From July 2009 to July 2010, I was the graduate research assistant & program coordinator for the Virtual Learning Community Initiative (VLCI). The VLCI, funded through the University of Texas System Transforming Undergraduate Education Initiative, extended the 16 University of Texas campuses into the virtual world of Second Life. Second Life is a free 3D software environment where users can socialize, connect and create using free voice and text chat.
Each UT campus received three virtual islands to explore the use of Second Life in undergraduate student learning, research, collaboration, and operations. The two distinct but interrelated tracks of this project were to: (1) initiate a UT System-wide virtual collaborative learning community of students, faculty, researchers and administrators, and (2) transform the learning experiences and opportunities for the individual undergraduate student at the course level.
The VLCI initiative resulted in numerous campus accomplishments including:
- System and campus level IRB approved research and assessment
- creation of virtual poster sessions
- cost savings from bi-weekly virtual meetings
- collaborative building projects & sharing of resources
- a virtual Undergraduate Conference with attendance of 100 students & educators from 30 different schools & four countries
- development of a virtual art gallery
- classes being held virtually despite Hurricane Alex
I designed and distributed an 80 page print Resource Packet for Campus Leads.
With a team of volunteers from other UT campuses, I coordinated a day-long Undergraduate Conference in Second Life.
I also managed data backup, the email listserv and group wiki at PBworks.
Specific duties as program coordinator included administering, coordinating and marketing activities involved in assigned programs or projects; developing and implementing standards for attainment of program goals and objectives; maintaining frequent interaction with University departments, special groups and external agencies in administering the program; recommending new policies and procedures for improvement of program activities; coordinating staff training and development; conducting marketing assessment for assigned area; overseeing financial management of all program activities.
Documentation of my virtual world experiences is available here.