Master's Theses

Date of Award

Fall 2008

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Communication Studies

Advisor

Scott Robson

Abstract

In recent years, post-secondary educational institutions have begun to place emphasis on the inclusion of technology in the classroom (Anderson; Arndt; Burrill; Converse; Mitchell; Schrum; Zellner). Theatre arts teachers and students have much to gain from the integration of technology into their courses, such as an increase in knowledge retention (Schrum 60), critical thinking, and discussion skills (Czarnecki 16; Brown, Hobbs, and Gordon 8; Arndt 75). Integration of new technologies may also help to attract new students to the theatre arts, thus increasing program growth (M. Anderson 120). However, because theatre is a human art form, theatre instructors may be somewhat resistant to integrating technology into their courses. This has led to delays in the development of appropriate teaching tools for this area (Mitchell). This thesis examines the idea of using the popular online communication tool Second Life as a teaching and learning aid in the undergraduate introductory theatre course. Second Life is an internet based program that allows users to explore a consumer created virtual reality setting. Users are encouraged to communicate with each other, attend virtual events, explore their surroundings, and add new structures to the world. The research revealed Second Life as an effective teaching tool for the undergraduate introductory theater course by demonstrating its applicability to a set of broad course outcomes. Uses for the program were found in the areas of vocabulary improvement, play and performance analysis, and small group collaboration. Research also revealed Second Life to be effective in the demonstration of cultural and historical contexts of theater, which was identified as the program’s primary strength.

Rights

Copyright 2008 Amanda Nell Edgar

Comments

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