Investigating virtual worlds

A new University group is to pioneer research into virtual worlds.

The Virtual Worlds Research Network, launched by the University of Edinburgh, will allow researchers across the world to share information about the groups.

Virtual worlds, such as Second Life, are online communities in which users can interact with each other.

In recent years, they have grown from a niche interest to being used by tens of millions of people worldwide.

The network will be launched at a conference, hosted by the University’s Confucius Institute, starting May 16.

The Virtual Worlds Research Network brings the University’s strong heritage of academic enquiry into this nascent field, building a community of researchers that transcends disciplines, regions, and stages of career development as we pioneer this new research landscape.

Lara ArnasonFounder, Virtual Worlds Research Network

Virtual Worlds conference

The Virtual Worlds Research Network conference will bring together postgraduate researchers working with virtual worlds with well-known researchers in the field.

Speakers include Dr Richard Bartle, Senior Lecturer in Computer Game Design at the University of Essex, and Dr Matthew Chew, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Hong Kong Baptist University.

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Online interactions

The creation of the network builds on the University’s history of innovative interaction with the virtual world.

Its MSc in E-learning, delivered fully online, allows students from far and wide to develop critical insight into the digital age.

Students on the programme are even able to graduate virtually, by attending a ceremony in the virtual world Second Life.