A Seacoast in Bohemia

Guests on Genome
April 20, 2009, 9:03 pm
Filed under: Happening

I’m excited.  Friday we’ll be doing our first “mixed reality” event on Genome Island.  Our RL biology majors do a two semester research project as part of their degree requirements and at the end of the semester, they present their work to the faculty, other students, family visitors, assorted deans, and other university personnel.  Recently we’ve been inviting local luminaries to do a keynote research presentation. 

This year, however, our guest presenter will be Apaul Balut from Second Life.  Apaul’s other persona is Dr. Alan Hudson, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the medical school of Wayne State University.   Apaul will be talking about his research on Chlamydia as a triggering agent of chronic diseases like arthritis.  His presentation title is  Reactive Arthritis and the Problem of Persistent Synovial Chlamydia Infection. 

Apaul’s audience will be looking in on Second Life from a classroom at Texas Wesleyan.  His slides are loaded into Krull Aeon’s slide viewer, which can be run pretty much like a PowerPoint presentation in a regular classroom.  The viewer is set up in the Genome Science Theatre just below the Abbey.  Apaul will be using voice for his presentation, and students can use chat for typing questions they might have during or after his talk. 

Mixed reality events are one of the many things I love about Second Life.  Students and other guests have the opportunity to interact with experts from various disciplines, but nobody has to pack a bag or get on a plane.  How cool is that?


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Our first mixed reality event went splendidly. We had a momentary interruption when the guest speaker suffered a brief crash, but otherwise it was very smooth. The students were entranced to hear Dr. Hudson describing his work as he presented his slides on the Genome Science Theatre screen.

There were a few listeners in world on Genome (we had serious competition from the weekly Science Friday broadcast), but the live classroom was Standing Room Only. Dr. Hudson wove the data from his work into a compelling narrative, ending with a dramatic surprise.

I’m so pleased that the students had the opportunity to hear him speak, and to ask him questions. This will be just the first of what I hope will be many such cross-world events.

Comment by seacoast

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