Virtual tours as a means of encouraging student connectedness within an online virtual environment (i.e. Second Life)
Abstract: In this paper, we describe the authors' ongoing research into using tours in Second Life as a means of building student connectiveness. For over three years, we've conducted tours in Second Life with two groups. The first group consisted of students from a university course who opted in via a learning contract. The second group consisted of members of an inworld tutorial center who could join or drop out of tours at any time. Tours were in real-time with guides who were knowledgable about the locations. Chat logs and feedback were collected from each tour. Results showed that the tours helped some participants to bond with each other as well as with the virtual environment. Small rewards also worked to increase participation.