I’m going back to a free account in Second Life® because I just can’t justify the expense anymore. There hasn’t been any interest among our faculty for years and the small plot of land we leased from the NMC went the way of our institution’s NMC account. I tried to keep up with the VWER meetings, but I was increasingly irrelevant in that group of educators who have actually taught in SL.
So, I had to release the land that came with the account in order to change it from premium to free–kind of unfair, since my account won’t switch over to free until late January. Anyway, it’s gone and that’s too bad, but it was just a showcase. The prim limits were so low that I could only furnish it sparsely and no one came to visit. My spouse and SL partner even stopped visiting.
So, now I have about L$34,000 left from my premium stipend to spend as I wander around homeless, just as I did in the beginning. More hair, more shoes, more otherworldly clothing. And I might be dropping in to your sandbox to take out my Barcelona chair every now and then.
Some bad news for educators in Second Life®, not just ones who own their own islands. In 2011, the educational/non-profit discount of half-off the regular price of an island ends. This will push many institutions out. Many will try to develop something in OpenSim; some will be able to host their own VWs. There is a kind of frenzy in the online communities right now, with a lot of doom and gloom predicted. Even those of us who lease land will be affected by the loss of community. If education in virtual worlds is fragmented among many open source options, it will be to the detriment of educators who currently collaborate.
We lease our small parcel from the New Media Consortium, and what will happen to their leasing rates?
Is the time right for us to dabble in hosting our own VW? I don’t know the answer to that, but I guess we will find out soon.
Tri-C in Second Life® has moved from the island Outreach to Teaching 10, another sim from the New Media Consortium (NMC). We look pretty much the same, although we have a different geographical orientation, so I had to rotate a number of items to fit the space right.
A few little things need to be put out and arranged, like the teleport hub to the sandbox, but all will be in place in a few days.
I don’t think I will be giving away anything by showing you the space in SL that Tri-C Distance Learning will be occupying soon. Here are some photos of the space as it waits for our ideas. We lease the space on one of NMC’s many islands and have some nice neighbors (NYU, for example), and nice common space in the center. The map shows the relative size of our space, which will be quite enough to create some great learning spaces–don’t forget that we can build up as high as desired, so the space is much bigger than its footprint.