ll be conducting class in the computer lab in M.I.King Science Library next week so they can play Beth Kraemer’s Second Life Scavenger Hunt (here’s a Word doc to download) and learn how to avoid newbie mistakes at their assigned sims. Only two sessions in the lab are planned for this semester to assure quality of the inworld experience as we explore the various inworld non-Western settings.  This year, we’re matching up our students’ SL explorations with the home countries of our international student partners. They’ll be building multimedia projects together and we’re using international sites in Second Life as a way for our students to explore and practice how they will interact with their UK colleagues from those cultural backgrounds. You are welcome to follow their journaling ( and comment on their posts as they explore Second Life and think about the ethics and behaviors of how they interact with strangers.

I know this semester’s class will be fun and I will learn so much from them – as I always do.

Posted by: Randolph Hollingsworth | December 3, 2013

JVWR article from psychology research on UKSL island

This just in about the scholarly work being conducted in the psychology research building on the UK Second Life island.

Beth Kraemer

Beth Kraemer

Check out the article in the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research (April 2013) by the intrepid Beth Kraemer of the UK Libraries who led in the development of the UKSL island, and her husband, Phil who is a psychology professor of UGE Chellgren Center fame. Other co-authors are Rebecca Rayburn-Reeves, a member of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory; and, two graduate students, Jennifer Wu, PSY 395 research assistant in the UK Psychology Department; and, Sara Wilson.

Register to log in for free and download the article:

Dr. Philipp J. Kraemer

Phil Kraemer

Do As We Do, Not As You Think: The Effect of Group Influence on Individual Choices in a Virtual Environment

Second Life (SL) is a virtual world application that enables users to create virtual representations of themselves and interact with other users. SL is increasingly being used to study important psychological questions. The current project sought to replicate within SL Asch’s (1951) classic finding of group influence, in which participants often respond in accordance with choices expressed by other members of a group, regardless of the accuracy of those choices. Participants were given a series of perceptual judgment trials, in which they chose one of three stimulus alternatives that matched the length of a target stimulus. Participants were tested either alone or with three other confederate avatars whose choices were predetermined by the experimenter. On two of the trials, confederate avatars unanimously chose incorrectly before the actual participant made their choice. Results showed that on these trials participants were significantly more likely to choose in accord with the confederate’s choices, relative to participants tested as single avatars. The results generally support earlier research on group influence and extend these findings to a virtual world environment.
Posted by: Randolph Hollingsworth | November 22, 2013

Using SecondLife in a History Class

Street Scene in 1920s Berlin in Second Life

Berlin 1920s Project in Second Life

Presented today at a History colloquium at UK on the use of educational technologies – showed the UKSL island starting with the Perennial Peace Garden and then teleported to the 1920s Berlin Project – Weimar Republic.

A great question came up: “How do you know that any of this is any good, historically?” I replied quickly that this is part of the puzzle, asking students to observe critically and research what looks right or could be biased in its design. However, I fear I should have taken longer to respond – and to ask how the historian himself would have answered his own question. I believe this is a much larger question for us all to keep talking with each other about… the problematical nature of what we ask our students to interact with during their educational studies.  Do we present the required readings as part of a problem to solve or do we say, trust us, this is good stuff for you to consume without questioning its sources or biases.

I didn’t get a chance to go to these other places, but they are worth exploring for possible sites of study and/or roleplay in a history class:

Tudor Rose – cathedral and houses in Elizabethan England

Machu Picchu, curated by the University of San Martin de Porres, Peru

Notre Dame Cathedral

Afghanistan Museum

Azuchi – roleplay medieval Japanese warrior culture

Temple of Isis  – Linden Historical Site,

Ummah of Noor: “a live painting to display Islam and the Muslim life. Everyone is welcomed to take part in the painting 🙂 Hijab Peace Mosque Dome of the Rock  classes and events

Posted by: Randolph Hollingsworth | June 25, 2013

Call for Papers, JVWR

The Journal of Virtual Worlds

Has Issued A General Call for Papers

For the Issue “Assembled” (2014)

Issue Editors: TBD
Publication: 2014 Q1
Status: An open call. Submit any time.

For further information, contact: info AT

Posted by: Randolph Hollingsworth | June 20, 2013

Infographic on 10 Years History of

Linden Labs is celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Second Life on June 23rd (see press release here).  They created an infographic highlighting what for them was worth celebrating. We could have guessed that games, events and adventure/fantasy are top on the Destination Guide. The total of 36 million account creations helps keep SL at the top of the list of MMORPGs.  A little surprising: out of 1.2 million transactions per day, the most popular sales item in the 10 year history of women’s hairstyles.
infographic of SL stats

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