My Second Life® experiences as a Grad student

I originally joined SL in February, 2008 as my graduate research project. The OT Center was already up and running. I worked with Zsuzsa (my teacher/mentor, Susan Toth-Cohen) and other grad students to produce exhibits using PowerPoints, videos, and some interactive displays and quizzes. With each new exhibit, I feel the Center is becoming more interactive and fun! Collaborating with other disciplines and groups in SL has been beneficial to me and the Center to produce more informative, interactive displays.


Working on the latest exhibit, Adaptive Environments, has really helped me hone in my knowledge and skills I have learned so far at Jefferson and apply it universally to any population. Trying to simulate a home in SL that illustrates the barriers people can face in RL has been challenging. I am still a newbie as far as building, but I did make a few things and plan to undertake some more to enhance the exhibit.


I am learning how to make a video of the Adaptive Environments exhibit. I intend to use it as part of a teaching module for the undergraduate OT students at my school who are taking that class in RL. I hope to show them the benefits of using 3-D worlds to gain a better understanding of the learning material as opposed to typical classroom settings.


For my preliminary project, I have collected and analyzed initial survey data. Now I have revised the survey questions and will use the analysis of this new data for my final research project. The new survey is more comprehensive and includes an optional follow-up interview. Overall the preliminary data was positive and I am hopeful that the new data will bring similar positive results.

So stop by the OT Center at Eduisland II and check out our displays and if you can….take the current survey. Please check back frequently for information about the new survey and program evaluation. J

Thanks, Alana Scorbal

Reflections on a year in Second Life®: What have we learned?

Looking at the video I produced about our work in Second Life® last year, I’m struck by some important differences then and now:

  • a shift to project-based work – instead of seeing virtual worlds as a place to hold classes (and create rather traditional looking classrooms to house them), take a primary theme (Living Life to its Fullest) and build exhibits around it related to our aims in Second Life®
  • use interactive media whenever possible to provide education. Displays such as slide shows have their place but should be used minimally.
  • create a structure for projects through regular meetings
  • collaborate with other health professionals, persons with disabilities, and others to create experiences within virtual worlds.
    On some level, I think I “knew” these things were best practices a year ago, but experience provides a deeper, richer understanding and commitment.
    For a description of current work, see the updated YouTube video at: