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Swansea University Hosted UK First Virtual Reality Teaching Conference

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Swansea University hosted an inaugural conference yesterday 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 took place at the University’s Bay Campus – featured 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.

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

The Virtual Delegates entered the Sansar platform as avatars and attended presentations, viewed posters and interactive demonstrations and interacted with the physical attendees.

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/