Get Oriented

Launched in 2003, Second Life ( is a large virtual world with a thriving economy. Residents (anyone who creates an account, free or paid, and creates a personal avatar) can spend time in a vast number of locations (“islands”) that have been created by the users for their own purposes, including education, socializing, entertainment and commerce. Artists, musicians, and public speakers can be found inworld as well as retailers, companies, entrepreneurs, governments and political parties. Second Life (SL) offers a compelling synchronous experience for people from all over the world, and since avatars are largely anonymous there are many opportunities to experiment with activities or identities not possible in one’s own real life. Study the Second Life Terms of Service ( and Community Standards ( to understand the ethical principles behind the culture of this virtual world.

Rule of thumb: Keep in mind that SL is an adult environment, but you can avoid viewing disturbing or offensive content by carefully looking at the sim rating (PG vs. Mature) when transporting to specific locations in-world. If you ever feel harassed or bullied, you should report the abuse. For more on this issue, see this topic at SimTeach

While we may be using SL for educational purposes, many residents are involved in SL for other reasons such as business, leisure and community. Be respectful of others who reside in-world. We will work in groups of 2 or 3 to practice basic skills such as walking and chatting. Each of you brings a different skill set to the environment.

Getting an SL Account
Beyond any technical decisions about hardware and software downloads (e.g., you’ll need Quicktime as well as the SL client software) there are a few basic things that you should remember when creating your first SL account.

You can use the New Media Consortium’s NMC Welcome Center to create your Second Life account and create your avatar. The New Media Consortium is a collaborative for researchers, instructors and students to explore ideas regarding gaming and virtual worlds. This group offers all the information you need to enter Second Life, and you can return to the NMC Campus at any time for a refresher.
OR, if you go to…
SL Welcome Island: Here you learn basic skills you need such as walking, flying, moving objects, etc.
. Check out the Second Life Quickstart page “Getting Started” which will help you with everything from flying, changing your appearance, shopping, basic building, basic scripting and more. Once you are good to go with the basics from the Quickstart guide, be sure to refer regularly to the Second Life User’s Guide.If you get stuck, the Second Life forums or Second Life itself (if you can find someone friendly around) is generally a great place to find help

  • Gender Neutral Names: Picking a name for your avatar can be tough – you might need to try name after name to find one that hasn’t already been taken. Think about choosing a gender-neutral name that can suit any identity you eventually develop.

  • Easy to spell names: Kewl l33t names might be fun but when people are trying to search for you, strange spelling can make finding you nearly impossible. Be creative but avoid swapping letters and numbers like zeros and Os.

  • Associate the right email with your account: SL can send handy emails regarding group notifications, inventory offers, friendship requests, and instant messages. These are convenient ways to keep up with your second life but they can also fill up your inbox. Be sure you select the most convenient email address to associate with your SL account.

  • Filling out your profile: Based on FERPA guidelines, educators should encourage our students to make profiles simple and anonymous – they should NOT provide information about where they go to school, where they live, etc. The only time students will need to give out this information is when they are interviewing someone inworld – and ideally, they use language similar to all the other students as directed by the professor in their syllabus.

  • Plan your inventory: It might seem premature to worry about inventory when you’ve just landed in the world for the first time but there’s no better time to become organized. Your inventory comes jam packed with library items and you will soon be picking up freebies and junk yard items that will clog up your folder — preventing you from finding what you need for class. Start off right by creating a few master folders and using them carefully as you begin to accumulate all the typical “newbie” items.

Skill Level One
Flying and Landing
Sitting, Dancing and other Poses
Changing Appearance
Chat vs IM
Shout vs Talk
You should be able to:
– Use your mouse and keyboard for basic navigation;
– Explain the difference bectween IM, chat, shout and talk;
– Use the “Search” menu;
– Explain why you would offer friendships or teleports to classmates or strangers
Good Places to Go to Learn these Skills:

University of Kentucky Island’s Student Center, University of KY 120, 150, 72; take a Balloon Tour of Linden Village, Ambleside 51,39,0; or, visit these SL Orientation Stations Dore 30,100,26 or Brampton 166,188,0; or, Boardman Public Park, Boardman 160,71,25
Skill Level Two
Using Your Inventory
Camera Controls
Movement Controls
Using the Map and SLurls
Opening Boxes and Shopping
Snapshots Inworld
You should be able to:
– Organize inventory items for easy access;
– Use control panels to decide which is easiest method for you to see and move;
– Open, copy, rename or create a notecard and then give it to another avatar;
– Use the map to find and teleport to others
– Move a gift or retail box from your inventory to a spot in a sandbox; open it and copy the contents to your inventory; and then delete the box
– Take a snapshot and send it to yourself as a postcard or put keep it in your inventory as an image “texture” to use on a poster later or save it to your computer’s hard drive
Good Places to Go to Learn these Skills:

New Citizens Inc., Kula 57,174,29; University of Kentucky Island’s Open Sandbox, University of KY 222, 224, 501; The Learning Center, Mauve 116, 92, 34; Dreams 105,148,24; SL Universe (Knowledge Base)
Skill Level Three
Moving Objects
Creating Objects and Building
Editing Objects and Textures
You should be able to:– Explain the concepts of intellectual property in Second Life
– Create an object using any one of the prims and textures then link a second one with it setting permissions so anyone in your SL group can copy but not re-sell your creation
– Create or copy and edit a LSL script to animate an object
– Use an inworld machinima software, e.g., Fraps, to create a video to post in the wiki
Good Places to Go to Learn these Skills:The Particle Lab, Teal 200,50,301; Borrowdale 45,55,45; Ivory Tower Library of Prims, Natoma 208,164, 27; SL Instructor Area Oak Grove 117,102,10; Caledon Victoria City 127, 128, 24; Mystica Marketplace, Mystica 135, 99, 55; SL Forums; one of the oldest SL discussion communities,; SL Showcase of Machinima; Scripting Tutorial in SL Wiki,

[These learning levels are borrowed and adapted from “CCarter: Knowledge Sharing,”, accessed August 10, 2008.]


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