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Suggested reading

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on October 10, 2008 at 2:20:27 pm

Some suggested reading around the project topic, starting early, to give an historical perspective to more recent developments.  If you are unable to source any of these, Stuart can probably send you a copy.


Link to the research literature collated by GROOVErs (Graduate researchers of online virtual environments)  http://groups.google.com/group/groovegroup/web/research-literature


Bibliography of Second Life in Education http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~mpepper/slbib

Educational uses of Second Life http://sleducation.wikispaces.com/educationaluses


Loftin, R. B., Engleberg, M. & Benedetti, R. (1993). Applying virtual reality in education: A prototypical virtual physics laboratory. Proceedings of the IEEE 1993 Symposium on Research Frontiers in Virtual Reality, 67-74.



Johnson, W. L. (1995). Pedagogical agents for virtual learning environments. Proceedings of the International Conference on Computers in Education, Singapore, 41-48.


Winn, W. (1993). A conceptual basis for educational applications of virtual reality. Technical report TR-93-9, Human Interface Technology Laboratory-University of Washington.



Roussos, M., Johnson, A., Moher, T., Leigh, J., Vasilakis, C., & Barnes, C. (1999). Learning and building together in an immersive virtual world. Environments, 8 (3), 247–263.  http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/105474699566215


Moore, P. (1995). Learning and teaching in virtual worlds: Implications of virtual reality for education. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 11(2), 91-102. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet11/moore.html


Pugnetti, L., Mendozzi, L., Motta, A., Cattaneo, A., Barbieri, E. & Brancotti, A. (1995). Evaluation and retraining of adults' cognitive impairments: Which role for virtual reality technology? Computers in Biology and Medicine, 25(2), 213-227.


Usoh, M. & Slater, M. (1995). An exploration of immersive virtual environments. Endeavour, 19(1), 34-38.


Pantelidis, V., S. (1997). Virtual reality and engineering education. Computer Applications in Engineering Education, 5(1), 3-12.


Brna, P. & Aspin, R. (1998). Collaboration in a Virtual World: Support for Conceptual Learning? Education and Information Technologies, 3(3), 247-259.


Fang, X. D., Luo, S., Lee, N. J. & Jin, F. (1998). Virtual machining lab for knowledge learning and skills training. Computer Applications in Engineering Education, 6(2), 89-97.


Bowman, D. A. & Hodges, L. F. (1999). Formalizing the Design, Evaluation, and Application of Interaction Techniques for Immersive Virtual Environments. Journal of Visual Languages & Computing, 10(1), 37-53.


Brooks, B. M., McNeil, J. E., Rose, F. D., Attree, E. A. & Leadbetter, A. G. (1999). Route Learning in a Case of Amnesia: A Preliminary Investigation into the Efficacy of Training in a Virtual Environment. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 9, 63-76.


Geroimenko, V. & Phillips, M. (1999). Multi-user VRML environment for teaching VRML: immersive collaborative learning. Proceedings of the 1999 IEEE International Conference on Information Visualization, 45-47.


Gorman, P. J., Meier, A. H. & Krummel, T. M. (1999). Simulation and Virtual Reality in Surgical Education: Real or Unreal? Arch Surg, 134(11), 1203-1208.


Johnson, A., Moher, T., Ohlsson, S. & Gillingham, M. A. G. M. (1999). The Round Earth Project: deep learning in a collaborative virtual world. Proceedings of the Virtual Reality, 164-171. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/iel4/6131/16390/00756947.pdf?tp=&isnumber=&arnumber=756947


Slator, B. M., Juell, P., McClean, P. E., Saini-Eidukat, B., Schwert, D. P., White, A. R. & Hill, C. (1999). Virtual environments for education. Journal of Network and Computer Applications, 22(3), 161-174.


Brown, J. R. (2000). Enabling educational collaboration -- a new shared reality. Computers & Graphics, 24(2), 289-292.


Jelfs, A. & Whitelock, D. (2000). The notion of presence in virtual learning environments: what makes the environment "real". British Journal of Educational Technology, 31(2), 145-152.


Kameas, A., Pintelas, P., Mikropoulos, T. A., Katsikis, A. & Emvalotis, A. (2000). EIKON: Teaching a high-school technology course with the aid of virtual reality. Education and Information Technologies, 5, 305-315.


Kaufmann, H., Schmalstieg, D. & Wagner, M. (2000). Construct3D: A Virtual Reality Application for Mathematics and Geometry Education. Education and Information Technologies, 5, 263-276.


Kommers, P. (2000). Imagination through virtuality for in-depth learning. Proceedings of the International Workshop on Advanced Learning Technologies, 2000, 3-6.


Rizzo, A. A., Buckwalter, J. G., Bowerly, T., Van Der Zaag, C., Humphrey, L., Neumann, U., Chua, C., Kyriakakis, C., Van Rooyen, A. & Sisemore, D. (2000). The Virtual Classroom: A Virtual Reality Environment for the Assessment and Rehabilitation of Attention Deficits. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 3(3), 483-499.


Sánchez, Á., Barreiro, J. M. & Maojo, V. (2000). Design of Virtual Reality Systems for Education: A Cognitive Approach. Education and Information Technologies, 5, 345-362.


Bimber, O., Encarnação, L. M. & Stork, A. (2001). Mixed reality--beyond conventions. Computers & Graphics, 25(5), 727-730.


Chou, C., Tsai, C.-C. & Tsai, H.-F. (2001). Developing a networked VRML learning system for health science education in Taiwan. International Journal of Educational Development, 21(4), 293-303.


Shae, Z. Y., Tseng, B. & Leung, W. H. (2001). Immersive Whiteboard Collaborative System. Annals of Software Engineering, 12, 193-212.


Johnson, A., Leigh, J., Carter, B., Sosnoski, J. & Jones, S. (2002). Virtual Harlem. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 22(5), 61-67.


Schnabel, M. A. (2002). Collaborative studio in a virtual environment. Proceedings of the International Conference on Computers in Education, 337-341 vol.331.


Schwienhorst, K. (2002). The State of VR: A Meta-Analysis of Virtual Reality Tools in Second Language Acquisition. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 15, 221-239.


Wollensak, A. (2002). Curricular modules: 3D and immersive visualization tools for learning. Computers & Graphics, 26(4), 599-602.


Taxén, G. and A. Naeve (2002). "A system for exploring open issues in VR-based education." Computers & Graphics 26(4): 593-598.


Bakas, C. & Mikropoulos, T. (2003). Design of virtual environments for the comprehension of planetary phenomena based on students ideas. International Journal of Science Education, 25, 949-967.


Caudell, T., Summers, K. L., Holten, J., Hakamata, T., Mowafi, M., Jacobs, J., Lozanoff, B. K., Lozanoff, S., Wilks, D., Keep, M. F., Saiki, S. & Alverson, D. (2003). Virtual patient simulator for distributed collaborative medical education. The Anatomical Record, 270B(1), 23-29.


Dickey, M. D. (2003). Teaching in 3D: Pedagogical Affordances and Constraints of 3D Virtual Worlds for Synchronous Distance Learning. Distance Education, 24, 105-121.


Garshnek, V. (2003). Touching the future: applications of virtual reality technology to mental health concerns. International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management, 4, 411-420.


Jacobs, J., Caudell, T., Wilks, D., Keep, M. F., Mitchell, S., Buchanan, H., Saland, L., Rosenheimer, J., Lozanoff, B. K., Lozanoff, S., Saiki, S. & Alverson, D. (2003). Integration of advanced technologies to enhance problem-based learning over distance: Project TOUCH. The Anatomical Record, 270B(1), 16-22.


de Castell, S. & Jenson, J. (2004). Paying attention to attention: New economies for learning. Educational Theory, 54(4), 381-397.



Fraser, M. & Bjornsson, H. (2004). Real-time digital modelling in design education and practice. Urban Design International, 9, 187-196.


Gutierrez, M., Vexo, F. & Thalmann, D. (2004). The mobile animator: interactive character animation in collaborative virtual environments. Proceedings of the Proceedings. IEEE Virtual Reality, 125-284.


Lepouras, G., Katifori, A., Vassilakis, C. & Charitos, D. (2004). Real exhibitions in a virtual museum. Virtual Reality, 7, 120-128.


North, M., M., Sessum, J. & Zakalev, A. (2004). Immersive visualization tool for pedagogical practices of computer science concepts: a pilot study. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 19(3), 207-215.


Sojar, V., Stanisavljevic, D., Hribernik, M., Glusic, M., Kreuh, D., Velkavrh, U. & Fius, T. (2004). Liver surgery training and planning in 3D virtual space. International Congress Series, 1268, 390-394.



Dickey, M. D. (2005). Brave new (interactive) worlds: A review of the design affordances and constraints of two 3D virtual worlds as interactive learning environments. Interactive Learning Environments, 13(1), 121 - 137.


Jones, J., Morales, C. & Knezek, G. (2005). 3-Dimensional online learning environments: examining attitudes toward information technology between students in Internet-based 3-dimensional and face-to-face classroom instruction. Educational Media International, 42, 219-236.


Lu, J., Pan, Z., Lin, H., Zhang, M. & Shi, J. (2005). Virtual learning environment for medical education based on VRML and VTK. Computers & Graphics, 29(2), 283-288.


Minhas, A. & Ariyapperuma, S. (2005). Role of three dimensional (3D) modelling as a pedagogic tool for heritage and tourism studies. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training, S2C/7-S2C11.


Romano, N., Sharda, R. & Lucca, J. (2005). Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Requiring Immersive Presence (CSCLIP): An Introduction. Information Systems Frontiers, 7(1), 5-12.


Jones, M. G., Minogue, J., Tretter, T. R., Negishi, A. & Taylor, R. (2006). Haptic augmentation of science instruction: Does touch matter? Science Education, 90(1), 111-123.


Lim, C. P., Nonis, D. & Hedberg, J. (2006). Gaming in a 3D multiuser virtual environment: engaging students in Science lessons. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37(2), 211-231.


Lok, B., Ferdig, R., Raij, A., Johnsen, K., Dickerson, R., Coutts, J., Stevens, A. & Lind, D. (2006). Applying virtual reality in medical communication education: current findings and potential teaching and learning benefits of immersive virtual patients. Virtual Reality, 10, 185-195.


Pan, Z., Cheok, A. D., Yang, H., Zhu, J. & Shi, J. (2006). Virtual reality and mixed reality for virtual learning environments. Computers & Graphics, 30(1), 20-28.


Richard, E., Tijou, A., Richard, P. & Ferrier, J. L. (2006). Multi-modal virtual environments for education with haptic and olfactory feedback. Virtual Reality, 10, 207-225.


Arango, F., Chenghung, C., Esche, S. K. & Chassapis, C. (2007). A scenario for collaborative learning in virtual engineering laboratories. Proceedings of the 37th annual Frontiers in education conference - global engineering: knowledge without borders, opportunities without passports, F3G-7-F3G-12.


Barab, S. & Dede, C. (2007). Games and Immersive Participatory Simulations for Science Education: An Emerging Type of Curricula. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16, 1-3.


Bridge, P., Appleyard, R. M., Ward, J. W., Philips, R. & Beavis, A. W. (2007). The development and evaluation of a virtual radiotherapy treatment machine using an immersive visualisation environment. Computers & Education, 49(2), 481-494.


Ieronutti, L. & Chittaro, L. (2007). Employing virtual humans for education and training in X3D/VRML worlds. Computers & Education, 49(1), 93-109.


Morsi, R. & Jackson, E. (2007). Playing and learning? Educational gaming for engineering education. Proceedings of the 37th annual Frontiers in education conference - global engineering: knowledge without borders, opportunities without passports, F2H-1-F2H-6.


Sanders, R. L. (2007). The genesis of a virtual world revisited. International Journal of Web Based Communities, 3, 271-282.


Vera, L., Campos, R., Herrera, G. & Romero, C. (2007). Computer graphics applications in the education process of people with learning difficulties. Computers & Graphics, 31(4), 649-658.



Hubal, R. C., Fishbein, D. H., Sheppard, M. S., Paschall, M. J., Eldreth, D. L. & Hyde, C. T. (2008). How do varied populations interact with embodied conversational agents? Findings from inner-city adolescents and prisoners. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(3), 1104-1138.


Monahan, T., McArdle, G. & Bertolotto, M. (2008). Virtual reality for collaborative e-learning. Computers & Education, 50(4), 1339-1353.


Nam, C. S., Shu, J. & Chung, D. (2008). The roles of sensory modalities in collaborative virtual environments (CVEs). Computers in Human Behavior, 24(4), 1404-1417.


Prasolova-Førland, E. (2008). Analyzing place metaphors in 3D educational collaborative virtual environments. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(2), 185-204.


Price, C. B. Unreal PowerPoint(TM): Immersing PowerPoint presentations in a virtual computer game engine world. Computers in Human Behavior, In Press, Corrected Proof.


Cartelli, A., Maillet, K., Stansfield, M., Connolly, T., Jimoyiannis, A. & Magalhães, H. (2008). Towards a Framework for Identifying and Evaluating Best Practice in E-Learning and Virtual Campuses. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2008 (pp. 897-902). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.


Nazemi, K., Bhatti, N., Godehardt, E. & Hornung, C. (2007). Adaptive Tutoring in Virtual Learning Worlds. In C. Montgomerie & J. Seale (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2007 (pp. 2951-2959). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.


Lin, C., Kuo, M., Lin, Y., Chou, C. & van't Hooft, M. (2007). Facilitating Virtual Learning Community with Inhabited Virtual Learning Worlds. In C. Montgomerie & J. Seale (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2007 (pp. 3638-3643). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.


Lomas, C. (2007). Second Life for Learning: From virtual worlds to augmented classrooms, laboratories and field trips. In C. Montgomerie & J. Seale (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2007 (pp. 606-607). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. 


Lindeberg, C. & Kelly, O. (2004). CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT IN A VIRTUAL WORLD - virtual worlds as teaching aids. In L. Cantoni & C. McLoughlin (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2004 (pp. 3632-3635). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.


Jensen, J. (1999). 3D Inhabited Virtual Worlds Interactivity and interaction between avatars, autonomous agents, and users. In Proceedings of WebNet World Conference on the WWW and Internet 1999 (pp. 19-26). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.


Aoki, T., T. Tanikawa, et al. (2008). Virtual 3D World Construction by Inter-connecting Photograph-based 3D Models. Virtual Reality Conference, 2008. VR '08. IEEE.

We present a novel approach for constructing a virtual 3D world from a sparse set of 2D photograph images. In our approach, we do not construct a large 3D world directly from the images, instead we construct several 3D models from the images and inter-connect them. Each 3D model is photograph-based 3D model that constitutes a few faces and a high-resolution photographic texture image. By arranging some photograph-based 3D models in a 3D scene, we construct a virtual 3D world. To inter-connect these 3D models and represent a unified 3D world, we render the 3D models by blending them together according to view-point position and rotation. Using our novel approach, it is possible to semi-automatically construct a virtual 3D world from fewer photograph images.


Babu, S., E. Suma, et al. (2007). Can Immersive Virtual Humans Teach Social Conversational Protocols? Virtual Reality Conference, 2007. VR '07. IEEE.

We investigated the effects of using immersive virtual humans to teach users social conversational verbal and non-verbal protocols in south Indian culture. The study was conducted using a between-subjects experimental design, and compared instruction and interactive feedback from immersive virtual humans against instruction based on a written study guide with illustrations of the social protocols. Participants were then tested on how well they learned the social conversational protocols by exercising the social conventions in front of videos of real people. The results of our study suggest that participants who trained with the virtual humans performed significantly better than the participants who studied from literature.


Baillie-de Byl, P. and J. A. Taylor (2007). "A web 2.0/web3D hyprid platform for engaging students in e-learning environments." Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education 8(3): 108-127.

This paper explores the Web 2.0 ethos with respect to the application of pedagogy within 3D online virtual environments. 3D worlds can create a synthetic experience capturing the essence of being in a particular world or context. The AliveX3D platform adopts the Web 2.0 ethos and applies it to online 3D virtual environment forming a Web 2.0/Web3D hybrid that has wider usability than previous alternatives. This combined with the AliveX3D Scene Editor allows learning experiences, which are controlled by the learner, appear authentic and facilitate collaboration conversations to be developed simultaneously. This immersion enables learners to negotiate meaning based on their own personal cognitive, affective and kinaesthetic experiences rather than on the descriptions of others? experiences. We conclude by suggesting the choices embedded within the worlds allow the learning focus to shift away from isolated pre-designed interactions, to a situation that encourages the learner to control, manage and direct their own learning.


Brenton, H., J. Hernandez, et al. (2007). "Using multimedia and Web3D to enhance anatomy teaching." Computers & Education 49(1): 32-53.

Anatomy teaching is undergoing significant changes due to time constraints, limited availability of cadavers and technological developments in the areas of three-dimensional modelling and computer-assisted learning. This paper gives an overview of methods used to teach anatomy to undergraduate medical students and discusses the educational advantages and disadvantages of using three-dimensional computer models. A [`]work in progress' account is then given of a project to develop two Web3D resources to enhance undergraduate tuition of the nervous system. Our approach is to support existing curricula using advanced modelling tools and a variety of delivery mechanisms. The first resource is a three-dimensional model of the adult brachial plexus: a network of nerves extending from the neck down to the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers. This will be incorporated into existing didactic classroom teaching under the supervision of an anatomy teacher. The second resource is a piece of online courseware which will teach the embryological development of the brachial plexus. The delivery method will be the WebSET framework, a collaborative environment that allows a teacher to manipulate 3D models over the Web in real time whilst providing explanation and help to students. In this way the courseware can be used for both self-directed study and [`]virtual anatomy demonstrations' within an online peer group.


Bridge, P., R. M. Appleyard, et al. (2007). "The development and evaluation of a virtual radiotherapy treatment machine using an immersive visualisation environment." Computers & Education 49(2): 481-494.

Due to the lengthy learning process associated with complicated clinical techniques, undergraduate radiotherapy students can struggle to access sufficient time or patients to gain the level of expertise they require. By developing a hybrid virtual environment with real controls, it was hoped that group learning of these techniques could take place away from the clinical departments. This paper presents initial evaluation of the use of a three-dimensional immersive visualisation environment (IVE) to simulate a working radiotherapy treatment machine. A virtual patient complete with a range of different treatment sites was used to enhance learning and teaching of beam alignment in 3D. Pre- and post-questionnaires were used to evaluate the perceptions of 42-year 1 pre-registration students with regards to the learning that had taken place. 93% of students perceived an improvement in their understanding and confidence in their technical skills as a result of using the IVE. The mean overall improvement was 21.2% (p < 0.00001), and this was positively correlated to perceived realism of the application. The application was reported to be both realistic and enjoyable. Feedback suggested it has a role to play in development of technical skills and also pre-clinical induction. More work with the application is ongoing to clarify that role and the potential benefits of this technology.


Chittaro, L. and R. Ranon (2007). "Web3D technologies in learning, education and training: Motivations, issues, opportunities." Computers & Education 49(1): 3-18.

Web3D open standards allow the delivery of interactive 3D virtual learning environments through the Internet, reaching potentially large numbers of learners worldwide, at any time. This paper introduces the educational use of virtual reality based on Web3D technologies. After briefly presenting the main Web3D technologies, we summarize the pedagogical basis that motivate their exploitation in the context of education and highlight their interesting features. We outline the main positive and negative results obtained so far, and point out some of the current research directions.


Daeseok, K., Y. Youngwoo, et al. (2007). Visualizing Spray Paint Deposition in VR Training. Virtual Reality Conference, 2007. VR '07. IEEE.

We present a real-time simulation of spray painting incorporated into a VR environment as an alternative training system for ship-building industries. The system allows the user to try out a painting work on life-size structures with a spray gun. Our goal is to provide a trainee realistic painting experience in real-time as well as to represent the thickness of the deposited paint on the surface for evaluation of his performance. The Gaussian model is used for a painting deposition model, and texture mapping technique is utilized to provide efficient visual feedback. We also present effective collision detection methods for a volume of spray paint particles


Dillenbourg, P., Schneider, D., & Synteta, P. (2002). Virtual Learning Environments. 3rd Hellenic Conference "Information Communication Technologies in Education", Greece.

Is the concept of 'virtual learning environment' just a popular label to describe any educational

software? No, the concept includes several interesting features that justify the use of a specific

label. We review these features in the first part of our contribution. Do these features guarantee

pedagogical effects? No, we review in the second some potential contributions of virtual learning

environments.Turning potential effects intro actual outcomes is the challenge of designers.


Gabbard, J. L., J. E. Swan, et al. (2007). Active Text Drawing Styles for Outdoor Augmented Reality: A User-Based Study and Design Implications. Virtual Reality Conference, 2007. VR '07. IEEE.

A challenge in presenting augmenting information in outdoor augmented reality (AR) settings lies in the broad range of uncontrollable environmental conditions that may be present, specifically large-scale fluctuations in natural lighting and wide variations in likely backgrounds or objects in the scene. In this paper, we present a active AR testbed that samples the user's field of view, and collects outdoor illuminance values at the participant's position. The main contribution presented herein is a user-based study (conducted using the testbed) that examined the effects on user performance of four outdoor background textures, four text colors, three text drawing styles, and two text drawing style algorithms for a text identification task using an optical, see-through AR system. We report significant effects for all these variables, and discuss design guidelines and ideas for future work


Gerbaud, S., N. Mollet, et al. (2008). GVT: a platform to create virtual environments for procedural training. Virtual Reality Conference, 2008. VR '08. IEEE.

The use of virtual environments for training is strongly stimulated by important needs for training on sensitive equipments. Yet, developing such an application is often done without reusing existing components, which requires a huge amount of time. We present in this paper a full authoring platform to facilitate the development of both new virtual environments and pedagogical information for procedural training. This platform, named GVT (generic virtual training) relies on innovative models and provides authoring tools which allow capitalizing on the developments realized. We present a generic model named STORM, used to describe reusable behaviors for 3D objects and reusable interactions between those objects. We also present a scenario language named LORA which allows non computer scientists to author various and complex sequences of tasks in a virtual scene. Based on those models, as an industrial validation with Nexter-Group, more than fifty operational scenarios of maintenance training on military equipments have been realized so far. We have also set up an assessment campaign, and we expose in this paper the first results which show that GVT enables trainees to learn procedures efficiently. The platform keeps on evolving and training on collaborative procedures will soon be available.


Glencross, M., C. Jay, et al. (2007). Effective Cooperative Haptic Interaction over the Internet. Virtual Reality Conference, 2007. VR '07. IEEE.

We present a system that enables, for the first time, effective transatlantic cooperative haptic manipulation of objects whose motion is computed using a physically-based model. We propose a technique for maintaining synchrony between simulations in a peer-to-peer system, while providing responsive direct manipulation for all users. The effectiveness of this approach is determined through extensive user trials involving concurrent haptic manipulation of a shared object. A CAD assembly task, using physically-based motion simulation and haptic feedback, was carried out between the USA and the UK with network latencies in the order of 120ms. We compare the effects of latency on synchrony between peers over the Internet with a low latency (0.5ms) local area network. Both quantitatively and qualitatively, when using our technique, the performance achieved over the Internet is comparable to that on a LAN. As such, this technique constitutes a significant step forward for distributed haptic collaboration


Ieronutti, L. and L. Chittaro (2007). "Employing virtual humans for education and training in X3D/VRML worlds." Computers & Education 49(1): 93-109.

Web-based education and training provides a new paradigm for imparting knowledge; students can access the learning material anytime by operating remotely from any location. Web3D open standards, such as X3D and VRML, support Web-based delivery of Educational Virtual Environments (EVEs). EVEs have a great potential for learning and training purposes, by allowing one to circumvent physical, safety, and cost constraints. Unfortunately, EVEs often leave to the user the onus of taking the initiative both in exploring the environment and interacting with its parts. A possible solution to this problem is the exploitation of virtual humans acting as informal coaches or more formal instructors. For example, virtual humans can be employed to show and explain maintenance procedures, allowing learners to receive more practical explanations which are easier to understand. However, virtual humans are rarely used in Web3D EVEs, since the programming effort to develop and re-use them in different environments can be considerable. In this paper, we present a general architecture that allows content creators to easily integrate virtual humans into Web3D EVEs. To test the generality of our solution, we present two practical examples showing how the proposed architecture has been used in different educational contexts.


Irawati, S., A. Sangchul, et al. (2008). VARU Framework: Enabling Rapid Prototyping of VR, AR and Ubiquitous Applications. Virtual Reality Conference, 2008. VR '08. IEEE.


John, N. W. (2007). "The impact of Web3D technologies on medical education and training." Computers & Education 49(1): 19-31.

This paper provides a survey of medical applications that make use of Web3D technologies, covering the period from 1995 to 2005. We assess the impact that Web3D has made on medical education and training during this time and highlight current and future trends. The applications identified are categorized into: general education tools; tools for diagnosis; procedures training; and collaborative training. A summary of work that has been carried out to validate these tools is also included in the survey.


Johnsen, K. and B. Lok (2008). An Evaluation of Immersive Displays for Virtual Human Experiences. Virtual Reality Conference, 2008. VR '08. IEEE.

This paper compares a large-screen display to a non-stereo head-mounted display (HMD) for a virtual human (VH) experience. As VH experiences are increasingly being applied to training, it is important to understand the effect of immersive displays on user interaction with VHs. Results are reported from a user study (n=27) of 10 minute human-VH interactions in a VH experience which allows medical students to practice communication skills with VH patients. Results showed that student self-ratings of empathy, a critical doctor-patient communication skill, were significantly higher in the HMD; however, when compared to observations of student behavior, students using the large-screen display were able to more accurately reflect on their use of empathy. More work is necessary to understand why the HMD inhibits students' ability to self-reflect on their use of empathy.


Kitamura, Y., T. Nakashima, et al. (2007). The IllusionHole for Medical Applications. Virtual Reality Conference, 2007. VR '07. IEEE.

In this study, we discuss a display table suitable for collaborative work environments for medical use. Using an interactive stereoscopic display system allows simultaneous observation of accurate stereoscopic images generated from volume data. We further investigate all requirements for design guidelines of the display system, including hardware configuration, rendering software to generate the stereoscopic images, and the interface system to operate the displayed images


Kumagai, T., J. Yamashita, et al. (2008). Distance Education System for Teaching Manual Skills in Endoscopic Paranasal Sinus Surgery Using ¿HyperMirror¿ Telecommunication Interface. Virtual Reality Conference, 2008. VR '08. IEEE.

We have developed a distance education system for developing skills in endoscopic paranasal sinus surgery, to enable efficient remote training of novices in manual skills such as their standing position and posture, and the insertion angle/depth and holding of surgical instruments. The system uses a precise model of human paranasal sinuses and the ¿HyperMirror¿ (HM) telecommunication interface. HM is a virtual mirror allowing clear visualization of differences in manual operation between the trainee and remote expert. This paper outlines the proposed system and describes remote training experiments between two locations 200 miles apart. In the experiments, two expert surgeons trained 17 novices for 40 to 60 min on probing of the nasofrontal duct and aspiration of the maxillary sinus, and subjectively evaluated their manual skills. The results showed that most of the novices improved their manual skills and were able to complete each procedure.


Kurillo, G., R. Bajcsy, et al. (2008). Immersive 3D Environment for Remote Collaboration and Training of Physical Activities. Virtual Reality Conference, 2008. VR '08. IEEE.

In this paper we present a framework for immersive virtual environment intended for remote collaboration and training of physical activities. Our multi-camera system performs full-body 3D reconstruction of human user(s) in real time and renders their image in the virtual space allowing remote users to interact. The paper features a short overview of the technology used for the capturing and reconstruction. Some of the applications where we have successfully demonstrated use of the system in combination with the tele-immersive virtual environment are described. Finally, we address current drawbacks with regard to data capturing and networking and provide some ideas for future work.


Lazarus, T., G. A. Martin, et al. (2008). E-MAT: The Extremities-Multiple Application Trainer for Haptic-based Medical Training. Virtual Reality Conference, 2008. VR '08. IEEE.

Research in medical simulation has existed for many years. However, the incorporation of haptics into such simulations has been increasing in years. Similarly, the use of medical simulation has also been increasing. We present an inexpensive, portable system for training hemorrhage control. While our focus has been on combat medics, the system, known as the extremities-multiple application training (or E-MAT), can apply across all medical fields and support multiple procedures. E-MAT can operate in a stand-alone mode or integrated with a host PC or PDA application.


Limniou, M., D. Roberts, et al. "Full immersive virtual environment CAVETM in chemistry education." Computers & Education In Press, Corrected Proof.

By comparing two-dimensional (2D) chemical animations designed for computer's desktop with three-dimensional (3D) chemical animations designed for the full immersive virtual reality environment CAVETM we studied how virtual reality environments could raise student's interest and motivation for learning. By using the 3ds maxTM, we can visualize the chemical phenomena easily and quickly without knowing any special computer language and export the application to files which are compatible with the CAVETM (Object or OpenGL files). After the participation in 3D animations at the CAVETM students comprehended the molecules' structure and their changes during a chemical reaction better than during the 2D animations on the computer's desktop, as the limitations of human vision had been overcome. Furthermore, the students were enthusiastic, as they had the feeling that they were inside the chemical reactions and they were facing the 3D molecules as if they were real objects front of them.

Monahan, T., G. McArdle, et al. (2008). "Virtual reality for collaborative e-learning." Computers & Education 50(4): 1339-1353.

 In the past, the term e-learning referred to any method of learning that used electronic delivery methods. With the advent of the Internet however, e-learning has evolved and the term is now most commonly used to refer to online courses. A multitude of systems are now available to manage and deliver learning content online. While these have proved popular, they are often single-user learning environments which provide little in the way of interaction or stimulation for the student. As the concept of lifelong learning now becomes a reality and thus more and more people are partaking in online courses, researchers are constantly exploring innovative techniques to motivate online students and enhance the e-learning experience. This article presents our research in this area and the resulting development of CLEV-R, a Collaborative Learning Environment with Virtual Reality. This web-based system uses Virtual Reality (VR) and multimedia and provides communication tools to support collaboration among students. In this article, we describe the features of CLEV-R, its adaptation for mobile devices and present the findings from an initial evaluation.


Mzoughi, T., S. D. Herring, et al. (2007). "WebTOP: A 3D interactive system for teaching and learning optics." Computers & Education 49(1): 110-129.

WebTOP is a three-dimensional, Web-based, interactive computer graphics system that helps instructors teach and students learn about waves and optics. Current subject areas include waves, geometrical optics, reflection and refraction, polarization, interference, diffraction, lasers, and scattering. Some of the topics covered are suited for introductory level physics students while others are suited for intermediate optics students. WebTOP is developed with a flexible interface to suit the various needs of instructors and students. Many of the features lend themselves to classroom use or self-guided study. WebTOP is implemented using VRML, Java, JavaScript, and VRML's Java EAI.


Navab, N., M. Feuerstein, et al. (2007). Laparoscopic Virtual Mirror New Interaction Paradigm for Monitor Based Augmented Reality. Virtual Reality Conference, 2007. VR '07. IEEE.

A major roadblock for using augmented reality in many medical and industrial applications is the fact that the user cannot take full advantage of the 3D virtual data. This usually requires the user to move the virtual object, which disturbs the real/virtual alignment, or to move his head around the real objects, which is not always possible and/or practical. This problem becomes more dramatic when a single camera is used for monitor based augmentation, such as in augmented laparoscopic surgery. In this paper we introduce an interaction and 3D visualization paradigm, which presents a new solution to this old problem. The interaction paradigm uses an interactive virtual mirror positioned into the augmented scene, which allows easy and complete interactive visualization of 3D virtual data. This paper focuses on the exemplary application of such visualization techniques to laparoscopic interventions. A large number of such interventions aims at regions inside a specific organ, e.g. blood vessels to be clipped for tumor resection. We use high-resolution intra-operative imaging data generated by a mobile C-arm with cone-beam CT imaging capability. Both the C-arm and the laparoscope are optically tracked and registered in a common world coordinate frame. After patient positioning, port placement, and carbon dioxide insufflation, a C-arm volume is reconstructed during patient exhalation and superimposed in real time on the laparoscopic live video without any need for an additional patient registration procedure. To overcome the missing perception of 3D depth and shape when rendering virtual volume data directly on top of the organ's surface view, we introduce the concept of a laparoscopic virtual mirror: A virtual reflection plane within the live laparoscopic video, which is able to visualize a reflected side view of the organ and its interior. This enables the surgeon to observe the 3D structure of, for example, blood vessels by moving the virtual mirror within the augmen- ted monocular view of the laparoscope.


Persson, P. B., M. D. Cooper, et al. (2007). Designing and Evaluating a Haptic System for Biomolecular Education. Virtual Reality Conference, 2007. VR '07. IEEE.

In this paper we present an in situ evaluation of a haptic system, with a representative test population, we aim to determine what, if any, benefit haptics can have in a biomolecular education context. We have developed a haptic application for conveying concepts of molecular interactions, specifically in protein-ligand docking. Utilizing a semi-immersive environment with stereo graphics, users are able to manipulate the ligand and feel its interactions in the docking process. The evaluation used cognitive knowledge tests and interviews focused on learning gains. Compared with using time efficiency as the single quality measure this gives a better indication of a system's applicability in an educational environment. Surveys were used to gather opinions and suggestions for improvements. Students do gain from using the application in the learning process but the learning appears to be independent of the addition of haptic feedback. However the addition of force feedback did decrease time requirements and improved the students understanding of the docking process in terms of the forces involved, as is apparent from the students' descriptions of the experience. The students also indicated a number of features which could be improved in future development


Piccoli, G., R. Ahmad, et al. (2001). "Web-Based Virtual Learning Environments: A Research Framework and a Preliminary Assessment of Effectiveness in Basic IT Skills Training." MIS Quarterly 25(4): 401-426.


Poullis, C., S. You, et al. (2008). Rapid Creation of Large-scale Photorealistic Virtual Environments. Virtual Reality Conference, 2008. VR '08. IEEE.

The rapid and efficient creation of virtual environments has become a crucial part of virtual reality applications. In particular, civil and defense applications often require and employ detailed models of operations areas for training, simulations of different scenarios, planning for natural or man-made events, monitoring, surveillance, games and films. A realistic representation of the large-scale environments is therefore imperative for the success of such applications since it increases the immersive experience of its users and helps reduce the difference between physical and virtual reality. However, the task of creating such large-scale virtual environments still remains a time-consuming and manual work. In this work we propose a novel method for the rapid reconstruction of photorealistic large-scale virtual environments. First, a novel parameterized geometric primitive is presented for the automatic building detection, identification and reconstruction of building structures. In addition, buildings with complex roofs containing non-linear surfaces are reconstructed interactively using a non-linear primitive. Secondly, we present a rendering pipeline for the composition of photorealistic textures which unlike existing techniques it can recover missing or occluded texture information by integrating multiple information captured from different optical sensors (ground, aerial and satellite).


Ramasundaram, V., S. Grunwald, et al. (2005). "Development of an environmental virtual field laboratory." Computers & Education 45(1): 21-34.

Laboratory exercises, field observations and field trips are a fundamental part of many earth science and environmental science courses. Field observations and field trips can be constrained because of distance, time, expense, scale, safety, or complexity of real-world environments. Our objectives were to develop an environmental virtual field laboratory to study environmental properties and processes that stimulate the higher-order cognitive skills of students. We considered the following criteria for our virtual field laboratory: (i) global access, i.e., web-based implementation; (ii) simulation of a variety of learning mechanisms; (iii) interactivity to engage students; (iv) compartmentalization and hierarchical organizational structure; (v) abstraction of 2D and 3D geographic objects (e.g. soils, terrain) and dynamic ecosystem processes (e.g. water flow) using geostatistics and scientific visualization techniques. Cognitive science was considered during the design of our computer-aided instructional tools to enhance the effectiveness for learning. Our virtual field laboratory mimicked the students' learning processes that operate during real field trips and/or field observations; and provided students with a simulation environment to study environmental processes in space and time that cannot be provided on a real field trip. We implemented the following learning mechanisms: (i) exploration-based learning; (ii) analogy-based learning; (iii) science inquiry learning; (iv) abstraction-based learning. To engage students in our environmental virtual field laboratory, we implemented multiple interactivity functions including the exploration of 3D models and adaptive selective simulations. We used Virtual Reality Modeling Language, Java, Java Script, and External Authoring Interface to develop the environmental virtual field laboratory for a 42-ha flatwood site in Florida for which extensive datasets existed. Our digital learning environment offers potential to enhance existing on-campus courses and/or distance education courses.


Rueda, S., P. Morillo, et al. (2007). On the Characterization of Peer-To-Peer Distributed Virtual Environments. Virtual Reality Conference, 2007. VR '07. IEEE.

Large scale distributed virtual environments (DVEs) have become a major trend in distributed applications, mainly due to the enormous popularity of multi-player online games in the entertainment industry. Since architectures based on networked servers seem to be not scalable enough to support massively multi-player applications, peer-to-peer (P2P) architectures have been proposed as an efficient and truly scalable solution for this kind of systems. However, in order to design efficient DVEs based on peer-to-peer architectures these systems must be characterized, measuring the impact of different client behaviors on system performance. This paper presents the experimental characterization of peer-to-peer distributed virtual environments in regard to well-known performance metrics in distributed systems. Characterization results show that system saturation is inherently avoided due to the peer-to-peer scheme, as it could be expected. Also, these results show that the saturation of a given client exclusively has an effect on the surrounding clients in the virtual world, having no noticeable effect at all on the rest of avatars. Finally, the characterization results show that the response time offered to client computers greatly depends on the number of new connections that these clients have to make when new neighbors appear in the virtual world. These results can be used as the basis for an efficient design of peer-to-peer DVE systems.


Scheibe, R., M. Moehring, et al. (2007). Tactile Feedback at the Finger Tips for Improved Direct Interaction in Immersive Environments. Virtual Reality Conference, 2007. VR '07. IEEE.

We present a new tactile feedback system for finger-based interactions in immersive virtual reality applications that consists of shape memory alloy wires wrapped around tracked linger thimbles. The wires touch the inside of the finger tips and provide an impression when they are shortened. We use this system to communicate linger contacts with virtual objects in an application for usability and reachability studies of car interiors. Our experiments and an initial pilot study revealed that this type of feedback helps users to perform direct manipulation tasks with more reliability


Shih-Ching, Y., J. Stewart, et al. (2007). VR Aided Motor Training for Post-Stroke Rehabilitation: System Design, Clinical Test, Methodology for Evaluation. Virtual Reality Conference, 2007. VR '07. IEEE.

This paper describes interdisciplinary work on developing a virtual reality (VR) aided motor training task for post-stroke rehabilitation on functional deficits of the upper extremity: static reaching. Patient-specific and human-centered design of the VR system was addressed from the physical therapist's perspective. The two main features of the system were that it could actively drive the human kinetic behavior based on the therapist's rehabilitation goals and capture the patient's kinetic performance in an accurate way. A three-month clinical trial of this VR task was conducted with five post-stroke patients. To analyze the collected data, a methodology was proposed to visualize the patient's current status and progression over time based on three kinematics measures: performance time, movement efficiency, and moving speed. Results from the analysis clearly reveal the current status of the patient's hand and arm movement with respect to his/her range of motion, comprising pitch, yaw and arm length. Further, evidence of progress was found and visualized quantitatively over a series of practice sessions. Along with several conventional behavioral assessments at three points: pre-training, mid-training and post-training, the patient's progress was identified as well. Finally, human factors, such as perception of difficulty, confidence of movement, and system usability, were measured and studied.


Sims, E. M. (2007). "Reusable, lifelike virtual humans for mentoring and role-playing." Computers & Education 49(1): 75-92.

Lifelike, interactive digital characters, serving as mentors and role-playing actors, have been shown to significantly improve learner motivation and retention. However, the cost of modeling such characters, authoring and editing their interactions, and delivering them over limited-bandwidth connections can be prohibitive. This paper describes a framework, authoring tools, and Web-based run-time environment that support the creation of training scenarios using digital virtual humans and other reusable 3D components. By conforming to the Humanoid Animation (H-Anim), Extensible 3D, and ADL Shareable Content Object Reference Model specifications, these 3D components are designed to promote reuse and interoperability at several levels. Recently, these software tools were used to develop prototype lessons in foreign language and cultural familiarization for use at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. These lessons include simulations in which the student, taking the role of a US soldier, interacts with the local population of a foreign culture in authentic situations, using both English and the local dialect. Digital virtual humans are used to represent not only the soldier, and the role-playing actors; but also a mentor who reviews language and cultural learning points, and provides remediation. Using these prototype lessons as examples, we review the potential advantages of the technology in other training applications.


Sun, K.-t., Y.-c. Lin, et al. (2008). "A study on learning effect among different learning styles in a Web-based lab of science for elementary school students." Computers & Education 50(4): 1411-1422.

The purpose of this study is to explore the learning effect related to different learning styles in a Web-based virtual science laboratory for elementary school students. The online virtual lab allows teachers to integrate information and communication technology (ICT) into science lessons. The results of this experimental teaching method demonstrate that: (a) students in the experimental group using the online virtual lab achieved better grades than those in the control group under traditional class instruction, (b) in the experimental group, grade achievements of students having different learning styles were not significantly different from each other leading us to conclude that the Web-based virtual learning environment is suitable for various learning styles, (c) students with the "accommodator" learning style made the most significant achievements in this study, the scores obtained by the experimental group being remarkably better than those in the control group, and (d) up to 75% of the students surveyed indicated that they preferred using the Web-based virtual lab to reading textbooks only. The results of the experimental teaching and the survey show the feasibility and effectiveness of the Web-based learning environment being studied. It encourages further development of the Web-based virtual lab.


Taxén, G. and A. Naeve (2002). "A system for exploring open issues in VR-based education." Computers & Graphics 26(4): 593-598.

Virtual reality has been shown to be an effective way of teaching difficult concepts to learners. However, a number of important questions related to learning, immersion, collaboration and realism remain to be answered before truly efficient virtual learning environments can be designed. We present CyberMath, an extendable avatar-based shared virtual environment for teaching and exploration of non-trivial mathematics that allows further study of these issues.


Taylor, M. J., D. C. Pountney, et al. (2008). "Using animation to support the teaching of computer game development techniques." Computers & Education 50(4): 1258-1268.

In this paper, we examine the potential use of animation for supporting the teaching of some of the mathematical concepts that underlie computer games development activities, such as vector and matrix algebra. An experiment was conducted with a group of UK undergraduate computing students to compare the perceived usefulness of animated and static learning materials for teaching such concepts. Undergraduate computer game development courses are currently a growing area of UK higher education. Computer game development can often involve the use of mathematical modelling of two-dimensional and three-dimensional computer game objects and their interactions. Overall, it appeared that animated learning materials appeared to be perceived as being more useful to undergraduate computer games students than traditional learning materials for learning such concepts.


Ungyeon, Y., G. A. Lee, et al. (2007). Virtual Reality based Paint Spray Training System. Virtual Reality Conference, 2007. VR '07. IEEE.

We present a virtual reality (VR) system that simulates the situation of ship block spray painting. The system was developed under demands from ship building industry for training purpose. We designed an immersive stereo display platform, a realistic spray painting rendering technique and intuitive user interface to match with the real working environment. The system is currently under user-test in the ship building company with receiving positive responses.


Wall, J. and V. Ahmed (2008). "Use of a simulation game in delivering blended lifelong learning in the construction industry - Opportunities and Challenges." Computers & Education 50(4): 1383-1393.

Continuing professional development (CPD) and life-long learning are vital to both individual and organisational success. For higher education, the intensive resource requirements requisite in the development of e-learning content and the challenges in accommodating different learning styles, developing an e-learning program can be a resource intensive exercise. A blended learning program has been developed in Ireland in an attempt to address the CPD needs of Irish construction professionals. This initiative attempts to strike a balance between the considerable resources required in the development of an e-learning initiative while addressing staff concerns in integrating technology in the delivery of programs. This pilot explores the issues encountered in integrating a simulation game, called MERIT, on a module as part of this blended learning program. The key finding from this research indicates that simulation games can play a very effective role in the delivery of lifelong learning opportunities aimed at the construction industry. However, management of the integration of a simulation game into a program requires careful planning, establishing key milestone dates and encouraging online collaboration through assigning of marks for effort and use of voice over IP communications.


Wingrave, C. A. and D. A. Bowman (2008). Tiered Developer-Centric Representations for 3D Interfaces: Concept-Oriented Design in Chasm. Virtual Reality Conference, 2008. VR '08. IEEE.

In our experience, novel ideas for 3D interaction techniques greatly outpace developers' ability to implement them, despite the potential benefit of these ideas. We believe this is due to the inherent implementation complexity of 3D interfaces, without sufficient support from methods and tools. Believing a developer-centric representation could overcome this problem, we investigated developer practices, artifacts and language. This resulted in the theory of concept-oriented design and Chasm, a prototype realization of the theory. The key feature of concept-oriented design is its use of developer-centric representations to create a multi-tiered implementation, ranging from an envisioned behavior expressed in conversational language to low-level code. Evaluation of Chasm by domain experts and its use in multiple case studies has demonstrated that concept-oriented design in Chasm enabled developers to represent an exponential growth in 3D interface complexity with only a linear growth in implementation complexity. Positive comments by developers further support the developer-centric representation.


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