Harvard to Offer Its First Course in a ‘Virtual World’

The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription req’d) has a story about Harvard’s first virtual course, taught by Harvard Law Prof. Charles Nesson and his daughter Rebecca Nesson (an instructor at Harvard Extension School, using virtual game environment Second Life. A more law oriented version will be offered to Harvard Law School students, in a F2F format.

The course will be on argument in cyberspace that is open to the public through the extension school. Nesson says students will make their arguments using blogs, wikis, podcasts, Webcasts, and community television.

The class will be held on ‘Berkman Island’ (in a nod to the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, founded by Nesson), in a replica of the Ames Courtroom.

Chronicle article is here.

Here’s the video the Nessons created to promote their class.

I remember seeing Charles Nesson at last year’s ‘State of Play’ conference and I had no idea what he was talking about. I’ve played a bit with Second Life, and IMHO you need a pretty fast machine. For new users, I think it’ll take awhile to get an avatar set up and the navigation under control.