2019-2020 is the Year of Virtual Reality Exploration in VCARA


Published: October 7, 2019 by Dr. Pat Franks

The Virtual Center for Archives and Records Administration on SJSU’s iSchool Island has been hub of activity over the past 10 years. Just some of the events and activities being delivered with text and voice chat were: guest speakers, field trips, banned books exhibits, Halloween parties, Holiday balls, jousting events in Tudor Times, meet-ups at the Pub (or coffee bar for tea-totalers), conferences, and much more. Courses have been taught in this immersive environment, with many opportunities for educators to experiment with the tools that were available at the start and the many that became available over the years—including camera functions, media on a prim, and ability to customize avatars, build on the spot, transfer objects to other players.

This year, we’re exploring the pros and cons of using virtual reality. One of the main questions those of us who “grew our virtual worlds skills and expertise” over the years is “Can we do what we know works in virtual worlds in a virtual reality environment?”  But another equally important questions is, “What can we do in virtual reality that we can’t do in our virtual worlds environment?”

Join us this year as we explore those BIG questions by attending the following events taking place in the Dome on the iSchool Island. SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SJSU%20SLIS/126/46/39

  • October 15, 5-6 p.m. SLT (Pacific) Virtual Reality vs Virtual Worlds SmackDown. Alyse Dunavant-Jones, iSchool grad and independent Digital Curation/Asset Management Consultant argues that “VR is the future, and the future is now!” Bethany Winslow, Instructional Designer at San Jose State University, contends that “Regardless of what VR platforms are used in the future, designers of effective immersive learning with VR must know the history of virtual worlds in education as well as have some hands-on experience in using them.” The sparing partners will be moderated by Dr. Valerie Hill, the director of the Community Virtual Library in Second Life, Avacon, and Kitely. Read more.
  • November 3, 12 noon-1 p.m. SLT (Pacific) Virtual Reality for Education—what preliminary research tells us! Learn about features survey respondents consider a need, would like, or consider nice to have in Virtual Reality—for example, how important is the ability to customize an avatar to the user and why?  How important is it to the designers of the virtual reality spaces and why?

Research isn’t everything. It is important to experience the environment.  This December, VCARA members will present the 2nd annual reading of a Dickens’ holiday story as part of the  Community Virtual Library (CVL)’s Dickens Project Resource Center in Second Life. Keep an eye out on this blog for details in November if you’d like to attend. But, if you want to be part of the reading, plan to attend the next meeting on October 27, from 8-9 a.m. SLT (pacific) in VCARA’s Dome to be part of the planning process.  A story will be selected and roles assigned. SLURL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SJSU%20SLIS/126/46/39

Direct your questions about any of these events to Dr. Pat Franks.


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