Bolstering the Quality and Integrity of Online Collaborative University-Level Courses via an Open Sim Standalone Server in Conjunction with Sloodle
Education and Information Technologies Volume 21, Number 5, ISSN 1360-2357
The contemporary era provides several challenges which extend from the reconstitution of an innovative knowledge domain and curricula to candidate learning platforms that support online course delivery methods. Educators and scholars on these demands have recently started to rethink alternative ways for the assimilation of the experiential knowledge in three-dimensional (3D) technologically advanced environments, like 3D multi-user virtual worlds. In spite the widespread dissemination and proliferation of novel educational implications by utilizing 3D multi-user virtual worlds combined with the 2D interface of LMS (Learning Management Systems) and the assessment of the effectiveness based on the online course delivery method in a long-term usability is still absent from the international academic literature. This study presents interoperability issues focused on the utilization of the virtual world Open Simulator (Open Sim) in conjunction with Sloodle (Simulation Linked Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) as a free plug-in module. The evaluation of this online learning process according to an empirical research method became possible with the assistance of ninety-five (95) students by two different academic sectors that participated in this project and measured the capabilities and instructional affordances of this platform. The evaluation process was focused on four multi-dimensional parameters (psychological-pedagogical, technical-operational, organizational-financial, and socio-cultural). The study findings based on students' experiences revealed that both platforms could be sufficiently connected as a unique platform which can increase the users' learning abilities. This "hybrid" platform can adequately convert the ordinary multi-user virtual world of Open Sim and Sloodle in a common "incubator" of knowledge for online courses at university level. At the end, the instructional affordances and implications for future-driven directions are also discussed.
Pellas, N. (2016). Bolstering the Quality and Integrity of Online Collaborative University-Level Courses via an Open Sim Standalone Server in Conjunction with Sloodle. Education and Information Technologies, 21(5), 1007-1032.