The Open Sim Community Conference starts this weekend and I am going.  I’m very interested in OpenSim, although my teaching remains in Second Life. I’m seeing a lot of my SL friends here, and I hope that’s an indication that the educational community has risen above platform loyalties. Most of us, I think, understand that each platform has different affordances that suit some teaching expectations better than others.

opening daySIf I had my own university (this is probably not a realistic expectation) I would have a showcase sim in Second Life that gave an advantageous portrait of my institution, with monthly social and academic events. I would use the sim for general outreach programs, and our students and faculty would benefit from the insights and perspectives that the general public would bring.

Prospective students and faculty could use the showcase sim to learn about my university in a more informal way, or even to meet one-on-one with representatives of various departments.  Students and faculty from other universities and other countries could also use the sim in collaboration with my own faculty and students, enriching the experience for all concerned.

But at the same time, I would have a number of sites in OpenSim, and at OS prices, I could afford quite a few (the university I’m hoping to get will be in the Ivy League). I would have research sites, experimental sites, teaching sites, sites for faculty office hours, places where people could make a mess and not worry about cleaning up, and places where students could build weird and wonderful things.

This is the way I see things at the beginning of the conference.  I’m interested to see if my opinion will change as I listen to what other people have been doing in alternate venues. I’ll post what I learn.

About the conference:

Conference schedule: http://conference.opensimulator.org/2013/schedule/