As the Roy H. Park School of Communications prepares to select a new dean, the school is faced with the challenge of re-evaluating its curriculum. When doing so, commitments like its vacant island on Second Life should not be forgotten, but instead discussed to see how the school uses technological trends to improve the educational experience.
The school’s foray into this virtual world began in 2006 with a $1,500 start-up fee and continues today with a monthly rent of $150 to maintain the island. While the rent may seem small enough to just allow it to stay as is, the school is encouraged to reassess its commitment to this unused space, especially since most of the college does not participate in Second Life.
Along with the school, students should provide their input on how the Park School and the college should be using technology. Students from all majors are encouraged to attend sessions like the ongoing discussion series offered through the New Media Consortium this semester, so they can help the college keep up with technological trends in the world of academia.
Virtual reality can be used to broaden the academic experience, but the students’ and college’s lack of interest in Second Life indicate that it is time for the Park school to vacate the island for good and refocus its efforts.
The School of Communications is looking closely at its mission and vision. While Second Life illustrates the school’s willingness to use technology, its lack of popularity suggests an urgent need to explore other technological trends that would be more cost effective and prove useful to the larger campus community.