AGOCG logo
Graphics Multimedia VR Visualisation Contents
Training Reports Workshops Briefings Index
This report is also available as an Acrobat file.
Back Next Contents
The Design of Virtual Environments with particular reference to VRML


1 A variety of courses in Higher Education should deal with VR as a rich and complex subject, offering a wide range of conceptual and technical approaches.

Disciplines and departments suitable to make a contribution include (but are not limited to) Computer Science, Art and Design, Psychology, Sociology, Critical Studies.

In future, VR is likely to offer new opportunities for study and creative work to disciplines as diverse as Ethnography or Drama, in the sense that VR can be the subject and the site of these studies, not simply the medium by which teaching and learning may take place.

Single-discipline courses dealing with VR should aim to inform themselves and their students of the possible contribution of other disciplines, through reading-lists (including URLs) and the provision of AGOCG SIMA materials.

It is not too soon to establish Masters programmes specifically geared to the design of networked spatial objects and environments.

2 VR projects should aim where possible to be strongly multi-disciplinary. The construction of Virtual Environments should be seen as a design problem in the broadest sense. Teamwork will be necessary (and this is a skill which should be built into the teaching of the designers).

3 VR project teams should take advantage of the fact that there are few rules' as to what a Virtual Environment should be like. But they should also aim to harness the wide range of knowledge embodied in precursor and contributory disciplines such as Fine Art, Literature, Perception Studies, Architecture, Product Design, Theatrical Design and others.

4 VR projects with an educational remit should recall at all times the criteria of educational effectiveness. The drawbacks as well as the advantages of various aspects should be evaluated, including the effects of concretising information, of appropriateness of spatial metaphors and of the interface.

5 Regarding shared worlds, they should be investigated to support distance tutoring and research, but with caution - to ensure that the social grouping effect of actual meeting is not lost. They should supplement real tutorial and seminars, not replace them (at least at present until the issues are resolved).

6 A multiplicity of models and worlds is required, in order for a threshold of spatial literacy' to be reached. The making of models by different disciplines for different purposes should be encouraged, and the results put into the public domain through the medium of VRML.

7 Creators of VR from all disciplines should seek to influence new standards as they emerge.

8 Additional wide-ranging research should be undertaken into many aspects of VR, especially looking at both narrow and broad effects on informational and educational effectiveness.

9 Virtual reality and reality - five guidelines for designers:

Back Next Contents

Graphics     Multimedia      Virtual Environments      Visualisation      Contents