“I want my avatar to have a PhD!”

When I was first introduced to Second Life, it was accompanied by a huge warning. Something along the lines of, “Don’t join, it will consume you, you will never be able to leave your computer screen,” along with rumours which I am unable to verify, including that there have been suicides associated with characters dying in the game. None-the-less the game has become much more than that. It is now a universe.

The lines between RL (real life) and SL (second life) are becoming increasingly irrelevant to those involved. The world hosts conferences and classes with many virtual celebrities that are no less spectacular than RL celebrities and icons. It isn’t a stretch that we are now seeing that RL universities are offering classes inside this virtual world. Sounds crazy, no? Well it is and it isn’t. You can now get a real degree from an accredited university without leaving Second Life.

In an article in Wired, Aaron Delwiche, an assistant professor at Trinity University in San Antonio explains:

“It’s really difficult to understand new media or cyberculture or the ways the internet is transforming our culture without actively participating in it,” he said. “The thing that’s appealing about Second Life is that it’s a shared virtual experience, and so it has that common element that the classroom brings.”

The question is, how long until people ask what the difference is between an IP address and a SSN?


Looks comfy doesn’t it?

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