Insights from the Field: Multiple Forms of Realities: From VR, AR, and MR to XR


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The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is reaching out to our global community of thought leaders, faculty, innovators, and practitioners to bring you insights from the field of online, blended, and digital learning. This week, Yingjie Liu, OLC Institute faculty for Strategies to Implement Augmented & Virtual Reality in Education workshop, joins us to answer our questions about Augment and Virtual Reality in the context of online education, as well as variety of other topics.

Augmented Virtual Mixed Reality in the Classroom
Young man using virtual and augmented reality in the classroom

OLC: How did you become engaged in virtual, augmented and mixed reality? How do you see this field evolving?

I am always excited about the potential of innovative technologies in education. I enjoy unpacking complicated technology and translating it into meaningful teaching and learning tools. I am lucky to work with a supportive administrator and adventurous faculty who support me to do what I am doing.

The immersive technology is changing and evolving so fast. Augmented Reality (AR) Cloud, Web Virtual Reality (WebVR), Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI) are on a crash course with Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR). Eventually everything will come all together and evolve into(or beyond) Extended Reality (XR) to become the future interface for education.

Today we already have great tools to help design AR/VR content without programming skills. It’s time to empower our faculty and students to explore the power of AR/VR/MR. I cannot wait to see when everyone crowdsource the AR/VR/MR development and content creation. The future is now.

OLC: What challenges and obstacles does XR (extended reality) have to overcome with regards to accessibility?

XR(extended reality) encompasses all realities and redefines accessibility. For instance, wearing glasses with low vision might not be a problem in your real life, but it could make you feel so inconvenient with the innovative goggles, glasses or helmet. I am glad to see the industry are taking accessibility seriously. However more research need to be done. We know that technology will never be perfect. How we use it makes the big difference. We should always keep accessibility and universal design in mind when we bring innovative technology into teaching and learning. The notions of accessibility, usability and inclusion will truly define this new era of XR in education.

OLC: What are the 3 most important things prospective participants should know about the Creating Augmented & Virtual Reality Course Content course you facilitate?


Creating AR/VR Content workshop is very practical. The participants will walk away with practical activities that they can use in their own courses. Our research shows that lack of time is the biggest challenge for faculty who are interested in redesigning their courses. The faculty wants training to be practical and technical (Liu & Dempsey, 2018). The AR/VR workshop is built with a mix of tools and best practices as well as specially designed hands-on exercises and collaborative opportunities to enable participants to implement what they learn in their own classrooms. Participants can customize their own AR/VR class kit, create AR/VR content, as well as design AR/VR activities for their own students to explore and to create.I really enjoy unpacking complicated technology and scaffolding participants through their unique learning journeys.

OLC: There are many opportunities to teach online. Why did you choose OLC and which Institute course(s) do you facilitate for OLC?

OLC is an innovative and collaborative community. The OLC institute courses always offer practical best practices on hot topics in the field. I have always been inspired and learned so much from their conferences, webinars and workshops. I want to contribute back to our wonderful OLC community. I teach New to Online: Essentials Part I and Creating AR/VR Course Content workshops. I often receive inquiries from OLC colleagues at other universities about suggestions on their AR/VR projects. I am really excited to develop and teach the new creating AR/VR Course Content workshop to help foster an immersive learning community in OLC. I enjoy learning about OLC colleagues’ unique experiences and help foster an online or immersive learning community on more campuses.

OLC: OLC Institute offerings help professionals stay current in their prospective fields, and oftentimes assist in the advancement of their profession. What do you believe are the top 3 ways in which professionals in our field can stay current and move ahead?

Build your skills, especially learning skills. Stay current with your field through new media, e.g., YouTube and Twitter.
Build your strength. Discover your strength and build upon it. Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses.
Build your support team. Great minds think alike. Connect and learn from your colleagues who also have innovative and adventurous minds.

OLC: What was the last book, journal or article you read that relates to the field?

I read the Charlie Fink’s Metaverse – An AR Enabled Guide to VR & AR. It is such a fun book to learn about what the future holds for AR, VR , MR and XR. It integrated augmented technology that cute character animation will pop out the book to talk to you.

OLC: How can people connect with you? Please provide your Twitter handle, your webpage, your blog, etc.

You can contact me through or 

About Yingjie Liu

Yingjie Liu is an instructional designer at San Jose State University in California. She has over ten years of experience in teaching and supporting faculty designing/redesigning quality online and blended courses. Focusing on the concept of “Faculty as Instructional Designer, ” she always scaffolds the instructors through pedagogical course development and technology integration process so they can independently implement in their own courses. As a certified online and face-to-face Quality Matters facilitator, she enjoys teaching QM flagship workshops to help faculty and instructional designers grow beyond their current online teaching and learning expertise. She is passionate about educational research in online education and innovative technologies, and has led several national studies bridging the gap between faculty needs and course design support. She has also led many research projects and facilitated workshops on Virtual Reality and immersive learning at national conferences.

Yingjie keeps 3 crawfish, 2 blue parakeets, and 1 beta fish as her pets at home.

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