LIBR 287-01
LIBR 287-10
Seminar in Information Science
Topic: Immersive Worlds including Second Life
Spring 2009 Greensheet

Jeremy W. Kemp, M.S.J., M.Ed.

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
Course Links
Class Web Site

iSchool eBookstore

This class does not use ANGEL! See the class website:

The course opens for login at noon, January 22nd. You will create your own account. When prompted, enter the enrollment key "spartan".

Course Description

This class explores the intersection of Multi-User Virtual Environments and the new social web. It is a survey course in that it will review milestones in MUVEs and examine historical trends leading to the current rapid expansion of non-game 3D environments. It is also a design studio for students who want to build 3D immersive settings, clothing, vehicles, objects, etc.

Students will see several virtual worlds but will delve deeply into the Second Life platform.

The class is a project-based learning experiment. SJSU SLIS is building a new campus and students will participate in that effort. It is complete with buildings, a stadium, classrooms, parks, vehicles, etc.

The class is highly experimental – the first of its kind in the nation. You will succeed and enjoy the class if you assume the posture of an active course co-facilitator rather than as a passive consumer of technical training.


  • Completion of LIBR 202
  • A broadband connection and relatively new hardware. See Second Life technical requirements here:
  • Comfort using Web 2.0 tools and new media settings. Experience with some form of social web is highly recommended.
  • Willingness to tackle a complex interface. The tools are still very game-like and rough around the edges.
  • Have a can-do attitude for solving computing issues including the inevitable snags and hiccups that come with cutting a new path

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • navigate immersive environments using an avatar;
  • communicate in various modes using chat and messaging and convey an emotional affect or “personality”;
  • call on literature in the use of MUVEs for library service and information delivery tasks;
  • use a variety of information retrieval systems being offered in experimental immersive settings;
  • use 3D building and scripting tools to organize and represent knowledge in simple structures and interactive objects;
  • make recommendations to peers and managers about implementing virtual worlds activities in your organization.

LIBR 287 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • design, query and evaluate information retrieval systems;
  • demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies, and other related technologies, as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities;
  • understand the system of standards and methods used to control and create information structures and apply basic principles involved in the organization and representation of knowledge.

In addition, this section supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies, and other related technologies, as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities;
  • use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users;
  • demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations;
  • contribute to the cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of our communities.

See the SLIS Statement of Core Competencies at

Course Requirements

Tasks to do Before the Class Begins
Please do the following prior to the start of class on January 22, 2009 at 12 noon PT:

You don't need to enter SL before the first live session on January 27th, but many do. You will arrive on a "Help Island" and must exit the island in order to find and teleport to "SJSU SLIS" island.

Entering Second Life has been confusing for some students in the past. PLEASE contact me if you find yourself getting lost at the very beginning of your journey!

Course Calendar

  • Class starts January 22nd
  • First live Second Life session on January 27th, 7:30-8:30pm (This is not a required session. The class will negotiate our best meeting time.)
  • Class ends May 12th

A detailed course outline is posted on Moodle. It contains a list of readings and project due dates for each week. All dates are subject to change with fair notice.

There are 100 points divided into the following graded activities:

10 Survey paper
10 Forum participation
40 Quests - a set of 8 self-paced exercises
20 Service learning project
20 Build a “v-Portfolio”
  • Survey paper (10 pts)
    Students will write a 1500-word paper (about 8 pages) outlining literature on the origin and present state of Multi-User Virtual Environments for teaching, learning and information retrieval. It should touch on current development of MUVEs as tools for information providing entities. Students should use APA style.
  • Forum participation (10 pts)
    Each week, students are required to interact with each other in a learning community using the Moodle message board and synchronous meetings in Second Life. The instructor will post questions occasionally and students should comment on posts from colleagues.
  • Quests (40 pts)
    Immersive 3D environments were created as game engines more than a decade ago. Though Second Life has done away with game affordances like scores and leveling, educational games and "learning as play" seem to work very well. The course includes eight tasks or quests, each with a motivating activity resulting in a "deliverable." The object, photo, transcript, etc. is uploaded into the Moodle course shell. Some examples quests students might accomplish throughout the term include:
    • Create an avatar self-portrait
    • Critique a library space
    • Be a reference desk customer
    • Serve on a reference desk for one hour
    • Make a web report with images from Second Life
    • Join a community group and perform an ethnography
    • Design a one-hour library program
    • Conduct a program, do marketing, build a set and manage the event
    • Build an object with 10 parts
    • Create three scripted information objects with notecards, web addresses and labels
  • Service learning project (20 pts)
    Students assist with projects outside the SJSU SLIS campus for our neighbors on other campus and libraries. Project options are very flexible. This setup provides an experiential environment where students can actively construct knowledge while engaging in actual projects. SJSU's "neighbors" comprise most of the pioneers in immersive worlds used for non-game information service, storage and retrieval.

    We will take advantage of our location by volunteering for short projects to help these experts and serve the LIS community. They will benefit greatly from our time and expertise. In return, we get practical, real-world learning settings to practice in.

    Example projects include:
    • delivering training sessions
    • creating buildings that house information or learning content designing learning objects
    • doing related web-based projects outside the environment
    • assisting SLIS faculty with their own Second Life projects
    • filming "machinima" videos using Second Life as a set
    The project has two deliverables:
    • an outline written before your start and submitted to your client;
    • a completed project artifact submitted in Second Life and/or Moodle;
  • Build a "v-Portfolio" (20 pts)
    This project will help you synthesize what you have learned and package it as evidence for your culminating e-Portfolio. See the list of core competencies:

    It is important that you have something to show even when the class is over and you are not in Second Life. So you will build the display inside SL and also
    document it on the web with photos, a Powerpoint, etc. Therefore, students complete two parts:
    • Second Life as a portfolio container. Choose some portion of your class projects and create a display area to highlight your work. Organize it using 3D interface tools and reflect on how it demonstrates mastery in one of the core competencies.
    • Second Life as an evidence generator. Capture your display for viewing outside Second Life. You might gather Flickr images, YouTube videos, etc. The evidence you create here should be usable with no changes for your Libr 289 portfolio.

Synchronous Meetings
I’m available weekdays between 9:30am and 6pm and informally in the evenings. Class members will need to negotiate gatherings and maintain some flexibility.

During the class, students will:

  • Download and install virtual world clients such as Sun Wonderland,;
  • Use voice tools to communicate with classmates (text chat works in a pinch);
  • Log into the Moodle site and participate in a threaded messaging board;
  • Work with teammates and accommodate their schedules as much as possible.

Because ANGEL is not connected to the Second Life platform, this course uses the Moodle platform. Students create their own accounts and enter the class on or after the first day of the term (January 22). The system has good documentation, and the instructor will provide support for technical issues related to using Moodle.

Dates And Time Requirements
Due dates for all assignments will be announced on the Moodle site, and all submissions must be digital -- anything else is unacceptable. Points/final grades may be adjusted is you do not follow these guidelines.

Late, Make-Up, and In-Class Assignments
Late assignments will not be accepted. Get your work in on time! All assignments are due Tuesdays at noon.

Textbooks and Readings

Required Textbooks:

  • White, B. (2007). Second Life: A Guide to Your Virtual World. Que. Available through Amazon: 0321501667. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Bell, L., & Trueman, R. (2008). Virtual Worlds, Real Libraries: Librarians and Educators in Second Life and Other Multi-User Virtual Environments. Information Today. Available through Amazon: 1573873616. Alternate vendor: Infotoday: Books. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation.  You must repeat the class the following semester. If -on the second attempt- you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

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