‘Virtual graduation’ for distance learning students

vIndianz.com (Nov 26, 2009) — A university is to hold a “virtual graduation ceremony” for students enrolled on a distance learning course. Edinburgh University will put on air the formal procedure at its McEwen Hall on to the Second Life web community.

The move will make certain students on its E-Learning course who are not capable to take a trip to Edinburgh do not miss out on the graduation day celebrations.

They will be capable to download robes for their online avatars, and get together in a virtual bar after the ceremony. Second Life is an online 3D world where users can interrelate with each other through their avatars – graphic representations of themselves.

The master’s programme – intended primarily at professionals working in higher and further education – has by now broken fresh ground with Twitter tutorials, online learning and latest forms of digitally-enabled evaluation. Course leaders said the latest initiative for a graduation ceremony was a model that could work well for further distance learning programmes.

Associate lecturer Fiona Littleton said: “This is the first time this has been attempted at the university.

“Students will be capable to download robes and University of Edinburgh hoods for their avatars to be dressed in during the graduation event, and everybody will have free access to a commemorative reception.”

Student Youenn Leborgne, who will be awarded his degree at the virtual graduation, said: “Holding the ceremony in Second Life is a great idea, particularly on a distance learning course. This kind of originality is what I’ve loved about studying at Edinburgh.”

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