Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New research study of hotel branding in SL

Hotels around the world are frequently exposed to a wide range of products, a plethora of co-branding opportunities are easily available to the hotel industry. Successful co-branding can provide a hotel with the competitive edge and differentiation that strategically fit with their branding objectives. To understand the brands preferred by hotel patrons, a unique study was planned, designed and conducted Basak Denizci and Paul Penfold in PolyU’s Virtual Hotel in Second Life in order to define the optimal level of co-branding in hotels.

Paul said, “The use of the Virtual Hotel does not only provide researchers with new tools for collaboration with other academics and fellow researchers worldwide, but also enables researchers to create innovative environments for conducting their research.”

Over a four-week period, participants visited the hotel rooms, reviewed the amenities and selected their preferred brands. Participants came from 39 countries including USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Holland, Australia and Hong Kong. Preliminary results indicate that coffee, TV, toothpaste, shampoo and shower gel are the most preferred products to be branded in a four-star hotel room setting. The most preferred brand for each item is also identified.

According to Dr Denizci, “A similar research conducted in the real world would have to allow participants to stay in a hotel in order for them to try the range of brands available in a variety of hotel settings. It would be a very expensive exercise for any researchers and also very difficult for them to reach a truly representative and international hotel patrons.”

The second stage of the study involves conjoint analysis which is instrumental in determining the trade-offs that hotel customers are willing to make in their purchase decisions as well as in developing pricing strategies for hotels.

This study serves as a guideline for multi-branding in a hotel room setting for the purpose of positioning the hotel brand. Data collected will be used by researchers in determining the most preferred amenities to be branded as well as their brands as favoured by respondents with different socio-demographic background and traveling pattern. Over 700 participants from around the world took part in this research and the results will be published later this year.

Classroom Habitudes in SL

Interesting inworld video of a seminar from ISTE Eduverse in SL on Classroom Habitudes
(Habits and attitudes in virtual worlds)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Learning resources on the NMC Campus

NMC has an excellent Sim full of learning spaces, orientation kits, major buildings, classroom, and much more for educators to use in their own islands. Worth a visit here

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Avatar Bill of RightA

Do avatars have rights and what are their rights? An interesting discussion going on that has implications for the some 300 million users/avatars in virtual worlds. Raph Koster writes, "Avatars are the manifestation of actual people in an online medium, and their utterances, actions, thoughts, and emotions should be considered to be as valid as the utterances, actions, thoughts, and emotions of people in any other forum, venue, location, or space." Do you agree? For the full Bill of Rights read this.

Latest trends in Virtual worlds 2009

Barry Joseph shares his thoughts on 6 trends for virtual worlds for 2009 - see the links.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Scripting in Second Life

This very useful site will help you create scripts for your Second Life objects. These scripts allow you to add interactive elements to your builds without knowing how to code. All of the scripts are released under a creative commons license, which means that you can use them freely!

Web Resources for Second Life Educators

A very nice sampling of web-based resources for educators using Second Life as an instructional platform created in Flowgram.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Chinese State Administration of Taxation said on its Web site last week that China will impose a personal income tax of 20% on profit from virtual money. See article from WSJ Virtual Money

The proposed tax will also target individuals who use virtual currencies so this might affect transactions in Second Life too.

Now - the virtual career fair

GAX Technologies is organizing a third virtual recruitment event on May 28,2009. Called 'Working Worlds' it will open in Second Life with an international dimension. Some of the biggest employers in Europe will attend and receive candidates in their virtual offices.

This new method of recruitment enables candidates from all over the world to meet potential employees. At this time more than 3,500 candidates from all over Europe have submitted their CVs online. At the last career fair, more than 2,900 visitors attended, 2,767 candidates filed their CVs and 600 official interviews took place. For more information visit Working Worlds.

Update on the College Fair in SL

The virtual world of Second Life was the venue for an international college fair which attracted an estimated 9-12,000 visitors over the week long event. The fair which began on 16 November brought together 37 educational institutions from North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific to provide opportunities for prospective students to explore the many programs on offer and get to know more about the institutions represented. Visitors to the college fair came from many countries, with the majority (47%) from the United States, and significant numbers of attendees from the UK, Germany, Spain, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.

The first day consisted of virtual seminars given by representatives of some of the institutions, with the remainder of the weekend available for individual consultations with college representatives. Universities and colleges were able to create informational displays about their institutions and meet informally to talk with visitors. The organizers (University of Kentucky, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Johnson & Wales University) said that attendance was strong throughout the fair period and their survey of participants indicated that, ‘representatives appreciated the large display size, the quality of the displays created by each institution, the opportunity to “network” with other educators involved in Second Life, the presentations, and the support provided by fair organizers.’

The School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University was pleased to take part in this innovative event, and to join other institutions such as Cornell University, Georgia State University, Ohio State University, University of Florida and the University of West Scotland. As an experiment in promoting ‘real’ educational programs in the virtual world it was definitely of value, and something to consider repeating in the future, particularly in attracting overseas students to the university.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Torley's Guide to Making Movies in Second Life!

A very good guide to making movies in Second Life from Torley. Tutorials cover:
  • How to optimize performance
  • Which recording tools you can use
  • Hiding the interface
  • Changing sky + water settings
  • Avatar movement
  • Where to host your video

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Creating Engaging and Interactive Online Nursing, Medical, and other Courses

A very helpful posting from John Miller on Creating Engaging and Interactive Online Nursing, Medical, and other Courses

John mentions the use of
different Web 2.0 tools to engage the students as well as his use of Second Life.

College Fair - Second Life

College Fair at Alliance Virtual Library!

Hong PolyU, along with almost 40 colleges and universities set up their exhibition booths on Info Island on Sunday November 16th to meet potential students. Students came to discuss course offerings, admission and financial aid requirements, college life and other information to help them with the college selection process. The fair was held at: Alliance Virtual Library



  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, School of Hotel & Tourism Management
  • The University of Akron
  • East Tennessee State University
  • St John’s University
  • Berkeley College
  • NY College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Penn State World Campus
  • Darton College
  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • Rio Salado College
  • University of the Incarnate Word
  • Saint Leo University
  • Great Northern Way Campus
  • Jacksonville State University
  • Seton Hall Law School
  • University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
  • Bradford College (UKRC)
  • Liverpool John Moores University, UK
  • University of Wisconsin Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing Accelerated Program
  • University of Florida
  • Ohio State University, Dept Women’s Studies
  • Johnson & Wales University
  • Georgia State University
  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, College of Nursing
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Information Sciences and Technologies
  • University of Kansas - Art Dept.
  • College of DuPage
  • Buena Vista University
  • Bowling Green State University
  • City College Norwich
  • Northwest Vista College
  • West Liberty State College
  • Mercy College
  • Squirrelverse

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Virtual world activity in UK education

Thanks to Virtual World Watch and the Eduserv Foundation who have released the latest snapshot of virtual world activity in UK Higher and Further Education. The report can be downloaded in PDF format here


This is the first snapshot survey where a significant number of respondents were supported by external, often research-based funding. The spread of funding sources is diverse, including national sources (JISC are mentioned by several respondents), European funding and non-academic sources. Of the other respondents, the majority had institutional support, e.g. from central funds, the department, or a Pro-Vice Chancellor’s fund; such funding is sometimes multi-departmental in nature.

Many respondents had either carried out some kind of teaching and learning activity, or were planning such events for the new academic year. These included collaborative learning and design, seminars, workshops, tutorials and induction courses. Several lecturers and supervisors were using Second Life to hold tutorials, or communicate with remote undergraduate or PhD students. A significant number of universities are carrying out research as to the effectiveness of using Second Life especially in teaching and learning.

Some, but not all, teaching and learning activities were assessed by the academics who carried them out, with no particular method of assessment being predominant. Positive benefits were mentioned by the majority, such as student skill acquisition, ease of communication and the ability to meet peers one would otherwise not meet. Problems such as the amount of work required to run in-world sessions were also reported.

As with previous snapshots, the two issues of obtaining funding for virtual world development, teaching and learning, and technical problems, predominated. Several respondents indicated a need for guides and tutorials, as well as a ready-to-use ‘kit’ of high quality, education-specific resources.

The general reaction of peers and academics to virtual worlds seems to have improved over time. More respondents reported largely positive, or a mixed, attitude locally and in the wider university sector. Some academics who were previously cautious or negative about the use of virtual worlds in education become more positive after using the technology, or seeing the benefits. Funding for research and virtual world projects has also had a positive effect on academic attitudes.

Looking ahead, most respondents who chose to answer thought that virtual worlds were more likely to be a ‘mainstream’ feature of UK education, rather than a ‘niche’ or ‘novelty’. However, several of these respondents felt this would be a gradual long-term development over several years.

Many respondents had used, or were considering examining, virtual worlds and online environments other than Second Life. A dozen such applications were cited. Of these three were mentioned by far the most: Google Lively, Wonderland and OpenSim. Lively was found to be disappointing in terms of education-relevant functionality, Wonderland had considerable communication potential, and OpenSim had attractive options for creating a closed virtual environment.

This theme, that Second Life is not the only option for teaching, learning and other educational activities in virtual environments, will be explored in future snapshots and activities of Virtual World Watch.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City: Beyond Space and Time is a partnership between the Palace Museum and IBM. The goal of the project is to provide the means for a world-wide audience to celebrate and explore aspects of Chinese culture and history. The Virtual Forbidden City is a 3-dimensional virtual world where visitors from around the world can experience the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Teaching tools for Second Life

We have compiled a collection of tools we have used for teaching in SL. Some are a bit technical, but all are pretty useful. You are welcome to download here.

Teacher guide

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Second classroom

Second Classroom is a project to explore ways in which educators can create projects for students using immersive media such as Second Life, MMORPG and social networks to create authentic learning.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Linking virtual worlds

Quite an interesting development in connecting people with one single avatar to many virtual worlds.

Myrl is a cross-world entertainment platform, bringing virtual worlds and their users together on the web. We are building a layer on top of each virtual world, linking them up to create an integrated playground with endless possibilities and applications.

The first release of Myrl is focused on social virtual worlds and connects users from 19 worlds like Second Life, Lively, Entropia and There. Check out the complete map of the worlds supported here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Student orientation to SL and University Life

We have almost completed an orientation for 400 freshman students joining our Department. Started 3 weeks before the new semester, with 16 SL workshops in our computer lab first, then the last 2 weeks fully in SL.

The program consisted of 7 individual learning activities: learning styles, multiple intelligences, active learning, academic honesty, classroom etiquette, citing references and room design. Plus 3 competitions - parachuting, through the hoops and fashion show, and 8 live sessions on learning challenges, plagiarism, library and open Q&A finishing with a dance night tomorrow after the fashion show.

For details of the program see: http://virtel.shtm.polyu.edu.hk/sotel/ and you are welcome to visit our campus island and have a go at some of the activities. We have been using a couple of chat bots to help with some of the activities and also employed some student helpers to assist and support students on a roster basis so someone was always around from 9am to 9pm every day. Our island is called HKPolyu campus at http://slurl.com/secondlife/HKPolyU%20Campus/123/153/26