My students wrote their first papers about SL - based on tehir own personal observations. We'd been reading personal ethnographies and they were supposed to write in that style. Most did a great job.
We're all wondering why people spend so much time building houses and neighborhoods and yet most areas of the world are so incredibly empty. One person commented that early members had to pay to join and so SL might have attracted people who wanted to build. They also noticed that people have different views of what SL actually is - a sandbox to build and create, sex, gambling, chat.
We ran into some technology problems - slow connection speeds in the dorms and apartments, slow wireless connection in the lab; the frequent updates meant I had to tke the lab over for an hour several times to load all the machines; avatars reverting to default modes; and the strange fact (g) that students don't want to read the notecard instructions sprinkled liberally around the world but rather want to just do (and want things to just be transparent and obvious - a want that I think might make the game a bit less fun).
And we're having an ongoing discussion about whether it's a game or not. One take is that it isn't. ANother that it provides space for people to play games. It's a discussion we'll be having hte rest of hte semester - it will probably be a question on our midterm and final to give them an opportunity to apply what they're reading about definitions of games.