Attending medical school in virtual reality
Universities have been developing online learning facilities for doctors and medical students for many years. Now they are turning to the virtual world of Second Life, reports Daniel Stott
Not many lecturers would appreciate their students flying into lecture theatres dressed as cybergoths, but since September Coventry University has begun to encourage such behaviour. The university is pioneering a MSc course in clinical management that holds problem based learning groups for students in Second Life, an online virtual world. The course trains students in managing healthcare facilities and is the first healthcare course to use Second Life as a learning platform.
Second Life is an internet based application which uses three-dimensional graphics to represent an online environment. Users may register for free, adopt a character (known as an avatar) from an online menu, and then explore the virtual world of Second Life. Not only are avatars able to interact with each other through on-screen dialogue boxes-and more recently voice recognition-but they can also create new buildings and online facilities using Second Life's simple programming tools. Users are also able