As an undergrad at UT, I had a class focused on creating and exploring virtual worlds in an online environment. Fast forward a decade, and UTexas has taken the great leap into SecondLife.
“The University of Texas system has purchased land in the online world Second Life, betting the investment will improve teaching and research at all of its institutions.
The university system, made up of nine universities and six health centers, doesn’t have concrete plans for how each school will use Second Life. It hopes that administrators, faculty members, researchers, and students will take advantage of the virtual real estate over the academic year.
In Second Life, people create avatars that interact with one another. The avatars, which look like three-dimensional figures, can make friends, pursue hobbies, conduct business, and even practice religion.”