University Business - March 2008 - (Page 12)

EDITOR’S NOTE Back from the Virtual World ’M BACK FROM A FEW WEEKS IN THE virtual world. To properly research the “Sizing Up Second Life” article in this issue, I signed on, created an avatar and set off exploring. I was immediately struck by the helpfulness and patience of people I encountered. And I could fly. What better way to get around an island than to leap into the air and zoom off? In the end I came away different perspectives. For me, a fan of the Dutch artist, this excited at the potential that the simulation holds not just for was a revelation. Among other things, being able to move education but also for collaboration, social interaction, prod- around in a painting helped explain why Van Gogh arranged uct design, and marketing. objects the way he did. View a well-known painting, like What impressed me was the variety of people who were “The Bedroom,” from a different angle and its careful comalso exploring the virtual world. Over the course of my position—not to mention its vibrancy—is destroyed. journey, I met a graphic designer Fred Bos, concept director of Virfrom South Africa, a student from tual Starry Night and CEO of Tressis, What impressed me was Germany, a self-described “green actold me that was the plan from the the variety of people I met start. “We were wondering what the tivist” from South Carolina, a priest from Massachusetts, and teachers added value would be. The 3D aspect who were also exploring from all over. Several of us have kept is what came to mind right away in the virtual world. in contact, helping each other out by the first brainstorm we had.” passing along information about our The project was started as a way to latest discoveries: “Have you seen ” discover the possibilities of virtual worlds. “We wanted to at “Make sure you visit ” least have enough understanding of it to enter the market at We were all interested in learning what the fuss was some point if we felt like it,” Bos says. “Virtual Starry Night, about, and what the possibilities were. I have to say it was however, became a huge success, so we decided to keep it up eye-opening. Second Life has a vibrant economy, based on and running. Currently we are looking into ways to expand “Linden dollars,” which can be converted to U.S. dollars. It the activities, such as adding 3D works of other painters.” has its own newspapers and magazines, a police force, shopSecond Life and other 3D virtual worlds have a huge ping malls, and live concert venues. And there are dozens of potential, Bos says. “In many ways, they add more value to classes and workshops devoted to teaching and learning in standard educational tools than just a museum visit. The exthe “sim” or simulation. perience is much more intense. One of the great advantages A striking example of how the virtual world can put a we have is the opportunity to bring paintings from all around new twist on education is called Virtual Starry Night, a gal- the world together at one place.” lery showing of works by Vincent Van Gogh. The sim was So now I’m back. Was it worth it? Yes. Will I return to created by Tressis, a new media concepts and marketing firm Second Life? Probably—the thrill of discovery is still strong. based in the Netherlands. Many of the artist’s most famous But I really do miss flying. paintings are reproduced in high resolution on the gallery’s walls, accompanied by detailed note cards that put the works in context to the times and to Van Gogh’s personal troubles. What sets it apart from a typical gallery visit is that you can actually enter the paintings and experience them from Write to Tim Goral at I 12 | March 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - March 2008

University Business - March 2008
College Index
Company Index
Advisory Board
Editor's Note
Stats Watch
Sense of Place
EduComm Insert
Financial Aid
Money Matters
Human Resources
Higher One Insert
Community College
Cadets on Campus
Keeping an Eye on the Network
Sizing Up Second Life
Endowment Management
What's New
Calendar of Events
End Note

University Business - March 2008