An Australian and New Zealand scoping study on the use of 3D immersive virtual worlds in higher education
AbstractThis article describes the research design of, and reports selected findings from, a scoping study aimed at examining current and planned applications of 3D immersive virtual worlds at higher education institutions across Australia and New Zealand. The scoping study is the first of its kind in the region, intended to parallel and complement a number of studies conducted in other parts of the world. Results from a sector-wide questionnaire administered as part of the scoping study, portions of which are presented in this article, appear consistent with international trends, especially in terms of the platforms chosen and the dramatic increase in usage seen in recent years. Higher education teaching staff in Australia and New Zealand are using 3D immersive virtual worlds with their students in a variety of ways, for both assessable and non-assessable tasks and in face to face, fully online/distance as well as blended-mode subjects, although use in face to face and blended contexts appears to be most common. The results also provide some insight into the demographics (e.g. age) of staff who have adopted 3D immersive virtual worlds in their teaching, as well as into the academic disciplines in which the technology is being employed.
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