Saturday, September 11, 2004

Ancient Knowledge: Archaegeo's university teaches modern skills

By Emmy Guillaume
SecondLIFE Magazine

One of Second Life's newest residents is also one of it's most helpful.

Although he's only been in world for 17 days, at this writing, Archaegeo Plantini has opened the Ancient Earth University where he teaches a wide curriculum. Classes range from Second Life Basics - how to buy land, how to understand the US Dollar/ Linden currency exchange and how to find your unique 'niche' in-world - to Basic and Advanced Scripting. Additional classes are being planned and new courses added on a constant basis.


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I was able to catch Archaegeo in one of his rare spare moments to ask him a few questions:

EG: Hi Arc..thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me about your new endeavor.

Archaegeo Platini: No problem Emmy, glad to chat.

EG: You have had quite a few students take your courses, even in the short time you have been here. All have commented about the courses you are offering, positively, I might add. Tell me what gave you the idea for your University?

Archaegeo Platini: Well, in the First Life, I’m a curriculum developer and instructor for the US Navy, and its something I love doing. So when I was looking for my niche here, it seemed to fit. Also i noticed that many of the courses were not quite as in depth as they could be, so I sought to offer an alternative, more real world like course.

EG: Your University has an unusual name. What was the etiology of it?

Archaegeo Platini: My name actually. If you do a Google seach, any Archaegeo hits you get are me, 99 times out of 100. I coined the world from Archae and Geo. "Ancient Earth".

EG: Why that name?

Archaegeo Platini: Ahh, old MMORPGs. Needed a new handle to go by, and while playing one of them, think it was one of my many times I quit playing EverQuest, I came up with it. Or maybe it was Anarchy Online, or maybe Asheron's Call.

But its claim to fame is some work I did for Neverwinter Nights for Bioware.

EG: Which was.......?

Archaegeo Platini: Oh, I was the creator and project lead for a modification called the HardCore Ruleset, or HCR.

Bioware sent me some nice thank you gifts, seemed it helped sell the game some. It was mostly a scripting thing, in NWN's scripting language, which bears similarity to LSL

EG: What is your vision for this place in the coming weeks and months?

Archaegeo Platini: Well, I have 2 Fundamentals courses active now, Basic Economics and Basic Land. Those courses are what I call 000 level courses. I teach them for free, well, donations are nice, and plan to add some more. I have also started my professional level courses with AEC-101, Understanding 3D Space, and AES-101, Fundamental Scripting in LSL. I'm pleased that both have had great reviews

EG: People who have taken these courses have said they are most helpful

Archaegeo Platini: Thanks Emmy, I hope so, that’s my real goal. Even though I charge for the 100+ level courses, its a minimum fee, 100L for the 101 courses, and my real goal is to help folks learn the skills they need to accomplish their goals in SL

So I hope to go on with the 200 level courses and above, plus I somehow ended up with 1/8th a sim, so need to expand my interests that way too

You: What is your teaching philosophy?

Archaegeo Platini: Hmmm.....

I believe in the welfare and well-being of my students. In the Real World, that means making sure they have a place to stay when they come to school, know where to find the things they need, so that there is nothing to stand in the way of them having a great learning environment. Here in Second Life its much the same. I want to make sure the learning environment at Ancient Earth support my students needs.

I also tend to not tolerate interruptions too well, so it helps the students better pay attention to the course materials.

EG: Have you had much of that since you've been here? The interruptions?

Archaegeo Platini: A few, but the nice thing about teaching on my own land is I can handle any griefers with a minimum of effort, that and the Community Standards generally makes it so most folks understand when you ask them to play nicer :)

EG: What would you like any prospective students to know about your University?

Archaegeo Platini: That courses are built to support the future courses in the series So that if they start with the 101 in a series, they can count on getting the knowledge they need to
progress through the series of their choice.

EG: How is the University doing so far?

Archaegeo Platini: Its gotten off to a good start, the students seem to really like it, and I think I’m
getting some good word of mouth.

But I teach whether I have 10 students or 2. It the passing of the knowledge and the "Ah-ha!" effect I love.

As this article was going to press, the Ancient Earth University moved its location from Dosanji to Sedig, where Archaegeo hopes to have a better technical learning environment for his students.

Come by the University and take some time to visit. Grab a course catalog and get on the road to understanding Second Life on better footing. It's well worth it.

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