Bangkok Post : MyLife Vol. 1 No. 006, April 24, 2008
A Second Life Thailand's first virtual university
with real courses and degrees
Applying for the Courses
From June, students can apply through Charming Island by registering at www.secondlife.com/ to get a new user ID and link to activate their avatar.
Once on Charming Island, go to the IT Centre and apply for the courses. Applicants will be linked to www.elearning.au.edu/ and will have to fill out an application form with a real ID. Interviews may be conducted via email or chat, and admissions will be announced on the Internet.
Three courses will be available this year at Charming Island :
PhD. in e-Learning Methodology
(2 years) to become an expert in designing, implementing, and operating e-Learning for either private or government sectors.
Total fee: 500, 000 baht
Master of Science
Total fee: 200,000 baht
Master of Science
in Information and Communication Technology
Total fee: 200,000 baht
Many hardcore Internet fans would have heard about Second Life, an Internet-based virtual world that came to international attention two years ago. Developed by Linden Lab in 2003, this virtual world allows people to interact with others, play, socialise, join group activities and do business the way you would do in the real world.
From June, Second Life residents will be able to access a Thai university and take part in a PhD and Master degree programmes launched in the cyber space.
The courses are part of the e-learning programmes by the College of Inernet Distance Education of Assumption University. The initiator is professor Srisakdi Charmonman, the university's e-learning CEO, who wants something new and exciting for his students.
Since last year, ProfSrisakdi invest 100,000 baht in secondlife.com, including 50,000 baht to buy a 40-rai virtual island where he built a university and an IT centre. He spent another 50,000 baht for its yearly maintenance. The island was named "Charming Island", after his family name Charmonman.
The facilities of Charming Island
Four buildings were built on the island, including a residence for the university's CEO and a conference centre. The centre building resembles the Srisakdi Charmonman IT Centre at Assumption University Bang Na Campus, and the last building is an apartment for rent at 10 baht per sqm.
The virtual IT Centre is equipped with some 1,000 computer terminals, a160-seat auditorium and is the location of the College of Internet Distance Education as in the real world.
"We're the first Thai university that has invested in private island in the virtual world, and the first in the world that runs postgraduate programmes in cyberspace with degree certificates that are accepted in the real world," said ProfSrisakdi.
All the courses conducted at Charming Island are from the university's e-learning programmes, which were started in 2006, after distance education was endorsed by the Ministry of Education.
Why e-learning and how it works?
ProfSrisakdi said the philosophy of e-learning is to provide and education to suit "anyone, anywhere, anytime"
It could be a good choice for people who are staying at home, have travelling problems, or do not have the time to attend university classes like businessmen or expecting mothers.
"Many students are also air hostesses, who spend a few hours at the airports logging into the Internet to view the lectures, answer questions on the webboard, do assignments, chat with instructors or classmates and join VDO conferences via a webcam," said ProfSrisakdi.
Examinations for master courses will be held at Srisakdi Charmonman IT Centre at the Bang Na campus. Exams are normally scheduled for three days and students can appear for them anytime during those 72 hours. Otherwise, students may request examinations abroad or at any private places.
For the PhD course, students have to defend their thesis and have them published in professional journals in order to graduate.
For more information, visit www.elearning.au.edu/ or call 02-7232944. All course are conducted in English.