Second Life (SL) is an Internet-based, general-purpose 3D virtual world where people interact with each other through motional avatars. It provides an environment that enhances sharing through interoperability and creates interactive experiences that would be hard to duplicate in real life . As a Massively Multiplayer Virtual World (MMVW), SL promotes constructivist learning, where knowledge is constructed by learners in an authentic context via social interaction, rather than as a result of traditional instruction. In light of this positive learning prospect, educational pioneers from various fields such as computer science, media studies and foreign languages, have started exploring its potential in higher education by engaging their classes in the virtual reality game.   In the field of Library and Information Science (LIS), educators are also taking actions to incorporate SL in their delivery of knowledge. The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at San Jos State University (SJSU) opened its sixteen-acre virtual campus on SL in the summer of 2007 and the faculty has been encouraged to move their classes to the immersive world since then. However, LIS educators are relatively new in adopting SL as an instructional venue and no empirical studies have been reported in the literature yet. Thus, SLIS faculty lacks a concrete understanding of the educational possibilities of SL in the field of LIS. In order to enhance SLIS faculty’s perception of SL and better prepare them in discovering the potential use of SL in their classes, a study was conducted to examine other disciplines’ pedagogical practice in SL and explore the design and implementation of SL-enabled education in LIS.


The presented study is a two-stage study that examines how Second Life (SL) can be used in delivering Library and Information Science (LIS) education. In the first stage, the study surveyed early adopters of SL from other disciplines about their teaching practice in SL. Results showed that most educators used SL to create a distance learning environment for constructive and experiential learning. Results were then shared among the faculty at San Jos State University School of Library and Information Science. A follow-up study was conducted among the faculty to gauge their intention of bring classes into SL. Results indicated there was interest in using SL to teach classes in areas like reference, library services for children and young adults, and library history. In order for LIS distance education programs to take advantage of the synchronicity, interactivity, flexible meeting venues, and support for constructive and experiential learning offered by 3D world simulators, they should learn by example from other disciplines and strive to manage technical difficulties, keep students focused and be selective in choosing the appropriate course topics in which to experiment.