Teaching and Learning in Virtual Worlds


Teaching and Learning in Virtual Worlds


Edited by Christina DeCoursey and Shana Garrett

Year: 2014

Format: Paperback


This book explores the experience of learning and teaching in virtual worlds, in areas such as physics and biology, psychology and counselling, and healthcare.

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Virtual worlds are now everyday affairs, in the workplace, education and entertainment. For educators, virtual worlds offer motivating topography and global synchronicity. In-world, learners can assemble, discuss and disseminate content. They gain hands-on experience in simulations of expensive facilities, equipment, situations and processes that traditional print materials and cash-strapped institutions cannot provide. Learners can have a wide range of experiences, integrating their conceptual understanding with the practitioner’s realistic grasp of  a field. Socially, virtual worlds level differences between people. Philosophically, virtual subjectivity has been an area of sustained academic interest, raising questions about identity, social presence and immersion. This volume explores these and other questions across a range of teaching and learning issues including ethics in  counselling and therapeutic interventions, bot-scripted archaeology and language acquisition, virtual coral reefs and champagne poster sessions, physics and virtual sex.


C. A. DeCoursey

Part I: Virtual Subjectivity
Reflections on Identity and Learning in a Virtual World: The Avatar in Second Life
Paul Jerry and Nancy Tavares-Jones

Transformative Learning as a Framework for Designing Experiences in Virtual Worlds: Counsellor Education as a Pertinent Example
Thomas Edwards and Michael Walker

Wild and Crazy: Confucian and Contemporary Selves and Their Attitudes towards Virtual Sexual Experience
C. A. DeCoursey

Part II: Experiential and Distributed Learning
VirtualPREX: Developing Teaching Skills in Second Life
Yvonne Masters, Sue Gregory, Torsten Reiners, Vicki Knox and Barney Dalgarno

Bringing Playfulness and Engagement to Language Training Using Virtual Worlds: Student Experiences, Results and Best Practices from a Virtual Language Course
Eero Palomäki and Emma Nordbäck

Fusing Virtual, Digital and Real-World Experiences for Science Learning and Empowerment
Audrey Aronowsky, Beth Sanzenbacher, Johanna Thompson and Krystal Villanosa

Part III: Managing Experiential Learning
Mixing Virtual, Real-World and Digital Communication Elements to Create Successful Global Teams
Audrey Aronowsky, Beth Sanzenbacher, Johanna Thompson and Krystal Villanosa

Facilitating Community in the Virtual Learning Environment
Shana Garrett

‘That ever-ephemeral sense of “being” somewhere’: Reflections on a Dissertation Festival in Second Life
Clara O’Shea and Marshall Dozier

Experimentation Not Simulation: Learning about Physics in the Virtual World
Anna Peachey, Greg Withnail and Nicholas Braithwaite


Christina DeCoursey is Programme Leader for MA at the Hong kong  Polytechnic University. Her research interests include virtual worlds and multimodality in teaching, animation, Appraisal analysis, and Confucian learning styles.

Shana Garrett has contributed to the education field with over fifteen years of progressive administrator experience in both the online and ground platforms. Her research interests include academic readiness, faculty engagement, as well as student retention within the distance education environment.