Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Sprotts before the eyes... are you Shaw?

That painfully laboured pun is my way of introducing to you the newly opened island from Sprott- Shaw Community College. The college describes itself as "British Columbia's oldest and largest private career college" with 21 campuses in Western Canada, plus 2 more rather far-flung campuses in Jordan and China. You can check out the website if you want to know more.

The build itself is rather fine. A lot of careful detailing has gone into its creation, and they have wisely obtained some furniture from fellow-Canadian builder/designer, Scope Cleaver (among others):

Aside from a snowcapped mountain, the island has several component buildings, comprising office space, classrooms, meeting areas (of various sizes) and - in the round building on the left - an orrery. Which is always nice to see. If my mental image of BC as learned through National Geographics and the Discovery Channel is remotely accurate, then this island seems to have an authentic BC feel to it: running streams, eagles soaring, native carvings and lots of pine everywhere. You can almost smell the fresh air!

They are still finishing off some of the minor details - and it'd be good if the HUD worked (it didn't work for me).

The aim, not surprisingly, is to use the site for teaching - as an adjunct to, or maybe as replacement for, existing online learning facilities. Given the size of BC, and indeed Western Canada as a whole, anything that can improve distance learning/outreach must be a good thing.

I would suggest a couple of things though:

  • It would be a good idea to involve or engage the students more by giving them some kind of opportunity to contribute to the build. SL is a social place, and you should be aiming to encourage your students to hang out on the island. A sense of ownership and belonging might go some way to this.
  • It's all a bit po-faced and serious at the moment. It could do with some things to lighten the mood; it shouldn't be just the heady Halls of Academe. Some diversions, games and activities might be the ticket.
Worth thinking about anyway. (Fair's fair - you did ask for feedback.)
And in other news...
It looks like the Lindens have been delivering new islands at a frantic rate. Without much effort I spotted the following newcomers. These are still completely bare (they appear on the satellite view as grey cloudy splodges) but watch out for launches in a couple of months time:
The last 2 are cunningly located far, far to the West of the main SL land areas. I've not put a link to VMOA as I do not know what it is! Google has suggested (for example) "Very Mixed-up Orangutans in Antarctica." OK, this is SL and many things are possible - but this sounds like stretching things a tad too far. As ever, if you know more - let me know!

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