Visual Collaboration and Learning Practices in 3D Virtual Environments

Background

Working together benefits from colleagues, team partners, or peers being in the same place. Virtual environments in general attempt to provide a setting in which the users or visitors feels present, i.e. have a sense of “being there”. Online Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVE) are understood as a special form of Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVE) which are rendered as virtual three-dimensional venues, in which users are represented by personalized avatars.

Motivation

It is still unclear what value MUVE could add to the existing modes of communication and collaboration, just as it is unclear which features and enhancements are needed to maximize the benefit of using them. I believe that being represented as customizable avatars in a configurable 3D virtual environment allows for innovative, valuable new forms of collaborating.

Area of Work

My research aimed at improving collaboration in these virtual environments by first systematizing and formalizing the necessary elements for collaboration in virtual 3D spaces; secondly by identifying existing and also developing novel collaboration patterns which can be described in that formalism; and thirdly to evaluate their effectiveness experimentally and to compare them to other online and offline collaboration arrangements.

My PhD thesis supervisor was Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler.


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