Integrating augmented and virtual reality more strongly into teaching and research at NRW universities – this is one of the goals of the project “AR/VR.nrw – Augmented and Virtual Reality in University Teaching”. It is now being funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Digital University NRW (DH.NRW) for three years with around 1.5 million euros as part of the “Digital Tools in University Teaching” program. Together with Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, RWTH Aachen University and Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences, the Institute for Systems Research in Information, Communication and Media Technology (SIKoM) and the Chair of Technologies and Management of Digital Transformation (TMDT) at the University of Wuppertal are one of five partnes to receive funding.
Using Augmented and Virtual Reality in higher education
Considering the increasing importance of AR and VR for the support and design of learning processes, the current state of development and dissemination is not satisfactory: “There are many isolated solutions for specific requirements, but the often monolithic software systems are mostly hardly transferable or adaptable to new use cases,” explains Prof. Meisen. A lack of compatibility between the systems as well as the fact that most developments are not available as open source stand in the way of a cooperation of ongoing projects as well as a broad transfer into different teaching and learning settings. “The content design of applications by teachers or learners also requires in-depth information technology expertise, including programming skills, as well as high time and personnel resources for most systems to date,” says Meisen.
Against this background, the “AR/VR.nrw” project opens up two perspectives: First, a solution is being developed, tested and made available that teachers with little IT expertise can use and fill with their own teaching content via an authoring tool. Secondly, the developed solution will be available as open source so that researchers and developers at universities in NRW can further develop it for new research and teaching purposes. In addition, exemplary learning scenarios will be developed and services offered to universities to support teachers in the use and development of their own AR/VR teaching and learning content.
“With the help of this approach, the basis is being created for university lecturers, research groups and students to develop their own AR/VR content, exchange it across universities and thus succeed in integrating this technology on a broad scale,” says the Wuppertal project manager. Likewise, the open-source approach will allow future research and development on AR and VR to be based on an existing system, thus stimulating interdisciplinary research in NRW.
With the “Digital Tools in University Teaching” program, the Ministry of Culture and Science and the Digital University NRW (DH.NRW) are funding the cross-university production of digital tools to the tune of around four million euros. The five selected projects, each involving collaboration between at least three universities, will receive up to 1.5 million euros.
The program is part of the statewide digitization offensive with which the ministry is supporting universities in NRW to jointly coordinate and develop their digitization strategies in teaching, learning, research and infrastructure.
AR/VR.nrw aims to integrate the key technologies augmented and virtual reality more strongly into teaching and research at universities and to improve collaboration in this area. For this purpose, software will be developed and made available under an open source license. In addition, exemplary learning scenarios will be developed and services for universities will be established to support teachers in the use and development of their own AR/VR teaching and learning content.
- Consortium leader: HS Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
- Consortium: RWTH Aachen, University of Wuppertal, HS Hamm-Lippstadt
- Duration: 09/2020 – 08/2023