What is Second Life®?
Second Life ® (SL) is a three dimensional virtual world in which you can interact with other 3-D representations, or avatars (AV) of other participants. Second Life® is online computing platform developed and provided by Linden Labs™. SL is finding its way into academic circles as a way to engage students in the learning process. 

How did the idea come about for using Second Life®?
Dr. Jencius (aka Kimbo Scribe) has participated on the University Teaching Council for 5 years now and has recently seen many requests for Second Life® initiatives. He went to a workshop in October 2008 and entered SL that same month to build a training clinic (Satori Mental Health Center) for doctoral students and masters students to practice basic communication and diagnosis skills on each other. By January 2009 the need for a larger and more controlled access clinic was apparent. The group decided to include a training center and the Center for Counselor Education in Second Life (CESL) was born.

What about Second Life® anonymity?
Because the avatar you create is using a fabricated name, this allows people the freedom of anonymity while in SL. The CESL conference will require you to give your real name and email to us for recording continuing education and contact purposes. CESL cannot  release that information to anyone.  Besides being a violation of your trust, it is a violation of Linden Labs™ terms of agreement for CESL to release any real life information regarding your avatar/real name.

I read some strange things about Second Life® in the news...
Over dramatized fringe stories about what happens on this magic box we call the Internet makes titillating press. The strange stuff always holds them through the 5 minute commercial break. Just like the Internet and in society, there are many kinds of things happening in virtual worlds. What you do not hear about is the educative and community building that goes on in Second Life. CESL we will provide you with landmarks of places you might find entertaining and instructional in SL. Sort of like that big bag of goodies you get when you register at a real world conference. Friendly coffee shops, wonderful gardens, art galleries, music events... and the ‘conference bus’ is always there when you want it, 24 hours a day.

Will Second Life® cost me anything to use?
Second Life® is a free virtual world environment and signing up for a basic account requires no fees or bills.   Participating in the CESL conference is free, and you can customize your avatar with free objects.  If you wish, you can participate in the "inworld economy" in various ways, from purchasing "Linden dollars" to buy objects, upgrading to a paid account that gives you a weekly stipend of Lindens and enables you purchase land, or even getting a job and earning Lindens!   You do not have to make any purchases to be involved in the CESL conference. 

How is money used in Second Life®? 
The form of money used in SL is the Linden dollar (L$). L$ are a universal monetary system in SL. You can purchase Lindens using your credit card for exchange. If you want to begin to purchase customized objects and trade real currency for Lindens, we suggest you take some time just exploring for a while first and then speak to a more seasoned inworlder from the CESL Center and we can help you. Some of the objects you are looking for may be free to you at no cost. CESL will attempt to provide notecards with good freebie sites where you can find free clothes, objects, hair, etc.
How is the CESL Center paid for?
The land that the CESL sits on is rental land paid by real world Dr. Marty Jencius (SL Kimbo Scribe), out-of-pocket, as part of testing out the SL platform for pedagogy. Many of the objects (chairs, tables, windows) were purchased as part of the construction and design of the building (as done by real world counselor and SL resident, Debra Hilra). The second floor offices we decorated by SL resident Leeah Vaher. One cannot speak about “cost” without considering the hours of time CESL associates and students have put into the development of this sim.

Will any actual counseling be occurring at the CESL?
There are no plans to perform counseling at the CESL center. Virtual worlds counseling practice can be complicated by state licensure regulations and issues with providing ethical and safe care for clients in crisis.

So how do I becomes involved in CESL?
1. Create a Second Life avatar for free. There is a video on sl.counseloreducation.org that will show you how easy it is to create and account (avatar) and then how to get inworld 2. Use the “Join CESL”page on the sl.counseloreducation.org website to submit your avatar name, email, and real name. The information you submit will never be distributed or sold outside of our group use. The information helps CESL in getting out notices, taking conference attendance, sending out landmarks to the clinic. 3. Once you have done #2, we will send you a landmark (‘lm’) to the CESL center. Accept it and it will appear in your Inventory under landmarks. You can use it to teleport (‘tp’) to the CESL Center.

What about Continuing Education Units for conference attendance?
The training that occurs online through the conference fits the requirements for online training provided and accepted by approved authorities like NBCC. It is our intent to provide CEUs to professionals in attendance in the online conference training sessions through the Kent State University’s Counseling and Human Development Center’s approved provider status. We will be taking attendance at all sessions and keeping records based on the information you provided with your CESL registration. We will be able to provide you with verification of session attendance for CEUs

I want to become more involved in CESL and the conference...
You can do that by Instant Messaging (IM) Kimbo Scribe inworld or emailing Dr. Marty Jencius (mjencius@kent.edu) in real world. We will get back to you and happy to have you involved.

How can I get more counselors and counselor educators involved in the conference?
One way is to get them to sign up for the conference, if not to do program, to attend some of the sessions. If you are a counselor educator, you can establish an avatar and bring your class into the conference by projecting it in your classroom. CESL would like to acknowledge real world participatory universities, practices, and businesses by including real world weblinks at the conference site for attendees to explore, but we need your presence there to be acknowledged. That takes someone like you to spearhead the involvement at your location.