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Teaching in SL

Over the years, I have been incorporating more and more technology into my chemistry classes. Now that I retired in 2015, it is fun to look back at what I did. Here's a PP presentation I gave long ago. I am editing this in 2017.

Fall 2010 was my 3rd semester at trying to incorporate optional weekly review sessions into SL. Optional for a few reasons. (1) My classes are large; I teach two classes of about 250 students each, so obviously I cannot have everyone in SL at the same time. (2) I do have a few students under 18 - which is problematic. (3) Some students are very uncomfortable in SL. Here I'll be blogging about the trials/tribulations of encouraging students to get involved in SL. Here's the link to a video clip of a tour of my area:

Chemistry World is the island Kurt Winkleman and I developed to see if first year chem students can do labs in SL. This blog is not about that project.

You can visit to keep updated with our papers.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Hi, all - it's been a while, almost a year, since I updated what I have been doing in Second Life, so heregoes!

(1) We - my graduate student, Zahira Merchant - in Educational Psychology - and I have finished our study and have given several talks.  We have one paper accepted so far and it should come out soon.  I'll give you all the link when it does.  A powerpoint in my study area on 12th Man Island explains what we did and some of our results - here it is:
(2) I'll be talking and sharing at the upcoming VWBPE conference - my presentation on the Molecule Game - will be on Saturday, 11am SLT March 17 at the VWBPE Gateway

(3) I finally broke down and paid a SL designer (Random Cole - thanks, Random!) to build me a virtual Molecule Rezzing Kit - specifically for making the VSEPR molecules for first year chemistry students.  It works very well - we're going to try it out this semester.  I'm giving it away for free at the VWBPE talk - it is fully copyable.  We will be testing it with my students in the next year.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Arvel Presentation went well!

Hi, all - so today was my presentation for ARVEL SIG inworld discussion (ARVEL is Applied Research in Virtual Environments for Learning - Special Interest Group). We had fun - had lots of folks who hadn't been to the TAMU Islands before.  Here is a picture of our group.  I even bought an espresso/water machine for refreshments!  If you want a copy of the powerpoint presentation, just email me at  After the talk, I gave a little tour of the area and showed off the "Molecule Game," a variation on a Scavenger Hunt - see previous blog entry.  I had to leave early because the alarm went off; we had a gas leak in the building - but everything was OK.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Study has started & presenting to ARVEL!

Hi, all - been really busy getting ready to conduct the study on chemistry student learning in my area in SL and it has begun!  I'm giving a presentation on it and on my area in SL on Wednesday in SL for ARVEL SIG inworld discussion (ARVEL is Applied Research in Virtual Environments for Learning - Special Interest Group).  Here's the SLURL to my area.  It will be 1pm SL time (3pm CST - 4pm EST) in my area.  Here's a link to the event: .  Even bought an SL espresso/water machine!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Made our local newspaper!

Hi, all - The TAMU Health Science Center had their ribbon cutting yesterday on their new SL islands that are connected to our islands.  We had about 20 people in SL for the event.  Our local paper reported it and here is the link to the article: .  I made the front page!  This was a big deal - the Nancy Dickey, the president of HSC and past president of the AMA gave a speech in SL and even one of the Lindens, Teeple Linden, was there to talk of the importance of the educational mission of Linden Labs.  I asked him about the disappearance of the educational discount and the hardship it was placing on us university folks.  He said I should drop him a notecard with my concerns.  That is one of today's projects for me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chemist as Artist Project

I'm now creating another chemistry learning module in my area of Second Life - Chemist as Artist, where students are given a molecule (created by Hiro Sheridan's molecule rezzer), then they have to link the atoms & bonds together, make a copy, rotate each one to form two different orientations, and draw them in 2-D using solid lines, wedges and dashed lines.  My hope is that students will begin to be able to do the reverse:  look at a 2-D drawing and in their minds' eye be able to picture the 3-D molecule.  Here is the powerpoint presentation, which you can also view in SL. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dr. K's Molecule Game

Well, after hours and hours and hours of playing with objects, scripts, permissions (agh) and instructional design, Dr. K's Molecule Game is ready for folks to try out.  My student avatar could get through it so I'm hoping it is now working well.  If you want to try and you're not a chemist - here are the answers to the 5 stations:  6, 2, 63, nitrogen trifluoride, and 13, in that order.  Please give me feedback.  Its purpose is three fold: (1) to help my students learn to work within Second Life, (2) to have them apply a bit of chemistry knowledge and (3) to introduce them to the 3-D nature of molecules. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

All Ahead Full for SL Study

Hi, all - I've been meeting with my Ph.D. student, Ms. Zahira Merchant.  She and I are conducting a study of student learning in my chemistry site for her dissertation.  The study will be conducted during Spring 2011.  Since I have two classes, so one will be learning molecular shapes in SL, and the other class will be learning the shapes using traditional 2-D approach.  She and I made a video tour of my site for an initial presentation.  Here it is:
You can also watch it on my movie screen in SL and link to it from a sign at the entrance.  

One of the issues is getting students familiar enough with SL so as to not inhibit their learning during the actual study.  So, I'm going to be arranging a tiny scavenger hunt (5 stops) and at each one, the student will have to rez a molecule and answer a question about it - not on its shape, but on its composition or name or simple calculation, like % by mass.  This exercise will get students used to working with the tasks they will be expected to do during the learning module.  I'm using the scavenger hunt by Alice Klinger and Alli&Ali Designs called "A&A Networked Scavenger Hunt Kit."  It is expensive - about $50 = $L12,000, but it is very sophisticated and folks must answer a question before they can proceed to the next item.  I'll let you know when it is set up.