Aztlan Island in Second LifeYesterday, President Stephen Weber and his avatar (magically controlled by SDSU librarian Pam Jackson) officially cut the ribbon to Aztlan Island, SDSU’s virtual world presence in Second Life.
According to SDSU’s News Center, the Second Life campus “will be used as a virtual learning commons for individual students, faculty members and student-centered organizations to engage in 21st-century world-building and research activities.” (For a thorough and eloquent explanation of Second Life and Aztlan Island, visit the Aztlan Island, SDSU in Second Life Wiki.)

According to Pam, a number of exciting projects currently are in progress:

1. Two students in David Morong’s Theater 596 class in Television, Film and New Media created the 3D models of the Dome, Scripps Cottage and Hepner Hall that can be explored on the island.

2. Two students in Tina Yapelli’s ART 491 class, Gallery Exhibit Design, are creating their spring 2010 capstone project–a scaled art gallery exhibit–in Second Life instead of constructing a 2D floorplan by hand as the assignment has traditionally been done.

3. Sabine Reljic, doctoral student in the SDSU/USD joint doctoral program, defended her dissertation on the Island on March 2, 2010. The title is “The Effects of Instructor Immediacy in Second Life, An Immersive and Interactive 3D Virtual Environment.”

4. Art student Julios Santos is in the process of building a replica of SDSU’s Art South building on Aztlan Island’s.

5. Professor Amy Schmitz Weiss, from the School of Journalism and Media Studies, has created an experiential learning simulation for disaster response journalism in Second Life. Students meet “in world” to learn how to cover a disaster and then enter two simulations (one flooded community and one community hit by a health pandemic) to immerse themselves in a virtual crisis situation. Available in both Spanish and English, her project is currently located on Eduisland 4 but may be moving to Aztlan soon.

Really, you should take a look at Aztlan Island. A lot of people have put much thought, energy, and creativity into this project. I think you’ll be impressed.

News coverage of Aztlan Island:

Channel 6, San Diego (be sure to click on the video in the upper right-hand corner!)