Last week I was privileged to present and converse in Second Life with a very dynamic and engaging class on healthcare communications in new media. The class was from The College of New Jersey and was studying Internet-based health communications. Their professor, Dr. Yifeng Hu, holds many of the class sessions in Second Life in order to maximise access to guest lecturers, engage with health care communities there, and other functions. She’s done this for several terms now, and this term I was the first guest lecturer for this class. I was asked to talk both about Second Life healthcare and health in social media, with the conversation focusing mostly on SL and Twitter and a bit on other social media tools or platforms.
The format of the class was to assemble, brief intro, and then Q&A. I pulled out an old presentation on healthcare social media that I had handy. Showed a few slides, just to give an idea of the range of the topic, and then opened it up for questions. And WHAT questions!!! I was so impressed and excited, I asked permission to share them here.
[12:58] You mentioned that your friend is developing rehabilitation services in SL for patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries in RL. Has he discovered any significant changes in fine motor skills with the assistance of SL?
[13:00] You had mentioned that a disaster simulation is used in SL. Can you go into more detail about it, who uses it, and how it may have benefitted users of it
[13:01] With the autism communities in SL, do you prefer the SL autism communities over RL autism communities and support groups?
[13:06] Similar to the disaster stimulation and training what other types of medical training that happens in SL?
[13:07] Has there been real world success from the autistic social interactions in second life? Or as second life provided mechanisms for real life communication by usisng skills gained in second life?
[13:07] I certainly do recognize the benefits that SL has offered the autistic community, however what would you say are the disadvantages of focusing on SL? Do you think it hinders their ability to integrate with others in RL?
[13:07] In the autism communities in SL what exactly do you do there? Are you a speaker there or does it mostly provide new information/research for you?
[13:10] SL has a big impact on those who are afflicted by severe illnesses in RL. However, is SL also helping spread awareness about these diseases to those that are uninformed?
[13:12] You mentioned that your son suffers from autism. Does he participate in the autism communities in SL or is he too young?
[13:13] Why do you think the interest for SL is increasing between the ages of 10-20? and in what ways is this target group using SL?
[13:14] When users are on second life for non-health related reasons, is there any way that second life is used to spark interest in one’s own health?
[13:15] Are all the services/support groups available on this grid available on the teen grid as well? If so, are they altered to accomodate that age group?
[13:21] The american cancer society has a location here on SL. in what ways do they help patients/survivors/and families coping here on SL?
[13:22] In the coming decades, how do you think SL will continue to improve the lives of patients in the online realm
[13:24] My girlfriend teaches children with special needs, which group or website would you highly recommend her to be involved with?
[13:29] Is there any way to assess the real life social development skills of a SL participant who has autism?
[13:31] Do you hold counseling for the people who have autistic family members?
[13:32] How does youtube and SL work together? in what way do they work together? like twitter has the autism speakers on the one day you spoke of..
[13:32] You mentioned surgery in SL. Do you think in the future they’ll be doing surgerys through types of virtual worlds?
[13:35] How do the dentists use the haptics?
I don’t know about the students, but I was very excited by their enthusiasm, perception, curiosity and engagement. Not to mention vision. Wow! Any one of these questions could generate a week’s worth of blogposts. Some of the questions came from mishearing or misunderstanding something else I said, but often those “oops” turned into valuable conversations on their own. The discussion was rich and broad, both, and we covered a lot of fertile ground in just an hour and a half. I felt it was quite well spent. Yes, you can do things like this in real life, and this really wasn’t that different, but it was nice that I was in Michigan and they were in New Jersey and no travel was involved. I’m not sure, but I think that some of the students were also logging in remotely, which is also handy. I loved that the platform supported such a rich dialog with students who were still new enough in SL to be learning how to teleport and use the map. How powerful!