In that sense, and the way I see it, the moderator will have a crucial role in phase 1 – Access and Motivation. Some “holding-hands” might have to be done to get everyone on board. A lot of experimental activities which can tie in well with the social activities, in order to get them going and keep up the motivation. I use to say the “Dynamization”of the space is an investment which will bear fruits in the end. It is necessary to keep the “troops” motivated and provide them with the know-how, and confidence, to succeed.In SL, I perceive these 2 stages will take longer than in other online spaces. There is a lot more of groundwork to be done in SL than in blogs or wikis, for instance
I'd definitely agree with this. I think that it's several fold. As well as the technical issues getting it installed, ensuring that it works on the PC, sufficient bandwidth being available, there are other issues. For example, perhaps more so than discussion boards, it's very easy for some students to wander off and explore - and gain a lot of extra expertise. Whereas when you start to use discussion boards with students, if they want to "practise" with one that, say, covers a personal interest, they have to know how to search for & find one. With SL, you can just go wandering off. Of course, they run the risk of finding just about anything, so it's a double edged sword, but provides the opportunity to develop movement, object interaction, communication etc., skills.
A good orientation is essential - we've been looking at NMC's orientation Island ( http://slurl.com/secondlife/NMC%20Orientation/69/107/32/ ) due to the educational aspects of it - and you have a greater chance of running into other educators while you're doing it.
Later on, Gilly suggests "Using SL resources e.g. ppt presentations" I think that I'd tend to look at getting potential moderators to look beyond the "traditional", and to be really innovative. Granted, Powerpoint can be used really innovatively (or pretty direly) in a face to face classroom; lets try to encourage just the really innovative uses to be moved into SL :)