Yesterday I got to do something that I don't get to do nearly as often as I would like and that is talk to a classroom full of students. In fact I spoke to two different sessions of Employee Relations at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. But, get this? I never left my desk in Boston. That's right we did it via Second Life. How this came about is last week my Google Alerts let me know about a post by a student. I read the post and in it she talked about being on a scavenger hunt for her class that brought her by Crayonville. I left a comment because I just though this was downright cool.
A short while later I got an e-mail from the DeNel Rehberg Sedo, PhD who is the teacher of the class asking if I'd be interested in speaking to her students. I jumped at the chance.
I had the class meet me at the U-Turn Cafe just so we could be alone and chat easier. It was a lot of fun because the students had come up with questions ahead of time so there was a flurry of conversation. The first batch was pretty laid back and we talked about a variety of topics. They are mainly PR students so it made for great conversations.
The second batch was much more confrontational, but in a good way. They asked the hard questions. How can Second Life be a replacement for employee interaction? Is technology hurting how we communicate? Really good questions! It was a great back and forth.
The other big difference between the two sessions is the first were dancing around while asking questions. Exploring the space and having fun. The second all sat down formerly and didn't move. It was quite interesting indeed.
One of the students named Lauren posted her thoughts on the second session. I'm waiting to see what the professor's blog ends up saying about it. Or what Jill will say about it who is also a student and who talked to me a bunch on the side about the conversation and her future.
Second Life and virtual worlds will never replace human contact. As I stated yesterday I see it as a substitute or enhancement for when the situation is right. Would I have preferred to be in front of that class in person and having the same conversation? You bet I would! But, since we couldn't do that this worked as a substitute and is better then nothing at all.
Thank you again to the class for having me. I hope it's something I get to do more of in the future. Both in real life and in Second Life.