Professors and Virtual World Professionalism: A Qualitative Study

Stephanie J Blackmon


Just as there are now questions about professionalism and professional boundaries in social networking environments such as Facebook or LinkedIn, there are also questions about what it means to be professional in virtual worlds like Second Life (SL). In an effort to understand professors’ lived experiences with professionalism in virtual worlds, specifically in SL, I conducted a qualitative study: a hermeneutic phenomenology. Participants included 10 professors from various countries, and they were assigned pseudonyms for this study. The findings indicate that avatar attire is an important aspect of professionalism for many professors, and professors were able to maintain professionalism in their virtual world classrooms with both human and non-human avatars.


online teaching, virtual worlds, professionalism, Second Life, online learning

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