Department of Educational Technology
Boise State University

Lisa Dawley, Ph.D.

Mission of Dept. of Educational Technology
The Department of Educational Technology supports the study and practice of facilitating and improving learning of a diverse population by creating, using, managing, and evaluating appropriate technological processes and resources.   Believing technology is a tool that enhances and expands the educational environment, we promote the use of current and emergent technologies for teaching and learning in a dynamic global society. Educational technologists are leaders and innovators, serving in institutions of higher education, public or private school settings, federal, state or local educational agencies, community organizations, and the private sector.

Course Description & Prerequisites
This graduate level course explores the use of virtual worlds, primarily Second Life, for teaching and learning. Participants will identify and analyze emerging research, as well as tools, pedagogy, SL teaching environments, content resources, and various available assessments for virtual world teaching. This is a hands-on, project-based class where participants will have opportunities to design, facilitate, and evaluate instruction in Second Life. An emphasis will be placed on participating in, and developing, the growing social network and resources for virtual world teachers. Course assignments are customized to participants' individual work contexts.

This is a highly engaging course where participants will interact with a variety of SL teachers, students, and researchers, attend virtual field trips, plan and conduct workshops, build out teaching resources for
other educators, and work on individualized projects and research. This is a wonderful opportunity to become part of the emerging network of virtual world educators.

System requirements: http://secondlife.com/corporate/sysreqs.php

Prerequisite skills:
* Use of camera controls
* Ability to fly, walk, and teleport
* Knowledge of communication tools (IM and chat)
* Basic building skills (create prims, add textures and content)
* Basic inventory management (can find items, wear clothing, make a notecard)
* It is recommended that participants have at least 10-20 hours of prior participation in Second Life before the course begins.

Course Goals & Objectives
Participants will:

Course Readings & Resources
Order through BSU bookstore or online vendor, such as Amazon.com.  Ensure quick shipping as you will need text for Week 2 of class.

Horizon Report 2007
Some Foundations for Second Life Pedagogy, (LaChapelle, 2007)
Second Life & School: The Use of Virtual Worlds in High School Education (Alvarez, 2006)
Using a Virtual World for Transferrable Skills in Gaming Education (Hobbs, Brown, Gordon, 2006)
Virtual Worlds: What are They and Why Do Educations Need to Pay Attention to Them?
Educause Reading List on Second Life
Maha's 3D Virtual World Bibliography
Purdue Second Life Annotated Bibliography
Edutopia, Student Exchange

Assignments & Grades
Grades will be based on total number of points earned on the following:  

1.   Weekly Class Activities, Assignments & Participation - Your online participation is critical to your own learning.  Each week, you participate in weekly discussions, group work, activities, or mini-assignments.   These activities are designed to enhance your understanding of the weekly topic.  Iíve long outgrown my need as an instructor to count posts on discussion boards :)  Iím interested in the quality of your critical thinking, your reflections, your ability to find connections between materials, between theory and practice, your ability to contribute new understandings to the course, to assist your peers in their own learning and problem solving.  If I feel you arenít reaching this standard, I will communicate with you.  I will indicate minimum requirements.  You are always welcome to add more.  Grading criteria are provided weekly.

2.   Reflective Action Ė Reflection on learning is critical to developing long-term and deeply instilled learning.  Reflective Action is a process for reflecting on learning, and considering and applying your learning to your own teaching context.  Reflective action will occur via weekly discussions and note taking. To be discussed during Week 2.

3.  Teaching- Plan, teach, and evaluate two lessons in SL prior to Week 11. One teaching experience will include a group teaching activity to specifically address needs developed in the curriculum negotiation process during week 1. Specific criteria will be made available in class.

4.   Social Network Participation Ė Make a minimum of 10 contributions of SL resources, teaching techniques, etc. to a social networking site supporting Second Life (inworld or out-of-world). Some of these contributions will be completed during weekly class meetings. Guidelines to be discussed in class.

5.   Final Synthesis Project Ė Each student is required to complete a final project demonstrating application and synthesis of the course topics.  Projects may vary according to student interest or need, but must 1) support a real-life need, and 2) support virtual world teaching or teachers in some way.  Project guidelines are handed out in class.  Rubrics for assessing the project are designed specifically for each project, and are negotiated between the instructor and student.


10 Weekly Activities & Participation  (25 points each week)


Reflective Action


Teaching in SL


Social Network Participation


Final Synthesis Project


Grand Total Points


Grading Scale:  
A = 900-1000
B = 800-899
C = 700-799
D = 600-699
F =  0-599  




Start Date



Guest Speaker

∑     Week 1: Introductions to Course, Social Networking & Virtual Worlds

Aug 27

Introductions & housekeeping


∑     Week 2: Teaching Resources & Tools--Inworld

Sept 3

- Begin reflective action
- Demonstration and goodie bags of teaching tools, question takers, planning tools, etc. - - - - Activity: peer "Search & Report" on resources and tools

Demonstration & peer learning

Eloise Pasteur
4:00 PM

∑     Week 3:  Teaching Resources & Tools--Inworld

Sept 10

- Activity: make a slideshow and book
- Tour ICT &SLED Picayune

Virtual field trip

Ross Perkins
5:00 PM

∑     Week 4:  Teaching Resources & Tools--Out of world & Mashups

Sept 17

Introduction to Salamander, Sloodle, SimTeach

Whole group discussion

Jonathan Richter, Jeremy Kemp, Brent Capriotti
4:00 PM

∑     Week 5:  Content Areas in SL

Sept 24

Visit NOAA island, other simulations


David Gibson
5:00 PM

∑     Week 6:  Content Areas in SL Oct 1

Visit Greenies, ISFM, Globe Theather, others
*Creating Immersive Experiences group activity*

Scavenger hunt

Bcreative Wilde
5:00 PM

∑     Week 7:  Andragogy

Oct 8

Participate and reflect on experiential role play activity
*Creative Instruction group activity*

Role play & experiential learning

Sarah Robbins
4:30 PM

∑     Week 8:  Andragogy

Oct 15

Attend and evaluate two classes in SL
*ID models group activity*

Critical observation

∑     Week 9: Pedagogy

Oct 22

Compare & contrast SL and Teen SL pedagogy, tools, and resources
*Facilitating New Users group activity*

 Compare & contrast

Jeremy Koester; Rafi Santo & Peggy Sheehy
4:30 PM

∑     Week 10: Assessment & Data Collection

Oct 29

Overview & grab bag of assessment tools, analysis of web-based database tracking data in SL
*Teacher & Learning Considerations group activity*


Eric Hackathorn
5:00 PM

·     Week 11:  Challenges & Concerns; Project Planning

Nov 5

Identification of challenges & concerns to inworld teaching, as well as potential solutions; visit EduCommons;
project proposals due this week

Proposal writing

North Lamar
5:00 PM

∑     Week 12: Project

Nov 12

Rubric creation


Class meetings are optional beginning this week

∑     Week 13: Projects

Nov 19


∑     Week 14: Projects

Nov 26

First drafts due; peer review

∑     Week 15: Projects

Dec 3

Continue projects

∑     Week 16:  Final Projects

Dec 10

Final projects due Thursday, December 13

Course Expectations
Course work in EDTECH 597 is divided into 16 weeks of the semester. The types of assignments and the level of interactivity vary from week-to-week.  This is not a self-paced course, and projects involving collaboration with peers are required.  I will always try my best to give clear directions on what, where, when, and how in the weekly assignment folder in Blackboard.

Communication with the instructor and/or students in the class can be readily accomplished through the email, phone, or in Second Life. I usually return email and phone calls within 24 hours, and Iím happy to schedule a time with you to discuss your questions and work. A Student Lounge Area is provided in the Discussion Board. This provides an opportunity for you to visit with other class members about any topic of interest. I encourage you to use this area to visit with other class members (much as you would in the hallway before an on-campus class).

There is also a FAQ area on the Discussion Board and I will post questions for students that I think may help the whole class. Please donít hesitate to ask questions Ė online environments vary greatly, as well as students' experiences with them.
Instructions for where and when to submit assignments will be given in each Weekly Agenda in the Assignments folder. All assignments are due on a weekly basis by Midnight MST each Tuesday at the latest unless indicated otherwise.

Academic Honesty
It is expected that students in this class will create original works for each assignment. We will follow the BSU Student Code of Conduct and also observe U.S. copyright laws in this course. In addition to this please adhere to the following guidelines:

In the event of academic dishonesty a complaint is filed with the BSU Student Conduct Office with supporting documentation. This complaint remains on file and actions may be taken against the student (e.g., loss or credit, reduction in grade, etc.).

More information about copyright: Several great links to copyright information are available on the BSU Academic Technologies site at: http://itc.boisestate.edu/resource.htm

Late Work
Please be advised that the following late work policy will be enforced in this class:

It is a good idea to schedule specific times to work on your assignments each week and keep the appointment with yourself. Plan to spend 8 - 12 hours per week on this class. The amount of time actually needed will depend on entry level skills. It is in your best interest to start early on each assignment to give yourself time to fix technical problems or get help before the due date passes.

Advanced Copies of Assignments
Please understand that I am continually adding new materials and multimedia to my course assignments. Although I applaud students who wish to work ahead it is not feasible for me to prepare advanced copies of assignments. Full assignment details will only become available at the beginning of each new assignment week (Tuesdays). An outline of topics and reading assignments is available in the course schedule. The reading assignments are all listed so they may be completed in advance if desired.

© 2007 Lisa Dawley, Ph.D., do not use without written permission