Caledon Oxbridge University

Introduction

Located in the Victorian Steampunk realm of the Independent State of Caledon (ISC), Caledon Oxbridge University is a place to learn basic skills for the aetherial world of Second Life®. Oxbridge provides a complete Second Life tutorial for new residents. We also have live, walk-in classes (free) and a number of other 3rd-party interactive tutorials. In a setting based on the theme of an old English university, the orientation tutorial is spread over six "Colleges", each covering a different area of the Second Life interface and world: Avatar Motion, Camera Control, Communication, Finding (Search & Inventory), Avatar Customization, and Money & Commerce. The tutorial experience includes not only traditional orientation posters, but also interactive exercises, free full avatars, and prizes.

True to its Victorian steampunk theme, Caledon Oxbridge places a premium on civility. Behavior and dress appropriate to a multi-species learning setting are expected and, when necessary, enforced. Victorian dress is more of a guideline than a rule, however, steampunk accessories are always approriate. Caledon Oxbridge does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, color, size, species, wings, fur (or the lack of it), scales, or method of origin. As per the motto of Caledon itself, we follow the precepts of: Tolerans, Civilis, Innovus, Laganum (Tolerance, Civility, Innovation, Cake).

Caledon Oxbridge—providing real training for a virtual world.

Arrival in Oxbridge

Avatars arrive in Caledon Oxbridge at the north end of the gateway (or cathedral) building (see the map). Looking around, you would find yourself in the center of the arrival circle, just under the Tesla Materializer (Oxbridge is, after all, a Steampunk realm). Around the circle are a series of posters, welcoming you and teaching you the most basic control skills. Progress clockwise around the circle. At the end of the series of posters are the rules of behavior at Oxbridge. In essence, they boil down to "Play nicely with others" and, in your appearance and dress, respect that Oxbridge is open to a "General" audience, from sixteen on up. While there are combat role-playing areas in Second LIfe, Oxbridge is not among them.

Leaving the entrance circle and moving south through the gateway building, there is a class schedule on the left wall and instructions for "Mac" users on the right, just as you leave the building. There is also space and time just to sit (right click on a seat and select sit), look around, and get your bearings.

As you leave the cathedral building, notice several features. On the ground in front of you are red arrows. These arrows are your guide though the Second Life skills tutorial straight ahead. Immediately to your right is a golden disk on the ground. This is the local teleport up to the sandbox, a place where you will later be able to practice building skills. Ahead and to the left is a semi-circle of benches, generally with several other avatars sitting and standing. Look for avatars with the tags "Oxbridge Tutor", "Oxbridge Professor", or "Oxbridge Dean"; these are the Oxbridge faculty there to help you. Ahead and to the right is a building with stairs. This is the lecture hall in which classes are held. Just beyond that is a bulletin board that includes another class schedule. Note that class times are in SLT, which is concurrent with U.S. Pacific Time (including daylight savings). There's also a schedule on the right wall inside the lecture hall.

The Basic Skills Tutorial

After exchanging greetings and getting questions answered with and by those at the help circle, follow the red arrows straight ahead. This brings you to the College of Avatar Motion, the first of six tutorial "colleges".The tutorials are for the most part laid out as a series of poster presentations, however, along the way you will encounter a few tasks to accomplish to gain a gift or two. Just what species is that dinosaur skeleton from? Nope, that would be telling — you'll have to discover it for yourself. Of course you will have to learn how to control your newly gained ability to fly to do that. In Avatar Motion, you learn about walking, running, flying, teleporting, and using local teleport objects (rather like very fast taxis).

In the second college, the College of Camera Control, you learn how to control your point of view. Unlike in the physical world, you aren't limited to seeing from your avatar position. Learning how to shift focus to best view a tutorial poster means you won't have to keep running up and bumping into the posters to be able to read them. It also opens up entire panoramas for viewing.

Second Life has multiple channels of communication, which you start learning about in the College of Communication (who knew?). There's local/nearby chat for those you are near, instant messaging, group chat, and voice chat. Groups may also send out group notices (asynchronous). The Second Life viewers are also sound and media stream enabled.

The College of Finding concerns itself with search and inventory. How to find people, places, or groups with search in the realm of Second Life and how to relocate clothes or objects in your personal inventory of items. Part of your inventory is a library provided to all avatars, it includes complete avatars as well as a number of objects and textures for building.

In Second Life your avatar 's appearance is very flexible, you can change clothes, shape, gender and species of your avatar at the click of a mouse. The College of Avatar Customisation explains how and starts you on the path with a number of free avatar appearances (you can mix and match from these).

Finally, the College of Money & Commerce explains the local currency and a bit about land.

After the Tutorial

After you've completed the tutorial, feel free to wander about Oxbridge, subject to one constraint. The Oxbridge sim (simulator) is limited to only twenty avatars at a time. We give priority to those in classes or taking the tutorial. There is a notice that is broadcast on local chat if the sim reaches capacity. If you are chatting with friends when this happens, there is a circle you can move to in the NW corner of Oxbridge Village, the next sim to the east. There are landmarks (LM's) to there at the help circle in Oxbridge proper (see the map).

In the sky above Oxbridge, there is a sandbox for practicing building. There's a local teleport to the sandbox just outside the gateway building (again,see the map). In the anteroom to the sandbox, there are a number of additional tutorials.

Oxbridge Library

Caledon Library at Oxbridge

The Hall of Caledon has information on the rest of Caledon. The Hall is also the starting point for the Caledon Quest.

The Oxbridge Transit Station and the gazebo just to its NE provide a number of free items for new avatars. The transit station is also the place to catch an eastbound train into Caledon.

Just in front of the transit station is the Oxbridge Shop and Café Vox. The shop sells a small selection of Oxbridge patterned items. Café Vox provides a place to try voice chat with your friends.

Oxbridge also has its own branch of the Caledon Library System, well worth a visit and containing a number of web-accessible books. Look for the round, domed building. On the north side of the library is the horse carriage landing, where carriages from/to Oxbridge Village stop and turn around. The Caledon Libraries are part of the Alexandrian Free Library Consortium of Second Life. Bulletin boards at the end of the tutorial and to the left of the lecture hall give more information on the libraries. The libraries of Caledon are also featured in the book Virtual Worlds, Real Libraries: Librarians and Educators in Second Life and Other Multi-User Virtual Environments. The library system organizes a number of real-time events, currently among them a discussion series of the steampunk adventure comic Girl Genius.

At the exit from the gateway building, on the bulletin boad left of the lecture hall, and at the entrances to the library there are inviter prims to the Oxbridge Scholars Group, a chat group to provide help even when you are not on campus. Touch (i.e left click) on one of the inviters to receive a group joining invitation.

Finally, Oxbridge provides a number of live, free, walk-in classes to continue your progress on Second Life skills beyond the basics. Please consult our class schedule and class catalog.