Virtual Reality and 3D Tours as a Pedagogical Support to Improve Students Experiences at the University
This paper discusses the experiences of fresh learners who have just embarked on a tertiary online course at the University of Mauritius. Online learning which is emerging as a promising market for the education industry is growing at a rapid pace in Mauritius, especially because it offers learners the opportunity in becoming highly independent and autonomous in their learning while at the same time promotes the earn while you learn concept. However, the difficulty lies in the fact that online learners are often off-campus and are not accustomed with the campus infrastructures and key areas for queries and information offices. Sometimes, in their effort to locate either any particular office for queries or classroom for attending classes, or even to obtain "just-in-time" information at any office, students simply get confused, feel lost or misguided through inaccurate information given to them. This difficulty to adjust with such social integration to the institution, tends to give rise to learner anxiety and frustration which directly impact on their higher education. McCraty (2007) and McCraty et al. (2000) have demonstrated that learners’ anxiety and confused state has a detrimental effect on their overall academic performance. This paper reports the design and development process of a 3D Virtual Tour application for the University of Mauritius, to assist new students especially enrolled on DEOL programmes to better integrate the educational ecosystem of the University. We present the results of a first evaluation of the system done with a group of students through survey questionnaire and a focus-group discussion to gather feedback and perceived usefulness of such a system to enhance their educational experience on the campus. // Paper ID 118
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