In the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Sheffield University we are interested in introducing virtual reality technologies into learning and teaching activities across our various subject areas (Literature, Philosophy, History, and so on). In particular, we are concerned with how open and reflective collaboration between educational technologists and teaching staff can lead to more effective ways of embedding VR as well as developing improved support processes both for staff embedding VR in their teaching and for students using it. Our paper reports on some practice research involving collaboration between a subject specialist in the School of English (Richard Steadman-Jones) and a learning technologist working across the Faculty (Sarah Peacock). The project involves introducing VR technologies (360 degree media, the WondaVR platform, and Oculus Meta headsets) into an existing module for students of English Language and Literature, ‘Experiments in Digital Story-Telling’. This module combines critical work on the nature of digital narrative with exploratory creative practice, the work being framed along the lines set out by Robin Nelson in his 2013 book, Practice as Research in the Arts. Until recently the practical work has largely made use of the open-source platform, Twine (http://www.twinery.org). The introduction of VR technologies broadens the range of creative projects that students can undertake and coheres with a key concern of the module, the relationship between digital media and spatiality. We outline the work we have undertaken and explore the reflections of staff, students, and members of the project team itself.
PresentersRichard Steadman Jones
Senior UniversityTeacher, English, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom Sarah Peacock
Digital Learning Advisor, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
VR, Immersive, Humanities, Pedagogy
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