Monday, April 16, 2007

Is this for real?

From the Economist

In a novel twist on the idea of the online course, on March 20th, INSEAD, a French business school with campuses in Fontainebleau and Singapore, became the first institution to announce its intention to offer classes to students who exist solely online. INSEAD plans to open a campus in Second Life, an online environment in which users can create virtual representations of themselves—“avatars” in Second-Life-speak. Within the virtual campus, INSEAD plans to hold information sessions for its new virtual students, organise meetings with virtual recruiters, and offer space for virtual conferences.

Planned courses include an entrepreneurship class in which students can test their ideas on the simulated campus. To those sceptics who prefer education to be more grounded in the real world, its proponents call Second Life an ideal laboratory for perfectly practical experiments: users have been marketing, buying and selling virtual items, using “Linden dollars”, the artificial world’s currency, for years. There is even a Second Life currency-exchange market, where the Linden dollar is running a rate of about 280 to the real-world greenback



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