An essay by Dr. Jennifer Sasser, gerontology program director, was published in the International Journal of Reminiscence and Lifelong Learning in January 2015.
Maya Story, music therapy faculty, published an article on virtual learning environments in the 2014 (Vol. 1) issue of Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy.
In her article, Music Therapy and Avatars: Reflections on Virtual Learning Environments for Music Therapy Students, Story outlines the results of a study in which she explored the use of virtual, simulated environments to prepare music therapy students for the therapist-client experience.
In the abstract, she writes:
Music therapy students have expressed concerns regarding their general preparedness for practicum and working with new populations. Simulations in the immersive virtual world, Second Life, may provide a platform to assist in training music therapy students and enhance preparedness. This project examined the feasibility of utilizing Second Life to assist in training music therapists. Music therapy practicum students enrolled in a music therapy equivalency program participated in weekly one-hour virtual class meetings in Second Life, which included five sessions of music therapy simulations. At the end of the semester, students were interviewed in relation to their experiences, and interviews were analyzed qualitatively. Common themes among students were limitations of Second Life software, student's knowledge of software, emotional reactions (both positive and negative) and distance learning.
Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy is an open access peer-reviewed journal that invites dialogue and discussion about music, health and social change. The journal values inclusiveness and socio-cultural awareness and has increasingly nurtured a critical edge that refines the focus on cultural issues and social justice.
Maya Story is the clinical coordinator for the music therapy program at Marylhurst University. Her areas of interest are in guided imagery and music and concepts related to social media and technology. She is the current president of the Association for Music and Imagery, serving a two-year term through 2015.