Posted by: Randolph Hollingsworth | February 13, 2009

Spring 2009 courses and research use of UKSL island

COM 252-Interpersonal Communication
Also, Dissertation Research on the Nature and Effect of Interactive Communication Technology. A Communication Immersion Experience Lab is established on the UKSL Island in partnership with master builders in real and Second Life.  The Lab has PowerPoint presentation capability and large screen (one wall in the classroom) with writing/sketching capability on the walls and easels set up in the team meeting/instructor consultation area;15 different rooms (equipped with doors labeled for each different immersion experience) with video, audio, and PowerPoint capabilities on all room walls a round table and four chairs in the center; ability to mark the Communication Immersion Experience Lab and individual rooms as private/inaccessible due to “Immersion Experience in Session”; building privileges for Instructor and to assign building privileges to specific students for a certain amount of time; no bumping/shoving activated. The Lab is utilized in experiments during which two groups of participants are required to complete a list of tasks in Second Life.  One group has no experience in Second Life and the second group has a minimum of one month’s experience in Second Life. Study participants complete a Pre-Test measuring computer skills and experience and a Post-Test measuring perceived interactivity. Participant interactions in Second Life are recorded using video equipment, and physiological responses of participants are measured during the experiment. The study will illuminate the phenomenon of interactivity and the human experience of it with the intention of establishing interface skill level as a critical factor determining whether or not interactivity is experienced.  In addition, the Communication Immersion Experience Lab will be used as an instructional aid for at least two sections of COM 252, interpersonal communication.   A post-immersion experience survey will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of Second Life for developing interpersonal communication skills and knowledge among COM 252 students.
Project contact – Jennifer Robinette, Communications & Information Studies, Jennifer.Robinette@uky.edu (SL: NTerraActivity Writer)

Kentucky Forestry Learning Center
Project contact – Janet Powell and Paul Kalisz, Forestry, janet.powell@uky.edu (SL: Ichiume Okawa) and pkalisz@uky.edu (SL: Adam Schilling)
Initially, we will construct a Forestry Building (with access to slidesets, photographs, and downloadable content related to modern forestry concepts) where we could construct educational displays similar to those that would be found in a visitors’ center at a National Park. Some of these would link to our AppalFor website; others would provide both general  information that might be of interest casual visitors and more detailed information for those specifically  interested in forestry (such as educational slide sets on topics such as  “thinning young hardwood stands”). In addition, we would host lectures by invited speakers for classes such as “Ethics in Forestry” or design group activities with other classes to discuss issues that are of common interest.

ANA 209 – Principles of Human Anatomy
Project contact – April Richardson, Anatomy & Neurobiology  (arich3@uky.edu); Jennifer Brueckner, Assistant Dean of Medical Education (jennifer.brueckner@uky.edu)
We are in the process of building a virtual anatomy lab on the UK’s island where pre-professional  students can convene to discuss anatomy, relevant case studies, and palpations. We are piloting this study with a small group of undergraduates that took ANA 209 last semester. These students will create avatars and familiarize themselves with SL, after which they will be given a list of objectives to complete as a group in the SL anatomy lab. For instance, we will simulate palpation exams on avatars, where students will be asked to identify regions on the body and comment on the nerves, vasculature, etc that may supply a particular structure. We eventually hope to incorporate this into the undergraduate curriculum as a innovative approach to anatomy. There are a considerable number of students who request an accompanying lab for anatomy, and currently we do not have the capacity to accommodate such a large number of students in the anatomy dept.

PS 545 American Political Thought
Project contact – Chris Rice, Political Science, christopher.rice@uky.edu (SL: Ricetopher Freenote)
PS545 explores contemporary American political thought, its formation and the ways in which it is involved in major problems of culture, political economy, ideology, community and identity. We will explore contemporary issues of capitalism, such as the intellectual history and conflict surrounding intellectual property and copyright; consumer culture and the schizophrenia of modern capitalist life; sexual taboos and the construction of subaltern communities; and the problematics of constructing virtual communities and publics. We will be engaging these questions through a variety of methods. Pedagogically, we will be using deep reading and discussion in class to explore the readings, and using digital ethnographic methods in Second Life to explore how these concepts play out in an artificial digital environment that some political theorists consider the idealized tabula rasa of American political yearnings. During the semester we will learn to explore these major issues within contemporary American political thought as political theorists do and as a community of “metanauts.” See SLurl and class wiki at http://ps545spring09.pbwiki.com/

UK Library Services
Currently I am on sabbatical to explore educational and library uses of Second Life – focus areas include (1) Library services in virtual worlds (survey various library projects underway in SL, further develop the library presence of the UK Libraries on the University of KY island);  (2) Education in virtual worlds (survey current educational projects, develop programs to provide library support for UK educators exploring SL;  (3) Develop skill in SL basics (learn basic building and scripting using the Second Life client application).
Project Contact – Beth Kraemer, UK Libraries, kraemer@uky.edu (SL: Alice Burgess)

The UK Department of Art maintains a gallery annex in SL, currently overseen by UK New Media professor Dima Strakovsky and curated in SL by Andrew Sempere (SL: Tezcatlipoca Bisiani).  The gallery hosts some of the most important artists working in SL as a medium.
Project Contact – Dima Strakovsky, UK Department of Art, dima@shiftingplanes.org (SL: Eshu Janus)

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