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Lectures in the Metaverse: Engaging University students socially within virtual worlds
Prof. Gary Burnett

This event took place on 11th October 2023 at 1:30pm (12:30 GMT)
Knowledge Media Institute, Berrill Building, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, MK7 6AA

For the last 3 years, Professor Burnett has taught Engineering and Computing students (presently 266 in total) about the Human Factors design issues for virtual reality from within a persistent virtual world. Teaching activities have included traditional lectures (pre-recorded and live), highly interactive seminars and open 'virtual' office hours. Whilst most students have used desktop/laptop computers and mobile devices to access the virtual world, increasing numbers have been using headsets for more immersive experiences (22 students were lent headsets in 2022 for use throughout semester). This innovative way of socially engaging with students has been treated as a research project and considerable objective and subjective data has been collected, analysed and published – focused on general, as well as specific research questions – such as the positive/negative impacts on students’ learning experiences, their use of avatars, the role of immersion, virtual world design, etc. This talk will outline the motivation for the work, the findings so far and conclusions that can be drawn for Higher Education practice.

The webcast was open to 300 users
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