The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Opens Second Life Campus

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh has announced that the university's Art Institute Online division has opened a virtual student campus in the popular MMO world Second Life, creating a forum for the university's new Business Communications course.
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh has announced that the university's Art Institute Online division has opened a student campus in Linden Lab's nonviolent MMO world Second Life. The virtual campus will be the forum for the university's new Business Communications course. The faculty has credited student interest in Second Life as the source for the course’s development. Linden Lab's Second Life is free to play, and allows users to create any kind of personalized clothing, vehicles, buildings and other objects, with the real-life equivalent costs being for virtual plots of land within the game or for buying in-game items and services. The Art Institute Online focus on offering education in the creative arts through the internet, extending the opportunity for learning to all students regardless of physical location. The program offers associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh in Graphic Design and Interactive Media Design; bachelor’s degree programs in Advertising, Fashion & Retail Management, Game Art & Design, Interior Design, and Media Arts & Animation; a bachelor’s degree completion program in Culinary Management; and diploma programs in Digital Design, Residential Planning, and Web Design. Second Life allows Art Institute Online students and faculty to create avatars that interact with one another online. Instructors note that the course will be primarily asynchronous and students will have the opportunity to communicate in an environment that lends itself to socialization. The course will involve both constructivism, or learning by doing, as well as simulation-based learning. “An environment such as this takes advantage of lateral and community-based learning,” said Jeannie Novak, Academic Program Director, Game Art & Design/Media Arts & Animation at The Art Institute Online. “We are always striving to create that within our current 2D online courses and this certainly takes lateral learning to the next level.” “Students will always know they're taking a course,” added Novak. “But they'll be playing a game in the process, which is what serious gaming is all about.”

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