Vue is a virtual educational and research institute bringing together all those interested in the use of virtual worlds for teaching, research and outreach related to the University of Edinburgh.
Second Life is a virtual worlds platform provided by Linden Lab in California. The Vue regions in Second Life have been available for over 10 years since 28th May 2007. A timeline of events is available at http://vue.ed.ac.uk/… and over the years we have arranged between us a variety of funding for the shared areas from Development & Alumni, Corporate Services, Information Services, Informatics and the Vet School. Having maintained “Vue” as a core region for over 10 years the usage now does not justify continued funding which even at educational rates costs $1,770 a year for our full regions and $750 a year for one of our lower capacity regions.
How to Continue to Use a (Temporary) Facility on Second Life
Second Life continues to be available, and it is still possible to create and use a freely available avatar to visit facilities in Second Life. It is just the Vue paid-for regions we are no longer maintaining.
Sandbox regions in Second Life are available to test building and can act as a facility where a temporary facility can be rezzed… such as a copy of “The Venue@Vue” as used for virtual graduations, MOOC class meetings, etc. As a suggestion try the “CNWL” sandbox region provided for public use by the College of North West London first to establish it as a first preference for Vue related meetings on such a Sandbox… but there are lots of other sandboxes. You can find them by typing “sandbox” as a region search term into the Second Life viewer Map tool.
College of North West London Sandbox, CNWL [6 hour return]
Vue Buildings available on Second Life Marketplace
To help people create temporary facilities on Second Life sandboxes or other areas where they are allowed to build, a number of Vue-related buildings and facilities are available (free) from the Second Life Marketplace…
Vue Mailing List
A moderated e-mail list is maintained for members of the University of Edinburgh interested in virtual worlds for teaching, research and outreach. Contact Austin Tate <email@example.com> to be added to the list.
Vue Regions on OpenSimulator – Openvue
It is worth noting that the whole original 9 region Vue mini-continent as it appeared at its maximum extent in Second Life with some enhanced areas is essentially replicated on an OpenSimulator grid.. in fact on several such grids. One hosted on servers in Informatics… called Openvue… and another on the “OSGrid” openly accessible free to use test grid. These “open” versions of the Vue virtual world facilities have been available since September 2007, A timeline of events is available at http://vue.ed.ac.uk/openvue/… so also for over 10 years now. They provide many of the facilities available in Second Life, including the same type of voice services used in Second Life provided free due to the support of non-profit and educational establishments by Vivox.
Visit Openvue by getting a (free) avatar on OSGrid at http://osgrid.org and then travel via the “HyperGrid” to hop://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/Openvue/128/128/30 (copy that “hop” into the Firestorm Viewer location bar or find the region on the Map).
Local avatars on Openvue are only necessary for builders and owners of regions. Contact Austin Tate if you are a member of the University of Edinburgh and feel that is useful to your projects or work.
Vue Regional Planning Authority (VRPA)
I would like to thanks the present and past members of the rather grandly named “Vue Regional Planning Authority” (VRPA)* which is the people from across the University of Edinburgh who raised funds for the Second Life Vue regions an were involved in the design and creation of the facilities. the group continue to be involved in explorations of other virtual world platforms in their own Schools, groups and across the University for the potential benefit of others.
*name suggested by Hamish Macleod.
- Sian Bayne (E-Learning, Higher & Community Education)
- Marshall Dozier (Library)
- Ian Graham (Management School)
- Fiona Hale (Information Services)
- Hamish Macleod (Centre for Teaching, Learning & Assessment, Education)
- David Richardson (Informatics)
- James Stewart (Research Centre for Social Sciences)
- Austin Tate (Informatics & AIAI)
- Aghlab Al-Attili (Edinburgh Stanford Link & Entrepreneurship MSc)
- Mike Clouser (Edinburgh Stanford Link & Entrepreneurship MSc)
- Dawn Ellis (Corporate Communications & PR)
- Naomi Nunn (Development & Alumni)
- Jessie Paterson (Divinity)
- Morag Watson (Information Services & Library)
Vue Experiments with other Virtual Worlds Platforms
Even before Second Life began to be used across the University, groups in Business Studies, Education and Artificial Intelligence/Informatics had been exploring virtual worlds platforms for a range of educational and research project uses. Platforms (now long gone) such as “There” and commercial virtual world simulators such as “Forterra” had been in use, and Second Life itself had been used even in its very earliest incarnation. When we began using Second Life for Vue purposes we could not have imagined the platform would remain stable for such a long period (over a decade and it is still available). We envisaged moving onto new platforms as they arose and experiments have taken place with quite a lot of potential platforms, not all of which made it to full open public release. A number of these experiments are documented in my earlier blog posts.
Some current platforms under investigation include:
In previous years Virtual Graduations for the School of Education and the Vet School have taken place in mixed reality with distance education students attending in Second Life – usually at “The Venue@Vue” and link up on large screens with the physical graduation in the McEwan Hall. For the 29th November 2017 the virtual graduation ran with pre-recorded videos projected in McEwan Hall and a Collaborate back-channel as provided by our Virtual Learning Environment for distant graduands.
Suggestions for a Virtual World Visit for Demonstrations
There are some educators who do use Second Life to demonstrate virtual world capabilities to their students. Since the Vue-specific regions in Second Life are no longer available from December 2017 the following notes may help in planning an alternative.
- If you have your class use the Firestorm Viewer rather than the default Linden Lab Second Life viewer you can use one viewer to access either Second Life or alternative OpenSimulator-based Grids. Download from http://www.firestormviewer.org/downloads/
- To make use of Second Life have your stdeuns create a (free) avatar at http://secondlife.com and the select a suitable open access region where you can visit and show your students items of potential interest. Look at the Second Life Destination Guide for suggestions. This might be a themed area, an area showing specific architecture or period buildings, an area showing a scientific or nature area, or a sandbox where students will be able to build. An example sandbox is described at http://secondlife.com/destination/educational-sandbox
- Where appropriate you might like to try an OpenSimulator-based grid. One suggestion is to have your students create a (free) avatar on OSGrid at http://osgrid.org – a grid provided by the open-source community for testing and open access. Then seek out a region on OSGrid that is appropriate to your educational purpose. Sandbox Plaza is one of several sandbox regions on OSGrid where students can build. There are some Edinburgh/Vue related exemplar regions on OSGrid too, such as Vue-Port and Edinburgh. See below for a replica of the Venue@Edinburgh,
- If you do try OpenSimulator e.g. via OSGrid, you might be interested in showing the “Hypergrid” which allows multiple separate grids to be linked so that visitors from one grid can visit another. E.g. an OSGrid avata5 can visit the Openvue grid hosted on Virtual University of Edinburgh servers. Use a suitable “hop” in the address bar in Firestorm to visit other grids … e.g. hop://virtual.aiai.ed.ac.uk:8002/Openvue/128/128/30 and after the visit you can teleport back to OSGrid using the link placed in chat.
The Venue@Edinburgh on Edinburgh Region in OSGrid
Visit with an avatar from any Hypergrid-enabled OpenSimulator-based grid using the address hop://login.osgrid.org/Edinburgh/189/62/24 and then take a look at the clickable destination board to find other educational and experimental locations to visit on OSGrid, Openvue grid and the experimental demonstration “AiLand” grid.