Published by Joe Sanchez on 02 Oct 2008

Carter Academic Service Entrepreneur Grant

Its official, my Working in Virtual Worlds course has been selected by the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Foundation to host their first Carter Academic Service Entrepreneur Grant in a virtual world. My students and I are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Foundation. Service learning has been a consistent theme in my Working in Virtual Worlds course and I’m proud to say the service learning component has been student driven. The official press release with details of the grant can be viewed here.

The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Foundation has announced that the University of Texas will hold the first Carter Academic Service Entrepreneur (CASE) grant program for an online virtual world project that serves the community and contributes to student learning. This competition will seek to find the most innovative way for students to serve the community online in the virtual world Second Life.

I have a book chapter describing the Service Learning projects my students have completed in Second Life titled, Virtual Worlds: New Spaces for Service Learning that will published in In Service Learning: Linking Library Education and Practice The book is scheduled for release in the Spring of 2009.

In the meantime, if you want to see what i think is the best example of a service learning project completed in Second Life thus far, please visit the Alley Flats located on Educators Coop 1. The Alley Flats project was completed by Leslie Jarmon’s (Bluewave Ogee) students in the Fall of 2007.

Published by Joe Sanchez on 28 Apr 2008

Student Project in Second Life

Tonight April 27, 2008 the first group of my students will be hosting their final project in Second Life. The group is having a carnival complete with rides, games, clowns, and DJ to raise money for Wheelies (see the movie below) starting at 6SLT.


This is a picture of their rehearsal held on Thursday afternoon. Please join us tonight and help them raise money for a great cause and to see an example of what students can achieve in Sl

Published by Joe Sanchez on 23 Feb 2008

Presidential Primary Debate at UT

Last night the presidential primary debate was held on campus at the University of Texas. This is the first time in my life that the Texas Primary actually matters and I have been very excited about having my vote 1 vote say in the matter. I had to be on campus from 4-5pm for a meeting with Jeremiah Spence who i will be co-presenting with at the  Virtual Web Symposium in De Balie Ansterdam. Since I was a few blocks away from the debate i thought i would walk over and take a look. I took a few snapshots with my 2 day old iPhone to try and capture the environment. It was a high energy crowd with the majority of people for Obama.

Front view of Debate
The Front of the Rec Center where the debate was held

Hillary Supporter

Obama people
Obama signs

IMG_0010.JPG Lots of Obama people

Ron Paul people Ron Paul people. They had a funny sign that said “DON’T TAX ME BRO”

George Lopez at Democratic Debate Look its George Lopez!

Published by Joe Sanchez on 16 Nov 2007

My Students raised 72,000L

Last night one of my four student groups enrolled in INF315e held their VirtuaL Work Team Project in Second Life. Taken from the syllabus the project is

Virtual Work Team Project
To demonstrate your ability to work effectively in a virtual world team you will create a simulation or produce a community event in Second Life. The event may be a concert, training session, tour, charity event, sporting event, or other event approved by the instructor. Teams of four people will be grouped together for this project. I will provide additional information as we progress through the semester. The project will consist of five pieces that will total to 40% of your grade
Proposal– 5%
Project Management Plan – 10%
The event or Product – 15%
Virtual team analysis report– 10%

habitat trust in Second life
The G3s (student groups name) choose to host a charity event in Second Life as their final project. To do this, students networked with various non-profit groups looking for a cause they supported while also looking for a group of people they would be comfortable working with. The students selected Habitat Trust for Wildlife located in Second Life on Commonwealth

The students also needed to find a place to host their event and arrange for entertainment. One of the students in the group had already found Happy Clam Island. Happy Clam was a place he had been hanging around outside of class time and he had already become a member of their group. The student arranged to host the fundraising event there and Happy Clam graciously donated their venue and club DJs for the event.

A key component of the project is the project mangement plan. Bluewave Ogee (Leslie Jarmon) presented Bluewave’s 7-steps for effective project management to my class in the middle of Ocotber.

Bluewave Ogee teaching Project management

Based on her 7 steps, each student group wrote a detailed project management plan which included goals, tasks, contacts, calanders, roles etc… They followed this plan as they worked in their team of 4 for several weeks.

Alas, the event. At 7SLT last night 11/16/07 the students started Iming their friends, contacts, and groups inviting people to their event.

INF315e student fundraiser

During the semester we had talked about the viral nature of virtual worlds and the importance of tapping into the social networks within Second Life. Within a few minutes of sending invites the students had over 30 people dancing at the Happy Clam.

INF315e student fundraiser

They kept a consistent attendance of 30 people throughout their shceduled event. They peaked at 42 avatars which caused the sim to lag and led many people to leave. No doubt they could have had close to 60 people if it weren’t for lag. The first hour the students raised 32K Linden and finally completed the event with 72,000L (around $300 USD).

INF315e student fundraiser

Published by Joe Sanchez on 13 Nov 2007

Invitation to Student Project in SL

The G3s - student project

This Thursday the first of four student groups in INF 315e will be having their team event in Second Life. The “G3s” as they have named themselves are hosting a benifit party at the Happy Clam this Thursday from 7-9PST

Their invitation is below. I hope to see some of you there, they are tyring to raise $60,000L for the habitat Trust for Wildlife.

We are a group of students from the University of Texas at Austin. We are enrolled in a class ” Working in Virtual Worlds”. As part of a class project:

We are hosting an event on Thursday, November the 15.
9-11 pm central time. 7-9 pm SL time.

It will be a benefit concert at the Happy Clam Island. On the Organica Stage.

The organization we are raising money for is “The habitat Trust for Wildlife”

“The Habitat Trust for Wildlife is a SL group and RL nonprofit charity dedicated to Giving Nature Sanctuary. We acquire globally imperiled habitats for rare, threatened and endangered species in the USA. In addition, we have research projects on coral reefs in the Caymen Islands and Cozemel, Mexico. Our priority is the conservation of biodiversity hotspots. We presently own and manage over 500-habitat acres in Southern California.”

Thank you
Adrienne Pinklady
Allie Pizzicato
Dre Hastings
None Benazz

Published by Joe Sanchez on 27 Sep 2007

IBM Protest in Second Life

I woke up at 3:30am and I couldn’t go back to sleep so i decided to log in to SL to see if i could visit with some of my international friends. I saw a large gathering at CommonWealth island so i headed over to see what was going on. This is what I saw
I teleported right into the middle of the staging ground for the IBM virtual strike.
IBM workers are organizing the first virtual strike in history. It is taking place on several of IBM’s islands in Second Life.

Based on the info available at the staging ground, the strike centers around a labor dispute in Italy where workers asked for a 40 euro’ raise during their contract negotiations. IBM refused and in turn cut their employees “productive results benefit”, a 1000 euro loss. Since IBM is often cited as a company with a Second Life presence, the striking employees thought it would be a good idea to leverage the press attention IBM receives and turn it towards their cause. I took a snapshot of the Protest information card, click on the image for a full size view.


Of course, my main interest in the virtual strike is in the approach the people use to collaborate through the virtual world environment. This virtual event is very well organized. A staging area is used on CommonWealth island where instructions are given to each avatar along with a protest kit that includes a t-shirt, several signs with slogans, giant floating fish that an avatar can attach to themselves, and a notecard with instructions and details about the protest. The protest packages are in several different languages. Strike leaders are positioned at the staging ground directing the strikers to a particular IBM island. Once there, avatars simply stand or walk around the island holding their signs. Below is a snapshot from the IBM Business Center at 4:17 am Central time.
IBM Protest

In the picture you can see the protest t-shirts, signs, and a giant protest fish in the back ground. An interesting side note, during the setup period for the protest, the administrators of CommonWealth island “locked down” the island anticipating that anti-protester “griefers” would cause problems so they disallowed scripts on their land. Unfortunately, the strikers planned on using a teleport script from the staging area to the IBM islands. Since the use of scripts was turned off, strikers had a difficult time getting to the virtual strike. Keep in mind, the strikers are mostly Italian and the leaders seem to be English speakers (at least while I was around), which caused a lot of confusion. But, what happens when virtual world groups run into communication problems? That’s right, Web 2.0 technologies get introduced to save the day, in this case, a blog

The blog was used as an alternative means to provide teleporting coordinates to each striker. SLURLs were posted for each protest location along with instructions in English and Italian. The strikers are well behaved, they stay out of the way of any work going on at IBM islands and they are simply wearing low prim protest signs. At one point an anti-protester griefer did release a particle weapon but it was mostly harmless and the Mario images gave us all something to talk about : )

IBM strike