Queen's University

Queen's hosts Canada's first virtual law conference

[Queen’s law professor and conference organizer Art Cockfield]Queen’s law professor and conference organizer Art Cockfield.
Photo by Michael Onesi.

Queen’s University Faculty of Law will host Canada’s first virtual law conference on March 18.

Roughly 20 academics from Canada, the U.S. and around the world will gather at the Queen’s Faculty of Education Island in the virtual world of Second Life to discuss the relationship between law and technology.

“Because the conference deals with technology, meeting in cyberspace feels appropriate,” says Queen’s law professor and conference organizer Art Cockfield. “You don’t have to be a computer expert to participate. I’m a former Dungeons & Dragons player who sometimes plays Grand Theft Auto on my kids’ Playstation 3. I’m certainly no Second Life expert.”

Professor Cockfield feels there is potential for more Second Life conferences in the future.

“It’s a new way for scholars to meet and exchange ideas,” Professor Cockfield says. “One of the biggest advantages is cost. Instead of spending thousands of dollars traveling around the world, you can go to a virtual conference and never leave your office. There is a lot of potential, not just for the academic world but for the private sector as well.  Also, individuals from all over the world have the opportunity to watch and participate as avatars.”

Queen’s Faculty of Education has been working in Second Life since April 2007.  There are currently three Continuing Teacher Education and one B.Ed. course where part of the studies take place in Second Life cyberspace.

“I think the courses and virtual law conference are a great way to engage digital-friendly students. This is just the tip of the iceberg; Second Life is a wonderful medium for learning,” say Faculty of Education Manager of e-Learning Stephanie Beauregard,
Speakers and guests will be required to sign up to Second Life and create their own avatars. On March 18 at 1 pm (Eastern Standard Time), the avatars gather for panel discussions on topics such as resisting new technologies and does technology control us?

The conference is dedicated to late Queen’s Professor Emeritus Hugh Lawford, a global pioneer of electronic legal research who founded QuickLaw in the late 1960s.

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Last updated at 4:16 pm EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
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