O IE vem analisando formas de participar do Second Life há muitos meses. Segundo alguns professores que conversei na última vez que estive em Madrid (em Abril de 2007), o ambiente do Second Life ainda é muito “infantil” e volátil embora mostre uma tendência marcante como um possível ambiente futuro para a Internet. Escrevo somente para comentar que o IE proferiu a primeira aula de uma Top Business School européia no Second Life no mês passado. Aqui no Brasil, eu e alguns ex-alunos estamos nos juntando para fundar um clube de ex-alunos em alguma ilha brasileira. Segue a nota que recebi de Madri:
In what is believed to be the first class delivered by a major European business school utilizing the Second Life platform, Prof. Ricardo Perez of IE and Jaime Casado of the Telefónica Virtual Campus, discussed with participants the role Second Life and other online based community platforms can play in helping companies to develop brand awareness, off-line sales and community building. IE plan to use the second life platform to deliver future classes in a number of Masters programs, and to develop the platform’s marketing potential through the hosting of promotional insight sessions.
Ricardo Perez says “We see this as a fantastic opportunity to explore new ways to deliver our products to a wide range of participants. Second Life is a great experiment on how the internet and social relationships are going to evolve in the near future. A good number of our students are already members of the community, and it the next natural step was to use it in our teaching activities. IE has a long history of working with new platforms in innovative ways to provide high quality education offerings, and we want to experience it to the full and help the community build a shared knowledge about the real possibilities offered by this medium.”
The Second Life platform offers educational organisations a number of interesting opportunities for promoting their products. Many companies have used the platform as a marketing and brand building tool, but education providers can actually use the interactive elements of the community to deliver classes and programs (delivering its products directly to end users) to an increasingly wide range of participants. With an average user profile in the 18 – 30 age range, and over 1 million new users each month, Second Life provides organizations and companies with access to a market segment that now typically consumes its information and seeks tuition in an online format.
Jaime Casado points out, “The platform has enormous potential when it comes to developing social networks and collaborative surroundings. The true revolution has been the development of the idea to create a virtual world without contents, while facilitating tools within the platform so that it is the users that construct them”. For education providers this brings opportunities to integrate their own content and develop specific content for the platform.
As Prof. Perez points out, Second Life represents another step in a long line of developments in the area of online platforms and communities. “As long as the platforms continue to innovate and develop, so will the organizations working with the platforms. We will have to constantly adapt the products to find the optimal mode of delivery for the market segments present in the communities”. IE’s ongoing commitment to develop innovative, high quality online programs will enable them to develop their position in online communities like Second Life and whatever comes after them.

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