Mixed Reality and Beyond: What’s on the Horizon for Your Campus?


Robbie Melton, Karen Pedersen, and Jennifer Rafferty

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Virtual and Mixed Reality

Are you doing an environmental scan and picking up more and more references or mentions of virtual and augmented reality (VR, AR), mixed reality, artificial intelligence (AI), gamification and simulations? Are you asking questions like: Where do I start on my campus?  What technology should we invest in?  Which faculty, in what disciplines should I be working with?  If so, you are not alone. 

Recognizing that these types of questions are being asked on many campuses, last fall OLC entered into a partnership with Drexel University Online(DUO) to showcase their ongoing research project called “Virtually Inspired.”  Thanks to the vision of DUO President Susan Aldridge and USDLA Chair Emerita and Past President, Marci Powell, DUO is uncovering globally the best in breed technology-enhanced online courses and programs for the online classroom of the future.  With a collection of 18 case studies and more in production, DUO is examining a range of technologies, including adaptive learning, AI, AU, gamification & simulations, holography, learning platforms/tools, robotic telepresence, video, virtual labs, virtual worlds, technologies on the horizon and more. 

Another exemplar in the field and OLC partner is the system-wide strategic plan of Mixed Reality Research and Exploration for Teaching, Learning, and Workforce Training by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Office of Emerging Technology. They are providing leadership in the planning, investment, instructional – curricula VR/AR/Holograms/IOE learning objects, development, implementation, pilots, and effectiveness for these emerging immersive tools thanks to TBR 2020 Technology Visioning.  Check out their AR and VR resources page as well. 

These partnerships made it evident to OLC that strategic programming is needed to shape the questions and conversations even further.  To this end, we are excited to team up with a pre-eminent group of leaders in the field to bring a full range of programming ideas to the OLC community.  This planning council includes:  Gary Abernethy, Susan Aldridge, Farah Bennani, Tim Blais, Frank Botdorf, Peter Campbell, Donald Choate, Maaroof Fakhri, Corinne Hoisington, Jeff Horner, Denise Malloy, Marci Powell, George Saltsman, Matthew Smith, Angela Darlene Smith, and Michael Torrence.  Over the next year, you will see conference sessions at Innovate 2017 and Accelerate 2017 on AR, VR, mixed reality and beyond.  Our programming will also include webinars, a mixed reality conference this summer, as well as OLC Institute for Professional Development curriculum to support faculty members, instructional designers, and administrators so you can take insights gleaned from your environmental scan and bring them to fruition on your campus. 

So, let’s get started!  From preconference hands-on workshops to educational sessions to solutions in the Innovation Lab, OLC Innovate 2017 is packed with opportunities to share and learn from others.  We believe you will glean insights you can take home and implement on your campus tomorrow.  Here are some highlights to add to your Innovate 2017 schedule in NOLA (April 4 – 7, 2017):

Pre-Conference Session (Tuesday):
Virtually Inspired: Showcasing Innovations in Online Learning  

Mixed Reality Sessions (Thursday):
1.  Google Cardboard And The Role Of VR In Online Learning 

2.  Toe In The Water: Toward A Topology Of Instruction And Instructional Design For 3D Virtual Worlds

3.  The Flipped Lab: Reimagining Science Education With Blended Next-Generation Virtual Laboratories 

4. Reshaping Study Abroad Programs Through Virtual and Augmented Reality

5. Absolutely Amazing: Up Close And Personal Teaching And Learning With Virtual Reality Encounters

6. Next Generation EText: Providing Greater Interaction And Individualization

Mixed Reality Session (Friday)
Seeing, Touching, Creating Mixed Reality Content for VR/AR/Holograms 

Is a mixed reality initiative on the horizon for your campus?  More programming to come, so stay tuned!   


About The Authors


Robbie Melton, Ph.D., @1Appologist
Associate Vice Chancellor of Mobilization Emerging Technology
Tennessee Board of Regents





Karen Pedersen


Karen Pedersen, Ph.D., @KarenLPedersen
Chief Knowledge Officer
Online Learning Consortium 




Jennifer Rafferty, M.A., @palomitica29
Director of the OLC Institute for Professional Development
Online Learning Consortium


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