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Teaching and Learning Through Interdisciplinary Pedagogies in a Second Life Environment: Focus on Integration and Assessment

Teaching and Learning Through Interdisciplinary Pedagogies in a Second Life Environment: Focus on Integration and Assessment
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Author(s): Maureen Ellis (East Carolina University, USA) and Patricia Anderson (East Carolina University, USA)
Copyright: 2018
Pages: 29
Source title: Handbook of Research on Program Development and Assessment Methodologies in K-20 Education
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Victor X. Wang (Grand Canyon University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3132-6.ch013

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Abstract

While virtual worlds have been available since the 1970s, opportunities for teaching and learning leading to improved pedagogical practice have increased over the past three decades (Livingstone, Kemp, & Edgar, 2008). Second Life, a highly immersive and scalable three-dimensional (3-D) multi-user social virtual environment, emphasizes the use of rich and authentic worlds for supporting an array of human activities and interactions within Web 2.0. Through synchronous communication, collaboration, and simulated experiences (Skiba, 2009), students accept the role of active creators of knowledge when faculty members adopt the Second Life platform as a learning environment. Bandura's social learning theory, Vygotsky's social development theory, and Piaget's constructivist learning theory form the conceptual framework for this chapter. This chapter describes how faculty from different disciplines in higher education adopted the interdisciplinary approach to course design, development, and delivery of a Second Life course with emphasis on authentic evaluation and assessment to improve student learning outcomes. The Second Life platform offered unique opportunities for students to become fully engaged in learning outcomes within two different courses. With learning outcomes and pedagogical needs at the forefront of instructional design decisions, instructors identified strategies for teaching, assessing, and evaluating the collaborative, immersive opportunities within Second Life as they taught two separate courses to the same group of students. This interdisciplinary approach to teaching entailed the use and integration of methods and analytical frameworks from more than one academic discipline to examine a theme, issue, question, or topic (Newell, 1994, 2001). Following both a constructivist approach and an integrated teaching model, instructors from two disciplines collaborated in the learning process with the goal of fostering inter-professional interactions. Interdisciplinary education was based on mutual understanding and respect for the concrete and unique opportunities for new contributions of each discipline.

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