Summers nearly over

As we get ready to start a new semester at GCU I want to reflect on last years projects which have been happening on the islands. The University of Wisconsin had a very successful time with their project management simulation and will be staying for another year. However, Tom Sulzer will be taking over as the lead from Tony so we look forward to welcoming Tom. I hope to persuade Tony to present at Virtual World Education Roundtable (VWER) soon. Talking of VWER we have had a great 6 months hosting VWER at GCU, great discussions and presentations from Shailey Minocha, and DAvid W Deeds amongst others and have a few great presentations coming up soon.

I will be using our ward area for simulation again this year and the cyberpsychology students will be with Jane Guiller for another interesting semester. They continuously comment on how much they enjoy their VW projects.

So look forward to another semester and meeting more new folks.

University of Wisconsin at GCU – Project Management Scenario

At GCU we rent out land to other universities to help them remain in SL (if they wish) when they do not need a whole island for their projects. This allows GCU to remain in SL as well as building relationships with national and international institutions. In this project, Tony Keys of University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Information Systems Department describes how and why he chooses to use SL in a Project Management scenario;

“Learning about project management from a text, or even a single computer simulation, has its limits. Students never get to experience the number and richness of the interactions between the many roles in a project. Actually taking on a real life project is fraught with difficulties – one of the key success factors for a project is an experienced project manager, and the experience of a business working with students on a project would not always be positive.In our class we keep the real life project experience but remove the possible relationship problems with businesses by having the students work on a project in a virtual world. The goals of the Virtual World Project are to cultivate the students understanding of the key roles of communication and collaboration skills in successful project management.Each semester the project management class students, 24 – 28 of them, are formed into two 12-14 person project teams. Each project team has a number of roles – Project Manager, Project Manager Assistant, Analyst, Designer, Builder, Texturizer and Furnisher – each requiring a different skill set. The team is given a building project for a client, who is an avatar who exists in the virtual world. The team also has access to another avatar who plays the role of a resource manager. The many roles set up an environment where all need to play their part to ensure the success of the project. As a further incentive to collaborate, the two project teams have building projects that must physically connect, meaning that roles on a team must communicate with roles on the other team as well as their own team. Currently the students are assessed on a number of dimensions. Of course, they are assessed on the final deliverable, the buildings they have been asked to build. They are also required to write several reflection pieces over the life of the project commenting on how they solved problems that arose and also on the effective communications that occurred between them as they worked.For the instructor, the project is an exercise in restraint. The students need to fail in order to learn in many instances, and the environment that they are working in allows them to do this with little risk. The instructor needs to be a guide, but a guide who waves vaguely in the right direction rather than one who gives detailed instructions or solutions.In the end, the students experience frustration, bafflement, panic, success, achievement, pride and fun in varying amounts. This is our third semester in the current large project format, and it continues due to the positive feedback about the value of the project in developing their collaboration skills and increasing their understanding of the project management process”.

We wish Tony every success and hope he will remain at GCU for future semesters.

If you wish to rent land from us here at GCU please get in touch to discuss.

PBL in 3D in Second Life for Healthcare Simulation

This is a webinar I gave on the results of an action research project I undertook using problem based learning scenarios in Second Life with Nurse Practitioners. If you have any questions please get in touch.
regards Evelyn

Come join us at GCU

Hi folks,

Exciting times at GCU Joe Essid is back soon with his great House of Usher project. University of Wisconsin are currently renting space for a construction project management scenario, more on this later. Our own students have been exploring the virtual world on the cyberpsychology and nursing modules.

I am also really excited to be bringing the Virtual World Education Roundtable ( to GCU in the next month. I am currently the Executive Director and we will be holding our weekly meeting on the public island. Hopefully we will kick of with a ‘bang’ as I have a few special guests lined up (more on that later).

We have also secured the educational discount so will remain in SL for the next two years. If you want to rent from us please contact me (Kali Pizzaro in SL) or email me

cheers Kail/Evelyn

What’s New in GCU?

Hi Folks,

So what is going on at GCU islands. Well, we are continuing to work with Indiana University in the use of virtual worlds for healthcare simulations (more on this soon). The University of Richmond will be back in a few months with Dr Joe Essid (Sl:Ignatius Onomatopoeia) and we continue to use VWs for healthcare simulation and cyberpsychology. We hope to be able to tell you more about a Social Work simulation soon.

As for my PhD I have now finished my first phase analysis (thank you so much to those who gave up their time to take part, you know who you are!). I am in the writing up stage of the findings and hope to be able to share these early next year. Thanks also to all the people who allowed me to leave a notecard giver on their island to aid recruitment.
Mayo Clinic health info day

take care all

Cyberpsychology Module GCU – Dr Jane Guiller

My Colleague in the School of Health and Life Sciences Dr Jane Guiller has been using Second Life on a honours-level module in Cyberpsychology since 2009. Jane explains here how she uses Second life in the module.

“Cyberpsychology can be defined as the study of human behaviour and mental processes in the context of human-technology interaction. This is a rapidly growing sub-area of the discipline and this module was the first of its kind to be offered at a Scottish university and one of only a handful in the UK.
Use of Second Life is essential to the learning and teaching strategy used on this blended learning module as it allows student to experience many of the phenomena that we are discussing first hand. Students start off in by exploring the resources in the Saltire Centre in Second Life. There is a notable positive reaction to the Saltire Centre in Second Life. For most, it is a ‘strange new world’ and being able to navigate their way through a location that is familiar to them in real-life helps with their orientation. We also use this to discuss the phenomenology of the internet and reflect on how our experience of the Saltire Centre offline, influences our experience of it online.
Students go through the process of avatar creation near the start of the trimester, when we do our lectures on identity and self-presentation online. Following the lectures on Health Issues on the Internet and ELearning, we visit a number of relevant sources in Second Life including the Virtual Hallucinations Project, Autism Awareness Center and Virtual Ability Island: Disability Awareness and Support. We also visit other Departments of Psychology in Second Life, such as the problem-based learning resources at the University of Derby.

Group of students waiting to explore the Virtual Hallucinations Project in Second Life

We now have our very own private Cyberpsychology area on the GCU island where the students and I meet for synchronous online seminars, in addition to our asynchronous online seminars and ‘Adventures in Second Life’ blog in GCU Learn”.

If you want to contact Jane leave a comment or email her on

University of Richmond brings House of Usher to GCU

GCU’s School of Health and Life Sciences has joined up with the University of Richmond’s Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, in an exciting new collaboration which is set within GCUs land in the 3D virtual World Second Life.  Dr Joe Essid Director of the Writing Centre explains his use of virtual worlds “The Virtual House of Usher began as a faculty-student partnership sponsored by the University of Richmond’s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology in the summer of 2009.  The project uses virtual-world technology to create an interactive story, with faculty actors in the roles of Richmond native Edgar Allan Poe’s characters Roderick and Madeline Usher. Students, in the role of Poe’s narrator, try to avoid the dreadful fate that overcomes the Usher family in the original tale. Using the original story as both springboard for interactive learning and questions about the nature of literary narrative, four courses in literature or Rhetoric and Communications Studies have used the online House. The experience is that of improvisational acting in a game-like space where students must find clues, resolve conflicting stories, and pursue personal goals while staying as guests in a dreary mansion just off the Yorkshire coast in the year 1847. The explorations of Poe’s obsessions and obsessed characters, in the words of one recent participant, “was in my opinion the most privileged opportunity of the entire interactive experience because it allowed me to not only become a part of the story, but to resolve the characters’ problems in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story that traditionally remained unresolved.”
It is hoped that this will lead to further collaboration between GCU and University of Richmond in other disciplines. For further information or a tour of the House of Usher please email , Lecturer in the Department of Health and Community Sciences or Instant Message her in Second Life – Kali Pizzaro.


Hi All,

I am reaching the end of my two year action research project. However, I will be presenting the findings at the 10th Annual International Nursing Simulation/Learning Resource Centers Conference in Orlando in June. Interestingly I just met the Lecturer last week in Second Life who is presenting after me. I will also be presenting a poster on the evaluation of volunteers’ experiences of allowing nurses to take their real life health history in SL.

Andy is still working with Jan on the x-ray project which is coming along nicely.

I have also started a VW HealthEd International Community of Practice. So if you are in the health field or a learning technologist working with health practitioners and wish to join please IM me in SL: Kali Pizzaro


Exploring nursing students’ assessment and decision-making while in a Second Life clinical simulation laboratory – Price et al.

Below is a poster presentation from some of my fellow lecturers about research they did with 3rd year nursing students. If you have any questions about the study or the results don’t hesiate to leave us a wee reply with an email or your avatar name. Or IM me in SL – Kali Pizzaro.

Click the bottom tab to view on Slideshare if you wish.

New Semester

Well the new semester starts soon. I will be doing more teaching in SL using Colin the virtual patient and his new heart and lung sounds which are embeded in his chest. This is controlled by the lecturer who can change the sounds – normal, aortic stenosis etc (great work Andy).

I will also be teaching history taking and look forward to welcoming new volunteers who let my students take their real life health history from the comfort of their homes.

This wil be the second round of my action research project. Data will be collected using student and lecturer diaries. Hope to present the results later in the year at a conference in the USA.

We are also working on a web interface which will allow us to add to the case based histories which will speak to our AIML bots and add any missing questions to the answers. This will help create and refine cases.

Well that’s me at the moment, catch you later, Kali/Evelyn