My inaugural lecture Virtual Worlds for Real Experiences will be held on Tuesday, 20 June 2017 at The Open University's campus in Milton Keynes, UK. I will discuss how online technologies such as social software, activity trackers, virtual reality and 3D virtual worlds bridge time and places, interleaving the virtual with the real – allowing people to communicate and collaborate with those whom they may have never met, experience places they may never be able to visit, shop, learn, and do research.
I will focus on three domains that we have conducted research on over the last few years:
- social software;
- digital health wearables or activity trackers; and
- virtual reality and 3D virtual worlds.
The underlying themes of these three domains that I will discuss in the Lecture are:
- how online technologies can empower people - to become more socially connected;
- how being online can alleviate social isolation and loneliness;
- how online technologies can provide real experiences - where people get value from their online interactions and, through that broaden their horizons; and
- how online technologies can support individual and collective learning, skills development and knowledge construction.
In these initiatives, the design of the online technology is paramount for providing real experiences to the users. The dimensions of the design that I will elaborate in the Lecture are:
- design of online spaces;
- design of activities;
- setting expectations of the users; and
- scaffolding social norms, rules, roles and etiquette for interactions.
The live-stream on the day and the video recording after the Lecture will be at this link.