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LMS for Virtual Worlds Released

Educators who work in virtual worlds, such as Second Life, can now use a hosted learning management system (LMS) designed specifically to work within that virtual environment. The people behind Texas State Technical College's virtual presence in Second Life, TSTC vushi, have released the vushi learning system (vLS).

Texas State Tech offers some of its programs, including degrees in digital media and digital signage technology, in the immersive online environment.

The vLS will provide a secure means for users to tap into class information, including class rosters, grades, assignments, assessments, and attendance, without leaving the virtual space. Additional features include a single sign-on interface, a searchable database for in-world education areas, a "field trip" transportation tool for group teleports, and the ability to create and deliver assessments and assignments within the environment.

"The exciting attribute of this interface is not just the fact that it is unique, but rather the incredible potential the system could have for teaching and learning in virtual worlds," said Chris Gibson, associate vice president of Texas State Technical College and director of TSTC vushi. "Our goal with the vLS is to create a centralized dashboard of resources that will lessen the overhead of teaching [and] learning in virtual environments."

The college is making two versions of the vLS available: A free "Lite" edition lets the user:

  • Create classes and add students on the fly;
  • Create and deliver assignments and assessments;
  • Post to and access a resource repository for questions;
  • Search for world educational areas;
  • Perform group "teleport";
  • Manage how contact will happen--either via e-mail or text messaging;
  • Securely associate the user's real life name and avatar name;
  • Participate in individual or group discussion; and
  • Receive and generate notifications.

vLS Professional, which is available for an annual subscription, adds additional features:

  • Attendance tracking tools;
  • A portal environment for administration of the member learning system; and
  • A shareable resource library that features automated backups.

The same team also manages vushi learning network, a paid training and community resource for educators and staff involved in virtual world instruction.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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