University College Dublin made history today as the first Irish university ever to hold a lecture in the online virtual world Second Life, with Professor Mary Burke from the school of information and library studies who lectured to students from the virtual James Joyce library.
Professor Burke’s lecture consisted of a series of slides relating to the collaborative and educational aspects of Web 2.0 technologies such as Second Life itself and online bookmarking resources like del.icio.us.
Students were encouraged to debate and discuss the merits and difficulties involved in using platforms like these as part of their academic work and progression.
Elements of online collaboration such as trust, control and access were discussed, with many students and non-students alike identifying access as one of the biggest problems.
Some voiced concerns over access to Web 2.0 applications like Second Life from the workplace where it is still largely considered a leisure activity and thus banned or firewalled, while others said bandwidth availability meant their internet connection could not cope with such graphic-rich environments.
Professor Burke said she came up with the idea of hosting a lecture on Second Life after a colleague in UCLA in the US invited her along to a lecture there.
The lecture was part of a series of Second Life events taking place at the James Joyce library as part of Library Ireland week. UCD’s virtual library first opened its doors in July 2007 and is one of over 40 libraries on Cybrary Island, a location dedicated to hosting the virtual version of real-life university or city libraries from around the world.
By Marie Boran