The Death of a Virtual Campus Illustrates How Real-World Problems Can Disrupt Online Islands

It isn’t clear whether Linden Lab simply took the Woodbury island offline, or actually destroyed the software behind it. Dori Littell-Herrick, an assistant professor and chairwoman of the animation department, said she believed it was the latter. If so, the university would need to build another island if it re-established a presence in Second Life.

Ms. Littell-Herrick suggested that Woodbury’s island could have attracted unruly avatars because it was more open to outsiders than other college sites in Second Life. And while the island is gone, no Woodbury faculty or student avatars appear to have been barred.

“We need to see what went wrong because obviously getting shut down was not the result we were looking for,” she said.

Edward Clift, an associate professor and chairman of Woodbury’s communications department, who is responsible for the creation of Woodbury’s island, railed against Linden Lab’s action in an interview with the Second Life Herald.

“The destruction of the Woodbury 2.0 campus is, in my view, an egregious shot across the bow of academia,” he said. —Andrea L. Foster and Dan CarnevaleThe Death of a Virtual Campus Illustrates How Real-World Problems Can Disrupt Online Islands (Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription))