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Second Life: New opportunity for higher educational institutions
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
2008 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 points / 22,5 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Bachelor thesis within Business Administration

Title: Second Life – New opportunity for higher educational institutions

Authors: Axel Andersen, Emil Hristov & Hamid Karimi

Tutor: Olga Sasinovskaya

Date: May, 2008

Subject terms: Second Life, virtual worlds, distance learning, marketing, universities, stu-dents, interactions

Executive summary

Background: Virtual worlds such as Second Life have been used in the corporate world for a few years now. However, it is only recently that higher educational institutions have seen the marketing and educational potential inside this world. Several hundred universities around the world are currently involved in Second Life and a majority of them give fully accredited academic courses inside SL. As traditional distance learning can sometimes be interpreted as low on interactions, SL represents a new means for interactive distance learn-ing.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore if, why and to what extent Second Life can be used as a marketing and pedagogical tool within higher educational institutions.

Method: A mixed qualitative and quantitative method was utilized in this study. For the qualitative side: in-depth interviews with SL teachers from five universities around the world were held and these were complemented by observations at educational institutions inside SL. For the quantitative side: a questionnaire was designed and sent out to 50 SL-students. This primary data have been combined with appropriate secondary data concern-ing distance learning and education within SL.

Theoretical framework: The theoretical framework can be divided into two main sec-tions: a marketing section with primarily service management theories and a pedagogical section where cognitive apprenticeship theory is applied.

Conclusion: Higher educational institutions can use SL to promote their schools to pro-spective students and to other stakeholders such as new teacher recruits. All of the univer-sities that were under our scrutiny felt SL had strengthened their university’s brand. Fur-thermore, SL represents an opportunity for universities that are looking to increase col-laborations with other international universities and who are interested in enhancing the public image of themselves as pioneering and global universities. Therefore, it is highly ad-visable that a university such as JIBS enters SL, if not on pedagogical reasons then on stra-tegic and marketing reasons. In general, a majority of the students interviewed were satis-fied or very satisfied with the quality of the SL-courses they had taken and an overwhelm-ing majority would recommend SL-courses to other students. The empirical findings showed that the most frequent courses taken within SL are design courses, although no limits were perceived to exist of which courses that can be held within SL. A majority of the students also felt SL aided their learning experience. However, due to some of the cur-rent flaws of SL – such as the slow graphics and the high demands of computer hardware – SL should be viewed mainly as a learning tool that complements, rather than substitutes other current educational forms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. , 65 p.
Keyword [en]
Second Life, Virtual Worlds, Distance learning, Marketing, Universities
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-1326OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-1326DiVA: diva2:3785
Uppsok
samhälle/juridik
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-06-24 Created: 2008-06-24

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