Towson Innovation Lab setting for student building sessions

Last Monday evening a number of students showed up for an in-world building session. It was great fun and we all had a good LOL while leanring about PRIMS and scripting. Please join us for the fun on an upcoming Monday evening. Bee Zimminy is in world about 8 PM Eastern time. Just IM her for an invite.


Towson Innovation Lab island is born!

Last night Ruby Snook, Valen Voom and Bee Zimminy checked out the terraform build of the new Towson Innovation Lab island in Second Life. The New Media Consortium is building the island for the TU-SL team and Larry Pixel (Larry Johnson CEO, NMC) anticipates it should be complete in the next few weeks.
The island is not yet open to the public, but will be as soon as the build is complete.
Stay tuned for progress reports and photos.


Fall 2008 Semester kicks off new SL office hours

Towson faculty members Jan Baum (ART), James Braman (COSC), and Bridget Sullivan (ART) meet with students Monday night to chat about Second Life, share SL tips and tricks, and tour a couple of amazing places in-world. Here they are in an environment created by AM Radio.
The faculty have arranged to hold in-world group office hours Monday evenings to bring together their students from various disciplines. The office hours are informal and the larger TU community is invited to join in as well. Join the group at the Waterside Cafe on the NMC Orientation Island starting at 8:00 pm. You can IM Bee Zimminy for a teleport invite.


New Second Life Educators' web site

Check out RezEd.org a new Second Life Hub for Learning and Virtual Worlds providing practitioners using virtual worlds with access to the highest quality resources and research in the field to establish a strong network of those using virtual worlds for learning. This looks like a great resource. Weekly discussions hosted by guest moderators, and you can become a member too. A great way to learn about applications of SL in higher education.
~bee Zimminy

From RezEd...
Each month we will feature inter-related podcasts, digital resources in the library, and featured blog posts. RezEd launches with a special focus on virtual worlds having their day in Congress earlier this month. Listen to the podcast interview with Larry Johnson, CEO of the New Media Consortium, as he describes his experiences testifying in Congress, read his and the other testimonies submitted that day, watch the full video of the hearings, and respond to this week’s featured blog asking what YOU would have told or asked Congress.


Teaching at Towson takes on a Second Life

Students, professors interact in virtual classrooms
(originally posted: 4/14/08 at thetowerlight.com)

By: Sharon Leff

Bee Zimminy (aka Prof. B. Sullivan) with ART641 students in SL

Imagine a Towson University with all its educational opportunities and social possibilities but none of its parking problems or construction projects.

All of that exists in Second Life, www.secondlife.com, a virtual world that can resemble real locations and can include fictional ones. Second Life residents can create avatars, interact with others and purchase items with Linden dollars, the currency used on the site.

Bridget Sullivan, an associate professor in the art department and program director for the online interactive media design graduate certificate, began using the site in Fall 2007. She said she was hooked on it after hearing a presentation about Second Life at the Distance Learning Conference in Madison, Wis. last August.
"I love to create things and SL is a new medium of expression. SL is full of fun things to learn about. I think of it as a big puzzle or complex tool for making art and design," Sullivan said. "I am an artist and I enjoy learning about new art materials. This is the latest set of art tools in my toolbox."

Sullivan's initials, BZS, inspired her to create her online name "bee Zimminy."
"I thought it sounded friendly. I wanted my avatar to be approachable since I am using the avatar for teaching," she said.

Towson President Robert Caret said he has started exploring the site and the possibility of holding Study Breaks online. Caret periodically meets with students in the Student Government Association and is considering holding sessions on Second Life.
"What we're looking at is how to play with [Second Life] a bit and maintain ongoing contact with a large student body," Caret said in an interview last month.

Sullivan said there is excitement about the site among both her students and her colleagues. She also holds office hours on the site.
"I find the office hour meeting a non-pressure event. I just let students know I'll be there if they want to stop by. It gives them a reason to log in and a destination to go to. From now until the end of the semester we will use the office hour time to tour SL as a group," she said. "Once students log into SL they can IM me and I send them an invitation to teleport to my location. Each week we will be meeting in a new location."

LaTonya Dyer, an instructional design technologist/trainer for the center for instructional advancement and technology in the office of technology services, said she's active in Second Life because she's excited about all the research, simulations, entrepreneurship, socializing, networking, communicating and creating possibilities that come along with the site.

"I have had the opportunity to interact with others all over the United States and around the globe. How else could I do this from the comfort of my desk at home or at work?" she said. Dyer said one of the benefits to the site is it places everybody on the same playing field and allows for various types of simulations.
"These simulations can and are being used for training purposes. I have heard of companies using Second Life for customer service training for their employees. Some researchers or developers are also simulating natural events like tsunamis or schizophrenia," she said. "Towson faculty members are using or planning to use Second Life for course projects, research and content development."

Sullivan said she would love to see Towson more involved with the site.
"It would be great to develop a TU community of users and events," she said.

Dyer said that sometimes there are a few technical issues when using the site, and sytem requirements and Internet connection speeds must be taken into account.
"Second Life is unavailable when upgrades are made, which normally occurs on Wednesdays during specific times. So you have to be careful when scheduling events," she said.

To help Towson get more involved with Second Life, Sullivan created a blog, http://towsonusecondlife.blogspot.com/, with instructions and tips. © Copyright 2008 Towerlight


Brown Bag SL event held in TU's Digital Media Classroom

A well attended event organized by LaTonya Dyer, Instructional Designer and Trainer of CIAT, provided the TU audience of faculty, staff and graduate students with a snapshot view of the potential educational opportunities available through the (MUVE) Multiple User Virtual Environment Second Life.
Held in the Digial Media Classroom on February 15th LaTonya Dyer kicked off the presentation with an overview of SL. She was followed by TU faculty James Braman (COSC), Giovanni Vincenti (COSC), and Bridget Sullivan (ART) who each presented SL course activities and related SL research.

View a recording of the event: http://mediasite2.towson.edu/mediasite/Catalog?cid=044f1dfd-71ae-49e1-b2c5-8b4305674647 - Windows Media Player required
http://mediasite.towson.edu/CIAT/emergingtechnologies - Flash Player required

LaTonya Dyer announcing the Emerging Technology Community

~bee Zimminy


IAMD students meeting at NMC SL Campus

bee Zimminy looking at IWant Twork's object work

In an effort to make herself more available to her online students
bee Zimminy (AKA Prof. Bridget Sullivan Program Director for the online Interactive Media Design graduate certificate) is offering Wednesday evening office hour sessions in the virtual reality environment Second Life. TU's membership in NMC supports Prof. Sullivan's virtual learning experience for IAMD students as The IAMD-PBC is an online, interdisciplinary, integrated program that emphasizes visual communication and graphic design theories as well as current industry practices within the context of website and multimedia authoring.
Students in ART641 will investigate aspects of multimedia design including multiple user virtual environments (MUVE's). As a course activity students will be instructed to create an avatar (a 3-D game profile) in the online 3-D virtual environment Second Life. The objective is to offer classroom events and activities in the Second Life environment to expose students to the development of online virtual environments as potential business and educational destinations. The inclusion of SL activities in ART641 will provide students with an opportunity to experience and analyze a 3-D virtual reality environment first hand. Students will immerse themselves in the 3-D SL interactive environment to more fully understand the impact of 3-D simulated environments on current and future trends in interactive media design.

Get started NMC and SL - how to videos

Multimedia demonstrations and instructions

Aaron Gates, IAMD graduate assistant, has prepared three presentations to help you get started in the Second Life virtual environment.


What you need "in-world"

The SL software and account are free. The membership in New Media Consortium is free. The only cost is your time. It will require approximately 6 hours to acclimate yourself to the SL environment. Text Chat in SL is free and requires no additional equipment, however if you wish to use Voice Chat in SL you will need to purchase a USB headset such as the Logitech Premium USB Headset 350 available from amazon.com for $42 (plus taxes and shipping) or available from Best Buy for $50 (plus tax and gas to get there).

NOTE: Second Life does require a broadband connection (cable or DSL) and a newer computer with 1 Gig RAM recommended. More info about SL system requirements can be found at secondlife.com

TUWireless NOTE: At this ponit in time TUWireless does not support a SL connection. You will need to be hardwired on campus to make a connection to SL.

Step by step instructions

  1. Create an account and download the Second Life software from www.secondlife.com
  2. Create an avatar in SL (you can change their appearance again later).
  3. Visit the SL Orientation Island to learn more about how to get around in SL.
  4. For more basic information about SL read the articles posted by Tateru Nino in www.secondlifeinsider.
  5. Create an account with the New Media Consortium at www.nmc.org Towson Universiity is an insitutional member of NMC.
  6. As a NMC member you can now join the NMC group in SL allowing you to meet with me in the NMC campus Waterside Cafe. With SL launched click on the Communicate button (bottom left) and select the group tab on the left. Now click the search button on the lower right and type in NMC Members. Join the group.
  7. NMC has a great SL Orientation area as well. Check it out!
  8. Once you have gotten yourself familiarized with SL stop by and see Bee Zimminy at one of her Wednesday evening sessions 8-8:30 pm Eastern Time. Prof. Sullivan will be at the NMC Campus Waterside Cafe. Click on the link ( a SLURL) to get into the NMC Orientation area. Fly over the rocks following the floating red arrows and looking for the red beacon revealing the exact location of the cafe.

TU joins New Media Consortium

Teachers' Buzz workshop held in NMC Campus in SL

Towson University students, faculty and staff may now join the New Media Consortium and enjoy the benefits of TU's new insitutional membership. Membership benefits include is the use of the NMC Second Life campus as an alternative learning venue.

About NMC
The New Media Consortium (NMC) is an international 501(c)3 not-for-profit consortium of nearly 250 learning-focused organizations dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies. NMC member institutions are found in almost every state in the United States, across Canada, and in Europe, Asia and Australia. Among the membership are an elite list of the most highly regarded colleges and universities in the world, as well as a growing list of innovative museums, research centers, foundations, and forward-thinking companies.

The New Media Consortium nmc.org maintains a virtual campus in the Second Life environment so that member universities may experiment with Second Life and host educational events. Beginning January 1, 2008 the award of a Teaching Innovation Grant by the Graduate School will fund an institutional membership for Towson University in the New Media Consortium. (nmc.org)

Membership benefits also include the opportunity to attend NMC in-world events and conferences. You can read about NMC campus events on the NMC Campus Observer blog.

View the movie "NMC Campus: Seriously Engaging"
Join the New Media Consortium
Download the free Second Life Software and set up your free SL membership
Teleport to the NMC virtual campus