Published by Joe Sanchez on 03 Dec 2008

Invitation to Student event

This is an invitation from a group of students enrolled in my Working in Virtual Worlds course at the iSchool at UT Austin. The students have created a presence and SL training for a local non-profit organization called Partnerships for Children. They will be raising Lindens to purchase items such as tooth brushes, shampoo, and diapers for children under the care of Child Protective Services in Austin
partnership for children in SL
Their project has three components, creating a presence for the organization, training the members of the organization to use Second Life, and hosting a fundraiser to raise funds in order to purchase basic needs items for children. The picture below is one of the vendors that is selling Real Life toys that will be given to children in Austin. Donations range from 50L for toothpaste through 5000L for a comforter. Please stop by and view their work and make a small donation, everything helps!
partnerships for children 2

Message from Students:____________________________________
This is an invitation to our Holiday Ballroom Gala Event benefiting ?Partnerships for Children. It will be held Wednesday at 4pm(SLT) at the?Educators Coop ( It will be formal ballroom attire. We’d ?like for you all to be able to join us in our cause and to help make ?our event a success.
How You Can Help: ?You may go to the 2nd Floor of our space and right-click on any item ?that you may wish to donate and click “Pay.” (The amount in $L should ?be the amount in USD$ needed to purchase the item in real-life. We ?will use the money to purchase these items physically and give them to ?Partnerships for Children’s Rainbow Room.
We hope to see you Wednesday! ?

Published by Joe Sanchez on 08 Oct 2008

Student Build Challenge (video)

On Tuesday my students had to turn in their first collaborative build in Second Life. My instructions for the assignment are below (from an email)

In your teams I want you to create something with your land. You will need a theme, an entry point, some type of navigation, and something interactive or a “feature”. Think back to the tours, the water park had rides, Bear Island had an arcade, The classic car museum was a Museum, what will be your group feature? How will people know where to go? How will they know what to do? How will you make your place a “living structure”? We will spend 15 minutes in your space on Tuesday, October 7.

Some possible themes are:
The Future
Winter Wonderland
Small Town texas
The Presidential Campaign
A historic time period
wild west

We had a good time exploring their areas and and they learned some key skills through the process. 1) The difficulties of collaborating in a syncronous environment, 2) the Challenge of permissions in SL when sharing objects as a team, 3) thinking about “interaction” and “living spaces” in a virtual world (how do you design it), 4) hosting a large group of people (18 students + 5 guests). They did a good job and I was able to make a quick and dirty machinima of the their builds, enjoy

Published by Joe Sanchez on 29 Apr 2008

Student Event: Second Life Idol

Tuesday night from 6-8SLT a group of students in my class will be hosting thier final project; Second Life Idol at the Music Academy Online in SL.    They have 8 contestants, all Real Life singers who perform in Second Life lined up and ready to go. The event will be three rounds with audience voting to determine the winners. a 5000L prizer and an iTunes gift card will be given to the winner. During the event donations will be taken for the Relay for Life. Last Thursday the event was featured on the Music Academy Live weekly broadcast on SLCN.TV. A clip of the show is below.

Watch the video


Published by Joe Sanchez on 07 Mar 2008

Report from the Trenches: Teaching Second Life

My students begin spring break today which is great for me because while they all head south to the beaches on South Padre Island I get to stay home in student-free Austin and attend SXSW. Since we have almost hit the midpoint in the semester i thought now is a good time to share some of the work they have been doing in my Working in Virtual Worlds Class.

Tasks completed so far in SL:

1. Get to the island

2. Claim a condo

3. Use their condo to tell a story

4. Give a tour of their condo to the class and tell their story

5. Build a flag that waves in the wind, a bench, and send a postcard and notecard

6. Create a group and take the class on a tour of an SL location

7. use a 4096m plot of land and create a scene with a group.

#7 was just completed on Tuesday, mind you, they have had weekly readings, weekly 350 word blog posts, and a test already this semester. Here are the instructions i gave for #7.

In your teams I want you to create something with your land. You will need a theme, an entry point, some type of navigation, and something interactive or a “feature”. Think back to the tours, Mercedes had a car to drive, Mexico had a pyramid etc.. what will be your group feature? We will spend 15 minutes in your space on Tuesday March 2 so have stuff for us to do.

I basically handed over 1/4 sim to four student groups. They have complete access to terraform, build, script anything they want. After a weeks worth of work they created a Winter Wonderland, A Wild West Town, A forest sanctuary, and a tropical beach. I made a quick and dirty 2 minute screen capture of the class on tuesday. Take a look and see what they did.

Published by Joe Sanchez on 06 Dec 2007

Last day of class Fall 07

Well tomorrow is my last day of class for Working in Virtual Worlds. Its been a very interesting semester and it ended with quite bang last night at the Custom car and Motorcycle show. The sim peaked out at 62 avatars and many people were sending me IMs trying to get into the show but the sim was jammed pack. The Drag Rats, the student group hosting the event, did a great job networking with the Saints of Hell at Slaytona to organize their event. The live Dj played great tunes and the outfits and dancing were outrageous. I felt like i was at a biker rally. I think the students enjoyed themselves too, it was a perfect ending to our SL experiences this semester.

Students of UT present Custom Motorcycle Show


Before the event I was able to take a class picture in SL, a few of  the students had already left by the time I remembered to take the snapshot but this is a good sample of our rag tag bunch. 

INF 315e Class Photo Fall 2007

I’ll be writing more about the class and my reflections on teaching this semester in the next few weeks as things start to slow down. I’m can’t wait to see the end 0f semester evaluations, the Virtual Team analysis reports, and the final machinimas being completed by the class on December 17.