Yesterday the contemporary fiction class I've blogged about here and here came to the end of their "Willow Springs" or Mama Day part of the course.

I'm not going to comment on every single part - although you can read the entire (anonymised) text of their comments on Beth's blog if you want to.

Some quotes do leap out though:

You can definitely understand the way they live through the technology we use in class. I think recreating the scenes was a good thing. You understand the characters a little more and can get a visual in your mind about the characters and what they might look like. The only thing negative I have to say is that there are too many people in second life while we are trying to understand the assignments. Sometimes those people can be distracting and take away from the learning experience. It can get confusing and frustrating.

I enjoyed recreating the scenes from Mama Day. It was neat to see what others saw when they read the book. Making fiction reality in a way. The time frame seemed to pass by quickly almost to the point of not enough time to truly get all of the detail it deserves. This is a good way to learn fiction.

I think at first it was very difficult and I really didn't enjoy it because I was having a hard time grasping everything. but I'm starting to understand it better and I'm liking the projects were doing.I enjoyed tonight class using more of our imagination then anything and I also liked the class that we had to decorate our houses. the only one I didn't enjoy was when we had all the people from everywhere join in with us on the activities because I was really lost and had no idea what was going on. i enjoy it better when it's our little group from class.

When we first started working on Second life i was not a big fan. I am not comfortable with the virtual environment, but as we continued to work with it, i am becoming more comfortable. I enjoyed the decorating of the house and i really enjoyed the gravestones. To be honest i did not think i would enjoy this, but it really makes you think about the book more. At least when i read the next book i will observe more of the detail and really think about what i am reading. The activities have been fun and meaningful, and i am sure that when i become even more familiar with Second life i will see how this all comes together.

Sl for mama day was difficult because of the technology and not understanding that technology. I think that SL could be a great teaching tool if you know what you're doing. It actually made trying to learn more about the story and characters more difficult because we were too busy trying to learn SL and what to do in it and when to do it.

To summarise:

Five of 8 students on the course commented on SL alone or as well as how it helped them learn.
One student from 8 is still uncomfortable with using SL.
Two students were initially sceptical, but have become converts.
All five that I've quoted here think SL has or can help with learning literature. (The other three commented solely on the book in their comments).
Two commented on "all the extra people." Without context I assume, since the remainder of us who are not in the RL class have attended all the sessions, the "others" are the NMC Buzz session and caused sufficient impact that the student felt obliged to comment on it.

Was this class perfect? Of course not. There were technical issues with two scripts I'd written - one caused in part by the asset server having hiccoughs, one by not writing the code to accommodate students not listening to the instructions.

The lead teacher was not me, but was not Beth either - it was a Naylor specialist who couldn't see the students IRL. She was very nervous before and found it hard to not be able to see what the students were doing IRL, although the class did run well despite her fretting.

It will be interesting to see how this changes over the remaining few weeks of the course, but despite the issues we've had, I think it's fair to say that SL is, for at least some if not all of the students adding to their learning - and from my point of view it's also engaging at least one student who, in her own words, "doesn't read" - a success by any standards.

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