In the “virtually getting together” project, we decided to focus on the online learning and created a VR campus on Mozilla Hub.
Emphasizing & Brainstorming
Since we all have plenty of experience on online learning, we are all aware of the problem produced when zoom meeting substitutes face-to-face teaching — the lack of interaction. I talked with some of my teachers, they all confirmed that the interaction is obviously decreased. Through the VR hub, students can express their basic feelings with head movement and hub interaction features, and seeing each other’s character would give them a sense of actually being in the campus.
Design & Implementation
The interview & need-finding work were conducted by my partners, then Andrew and me began to work on the implementation of the 3D model used by VR. We’ve proposed a Zen Garden scene to replace the traditional classroom, and put the lecture hall, breakout room and some other decorations into the planning part. Andrew then created a blender model implementing the basic design; I added the garden part to the model, migrated it to the Mozilla Hub and added hub components to the scene. For example, the water and particle emitter are used in the pond to settle the relaxing and focusing atmosphere; the audio zones in the breakout room are used to reduce interference from other groups while keeping the original layout.
We received a lot of feedbacks from the usability testing period. We’ve implemented other scenes based on that: for example a classic classroom as some users mentioned that it would be better to have a feeling of in the school.
Based on the scene we’ve built, I also made the demo video with some recordings of usability testing.
This time we did the whole project in a timely manner, and the quality of each part is prominently increased, as most of our ideas can be fully considered. 3D modeling is also a new thing for me to try, and with the help of my teammate, I’ve learned a lot on the building of model although it is a really challenging work.
For the VR classroom, I also have some further thoughts on utilizing body/facial sensor to provide more interaction. The Apple Memoji (based on Face ID) is a great way to show students’ facial expression or body language on the model during a class, although it is hard to implement such technical thing in this project, I believe this could be a trend in the future of VR getting together.