Friday, August 17, 2007

Kangaroo Court

Yesterday, during my visit to universities that have set up headquarters in Second Life, I visited the virtual Austin Hall on Harvard's Berkman Island, where law school professor Charles Nesson holds classes for his cyber-law class for extension students. Nesson has been involved in some online dust-ups with the IvyGate blog, which has posted his video about the Second Life experiment under the unflattering title "Harvard Prof. Charles Nesson is Insane." Indeed, often the connection to cyber-law isn't entirely clear in Nesson's course materials, as in the case of Nesson grilling Village Voice print reporter Nick Sylvester in another video regarding his fabrications for a story about the use of an ink-and-paper book as a pick-up guide in New York bars. (Ironically, some of the people involved in this story are online friends, so for me there is a digital connection.) More relevantly, perhaps, Nesson's students were also made aware of the trial of blogger and videographer Josh Wolf the virtual Austin Hall in Second Life, which is also dramatized in a YouTube video. As her avatar identity Rebecca Berkman, Nesson's daughter computer scientist Rebecca Nesson also plays a major role in directing class discussion and activities.

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