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Internationalization: the nexus of virtual worlds and reality

Kate Roth (Kate Roth is a Special Projects Manager based at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 18 May 2010




This paper aims to describe the characteristics of virtual environments (VEs) that reinforce internationalization and to explore further implications for their utilization. Internationalization at universities is often argued as being key to developing global citizens. The use of VEs for global experiences is a relatively new phenomenon for universities. Understanding the aspects of VEs that develop global citizens will assist in their further development for internationalization.


The paper presents a case study comparison of students and their experiences in the real world and VEs used in the Monash University Chinese Studies program. The student participants were interviewed using semi‐structured questions to establish the elements of the Monash Secondlife© Island contributing to their understanding of internationalization.


The case study concludes that students perceived the Monash Secondlife© Island useful for basic interactions in language learning and for students less confident with social interaction. Another outcome is the indication that students desire more technology (e.g. voice) to be used in subsequent developments.


The paper provides a unique analysis of the utilization of VEs to develop internationalization at university. It outlines the characteristics expected as part of internationalization, the current usage of VEs to develop internationalization, and articulates the specific characteristics that VEs enable as part of the internationalization process.



Roth, K. (2010), "Internationalization: the nexus of virtual worlds and reality", On the Horizon, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 132-137.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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