I had the life scared out of me last Friday morning in Second Life and as a result have learned a few painful lessons about presenting in Second Life.
Virtual birthing unit becoming famous
A few weeks ago I was approached by the Gronstedt 'Train for Success Group, one of the biggest education and research groups in Second Life...except at the time I didn't know that. They asked if I could give a presentation about the virtual birthing unit and show them around. I said 'yes' and didn't think much more about it. I am so used to planning virtual events and no-one turning up that I didn't put any thought into how I was going to manage the presentation and tour.
Do what I say and not what I do
The irony is that I am currently teaching students how to facilitate online and yet I didn't take my own advice. I under estimated the number of people that would attend and the effect it would have on the technology of Second Life, and I didn't consider the practicalities of showing 40-50 people around the birth unit by myself. Luckily for me, I managed to secure the services of John Waugh who is one of the SLENZ team to help me out.
How things turned out
In the end things didn't turn out to badly, although they could have been a lot better if I'd been more organized. I am not sure how many people turned up but it must have been over 35 people. The technology held up well, but I have to acknowledge that it is a challenge showing more than 10 people around because of time lag and keeping people together.
What did I learn about presenting in Second Life?
Giving a presentation in SL is no different from any where else...you have to be well prepared. The main lesson for me is that I need a lot more helpers in SL than I would need in another web conferencing environment. This means I have to be a lot more organized...give my helpers plenty of notice and make sure at least one of my helpers is very skilled at sorting out problems in SL.
It's also a good idea to have a notecard to hand to people, like a business card, with the contact details of everyone involved in the birthing unit project.
Feedback about the birth unit
We had great feedback about the birthing unit. One of the group said it was one of the best educational resources that he had ever seen. And we had lots of comments about the toilet being the first one that people had come across in Second Life! :)
What tips would you give people about presenting online, especially in Second Life?
PS: Keep an eye on the Gronstedt website because a recording of the presentation and tour will be available in a few days.