For love or money: Tips for finding the continuing-ed courses of your dreams. By Elee Dean
If you’d like to sample the virtual world’s forays into academia, get yourself to the biggest, fastest Mac or PC in sight. Still, it’s not exactly simple.
Second Life is in a constant state of development, and as such is not always as user-friendly as beginners would like. But with a little patience and experimentation (after all, you can’t break anything) you can train yourself to explore this slightly trepedatious new world.
Start by going to secondlife.com and clicking on the join now link. Opening an account is usually free; if you want to stake your personal claim in-world, it’ll cost you — but you can do that later. For now, sign yourself in and choose a name and a look for your avatar.
The next necessary step is to download Second Life software, through which you’ll gain access to the metaverse. That part is easier than making an airline reservation online.
The particulars of navigating through SL’s 3-D environment are less obvious. Click on the button labeled map, then type Info Island in the search box. In time, a fuzzy map will appear on the screen; click into the map and then hit the teleport button. Poof! (well, wait and poof) and you’re on Info Island.
Now fumble around and explore, using your cursor keys to move through the landscape. When you come upon a labeled wall display or book or kiosk, click on it and you’ll be linked to the corresponding resource page via your Web browser. To better learn the territory, ask for a tour using the chat function; a librarian is often on duty. Info Island also hosts special events and guest speakers (Henry VIII was promised the day we logged on, but we think he had to cancel).