NMC Orientation Island – A Success Story
If you’ve read this blog from my initial postings, you will know that I was less then enthusiastic about the student orientation experience, and believe that at least in part the poor SL orientation island (what with students not being able to get off, the harassment, etc.) was reflected in the resistance my Fall 2007 students had to Second Life. Also as mentioned in those posts, a new type of orientation would be available for my Spring 2008 class – The NMC Orientation Island and what a difference a well thought out, education based orientation makes.
A quick mention of the highlights from an educators standpoint:
- Not one student has gotten “stuck” on NMC’s orientation island.
- Students that are unsure where to go, can IM me and receive a TP directly to our classroom in Second Life.
- Students having problems – with clothes or any other issue can be met at the orientation island (something impossible with SL OI) by myself, a TA, etc.
- Within minutes, if so desired, students can be on Teaching 4, for my own orientation of classroom objects.
I could not be more pleased with the results of having the students register via NMC and learn the basics via NMC, but there are a few downsides that should be mentioned in all fairness.
- A few accounts were broken (clothes didn’t rez, didn’t receive e-mail authorization), and the registration does not allow someone to get a new avatar with the same e-mail address. These students (and honestly only a handful out of close to 200) had to register and go through Second Life’s own orientation.
- Avatars can move off of the orientation island (see above), very quickly, thus more avatars were ending up in the classroom orientation lacking some very basic skills (a trade off I’m very happy to make). After all, I’d rather have students learn the basics in my classroom, exploring the learning objects if possible.
And the quantitative numbers prove (at least to me) the success of using this type of open orientation, for the first two weeks of the semester I have had the following:
Visit counts were maintained by DayaTech Greeter and Visitor counter – highly recommended.