Swansea University to host inaugural Virtual Reality teaching conference

Swansea University will host an inaugural conference on September 12 on how Virtual and Augmented Reality can enhance learning and teaching in higher education – the first event of its kind in the UK.

The conference – which takes place at the University’s Bay Campus – will feature insight from Danaë Stanton Fraser, Professor in Human Computer Interaction at the University of Bath and Astrid Ensslin, Professor in Digital Humanities and Game Studies with the University of Alberta.

It follows on from the great work that the University has already done to integrate Virtual Reality into teaching, such as developing an ‘Anatomy App’. This was a collaborative project between the College of Engineering and Sport and Exercise Sciences that tackled concepts students find challenging when taught in a traditional manner. Student experience was very much at the centre of this project with the main aim being to help students engage with anatomy material by providing an immersive learning environment where students assemble a skeleton in virtual reality.

Over 100 delegates from across Swansea University, other higher education institutions, the virtual reality industry and beyond will be present at the conference, while those unable to be present in person will be able to attend as Virtual Delegates through Sansar, the world’s leading social virtual reality platform.

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The Virtual Delegates will enter the Sansar platform as avatars and will be able to attend presentations, view posters and interactive demonstrations and interact with the physical attendees.

The space can be accessed both at the physical event – where headsets will be provided – and remotely via VR and PC during and after the event.

The conference will also offer a concierge service, where staff will find delegates in the physical conference space and deliver messages and invite them to join VR delegates in Sansar.

Rhian Kerton, Associate Professor at Swansea University’s College of Engineering said:

“At Swansea University we are committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation in learning and teaching in order to offer the best student experience.

“Virtual and Augmented Reality offer real opportunities to go beyond traditional classroom learning. VR and AR certainly look impressive, but we are not introducing these new technologies into our learning provision simply to look good. All of our work is evidence informed and needs to demonstrate real positive impact.”

Dr Marc Holmes, Virtual Reality Research Officer at Swansea University added:

“With Virtual reality we can teach faster, create in seconds, show the impossible or empathise – and that’s only the beginning.”

For more information on the conference visit http://www.swansea.ac.uk/vr-in-teaching/vr-conference/

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