Immersive media allow the user to experience a virtual, 3D representation of either an imaginary or actual environment. Second Life is an immersive platform that allows users to explore, interact with each other, communicate, trade, and create space within the world.
Virtual worlds are an immersive online environment that can be accessed by multiple users at a time. Residents are known as avatars, graphical representations of the user or user's alter ego. The appearance and purpose of virtual worlds can vary, but share these common features: shared environment (multiple users at once), a graphical user interface (can be 2D or 3D), real-time interaction, interactivity (such as building/altering content), persistence (exists with or without users present), and socialization/community.
Many colleges and universities are experimenting with virtual worlds, including Oregon State University. OSU has its own virtual island called Beaver Island on Second Life.