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As with many of our University developments, Florida International University was searching for a way to host online classes, spread information about their campus, and recruit new students. FIU is fortunate to have one of the most beautiful campuses in the eastern United States, but many potential students are unable to travel to Florida for a visit.
FIU already had strong online learning experience and was interesting in expanding into a virtual world.The first Florida International University Second Life campus was built in early 2009 and FIU has continued to be a valued client ever since. The island is complete with an outdoor auditorium for large presentations, a library, student center, science and technology building, admissions center, and classroom building. Classes in the virtual world can and are held throughout the campus through multiple small meeting and presentation areas spread through each building. This island also features a replication of the school mascot "Rory" with whom you can chat.
Being a central Florida University the island is, of course, themed to represent the beautiful tropical environment of Miami, Florida. The focal point of the island is a large fountain that is in the center, which is also accompanied by a pond full of native Florida animals.
Having such success with the first island, FIU decided to expand to a second island. The second island was sectioned off to give more opportunity to the different departments of the University. Currently, this island features a fully interactive Tsunami where students can take a ride through the different phases of a 3D Tsunami, as well as an immersive underwater coral reef, which are both used by the geography department. The opposite corner of this island is utilized by the music department and features a custom building full of interactive games and tools. Two custom quizzes were also developed in this area of the virtual world. One allows students to sit in a chair and listen to clips of audio and the student must then answer quiz questions on the audio clip. The results are instantly sent to the instructor. The other interactive tool in this area is an instrument building assessment. The student is presented with random pieces of an instrument and must select the pieces and build the instrument in the proper order.