Integration of communication and information technologies into design curricula offers significant potentials for design schools. This potential is achieved through their capacity to facilitate designing in new learning environments, as well as advancing research and development in learning theories. Since 2008, a collaborative architectural studio has been established for undergraduate students of the University of Newcastle, Australia, and Rangsit University, Thailand. In this collaborative design studio, a total of 45 architecture students, geographically separated, collaborated on a joint-design project in Second Life. Students were asked to explore the design potentials in 3D virtual world, collaboratively explore the concept of a virtual home and complete the implementation of their collaborative design in Second Life. Second Life can be utilised as a design platform, which provides for effective synchronous collaborative design and learning activities as well as opening up the opportunity for enhanced creativity in design. This chapter presents the collaborative architectural design studio supplemented with the design outcomes from the studio, and comprehensive evaluations of the collaboration. On the basis of our teaching experience in Second Life and research into the pedagogies that best support this form of learning, the chapter will conclude with a set of strategies for course design that underpin the quality learning experiences in 3D virtual worlds. Our proposed strategies will assist design educators in understanding and achieving (I) a clear definition and implementation of course aim and objectives and how they are related to learning outcomes, (2) development of effective course content and tutorial sessions and (3) assessment strategies that support the collaborative nature of the design submissions.
Higher Education in Virtual Worlds: Teaching and Learning in Second Life p. 159-180