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NDLW ShowcaseNDLW Showcase
Using open-source virtual-reality environments for
community building online
Eileen O’Connor, Ph.D.
Associate Professor 
Using Virtual Reality
for Online Course –
Knowledge and
Community Building
Eileen A. O’Connor, Ph.D.
SUNY – Empire State C...
Agenda – highlights
 From way back . . . online courses can be isolating experiences
(Vesely, Bloom & Sherlock, 2007).
 ...
Virtual Reality Environments at Empire
State College
■ Second Life - 2006; cost became prohibitive (up to $600 per month f...
Place /
location
Instructor creates a
learning experience –
from meetings to role
playing to shared
activities – as in any...
Place / location
Instructor creates a
learning experience –
from meetings to role
playing to shared
activities – as in any...
Rich designs for learning
Rich designs for learning
Assessment / Evaluation
-- Similar to classroom or a
conference review;
examine the content and
...
Instructor creates a
learning experience –
from meetings to role
playing to shared
activities – as in any
learning environ...
Place /
location
Instructor creates a
learning experience –
from meetings to role
playing to shared
activities – as in any...
An example: Course Objectives, from
syllabus (Teaching & Curriculum)
“The overall learning objectives of this course addre...
Learning community
building – relevant course
components – creating a
socially-integrated
network.
Webinar - content
revie...
Virtual-reality - start off with
whole class – slide show & posters too
Meeting w/ different groups – peer
discussions w/ periodic instructor visits
Virtual-reality and loop-back data: findings –
looking for learning; topics that surfaced
Topics Raised by Students:
Makin...
Familiarity – and its nurturing and role
■ Type of discussion – from the lit / what they are to serve (community, content,...
Where is the need for community &
knowledge-building relevant in courses you
create or support?
■ How do you avoid student...
List of References
 Baker, K. A., & Badamshina, G. M. (2002). Knowledge management. In Management Benchmark
Study. Office...
Sights and scenes from virtual reality
experiences
■ What follows is some “visual background” from my
work and work of stu...
Ongoing virtual work
• Since 2007, I have been
bringing students into
virtual environments for:
• Meetings and discussions...
Informative &
comfortable
startup areas
– easy to
navigate.
Developed
by a “science
person” so
aesthetics
sometimes
suffer...
Posters of student work abound.
I created a STEM/healthcare environment
too.
• i.e. Sub-Saharan
African
healthcare -
https://sites.goo
gle.com/site/ser
ve...
A building
dedicated to
science
teaching
- w/ informal
side area (for
those less
adept at
navigating.
Other
informal
seating
areas
-- and
materials
for the
develope
r
courses.
Students
do like to
meet here
too.
(photo
submitted
by student)
Meeting for debriefings – enjoy the informality
– without travel or equipment setup.
More
interactive
areas – with
room for
meetings
too.
Selected publications on virtual
environments
• O’Connor, E. A. Developing Community and Building Knowledge by Including a...
Eileen.Oconnor@esc.edu
Google Launches ‘Poly’ Library for AR & VR
Objects
https://www.designboom.com/technology/google-launches-poly-library-ar-v...
Thank You!
Next NDLW Showcase: Friday, November 10, 2017 at 12:00PM
Exploring Emerging Technologies for Lifelong Learning ...
 Open SUNY NDLW: Using open source virtual-reality environments for community building online
 Open SUNY NDLW: Using open source virtual-reality environments for community building online
 Open SUNY NDLW: Using open source virtual-reality environments for community building online
 Open SUNY NDLW: Using open source virtual-reality environments for community building online
 Open SUNY NDLW: Using open source virtual-reality environments for community building online
 Open SUNY NDLW: Using open source virtual-reality environments for community building online
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Open SUNY NDLW: Using open source virtual-reality environments for community building online

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Immersive, 3-D environments have offered opportunities for distance participants to share in any number of activities. With the advent of open source environments that are low-cost and that come either pre-configured or easily configured, this instructor has used these environments in class activities including: presentations, discussions, poster sessions, team meetings within a class, and shared activities (such as visiting other islands or testing 3-D building). Using action research the effectiveness of these environments on community building has been studied and published; students have overcome the isolation of discussion-board-driven online environments and been able to form more effective academic and personal relationships within courses.

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Open SUNY NDLW: Using open source virtual-reality environments for community building online

  1. 1. NDLW ShowcaseNDLW Showcase
  2. 2. Using open-source virtual-reality environments for community building online Eileen O’Connor, Ph.D. Associate Professor 
  3. 3. Using Virtual Reality for Online Course – Knowledge and Community Building Eileen A. O’Connor, Ph.D. SUNY – Empire State College Eileen.Oconnor@esc.edu Open SUNY
  4. 4. Agenda – highlights  From way back . . . online courses can be isolating experiences (Vesely, Bloom & Sherlock, 2007).  History of the use of virtual reality environments at ESC and at SUNY > movement to open-source creates more opportunities.  Recent area studied by author – aligned with good teaching practice.  Other areas possible – via a visit from virtual-reality visuals.  Call for shared participation. Vesely, P., Bloom, L., Sherlock, J. (2007). Key Elements of Building Online Community: Comparing Faculty and Student Perceptions. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 3(3).
  5. 5. Virtual Reality Environments at Empire State College ■ Second Life - 2006; cost became prohibitive (up to $600 per month for 2 islands). ■ Since around 2012, open source islands – less expensive / free materials too: – $20 per month for 4 island; less stable (perhaps); or put on your own server – Islands can be preconfigured and/or custom developed – Island rental includes the server space ■ Students / visitors – Download a viewer – Get a free avatar – Follow directions for speech and text
  6. 6. Place / location Instructor creates a learning experience – from meetings to role playing to shared activities – as in any learning environment. Instructor creates a learning experience – from meetings to role playing to shared activities – as in any learning environment. Rich designs for learning
  7. 7. Place / location Instructor creates a learning experience – from meetings to role playing to shared activities – as in any learning environment. Instructor creates a learning experience – from meetings to role playing to shared activities – as in any learning environment. Rich designs for learning
  8. 8. Rich designs for learning
  9. 9. Rich designs for learning Assessment / Evaluation -- Similar to classroom or a conference review; examine the content and the process.
  10. 10. Instructor creates a learning experience – from meetings to role playing to shared activities – as in any learning environment. Instructor creates a learning experience – from meetings to role playing to shared activities – as in any learning environment. Rich designs for learning
  11. 11. Place / location Instructor creates a learning experience – from meetings to role playing to shared activities – as in any learning environment. Instructor creates a learning experience – from meetings to role playing to shared activities – as in any learning environment. Rich designs for learning Lets consider an example
  12. 12. An example: Course Objectives, from syllabus (Teaching & Curriculum) “The overall learning objectives of this course address the need to: ■extend the educational practices begun during Teaching and Learning, allowing you to develop inquiry-based lessons and practices and to reflect on your implementation; ■develop successful uses of the Next Generation Science Standards, the Framework for K 12 Science Education, NYS Core Curriculum, the NYS Common Core, and high-stakes assessments for your classroom practice; ■familiarize you, through lesson development and commentary writing, with the processes and practices that will be required by edTPA; ■enable you to develop a network of colleagues with whom you can share advice, lessons, projects, and support – during the course and hopefully during your professional career; ■provide you with opportunities to learn, use, and share-with technologies that allow and support 21st century learning for both K12 operations and for communications within this course.”
  13. 13. Learning community building – relevant course components – creating a socially-integrated network. Webinar - content review & correction - based on “intel” from interactions. Video - asynchronous
  14. 14. Virtual-reality - start off with whole class – slide show & posters too
  15. 15. Meeting w/ different groups – peer discussions w/ periodic instructor visits
  16. 16. Virtual-reality and loop-back data: findings – looking for learning; topics that surfaced Topics Raised by Students: Making the tape Camera movement & placement Misunderstanding – video content Student must be center / not teacher Misunderstanding – video process Planning / staging students for the camera; getting students camera comfortable Types of assessment that can be used Regents? Other? Group disagreements Interpreting handbook differently Instructor concern Are all reading students reading instructor comments and corrections in discussion boards? DialogDialog fallacyfallacy
  17. 17. Familiarity – and its nurturing and role ■ Type of discussion – from the lit / what they are to serve (community, content, analysis). ■ Terms that appear – enjoy (with videos) / you guys – learning from – (find chart on community attributes) / acknowledging the peers and not the instructor. ■ More honest revelations then if just to instructor (the real pulse) – inquiry confession by student (not using). ■ Bringing in concerns from other courses (MT into T&C) – new teachers. ■ Holding students responsible to the class – more timely postings (anecdotal – less nagging and point penalties).
  18. 18. Where is the need for community & knowledge-building relevant in courses you create or support? ■ How do you avoid student isolation in online course? ■ What role / voice does the instructor have in directing discourse and structuring authority and interactions? ■ How might synchronous virtual-reality meetings bring to avoid the hierarchical constraints of instructor-led webinars and streamed-video sessions? ■ How do you work on supporting knowledge-building that can extend beyond the timeframe, and assessment, of the course?
  19. 19. List of References  Baker, K. A., & Badamshina, G. M. (2002). Knowledge management. In Management Benchmark Study. Office of Science, Department of Energy. Available at http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/doe/benchmark/.  Binns, I. & Popp, S. (2013). Learning To Teach Science Through Inquiry: Experiences of Preservice Teachers. Electronic Journal of Science Education. 17(1).  Eggs, C. (2012). Trust Building in a virtual context: Case Study of a community of Practice” The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management. 10(3), 212-222.  Garrison, D. & Arbaugh, J. (2007). Researching the community of inquiry framework: Review, issues, and future directions. The Internet and Higher Education. (10). 157-172.  Howard, E. (2016). Best Practice in Online Discussion Boards. Lethbridge College Learning Connections. Retrieved on May 8, 2017 from http://www.lc2.ca/item/235-best-practices-in-online- discussion-boards  Richardson, J. J., & Lowenthal, P. P. (2017). Instructor Social Presence: A Neglected Component Of The Community Of Inquiry. Elearning & Software For Education, 2531-536.  Yücel, U. & Usluel, Y. (2016). Knowledge building and the quantity, content and quality of the interaction and participation of students in an online collaborative learning environment. Computers & Education. 97. 31-48.
  20. 20. Sights and scenes from virtual reality experiences ■ What follows is some “visual background” from my work and work of students to stimulate your creative teaching. ■ But . . . you create your learning story.
  21. 21. Ongoing virtual work • Since 2007, I have been bringing students into virtual environments for: • Meetings and discussions • Presentations for speakers (dean; teachers-in- classrooms; special speakers – assistive technologies) • Joint collaboration and project development Since 2013, I have taught courses on virtual development • The follow slides simply illustrate ways that virtual environments can be customized to create instructor level expressions of the environment they want to create
  22. 22. Informative & comfortable startup areas – easy to navigate. Developed by a “science person” so aesthetics sometimes suffers.
  23. 23. Posters of student work abound.
  24. 24. I created a STEM/healthcare environment too. • i.e. Sub-Saharan African healthcare - https://sites.goo gle.com/site/ser vehealthcarestu dy/ • http://eileenoco nnor1.wix.com/s erve-healthcare
  25. 25. A building dedicated to science teaching - w/ informal side area (for those less adept at navigating.
  26. 26. Other informal seating areas -- and materials for the develope r courses.
  27. 27. Students do like to meet here too. (photo submitted by student)
  28. 28. Meeting for debriefings – enjoy the informality – without travel or equipment setup.
  29. 29. More interactive areas – with room for meetings too.
  30. 30. Selected publications on virtual environments • O’Connor, E. A. Developing Community and Building Knowledge by Including a Virtual-Reality Environment and Student-Created Videos in an Online Course (2018) – Journal of Educational Technology Systems. • O’Connor, E. A. & Domingo, J. Invited book chapter in Nova: The Move to Open Source Virtual Environments: Burgeoning Opportunities for Academics and Scientists (in press) • O’Connor, E. A. & Domingo, J. A Practical Guide, with Theoretical Underpinnings, for Creating Effective Virtual Reality Learning Environments. Journal of Educational Technology Systems. • O’Connor, E.A. (2015-2016). Open Source Meets Virtual Reality – An Instructor’s Journey Unearths New Opportunities for Learning, Community and Academia. Journal of Educational Technology Systems. 44(2), 153-170. (link thru ESC library databases) • O’Connor, E. A. (2012). Developing effective online collaborative science projects by using course scaffolding, a virtual world, and web 2.0 technologies. In Proceeding of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2012 (pp. 728-735). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. (link thru ESC library databases) • O’Connor, E. (2011). Practical considerations when using virtual spaces for learning and collaboration, with minimal setup and support. In H. H. Yang, & S. C. Yuen (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Practices and Outcomes in Virtual Worlds and Environment. Hershey PA: IGI Global. • O'Connor, E. (2011). Migrating Towards K12 in Virtual Spaces: Second Life Lessons Learned as Higher Education Meets Middle School Students. In Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2011 (pp. 2192-2198). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. • O’Connor, E.A. (June 2010) Using Second Life (a virtual reality) in Language Instruction: Practical Advice on Getting Started; published with the proceedings of the 4th International Scientific and Methodological Conference on "Information and Communication Technologies in Foreign Language Teaching” • O'Connor, E. A. (2009). Instructional and Design Elements that Support Effective Use of Virtual Worlds: What Graduate Student Work Reveals about Second Life. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 38(2), 213-234. • O’Connor, E. A. and Sakshaug, L. (2009) Preparing for Second Life: Two Teacher Educators Reflect on Their Initial Foray into Virtual Teaching and Learning, Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 37(3), pp. 259-272. • O'Connor, E. (2008). Becoming a Virtual Instructor: How Can Higher Education Faculty Prepare for Second Life?. In G. Richards (Ed.), Proceedings of World Conference on E- Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2008 (pp. 1144-1149). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
  31. 31. Eileen.Oconnor@esc.edu
  32. 32. Google Launches ‘Poly’ Library for AR & VR Objects https://www.designboom.com/technology/google-launches-poly-library-ar-vr-objects/
  33. 33. Thank You! Next NDLW Showcase: Friday, November 10, 2017 at 12:00PM Exploring Emerging Technologies for Lifelong Learning and Success: A MOOC for ALL Learners Roberta (Robin) Sullivan, University at Buffalo Cherie van Putten, Binghamton University Today’s NDLW Showcase Resources: http://bit.ly/SUNYNDLW2017 USDLA Events: https://www.usdla.org/2017-ndlw-master-calendar/

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