Virtual World Design Thinking: MOOCing in the Cloud
Because of the highly collaborative and immersive experience virtual worlds offer, educators continue to explore the potential—and experience benefits—of teaching and learning in real-life replicated environments. Among these educators are Dr. Andrew Stricker, distributed learning architect for The Air University, and Dr. Cynthia Calongne, professor at Colorado Technical University—an inventive, trail-blazing duo dedicated to advancing the application of virtual worlds in education. From May 13–July 29, Dr. Stricker and Dr. Calongne are facilitating Virtual World Design Thinking, a MOOC in which participants explore the potential of designing and using virtual worlds as a platform for facilitating MOOCs. Participants engage in virtual world MOOCing first-hand by being immersed in an actual virtual world, Loir Learning Campus, where most activities of Virtual World Design Thinking take place. Participants attend ten sessions that address various elements of virtual world-hosted MOOCs, such as instructional design, instructional systems, and intelligent tutoring. Read more about Virtual World Design Thinking session and topics.
Loire Learning Campus: An LMS in the Cloud
Integrated with Moodle learning management system (LMS), Loire Learning Campus is hosted via open simulation technology in the cloud. Loire consists of several “regions” that offer integrative workshop services and activities through which participants of Virtual World Design Thinking engage in problem-based learning scenarios and simulations, and interact via IP video conferencing.
Curious about the Loire experience? Watch this brief video:
Virtual Harmony: A Community of Educators Envisioning Real Utopias
The Loire Learning Campus is a “megaregion” of Virtual Harmony—a 3-D world used by the Virtual Harmony community to explore and prototype 3-D environments for learning and instruction. The community is self-organized and consists of faculty and researchers committed to advancing the application of virtual worlds. Virtual Harmony is replicated after the 1824 version of New Harmony, Indiana, a real-life US National Historic Landmark recognized as a center for utopian experiments in community, education, and science. Read more about Virtual Harmony. During Virtual World Design Thinking, participants explore virtual world MOOCing and complete activities in Loire Learning Campus only, although some may join Virtual Harmony later for further exploration and research.
The Facilitators of Virtual World Design Thinking
Dr. Andrew Stricker (owner of Virtual Harmony) helps design, develop, and implement advanced and emerging learning technology innovations in US Air Force educational and professional military programs. He has served for 28 years as an Air Force officer and scientist in the learning sciences and human factors engineering. His research focuses on modeling adaptive expertise and designing learning technologies.
Dr. Cynthia Calongne has taught at Colorado Technical University Doctoral Program since 1996. She has authored many publications including the EDUCAUSE Review article Educational Frontiers: Learning in a Virtual World. She has also worked as a software engineer for US Air Force Space Command, and her research integrates virtual worlds, education, intelligent agents, and game design.
Dr. Stricker’s and Dr. Calongne’s previous collaboration Mars Expedition Challenge won $25,000 first-place award for the 2010 Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge. They have presented at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference and at New Media Consortium annual conference. Their most recent publication addresses the influence of the immersive internet on society: The Immersive Internet: Reflections on the Entangling of the Virtual with Society, Politics, and the Economy. For more information on participating in or observing Virtual World Design Thinking, contact the facilitators. For more information about Academic Partnerships’ use of immersive learning environments to support online learning communities, contact Barbara Truman, Vice President of Learning Technologies. Your Turn! Predicted advancements in computing suggest that immersive learning environments including the 3D Internet will make access common across devices. What types of learning and research are best suited for immersive learning environments?