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TELT & EECS collaborate to pilot virtual avatars and environments

25 March 2024 Posted in: Articles By: Zaheer Daleel

Mozilla Hubs Platform Image. Copyright: Mozilla Hubs








The Technology Enhanced Learning Team (TELT) continue to collaborate with academics and colleagues across QMUL to analyse the impact technology can have on the student experience. This month, (TELT) began a new pilot scheme with the school of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) to develop 3D models and virtual environments via the Mozilla Hubs platform.Mozilla Classroom (test pilot session)

Already a popular virtual platform for educators, teams, and organisations across the globe, QMUL hope that deploying learning resources on Mozilla Hubs will encourage and enhance collaborative learning. EECS students on their BUPT programme will use an accessible space to make their own, share ideas, and provide support to each other as they progress through their programme.

The main goal of this intervention is to improve students’ learning experience and sense of belonging, by providing an inclusive learning environment. It is linked to the “excellence in learning environment” and “excellence in student engagement” aspects of the 2030 Strategy.Mozilla Avatars (from Mozilla Hubs Test Pilot)

Using virtual imitations and environments, students will participate in various activities and interact with each other using personalised avatars. Students will upload learning materials such as recorded videos and simulations in 3D in virtual learning spaces. The students, represented by their personal avatar (virtual embodied agent), would then meet in small groups to discuss course content, and collaborate to solve problems. Social meeting spaces will be used by students to connect with each other, and the design and implementation of these spaces will involve students themselves (co-creation).

The lead academic, Marie-Luce Bourguet has highlighted several benefits this pilot will bring, including higher active engagement, better student appreciation for group work, and improving the students’ learning experience while also providing an inclusive environment.

I have been exploring co-creation and immersive learning for several years now, collaborating with students to develop Augmented and Virtual Reality learning resources. Learning about the development of new learning experiences in the Metaverse from colleagues in the Immersive Research Learning Network (iLRN) inspired me to embark on this pilot project. The Mozilla Hubs platform offers the potential to enhance immersive learning by enabling students to learn together in a secure and inclusive virtual environment.

The opportunity to create their own customised virtual learning environments are particularly appealing to the students participating in the pilot. Looking ahead, I believe that virtual learning environments like Mozilla Hubs have the potential to enhance students’ learning experiences, foster a sense of belonging, and promote overall well-being by providing an inclusive learning environment. I extend my heartfelt thanks to Zaheer Daleel, Megan Jones and Phil Goodfellow for enthusiastically supporting this pilot project.

– Marie-Luce Bourguet
School of Electronic Engineering & Computer Science (Science & Engineering)

This pilot is due to run for three months at which point its opportunities and challenges will be analysed and evaluated. We wish Marie-Luce and her students well and look forward to seeing the outcomes of their work. TELT are involved in several innovative solutions to meet the needs of our academic professionals and their students, and will continue to showcase them in forthcoming editions of the TELT newsletter.

Article Co-written: Zaheer Daleel (TEL Enhancement Manager) & Marie-Luce Bourguet (EECS)

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