This year, for the first time, my online Intro class also did a trial of Socrates together by creating avatars and conducting the trial in Second Life. I’d been lucky enough to have a classroom space and trial furniture donated to me by another college—
And then we did the trial. It was slower than when we do it F2F. Because most of the students don’t have mics, we had to do the “speaking” by typing rather than voice and most of the lawyers didn’t seem comfortable doing “cut and paste” typing for the questions they’d previously prepared, but typed things out all over again. And about 45 minutes into it, because of glitches in its new update, Second Life decided to do a “rolling reboot”, which meant that all of us had to either sign off for a few minutes or move to another island and then teleport back to our trial room. But despite that, the trial went well and gave the class a chance to interact in new creative ways. Several members of the class actually created their avatars to look like the witnesses they were going to be during the trial (a Second Life bonus that we’ve never successfully pulled off well in F2F classes). And students also had a chance to argue their case in front of more than just other Mercy College students, since several of the Buena Vista students and faculty participated as jurors, and faculty from institutions as far away as University of North Dakota who belong to ISTE (the International Society for Technology in Education) and came to observe the way in which we did the trial.
Here are a few pictures from various parts of the trial:
Prosecution's opening remarks
Anytus on the witness stand
Defense attorney examining I.F. Stone
Socrates on the witness stand