Q&A: A Real Study of Virtual Worlds

Students of Ulrike Schultze might know her better by her Second Life avatar, Uskla. That’s because the Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business professor utilizes the online game to connect to her students in an unusual way.

Ms. Schultze, who teaches management and information technology, leads both an online and physical classroom–students have the option of attending either or both. But for her, Second Life goes beyond being a teaching tool. Ms. Schultze explored the avatar-self relationship with a paper she presented at the 30th International Conference on Information Systems in Phoenix back in December. With her research, funded by the National Science Foundation, she will write a series of papers that look into the different aspects of these avatar-self relationships.

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