Featured Panels

April 10

OpenSimulator’s Role in the Future of Virtual Worlds Research and Education
Panelists: Joyce Bettencourt/Rhiannon Chatnoir, Chris Collins/Fleep Tuque, Crista Lopes/Diva Canto, Melanie Thielker/Melanie Milland, Michael Cerquoni/Nebadon Izumi

Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable: A Best Practices Influence
Evelyn McElhinney/Kali Pizzaro, AJ Kelton/AJ Brooks, Shailey Minocha/Shailey Garfield

April 11

The Science Circle: Connecting Different Disciplines, and Inspiring Creativity and Inventiveness
Panelists: Chantal Snoek/Nymf Hathaway, Jesse Stannard/Jes Cobalt, Phil Youngblood/Vic Michalak, Hajime Nishimura/Yan Lauria, Deepthinker Oh

April 12

Connecting the Past, Present, and Future of Second Life
Panelists: Botgirl Questi, Will Burns/Aeonix Aeon, Terry Beaubois/Tab Scott, Kevin Feenan/Phelan Corrimal

The Freedom Project: How Artistic Expression Transcends Real Life Challenges
Panelists: Jay Jay Jegathesan/Jayjay Zifanwe, Alice Krueger/Gentle Heron, FreeWee Ling, Dianne Elton

OpenSimulator’s Role in the Future of Virtual Worlds Research and Education
Date: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Time: 8:05 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. (PDT)
Location: Second Life VWBPE Main Auditorium

The purpose of this panel is to discuss OpenSim’s education community and AvaCon’s contributions to education and research, especially in regards to how the OpenSimulator Community Conference has been a powerful tool for this advancement.


Joyce Bettencourt RL/Rhiannon Chatnoir SL
President, AvaCon, Inc.
Joyce Bettencourt is the Online Community Manager for TechSoup Global’s NonProfit Commons in Second Life community. In addition, she is Creative Director of The Vesuvius Group, a collaborative studio specializing in developing online immersive and social environments for community-building. She is also co-founder of the 501(c)(3) non-profit,AvaCon, Inc. dedicated to promoting the growth, enhancement, and development of the metaverse, virtual worlds, augmented reality and 3D immersive spaces.

Chris Collins RL/Fleep Tuque SL
Vice President, AvaCon, Inc.
Chris M. Collins is an IT Analyst at the University of Cincinnati Center for Simulations & Virtual Environments Research. Her research focuses on the use of virtual worlds, social media, and augmented reality in higher education and for remote workforce collaboration, and she also manages the University of Cincinnati OpenSimulator grid. She is also a co-founder and serves on the board of AvaCon, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the growth, enhancement, and development of the metaverse, virtual worlds, augmented reality, and 3D immersive and virtual spaces. In her free time, Chris also runs FleepGrid, a personal research and testing grid.

Crista Lopes RL/Diva Canto SL
Treasurer, Overte Foundation
Crista Lopes is a Professor in the School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to being in Academia, she worked at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (1995-2001). She is co-inventor of AOP (Aspect Oriented Programming), a programming technology featured in the MIT Technology Review (2001) as “one of the 10 emergent technologies that will change the world.” She also serves on the board of the Overte Foundation and is the creator of the Hypergrid protocol, which allows avatars to travel between Hypergrid-enabled OpenSimulator grids.

Melanie Thielker RL/Melanie Milland SL
Secretary, Overte Foundation
Melanie Thielker is the founder of Avination. As an OpenSimulator Core Developer, Melanie has been one of the most active contributors to virtual world software in general, and OpenSimulator in particular. A long term Second Life™ resident, she has gained much experience in using virtual worlds. Melanie has been involved in a number of virtual world projects and has created her own “spin” of the OpenSimulator software. Up to twelve developers have worked two years on creating the software which now powers Avination. Currently, Melanie holds the position of Director in Avination Virtual Limited, the UK based company which operates Avination. Melanie is known as “Melanie Milland” in both Avination and Second Life™.

Michael Cerquoni RL/Nebadon Izumi SL
Board Member, Overte Foundation
Michael Cerquoni is a core developer for the OpenSimulator project and a board member on the Overte Foundation which governs the OpenSimulator project. Michael has been involved with the OpenSimulator project since July of 2007 and is one of the original founders of OSgrid. His primary interest in OpenSimulator has been to improve the software by providing technical support and to foster communication between the core development team to debug and provide the most stable platform possible.

Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable: A Best Practices Influence
Date: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Second Life VWBPE Main Auditorium

The purpose of this featured panel is to discuss the kinds of trends that the VWER has seen over the course of its existence, and to what extent it may have influenced and advanced best practices in the use of virtual worlds for education. The connections established by the group have bonded a band of educators that share ideas weekly, and it is the persistent popularity of these meetings that make it such a noteworthy group in Second Life.


Evelyn McElhinney RL/Kali Pizzaro SL
Evelyn McElhinney is a Nurse Lecturer in the Department of Nursing and Health in Glasgow Caledonian’s School of Health and Life Sciences. Evelyn teaches on a number of advanced practice modules and within Second life with healthcare students http://slidesha.re/1gJwpDV Evelyn has a Masters in Nursing, Post registration certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, is a registered nurse teacher and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has presented at national and international conferences.

Evelyn is the current Executive Director for the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable www.vwer.org. She is also a PhD doctoral student investigating: Health literacy skills of people who access health information in 3D social virtual worlds and how being in 3D social virtual world communities influence peoples ability to ‘live with’ or ‘cope with’ their long term health condition.

AJ Kelton RL/AJ Brooks SL
AJ Kelton is the Director of Emerging & Instructional Technology for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Montclair State University in New Jersey. He has presented and been published on the topic of virtual worlds in education both in the U.S. and Internationally. AJ founded EDUCAUSE’s Virtual Worlds Constituent Group and Games and Learning Constituent Group and is the Founder of the Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable (http://www.vwer.org). Aside from being involved in virtual worlds, mobile technologies, social media, and gameful learning for education, AJ is a doctoral student in the Educational Communication and Technology program at New York University where his research is focused on how decisions the instructor makes when considering, constructing, and implementing work groups impacts the learning experience.

Shailey Minocha RL/Shailey Garfield SL
Dr Shailey Minocha is an Associate Professor in Computing at The Open University, UK. Since 2009, Shailey has been involved in a number of teaching and learning initiatives in Second Life and in Unity 3D environments, such as: the design and development of the 3D virtual geology field trip, a project that she led and was funded by Wolfson Foundation (2012-2013); design guidelines for navigation and wayfinding in 3D virtual learning spaces for which she received the Gitte Lindgaard Best Paper Award at OzCHI 2011; the theoretical underpinnings on the role of 3D avatar-based environments for overcoming student isolation in distance education (see: http://oro.open.ac.uk/16142/), and the role of 3D virtual environments in supporting group working in distributed environments (see: http://oro.open.ac.uk/23512/).

The Science Circle: Connecting Different Disciplines, and Inspiring Creativity and Inventiveness
Date: Friday, April 11, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. (PDT)
Location: Second Life VWBPE Main Auditorium

“Celebrating over six years of continuous activities intent on connecting our world through thoughtful discourse and creative response, The Science Circle consists of over 200 scientists, educators, entrepreneurs, and students on four continents, governed by a Board whose members live in the Netherlands, Austria, Japan, Australia, and the United States. Members are invited to participate in lively, informative, fun, and respectful presentations, discussions, and virtual field trips which are offered at least monthly. Presenters must divulge their First Life (Real Life) identities to the Director to establish their credentials, and all members must remain active. On our website www.sciencecircle.org is a list of 40 fields of expertise and interests and over 60 presentations, many with transcripts/photos. The VWBPE Panel will share the story of its development and the challenges we have faced and overcome in establishing a functional and lasting community with members of diverse cultures and backgrounds. We will share some of the variety of topics we have explored and ways we have served our mission of outreach and collaboration within the context of a passionate exploration of science education. Comments and questions are welcomed. An optional field trip will be offered for those who wish to participate.”


Chantal Snoek RL / Nymf Hathaway (Chantal) SL
Founding director of The Science Circle since February 2008.
Recruits new Scientists, Educators and Entrepreneurs, Connects educational institutes within the Circle’s consortium, networking, advertising, Social media and providing a “community & home base” for participants.
All my activities under the umbrella of the Science Circle are grounded by the philosophy “Education, accessible for all”

Jesse Stannard RL / Jes Cobalt SL
Co-director of the Science Circle as of September 2011.
Recruit Educators with the use of networking, social media and advertisements. I also organizes events/presentations/field trips designated for the Asia/Oceania timezone.
As a board member I also participate in monthly meetings in-which important decisions are made regarding the direction of the group.

Phil Youngblood RL / Vic Michalak SL
“In First Life, Phil Youngblood heads a Computer Information Systems degree program at the University of the Incarnate Word, a private university in San Antonio, Texas. Phil is a full-time administrator, teacher and learner, retired military officer, and former research biochemist, who has traveled to over 40 countries.
In Second Life, Vic Michalak is a STEM fields educator and enthusiast, owner of STEM Island, and caretaker for the university’s SL regions.”

Hajime Nishimura RL / Yan Lauria SL
Hajime Nishimura, Japan Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)
Yan Lauria, Curator of Abyss Observatory in SL

Steven Van Hook RL / Kip Roffo SL
Steven R. Van Hook, PhD (Kip Roffo) has been building educational resources in SecondLife for seven years. Since 2000 he has designed online courses for UCLA, UCSB, Cal Lutheran, Saylor Academy, Cardean Learning Group, and elsewhere. He has published articles on access to global learning and transcultural teaching in journals including UNESCO’s Prospects, Journal of Research in International Education, Journal of Distance Learning Administration, and others.

Deepthinker Oh RL/SL
In RL is an educational psychologist who teaches in the health sciences. She has been active with the Science Circle since 2008 and has led numerous discussions on perception, probability, and some miscellaneous areas.
Deepy is also the assistant editor of MANIERA magazine. The magazine began as a SL only publication and now has grown to be a RL paper publication. As a virtual being, she still works only on the SL activities of the magazine.

Connecting the Past, Present, and Future of Second Life
Date: Saturday, April 12, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. (PDT)
Location: Second Life VWBPE Main Auditorium

It is the essence of good management that an effective advisory board, properly composed and structured, provide informed guidance in the quest for superior corporate governance. That includes opportunities to seek out dissenting viewpoints that challenge the status quo and forces executives, and board members, to re-evaluate long held beliefs which may be holding back growth and profitability. Third party expert opinion provides a safe harbour which new executives can realise new opportunities without being prejudiced by internal politics.

This panel brings together four experts who bring a diversity of backgrounds and insights about Linden Lab’s past, present, future, and competitive environment. Each is an executive in their own right having extensive experience throughout the industries they are engaged with. Further, each is an outspoken proponent for the promotion of best practices whether it be in management, education, strategy, marketing, or research and development.

The objective of this panel is to develop a position paper which can help guide and inform Linden Lab’s new CEO on the opportunities, risks, cost benefits, and potential returns on investment based on a thoughtful analysis of the issues facing our communities of practice.


Botgirl Questi SL
Botgirl Questi has been writing about Second Life, real and unreal view of the world, identity and virtual lives for the past six years (http://botgirl.com, http://vimeo.com/botgirl/videos). Botgirl was the opening keynote speaker for Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education in 2011. (http://irez.me/2012/05/25/2011-vwbpe-keynote-on-virtual-identity/).

Botgirl will also draw on 15 years of hands-on technology business experience as co-founder of a 200 person agile software development company.

Will Burns RL/Aeonix Aeon SL
Will Burns is a Synthetic Environment SME with over eighteen years of experience within marketing, design, research, and implementation for all areas of synthetic immersive environments.

He is currently active in mobile game development, immersive video production, and advanced augmented reality concepts. As a published academic in Association for Computing Machinery & IGI Global, Co-Vice Chair of the IEEE Virtual World Standard group, and contributor to various industry collaboratives, he has a robust history in virtual environments.

Terry Beaubois RL/Tab Scott SL
Architect • Researcher • Educator
Terry first experienced Virtual Reality in the early 1980’s at NASA Virtual Reality Lab, a joint working group of NASA and the American Institute of Architects (1977-1985). Terry received a NASA Headquarters grant in 1985 to further study and report on aerospace technology with potential Building Industry application, VR, internet, email, 3-D Computer graphics.

In 2005, Terry created his avatar, Tab Scott in Second Life and taught one of the first ever courses for college credit using Second Life at Montana State University. He was included among the professionals featured in Newsweek magazine’s on Second Life, in 2007. Terry’s SL work has been featured in the AIA Online magazine, AAAS journal and conference, Popular Science magazine, CBS News, and a number of newspapers.

A video about Terry’s current work is available online at FUTURE TALK: Program #50 – The Future of Architecture.

Kevin Feenan RL/Phelan Corrimal SL
Kevin Feenan is a business transformation architect currently on contract with the Canadian Federal Government, and CEO/Founder of Rockcliffe University Consortium. Kevin’s experience span education, business, and technology including organizational design and strategy, application architectures, software development, and knowledge management. Kevin has been actively engaged with educational models for virtual environments since 2006.

The Freedom Project: How Artistic Expression Transcends Real Life Challenges
Date: Saturday, April 12, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. – 5:50 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Second Life VWBPE Main Auditorium

The purpose of this panel is to discuss how The Freedom Project helped spotlight artistic expression for people with invisible illnesses or other disabilities. Through this effort, people who have real life challenges can develop a connection to a community and be able to transcend real life challenges.


Jay Jay Jegathesan RL/Jayjay Zifanwe SL
Jay Jay Jegathesan holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) degree from the University of Western Australia (UWA), majoring in management and marketing.

He has since 2008, been the manager of the School of Physics at UWA and is the founder and leader of the UWA presence in 3D virtual worlds. His research interests extend to looking at groups of artists, film makers and educators through the lens of Communities of Practice, as well as investing how perceptions of institutions when experienced through virtual technologies are able to impact on and influence perceptions of the real. He was shortlisted into the top 10 for the 2010 International Linden Prize for his work using virtual technologies, and was a review panel member for the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET), Springer, United Kingdom and was an associate editor for The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences.

Alice Krueger RL/Gentle Heron SL
Educator, Researcher, Advocate
Alice Krueger (Gentle Heron) is a founder of the Virtual Ability cross-disability peer support community in Second Life, and president of Virtual Ability, Inc. She is a former educator and educational researcher, now fully disabled by multiple sclerosis.

FreeWee Ling SL
Resident of SL since late in 2006. Honorary Research Fellow with the University of Western Australia (UWA). and Curator of UWA 3D virtual art programs since 2010. Editor/Lead Curator of UWA Studies in Virtual Arts (UWA-SiVA) online journal (http://uwainsl.blogspot.com/p/uwa-siva.html). Physical location: eastern USA.

Member of the Caerleon Artists Collective and Coppelia artists co-op.

A musicologist by education. Professional arts administrator and technology consultant in support of education, libraries, arts, and cultural organizations. Ex officio consultant and estate manager at University of Kentucky in SL. Builder of major buildings (both original and rl replicas) at UWA, Kentucky, and elsewhere.

Dianne Elton SL
Dianne has a Bachelor of Education, as well as qualifications in Health Studies, Horticulture and Teaching English as a Second Language. She has been a teacher in primary school, high school and adult education, has run her own Landscape Design business as well as enjoying a stint in politics. Illness changed her life in 1990 causing her to become housebound and often bed bound. Invited to be a participant in a University study to ascertain whether Second Life might be beneficial to people housebound with illness, Dianne has stayed on SL long after the study was completed, and now facilitates the Centre for ME/CFS and Other invisible Illnesses in Second Life.