Experience on using a virtual world for software engineering projects

Vincent To Yee Ng, Zoe Tang

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


In teaching software engineering, it is often interesting to introduce real life scenarios for students to experience and to learn how to collect information from respective clients. The best arrangement is to have some real clients willing to spend time to provide their ideas of a target system through interviews and Q&A sessions. However, this arrangement cannot be scaled up as it demands too much resource. Second Life (SL), a well-known 3D online virtual world, not only applied its simulative and social networking capabilities on entertainment and leisure aspects, but also in the field of education. Starting from 2008, we have introduced SL into a software development student project with 2 courses involved, which are Human Computer Interface and Foundations of Database Systems, and this arrangement has been practiced for 3 times. The presence of SL acts as an online platform for students to access and acquire user requirements from staff (AI robots) of a virtual company, through a series of interviews, for system development. The roles of SL are twofold: to reduce the operational overheads in the project administration and to allow students to gain more hands-on experiences through working on a simulated real-life business cases. Hence, student could learn how to apply their knowledge and understand the software development process in the real business world. In this paper, we would like to report our experience and results of using SL in the software engineering student projects. With the help of the student feedbacks and comments on the application of SL, their learning experience as well as the student attitude towards this kind of innovation learning could be analyzed. Furthermore, the problems and the difficulties encountered during project period will be discussed for future enhancement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication6th International Conference on e-Learning 2011, ICEL 2011
PublisherAcademic Conferences Limited
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781622766727
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
Event6th International Conference on e-Learning 2011, ICEL 2011 - Kelowna, BC, Canada
Duration: 27 Jun 201128 Jun 2011


Conference6th International Conference on e-Learning 2011, ICEL 2011
CityKelowna, BC


  • AI robots
  • ELearning
  • Second life
  • Simulation
  • Software development project

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems
  • Education

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