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Early College Second Life Program

East Carolina University, Pitt County Schools, and Pitt Community College began a partnership to establish an Early College High School Pilot Program sited on the ECU campus. While planning, the partnership was confronted with the challenges of space and funding. In order to work around the existing problems, ECU selected an innovative approach called Second Life to provide academically rigorous college course work to high school students.

The Virtual Early High School Program is a good fit because of:

  • ECU’s rich success and history as a provider of quality distance education.
  • The partnership’s belief that high school students should be prepared for today’s competitive, global economy.
  • The realization that all young people need a post secondary education.
  • A commitment to providing a significant advantage to Pitt County High School Students

E-Learning Pilot

ECU launched a new e-learning pilot for high school students in January of 2009. The program offers high school students the opportunity to earn college credits by taking completely virtual and dynamic courses through Second Life. In the initial stage of this pilot, the VEHS program offered two courses.

Eighteen junior level students (three from each Pitt County high school) have been selected to participate in this pilot for the Spring semester. The families and the students have shown strong enthusiasm and great initiative in starting the students’ virtual avatars. Please click on the following link to see a video of our students from the Spring 2009 pilot program. 

The Program

Second Life is a 3-d virtual world that is created by those that inhabit it. Second Life is being used to create a true virtual learning community that is designed for high school students. The students have a virtual presence (an “avatar”) and attend a synchronous real-time class, different from any other college credit online course for high school students.

Components to ensure success include trained school-level facilitators; a laptop to ensure access at school and home; technical support at ECU and Pitt County Schools; and college instructors with experience in teaching in Second Life. In the Fall of 2009, there will be 36 students and four courses offered in the Teen Grid of Second Life.