Design and Construction of a Mixed Reality Space for Enhanced Social Presence
Recorded: Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 @ 4:00 pm - 4:20 pm HST
Duration: 20 mins
In line with the TCC theme of emerging technologies for learning: best choices and current practices, we are developing a mixed reality laboratory to meet the unique needs of students at a large Pacific university. The speed at which computer technology advances presents tremendous opportunities and challenges for educational technologists to both enhance and transform instructional practices. Advancements in cloud technologies, gaming and virtual worlds systems, and network capacities provide the means for creating educational technologies with tremendous potential to promote positive impact; however, how to best leverage the affordances of these technologies is a question that remains open. The purpose of this brief forum presentation is to describe the design and construction of a mixed reality laboratory for delivering face-to-face and online instruction simultaneously at a large Pacific university.
Using advanced Free and Open Source (FOSS) tools, we are constructing a space that mixes the real world and virtual world to create a mixed environment where students can meet virtually and physically in real time. Our system is designed to meet a unique and practical need. Students in the region are geographically dispersed throughout the various Pacific islands. A number of online course delivery options are used to provide these students with quality instruction at a distance, such as course management websites and distance collaboration tools. Our best practices indicate that our students find value in being able to connect socially with classmates and teachers; however, course management systems and collaboration tools are traditionally weak at providing rich social experiences. The purpose of developing our mixed reality solution is 1.) to meaningfully blend face-to-face and online courses, 2.) to provide students a more deeply social experience, sense of connection, and community in our blended online and face-to-face courses, and 3.) to advance our capacity as a world-class provider of online learning.