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Conference Notes: ACODEs AR + VR + MR (XR) = #anewreality #acodenews

#aNewReality Workshop @ Griffith University

Griffith University held a 2 day Immersive Learning event where those Colleagues who manage emerging technologies, and leading practitioners from across the Australasian Landscape shared their experiences, both at an Institutional and ‘on the ground’ development levels.
Some of the questions UC went in asking:
  • What are other Higher Education Institutions are doing around Immersive Learning and Emerging Technologies? 
  • How is XR being used to increase student engagement, retention, and learning?
  • How does XR support online students to feel more connected and situated?
  • What strategies and technologies are a good fit for UniCanberra?
  • Which approaches are not only educationally effective but also scale in terms of adoption and supportable, and are equitable?
  • How much physical investment is needed to create various content in-house, what kind of content can be created using different technologies, and what ongoing support/resources are needed?

Immerse yourself in the 360 Livestream (recorded)
A series of 10 minute Quickfire sessions  were recorded via live 360 streaming.  
Click into the '#anewreality Live Stream Page to experience the following sessions:
Day 1 AR/VR Quickfires 31st January| 1.15pm - 4pm (AEST)
Day 2 360/Immersive Video Quickfires  1st February | 11.40am - 1.15pm (AEST)

Day 1

I travelled to the conference with Dr Jane Frost, also from UC, who gave two presentations and two practical interactive demonstrations. Given the quickfire sessions were recorded in 360 degree glory my notes relate only to informal chats and the Sector Round Table session.
Grabbing a coffee on campus before the proceedings began Jane and I had a catch up with Danny Munnerley who had also arrived early. Danny told us how impressed he was with the combination of AFRAME.IO, Oculus Go (and soon the Quest with 6 degrees of freedom), and Insta 360. It was amazing to learn that you can add VR capability to any web site and in one line using I'll be following up with this combination of tools since Danny says it's an easy to use combination of tools, has capacity for user generated content, ability to deliver VR experiences from a content repository (using aframe as the access portal), and uses the affordable (though not compared to phone based headsets) Oculus Go headsets which makes them easy for libraries to add as a loan-able resource. Even the Insta 360 cameras could be added to the library catalogue for short term funding permitted.


Acknowledgement of Country & Introduction to #anewreality Prof Alf Lizzio, Director/Dean Learning Futures, Griffith University & Prof Michael Sankey, Dep Director Learning Transformations, Griffith University and VP ACODE Executive.

  • Prof Alf Lizzio, Director/Dean Learning Futures, Griffith University mentioned that what we are doing here is all about Hot Cognition. "Hot cognition is cognition coloured by emotion" ( and XR experiences, being immersive, lend themselves well to bringing emotion to the learning experience.

Sector Round Table What is happening, where and how (University representatives sharing)

Bond University: 



  • have spent two years socialising VR concepts and have four centres doing research in immersive tech, and data mining. 
  • They are using VR in education with a team of 12 developers. 
  • Most students are online - and they are launching a hub for virtual experiences, and look at how to build for the online learning environment. 
  • There is some scepticism around VR because of experiences with second life. How will this wave be different?
  • Technology
    • Frontend: Javascript (aframe, WebGL, 3GS)
    • Backend: AWS,Python (
    • Headsets: non-phone based sets generally considered too heavy - so prefer mobile approach combining BYO phones with cheap headsets like Cardboard.
    • Research:,argon,WebXR
  • Technology:
    • Influenced by a 2017 Educase report, bought HT CVive
    • Media production team
    • Insta360 Pro cameras - working out how to use
    • Low end 360 creation tools for academics to use in the field
    • Purchased a large amount of Google Cardboard for sending out as needed.
    • Have a wish list of things e.g. the Magic Leap.
    • USQ has been in the flight simulation space for a long time and want to apply VR to this space.
    • Partners with VFair to create a virtual campus and career events that student attend which has been very successful.
    • Built a virtual Moot court with a company called IC (ED: believe this is it:
    • Virtual art galleries
    • Has to work on phones to be accessible and scalable.


  • Tech focused around making rapid creation of assets, spent a lot of time creating an immersive studio, creative immersive 360 live streaming video, and desk based holograms. 
  • They have been playing with blurred minds, and have done some work for the Commonwealth games
  • Always looking for ways to put VR into students hands both on campus and at home. 
  • They have a group called the Griffith Visualised Alliance with about 45 members sharing and collaborating on purposeful applications of the technology. 
  • There is a significant piece of work around aligning pedagogical challenges and opportunities with capabilities of the technology.

One button recording studio with green screen

Green ROOM with 360 degree streaming camera

Green room with monitor under camera - so that the user of the space can see what viewers are seeing.

Using multiple cameras to scan the environment combined with volumetric scanners like the Intel RealSense to scan the "actor" into the virtual environment for the people viewing with VR headsets. 

University of Auckland:

  • have been in this space of "the new reality" and simulation (e.g. second life) for a long time, particularly in the health environment. 
  • Those existing groups of people are thinking about where these new tools fit into the picture. Engineering, business and education are increasingly talking about opportunities and research projects. 
  • Work has been done around visualisation through the High performance e-research centre on visualising earth quakes and whale migration. 
  • XR is on the upward slope of the Gartner Hype Cycle and the university doesn't want to over invest at this stage, and they are working out how to roll out XR at scale (the challenge is access to headsets.)
  • Research:
    • Interested in physiologic sensors in an AR environment (Mark Billinghurst) 
    • Emphatic avatars.


  • Very similar to other institutions in terms of being an emerging technology. 
  • They have a research centre for robotics, and a fantastic VR tour for that lab. 
  • They also research big data visualisation.

ACER (Australian Council for Educational Research):

  • starting to offer fully online courses, and they are looking at how they can incorporate XR into the learning and assessment practices. 
  • They are always looking for lowest common denominator technology that can work from Sydney to Uluru.

University of Sydney:

  • Central media production team has been asked to get into this space and work out how to do AR on scale. 
  • Some academics doing some work in the business school, and some students working on how to create content. 
  • They also run the DIY studio for video production, and investigating options that scale.


  • We started a few years ago with Blended Learning Innovation Grants, enough of these were being given to VR/AR projects so these were groups into an XR hub/community. The grants continue to be given to purchase tech etc. 
  • Big change for small change is the aim. 
  • They have sent 360 cameras were sent to New Caledonia where people were recorded speaking in 360 and use that as an immersive learning tool. 
  • 360 experiences have been created from the Great Barrier Reef, rain forest, and a farm an made available to students online and oncampus. 
  • Pursuing a polysynchonous model so teaching can delivered from any location to any location - synchronous or asynchronous. Currently investigating the appropriate technologies to use taking into account support, user generated content, etc. [Ed. This is a big deal].


  • Research into AR and development of an AR studio.
  • Green screen/sound proof room available for staff, looking to add more spaces like this including one button recording facility(s).
  • Innovative project by Dr Jane Frost using Hololens in Nursing in 2018/19. 
  • Some 360 degree content has been developed in Health and Education. More info in the recorded talks. 
  • Now working on taking an institutional approach, which includes tackling the implementation from multiple angles such as developing a collection of phone based headsets in the library, talking to the Library about including XR content in the collection development statement, investigating ways to support student generated content and how this form of expression can be incorporated into assessment practice. 
  • An important aspect is developing a regional of communities of practice as well as being part of a larger national CoP.

Edith Cowan University: 

  • have some small T&L grants this year to encourage VR at the uni as they are very early stages in this space, with pockets of work around the uni with plans to support centrally from 2020. 
  • Integration of AR and VR in one of the education units with a low investment approach using a Google suite of tools like Tour Creator, Expedition and products like NearPod to create immersive experiences. 
  • There are some key staff doing research that has helped the university get a starting point to see what is happening and their expertise has been tapped into for the current implementation work in Education. 
  • We have para-medicine doing some good work in first responder training which is very expensive and complex doing in real life, and has seen a very successful application of VR. 
  • There is a curiosity studio in the library which gives students access to robotics and VR experiences, students can go in and learn through exploration, there are plans to market the space more actively with a re-launch. 
  • There is also a school outreach program in the school of computing where students are encouraged to come onto campus and look at the ecology around the space using the app TrailBlaizer (an augmented reality app - android link    ios link). 
  • There is another project in computer science teaching children about personal safety using virtual reality. It is made more interesting because it was created by students. 
  • Business and law are using VR to look at employ-ability skills, so in business they are using Virtual Switch where students have cheap headsets and download an app onto their phone which is great for online students as well (access to tech) and students are asked about 20 questions in the VR experience. 
  • Business want to create a VR front of house experience for tourism and hospitality students for employability and skill development (ED: I am picturing being able to be immersed in confrontations, difficult moments, critical incidents etc which could be used as teachable moments, and tied to reflective tasks that ask students to - for EG - explain what happened and what alternate actions or paths could have been taken by front of house staff to resolve issues etc) 

University of Queensland:

  • piloting the hololens in all schools in health, have obtained a one year pilot for holohuman, holopatient and holochemistry
  • Getting academics familiarised with the apps and embedding in curriculum. In Science two apps for the hololens one is called "Affluent/Effluent" (pig farm with a lake running through it populated with fish) where chemistry and math students can run simulations. 
  • A second app is called "Cropology" which is growing wheat where soil, water and fertiliser conditions can be changed, these are being rolled out across agriculture. 
  • Opening of a Virtual Reality Centre based at The University of Queensland in 2001

Charles Sturt University:

  • Virtual Chemistry lab and VR simulations such as virtual fire investigations, Riverina Shore Project. 
  • The majority of students are now online, and 360, mobile VR etc are being used to enhance the online experience. But still need to support the on campus experience so moving into the AR space to see how it can enhance and shape the design of learning spaces on campus. 
  • Innovation is being seen in agriculture,  health science policing, border security, these are the main areas where we are seeing pockets of innovation. 
  • School of creative industries has been working in the 360/3D game engine/VR and now moving into the AR space as well. 
  • Have quite a productive team of animation and visual effects academics who are strategic partners of Teaching and Learning in helping to develop content. 
  • In 2018 CSU partnered with All Media to develop a web based AR platform and design some AR experiences via mobile devices and given the majority of students are online needed to think about how best to connect with them and mobile is the way CSU see is the best to achieve this. 
  • This year there is also work by Zeynep Tacgin (Post doc research fellow and gave a presentation at this conference "Quick glance of MR Activities in Turkey") and specialised in VR and AR design, and this year will be very promising for academics to start harnessing the potential of these technologies.


  • have been playing with AR/VR for a couple of years. 
  • Now putting students into unique/rare/emergency situations, with 360 video in disciplines such as stenography, chiropractic, nursing, science (crime simulations) and how to do that at an academic level (how academics can do this themselves).
    • E.G 360 annotated VR experiences of ambulances and mass casualty to help paramedic students familiarise with environments before they leave the classroom.
  • looking at how to enable academics to make this content themselves 
    • A kit is being rolled out and made available to academics, with training being made available. 
  • Looking at free or low cost AR apps. And also making these apps.
  • Have set up a community of practice last year, with 70-80 people.
  • Mobile learning technology and approaches can be incorporated into this strategy. 
  • Work is also being done in sporting referee training and development with referees running around with cameras on their heads. 

University of the Sunshine Coast:

  • has one of four CAVE 2's int he world. 320 degree using 80 screens to produce a fully immersive 3D world. 
  • Doing a lot of simulation but little visualisation. They have been using Unity (very labour intensive) to develop content for the CAVE.
  • The issue is scalability and equivalency of experience at other campuses. In repsonse they are mapping the CAVE experiences to VR headsets with is challenging. 
  • They have a "serious games lab" and an "immersive lab" (used for design, paramedics with noise and challenging experiences, go-pros). 
  • Lot's of challenges with these large to small spaces. They are setting up pop up studios to help people getting going with creating their own content. 
  • There are opportunities with AR for content creation by students.
  • Tooling up on the gamer side of things looking at the learner experience of VR and AR.
  • Going through a library redevelopment bringing the history collection to prominence at the library and the team has been tasked with how to visualise the collection.
  • Strategies involving improving online experiences are needed as on campus numbers are decreasing, online cohort growing.
  • Getting staff innovation ready. Making sure people who want to use these tools are ready to use them and know how to use them.

Uni Melb: 
  • VR Labs for researchers and teachers
  • built a music therapy and youth mental health and heart VR app
  • medical department are the biggest users with 16 bays, 2000 students, access to equipment is a challenge.
  • no content development happening
  • Game engines are their focus in the VR space.
  • Oculus Quest with no tether and 6 degrees of freedom is an exciting opportunity.
Monash College:
  • 360 immersive videos have been quite successful - e.g. law students are immersed in a scenario of negligence with activities designed to support learning.
  • Looking into adaptive learning platforms like smart sparrow.
  • Fully flipped all classes.
  • Seen a lot of VR resources that are good but their concern is that it needs to work from home.

Day 2

I caught up with Charles Zhang PhD after his presentation on exploring VR film language. If anyone is interested in getting into feature length VR films get in touch with him, he's just created a 70 minute VR movie that he will be showing off in Brisbane soon. It's called "The Calling" and you can read more about it here.

See the following link for the Day 1 and Day 2 360 Streams of the Quickfire Presentations via the ACODE Site at

Other things I came away with:

  • Ontask: "how data should be collected, stored, handled and made available to support personalised learning support actions using the OnTask tool." Auckland let me know about their use of this tool to generate data driven messages that support staff and teachers can massage and send on to students.
  • React.js - Create beautiful UI's with javascript.
  • - Free apps created by regular people.
  • Digital Holography - see Intel Realsense for an affordable solution to do this.
  • Software to support green screens: Adobe Premiere Rush - or Camtasia
  • Vuze 360 live stream - used with Google hangouts to enable live streaming to distance students with Google cardboard (or other) to help them feel more connected and situated in the on-campus experience. This was the primary problem Jason Zagami was trying to solve, and a burning problem for many educators and ed tech folk no doubt. This gem answered one of my big questions at the top of this post, so thanks Jason and everyone else who shared.
  • Victoria uses worst case bush fire VR to prepare the public:

Open day at UC!

Taken using the Hauwei360


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