**Please note that this is the archive website for the Virtual Worlds Project. Here you will find details about the project, useful resources and links to other sites**
Whilst immersive virtual worlds are providing us with platforms for innovation, and new opportunities to understand and address the needs of learners in the 21st century, we are under more pressure than ever not only to continue demonstrating innovation, but to do this at scale, for less money, whilst increasing efficiency and productivity. The challenge for us all is to contribute to a future where innovations meet these requirements whilst keeping learners, and learning, at the core of all that we do.
The Open University in Virtual Worlds Project aims to promote the philosophy, practices and curriculum of The Open University within virtual world environments, using innovative techniques, interdisciplinary strategies and varied pedagogical approaches to enhance lifelong learning through technology.
We recognize, welcome and support staff and students as individuals making unique contributions to the growth, responsibility and productivity of our virtual world communities.
The Open University is a trailblazer in virtual worlds - immersive 3D graphical environments for remote collaboration - and was one of the first UK universities to venture into Second Life, where it now has these regions:
- Open University island: Main arrival point + Teaching and learning spaces.
- OUtopia: A virtual village with a vibrant community of OU folk.
- Deep Think: Virtual campus for an online part-time MPhil in Computing.
- Open University 2: For hosting one-off events for large numbers of participants. Its simple design makes it ideal as a high-capacity low-lag venue.
- Open University HRD: Human resources training, role play and conference hosting.
- OU Ocean: A buffer zone between the formal learning regions and OUtopia village.
The innovative work and play which takes place in these regions helps to make us what the Virtual Worlds Watch Winter 2009 Snapshot called part of a core of the most significant virtual worlds activity in UK universities and prompted Second Life's creators to produce a case study of our in-world activities.
The Learning Innovation Office took ownership of the Virtual Worlds project in March 2009. It is supporting a scheduled implementation of services, support and activities for The Open University in Second Life, as well as exploring alternative frontiers in other virtual worlds.
Original site created by G Withnail on 30 October 2009.