Back when I taught math to freshmen at Purdue University, there were always students who would never say anything unless prodded incessantly, which was as uncomfortable for me as it was for them. Today I read an article about Harvard’s CyberOne law class in Second Life, and one quote really struck me:
In Second Life, that problem of students not participating in class discussions just totally disappeared.
– Rebecca Nesson, quoted from an interview with Ian Lamont
That’s been my experience too. I don’t teach any classes in Second Life, but I do give a lot of presentations, and they always end up turning into fascinating discussions. The potential reasons for increased participation are discussed in the interview, which I encourage you to read.