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Anne Auer
Kelley School of Business

George Vlahakis
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kelley School of Business, its executive education program to unveil virtual campus in Second Life

Kelley Executive Partners taps into the school's past successes in providing online education

Sept. 9, 2008

EDITORS: Members of the media are invited to attend (in Second Life or via streaming video) and may interview panelists. For more information, contact Lura Forcum at 812-856-1232 or or George Vlahakis at 812-855-0846 or Registration information for other prospective attendees appears at the end of this release.

Kelley Second Life Campus

The Kelley School's virtual campus

Print-Quality Photo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Due to increasing demand for executive education provided by Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, today (Sept. 9) it is announcing it has built an entirely new campus.

The school's Kelley Executive Partners (KEP) program next Monday (Sept. 15) will unveil a virtual campus -- an island in the virtual world of Second Life that bears a striking resemblance to buildings on the IU Bloomington campus.

KEP's virtual campus will be launched in a half-day event that includes expert speakers on virtual collaboration, which will begin at 1 p.m. (EDT). In addition to panel discussions and tours of the new virtual campus, there will also be a Second Life boat race that illustrates how teams can work collaboratively in this technological, immersive environment to solve a variety of problems.

A limited number of people will be able to attend "in world," using their Second Life avatars. Others will be able to view the event online via streaming video.

Second Life is an Internet-based 3-D virtual world created by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by millions of residents worldwide.

Anne Massey

Anne Massey in Second Life

Rising travel costs as well as lost productivity due to time out of the office are leading many corporations to explore online solutions for employee collaboration and education. Online learning has become a major area of expertise at the Kelley School, which in 1999 began its highly regarded online MBA program, Kelley Direct. As emphasis on online learning has grown, KEP has tapped the expertise of Kelley Direct in providing online education, earning a top-25 ranking in the Financial Times' 2008 listing of executive education programs.

Virtual worlds can make online learning more engaging and immersive, according to researchers in online education and collaboration, which is key to its effectiveness.

One of these researchers is Anne Massey, a professor in Kelley's Department of Operations and Decision Technologies and a Dean's Research Professor for Information Systems, who will be one of the conference panelists.

"In today's academic and business environments, more often than not, individuals and teams are collaborating across boundaries -- boundaries of distance, time, language and culture in all its forms," Massey said. "Today, as the adoption of Web 2.0 and 3D virtual worlds accelerates, new possibilities for overcoming boundaries are emerging."

John Cady, KEP's executive director, points out the Kelley campus in Second Life has the feel of the Bloomington campus, but differs in many regards, namely stairs, doors and walls.

John Cady

John Cady in Second Life

"That's because Second Life doesn't have the same constraints as the real world, which we feel facilitates learning. Students have to reassess all of their assumptions in Second Life, and applying that mindset to the real world can help them view business questions anew as well," he said.

Kelley School Dean Daniel Smith added, "The Kelley School has long been recognized as one of the world's leaders in program innovation. A major source of innovation is the talent of our faculty. Anne Massey is recognized as a top scholar in the area of the learning applications of Second Life. Given that global collaboration is a fact of life in today's business environment and the Kelley School's long-term commitment to serving the needs of students and companies around the world, expanding into the virtual world is a natural progression for us."

Speakers at the conference will include Ken Hudson, managing director of the Virtual World Design Center at Loyalist College in Canada; David Levin, IBM TJ Watson Research Center; Christian Renaud, chief executive officer of Technology Intelligence Group; Sarah "Intellagirl" Robbins, co-author, Second Life for Dummies; Carolyn Wiethoff, clinical associate professor of management and entrepreneurship in the Kelley School; and Massey and Cady.

Registration information:

To attend: