Keele immersive learning project shortlisted for prestigious national award
A project developed by Keele University staff that uses extended reality to deliver remote learning to applied science students – including how to assess crime scenes and uncover evidence – has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.
When universities were forced to shut down campuses and rapidly shift courses online due to the coronavirus outbreak, applied science students at Keele began using extended reality to carry on learning.
Extended reality refers to immersive technologies, including virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. Developed by academic and technical support staff at the University, the project meant students could continue assessing crime scenes, uncovering evidence, and learning new skills.
Now the project is one of just six to be shortlisted in the 'Most Innovative Approach to Engaging Students using Educational Technology' category at the prestigious Pearson HE Innovate Awards 2022. The awards celebrate success in innovation in teaching, learning and student support in UK higher education.
Dr Jamie Pringle, Reader in Forensic Geoscience at Keele, said: "The aim of the project was to develop an extended reality learning environment that could be used as a complementary learning and teaching platform for applied science students and practitioners, with the potential to be further applied to subjects such as forensic anthropology and crime scene investigation. The move to online teaching during the pandemic was the initial driver for the project when physical interaction with students was not allowed on campuses.
"While initially a short-term fix for exceptional circumstances, we've seen that there are plenty of benefits of online learning activities which could be further integrated into higher education courses. This would provide more varied learning opportunities to students, who would benefit from the flexibility afforded by a mixture of teaching methods.
"Digital technology is ever advancing, and in learning and teaching environments, virtual reality software and simulation-based learning can be used to pre-familiarise students with new technology, procedures, and encourage independent study and problem-solving skills."
Winners will be announced at an award ceremony on December 8th.
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