EUCEN 41st CONFERENCE. Education as a right

25 – 27 May, 2011. Granada, Spain. EUCEN is celebrating its 20th Anniversary with the special theme of human rights, focusing on the role of higher education in promoting the right to education for all, and making it a reality. EUCEN has invited representatives from UNESCO, the European Commission and other international institutions to lead discussions at the conference. More information in the Elearning Europa newsletter or here.

online learning module in research ethics

I was recently told about the Universitas 21 Global Research Ethics and Integrity Module, an online resource that can be used for self-paced learning or group work. It is multi-disciplinary and case-based.

I’m pretty impressed with it, so I post it here to share with mscel-ers. You might look at it from the point of view of design and engagement, but those on the research methods course might also find the content helpful in thinking through some of the ethical considerations related to their research proposals.

Sloodle, a compromise between SL and OpenSim?

As an Sloodle Tutor, I  would to introduce Sloodle explaining its main advantages compared with SecondLife and OpenSim.

Sloodle (acronym for Simulation-Linked  Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment ) is an open source software which integrates the Moodle based web-based virtual learning environment with the 3D virtual world platform of SecondLife. The project is supported by the University of West Scotland, the San José State University and several independent developers across the world (the complete list of Sloodle founders can be found in the community site). It has been funded by Eduserv until October 2009.

The main advantages of Sloodle for educators are its affordability and its easy-of-use configuration, freeing educators from the economic constraints of SL or the development time constraints of OpenSim. Another advantage is its interoperability as it blends a 2D and a 3D platform into a single 3D/web virtual learning platform.

Sloodle is affordable because educators can download, install and configure-both in world and in Moodle- a set of free objects which will allow them to design and develop meaningful activities to be undertaken either in SecondLife or Moodle. Courses can be blended across both platforms and students can teleport to SL in order to undertake the activities keeping their scores in the Moodle Gradebook. Basically, what Sloodle does is to enhance a tradicional 2D LMS with a tridimensional experience, Sloodle contributes to sustain the persistence and social discovery of SL beyond the virtual world.

Unlike OpenSim, where a considerable amount of development work needs to be done by the educator, in Sloodle it is possible to download, rezz and configure the object without knowing a single instruction in Linden script. The projects is well documented through its wiki, and there is a variety of tutorials and guides in different formats (YouTube, Vimeo, dotSub, etc). The Sloodle community is likewise very supportive and friendly, and I am talking from my own experience.

In terms of immersion and co-presence, I personally think that the Sloodle Island and the Sloodle Tutor Groups is a safe and supportive environment for learners and educators. Sloodle avatars are always linked to a Moodle users account (in the Sloodle Tutors Group, our avatars are linked to our accounts in the Sloodle community website), so educators can always know who avatar corresponds to each one of their students,  and they monitor students’ work in word eve  don’t know much about SL features. (there is an Sloodle object for that) .

One of the myths around Sloodle is that you can only use it if you are a Moodle user or you have a Moodle site, but this is not true. Sloodle includes stand-alone objects that will allow you to develop activities in-world.

The Sloodle objects can be classified into four main groups:

1)            Objects for the integration SL-Moodle: Sloodle Set, Controller, Registration Booth (and Login Zone)

2)            Objects for Teaching and Learning: These objects are used to blend activities across Moodle and SL. Some of the most popular are:

.                    Web-intercom. A chat-room that brings Moodle chatroom and Second Life chats together. Students can participate in chats in Second Life using the  Moodle chat and viceversa.

.                    Quiz chair (and Pile-on Quiz). Assess in Second Life – grade in Moodle. The  quiz tools allow tutors to author quizzes in Moodle, but students can take the quiz in SL, in a more engaging game-like activity, and their grades will be recorded in the Moodle gradebook.

.                    Distributor. A Second Life vending machine can be filled with items by a tutor, allowing students to access  pre-selected items.

.                    Multi-function SLOODLE Toolbar. Enhances the Second Life user interface with a range of classroom  gestures, quickly get a list of the Moodle user names of the avatars nearby or write notes directly into to a  Moodle blog from Second Life.

.                    Choice tool. It allows students to vote and see the results both in SL and Moodle.

.                    Presenter : it authors Second Life presentations  of slides, videos (including YouTube) and/or web-pages. The contents can be browsed both in SL and Moodle.

3) Standalone objects, such as the QuizHub, which allows educators to easily create quizzes in SL

4) Objects for collaborative browsing. The Sloodle browser has the same functionalities of of RL browsers. Avatars can click on hyperlinks, read their RL emails, access to Web 2.0 social platforms or complete online forms in world.

In the latest versions of SL an  Award  System has been developed which allows facilitators to award points, automatically or manually, to students in  Second Life for completing course-related  tasks. Points earned by a student in Second  Life can also be fed into the Moodle grade  book (I haven’t used the Award System myself).

I have been myself a Sloodle tutor since 2008 and I used Sloodle to delivery environmental courses to adults and youngsters at risk of social exclusion in Fife. It was a truly remarkable experience as it was the first time that the youngsters had accessed to a virtual world in which residents are also humans. The experience definitively spurred their curiosity about sustainability and peak oil.

I have two Sloodle demo courses which I would like to share with the participants of the Mscel programme.

1)      Sloodle for Beginners: This is a demo course developed for JISC Scotland which explains some of the main objects in Sloodle. It was developed for the  previous Sloodle Set, so  it doesn’t include the Sloodle Browser or the Presenter.  The autoreturn has been set to 120  minutes, so that participants can also use the parcel to test their own Sloodle objects.

2)      Into Transition: An Introduction to the Transition Movement. This is an example of how it may look like a Sloodle course. It was developed for the iMoot 2010, as I was a speaker at the event representing Sloodle.

Username/s: From  test1  to test4.

Password: hola1 to hola4.

For any doubts or further information, contact me at maricruz_garcia(at)

Special online seminar: Education and the social web

We’re really pleased to announce a special online seminar for MSc in E-learning staff and students by Dr Norm Friesen – all welcome!

Norm will be discussing ‘Education and the social web. Connective learning and the commercial imperative’, a session which will be based on his recent paper in First Monday.

The seminar will be Tuesday March 8th, 19.30 UK time. We’ll be using Wimba to hear Norm present and to discuss his thoughts on the commerical imperative driving much social media and limiting its educational potential.

There’s more about Norm’s seminar on the Events tab.

Numbers will be limited, so if you’d like to come, please drop me an email at, so that we can make sure you get the info you need to access Wimba on the 8th.

Looking forward to seeing you!

EUSA teaching awards

The University has asked us to post this up : )

This year you can nominate in the categories of:

Best Course

Best Department

Best Director of Studies

Detailed, useful feedback

Teach First Award for Innovative teaching methods

KPMG Award for Helping students gain Employable Skills

Kendall Award for teaching in Medicine
Campbell Award for teaching in Humanities and Social Sciences
Van Heyningen Award for teaching in Science and Engineering

Overall High Performer

Vitae Award for Best Postgraduate who Tutors

Nominate at:

Polls close at the end of the month.