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ERIC Number: EJ910023
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1528-5324
A Virtual Graduation Ceremony for Online Distance Students
Mon, Lorri
EDUCAUSE Quarterly, v33 n4 2010
Many of today's colleges and universities are venturing into online education, with distance education enrollments in the United States having increased from 1.6 million students in 1998 to over 3.9 million in 2007. However, concerns over student frustrations and high attrition rates in online learning have led many educators to research and experiment with new models for online teaching and new types of virtual learning environments. At Florida State University (FSU), the Library and Information Studies master's degree program can be taken fully online, and hundreds of graduate students attend the classes live online each semester from across the country and around the world. As with many institutions, however, the convocation and graduation ceremony at FSU has always taken place as an in-person, on-campus event. Connecting with online students to celebrate their life achievement of graduating from the institution is important, yet few of FSU's distance students have been able to attend the in-person graduation ceremonies. While some online distance students do travel to the campus in Tallahassee to take part in convocation and university graduation ceremonies, for many such travel can be too costly, time-consuming, and difficult. How, then, might FSU's online distance students participate meaningfully in a graduation ceremony experience if they cannot join in person? FSU's College of Communication and Information has been exploring the idea of a virtual-world graduation ceremony as one of many ways to establish a better connection with its online distance students. This article describes FSU's small pilot of an online graduation ceremony in Second Life which proved a success with attendees, with the downside that technical issues (bandwidth and hardware incompatibilities) prevented some students from participating. Future options include a hybrid graduation ceremony with some activity in the virtual world setting and other attendance in another software environment accessible to larger numbers of users. (Contains 6 figures and 18 endnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida