ECU’s virtual early college top in state
GREENVILLE (Feb. 21, 2011) — A virtual early college program at East Carolina University has been recognized as the top program in the state for course content and its unique delivery platform.
ECU’s Early College Second Life Program (ECSLP), which uses 3D virtual technology to let high school students take college classes in their high school environment, won the Best Practices for Distance Learning Programming award from the North Carolina Distance Learning Association.
That honor follows an international prize the program received earlier this month. ECSLP accepted its Feb. 4 International Intraverse Award in Education, presented in Monaco, using the Second Life distance learning technology that supports the program.
“It is successful because it captures the student’s attention, challenges them, and allows them to interact with each other for projects,” said Sharon Collins of ECU Emerging Academic Initiatives. “It truly is the way students desire to learn these days, by advancing with technology.”
The awards recognize the quality of the course material ECU developed for a virtual environment targeting high school students, said Collins. Some 40 students in Pitt and Lenoir County classrooms are enrolled in the program.
“There are other Early College High School programs that are very successful, but ours allows students to stay in their high school spaces and not travel to a community college or university campus to obtain their learning since we can offer it through Second Life,” said Collins.
Second Life is a virtual 3D world, designed for high school students. In that world, students have an “avatar” (a virtual presence) and attend a real-time class. ECU is the only campus using Second Life to offer classes that let students earn college credit and high school credit at the same time.
The ECSLP is a partnership between ECU, Pitt County schools, Pitt Community College and Kinston High school. Students can take classes in anthropology, personal finance, child psychology, introduction to computers, English, sociology and web site design and maintenance.
To read more about ECU’s Second Life program, go to