I’ve been a bit quiet in the posting department but that’s because I’ve been pleasantly busy with my course and Second Life. No day represents this better then the chaos and exhilaration of seeing 91 avatars come t, on February 4th complete their 1st homework assignment done completely in Second Life. As usual I like to show rather then tell so here’s a short video:
Seeing so many students over the course of the day and evening left me reflecting on the impact of watching your students do their homework! It’s something we don’t do, normally. It was amazing to be able to see what the students were doing, look at their transactions (On the notecard and visually via the model) and be able to provide feedback on the spot. This ability really highlights the possibilities of teaching in a synchronous environment. And amazingly (and this is important I’m sure, but don’t know quite why yet), the students stayed around even after they submitted their own assignment. They didn’t just log off (as they do when they submit things via WebCT). Certainly some were helping others, but many were well just watching, for what ever reason and I think that’s great!
Well here’s the boring technical stuff for what I did / what the students did. The 1st assignment (and the next two for that matter) were to create accounting transactions form problems in the students textbook. They had to write the transactions on a notecard and drop it on the model. Here’s an example of a completed notecard (from assignment #3) on the right. The model would then process the transactions and let them know if the results of all their transactions was a balanced model (i.e. debits=credits). I found, and encouraged students to make changes to their notecard until the model was balanced – in that way they would know they had the right answer – so in the end there were over 1000 notecards with accounting transactions on them. To make my life easier I crated a script that would send me an e-mail of the content of each notecard in csv format that included the notecards owners name as the subject line, thus helping to authenticate who dropped the notecard. Here’s what the emailed assignment would look like:
Anyway, it worked great (a few hiccups with directions like renaming the notecard transaction, and such) but overall Second Life held up without a glitch and the model processing 1000+ notecards and sending out emails worked like a charm also.