Talk Slides Available from VWBPE Conference

March 19, 2011

The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference wrapped up today. As mentioned last week, there were four Open Wonderland talks. The talks took place in Second Life, which meant we had an international audience of educators and others interested in applying virtual worlds to education. I have made two of the slide sets available on SlideShare for those who would like a copy:

Thanks to all the presenters for contributing to a good showing for Open Wonderland! To learn more about Open Wonderland, sign up for one of our upcoming workshops.

Screenshots from the Event

Roland Sassen's talk on WonderSchool

"WonderSchool" by Roland Sassen

Open Wonderland Preview 5

"Using Open Wonderland Preview 5 in Education" by Nicole Yankelovich and Jonathan Kaplan

P2PU Open Wonderland course

"P2PU + Open Wonderland = Learning virtual worlds development with and from each other" by José Domínguez

SubSnapshots Project

"Learning to Program Collaboratively in Open Wonderland" by Jonathan Kaplan, Nicole Yankelovich, Kathryn Aten, Nina Nussbaum-Jones, and Maggie Leber

Open Wonderland T-Shirt

You  may have noticed that many of us are sporting nice Open Wonderland t-shirts. Maggie Leber, known as “Maggie Darwin” in Second Life, kindly created these for us as well as provided technical support and a place for us to stage our slides and rehearse together. If you frequent Second Life, and would like an Open Wonderland t-shirt, please contact Maggie.

Maggie Darwin wearing Open Wonderland t-shirt

Maggie Darwin wearing an Open Wonderland t-shirt

Upcoming Open Wonderland talks

March 10, 2011

I’m pleased to report that there will be four Open Wonderland talks at the upcoming

Virtual Worlds – Best Practices in Education Conference
March 17 – 19, 2011

This conference takes place in Second Life and all times are listed in US Pacific time. Here is the line-up of Wonderland talks. The title links will take you to an abstract of each talk and the “world time chart” links will show the talk time in your local time.

Roland Sassen
10am PT, world time chart
Friday, March 18th
Building: EAST; Room: East 1/2 Machinima

Using Open Wonderland Preview 5 in Education
Nicole Yankelovich and Jonathan Kaplan
1pm PT, world time chart
Friday, March 18th
Building: NORTH; Room: North1

P2PU + Open Wonderland = Learning virtual worlds development with and from each other
Jose Dominguez
7am PT, world time chart
Saturday, March 19th
Building: WEST; Room: West Auxiliary

Learning to Program Collaboratively in Open Wonderland
Jonathan Kaplan, Nicole Yankelovich, and Kathryn Aten
1pm PT, world time chart
Saturday, March 19th
Building: SOUTH; Room: South Auxiliary

The SLURLs (Second Life URLs) will be published on March 13th on the conference web site.

Please help us publicize these talks by re-posting this blog, tweeting about the talks, or posting them on your Facebook page.

There are lots of other talks that sound interesting. The VWBPE Conference Schedule lists the entire schedule along with the in-world locations.

First P2PU Open Wonderland Class

February 4, 2011

Two weeks ago José Domínguez (aka Josmas Flores) announced an Open Wonderland course that he organized for Peer to Peer University (P2PU). He anticipated only 5 students, but ended up with at least 13, with several others auditing the course. The class met as a group for the first time today.

First P2PU class

First P2PU Open Wonderland class

This meeting was primarily an organizational meeting, with the real work getting underway next week as the class participants show off their “shape cells” created by following the steps in the “Developing a New Cell” tutorial.

One of the great things about this course is that all the content is freely available to anyone, including the course forum. Refer to the course home page for more information. In addition, a requirement of the course is that all enrolled participants blog about their experience. In the first session today, José shared a link to a web page that aggregates all the student blogs.

From skimming the blog posts, I got a sense of who was taking the class. It’s quite a diverse group. There are a few Open Wonderland community regulars, including Nina, a developer and virtual world evangelist from Lockheed Martin; Michel, a French entrepreneur running a business based on Open Wonderland, and Morris, a retired programmer who is doing Open Wonderland development for the fun of it. Others in the course include students from University of Essex in the UK, University of Lyon in France, University of Missouri in the States, Siena University in New York, and Karunya University in Coimbatore. There’s also a developer who works on the TEALSim project at MIT, an architect (of buildings and software), and a gentleman from Wells Fargo.

José said to encourage anyone who wishes to follow along to monitor the course forum, read the student blogs, and try out the assignments.

Open Wonderland Course @ P2PU

January 17, 2011

I hope some of you will be interested in signing up for this new Open Wonderland course organized by one of our most active community members.

Learning in a Different Way

José DomínguezBy José Domínguez (aka Josmas Flores)
Trinity College Dublin

Hello all! My name is José Domínguez (aka Josmas Flores) and I am a researcher at Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland. I have been a member of the Open Wonderland community for the last number of months, and you can generally find me on the forums or the development meetings on Wednesdays. It’s been such a great experience so far that I thought it would be a great time to give back to the community by organizing a development course. The course will be delivered through the Peer to Peer University (P2PU), an online community of open study groups.

About P2PU (

The Peer to Peer University is a bit different. All work is done through P2P collaboration, and courses generally run for 6 weeks. You do not need to be an expert to organise a course, mainly because you will be a facilitator, as opposed to a teacher/lecturer. All you need is a collection of open accessible resources to run a course (you can also create your own), and make participants understand that they are ultimately responsible for their own learning.

I think this model fits the software profession perfectly, if you compare it with the individualised approaches of any ‘normal’ university. It reflects quite well how programmers learn after finishing ‘formal’ education, when we have to join the workforce.

You will not get a degree after finishing a course at P2PU, but you might get much more out of it.

About the course

Target audience: I am targeting participants with at least 2 years Java programming experience, be it in commercial environments or College/University.

Although you do not need any knowledge about Wonderland itself, you do have to be willing to work on your own, as well as in groups, with the documentation and resources available.

Participants are expected to know how to use tools such as subversion and ant, and be comfortable with working from the command line. The course will not cover these basics.

Please review the sign-up task before applying for the course.

In a pure peer-to-peer spirit, the syllabus is open to participants. My main idea is to create different groups, depending on the interests of the people attending, but all these can be organically changed.

Initially, all participants will join a “General Development ” group, that will tackle Wonderland module development with the goal of getting people up to speed in how to create modules. Work can continue through a “Scripting” group, with the intention of exploiting the vast possibilities of the scripting engine. We will also be exploring when scripting is more appropriate than Java module development.

Other groups that might emerge during the course are “SCM” (a software configuration management group to explore building and automation of the system, including source control and dependency management) , or “Automated Testing ”, a group to test the system from within.

During the course, I also intend to organize ‘Software Craftsmanship workshops’, in areas such as pair programming, software katas, randori, TDD, BDD. The idea is to introduce the techniques, and then try to find ways in which they could fit within a Wonderland development context.

This is a ‘distance learning collaborative experience’, and I do not expect people to be meeting face to face, but I do expect meetings avatar to avatar. It is definitely not the same, but in my opinion, is the closest experience to the real thing that I’ve experienced so far.

The initial idea is to meet at least once a week (for 1 hour) on one of the Open Wonderland community servers. Times will have to be decided after the sign-up process, and will reflect the geographic locations and timezones of the participants. I am willing to organise as many meetings as needed to accommodate all participants.

In summary, if you are interested in learning through technology, be it software development, testing automation, SCM, and so on, and you want to do it within an existing system, and more importantly, in a collaboratively, community-based way, please have a look at the course.


Dates: Starts on January 26th (2011), and runs (initially) for 6 weeks.

For schedule and syllabus, please follow the course link.


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