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Sun, 21 Jun 2015 14:24:30 +0100
Shailey Minocha <[log in to unmask]>
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"ACM SIGCHI General Interest Announcements (Mailing List)" <[log in to unmask]>
Shailey Minocha <[log in to unmask]>
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The Open University, UK has advertised four fully-funded PhD studentships in Technology-Enhanced Learning.

The application details are available on:; also see here:

Closing date: 1 July 2015

Three project descriptions are included below. For any queries about these projects, please contact Professor Shailey Minocha, [log in to unmask]

Project descriptions:

>> Technology enhanced fieldwork

Practical science fieldwork provides authentic learning opportunities that enable undergraduate students to apply their learning and develop field skills, as well as effective teamwork skills that improve employability. A studentship in this area would explore the use of technologies to enhance the fieldwork experience. Depending on the interests and skills of the candidate, this could focus on the design and development of activities or technologies and/or the evaluation of technology enhanced field courses. A student would have the opportunity build on established research from across the OU, including: accessibility in fieldwork teaching; mobile and wireless network technologies for fieldwork; and 2D and 3D virtual field trips.

Potential supervisors: Dr Trevor Collins and Prof Shailey Minocha

Related projects and publications

- The OpenScience Lab’s 3D Virtual Geology Field Trip -
- The Enabling Remote Activity project -
- Personal Inquiry project -
- Out There and In Here project -
- Prof Shailey Minocha’s publications  -
- Dr Trevor Collins’ publications -

>> Education and training for globally distributed virtual teams: preparing the workforce for the future

The aim of this research project is to investigate whether/how virtual team-working, in modules such as The Open University's M258, could adopt three-dimensional (3D) virtual environments (along with supporting 2D environments such as forums or blogs) to facilitate the development of employability skills such as building and managing virtual teams. The research will also involve evaluating the role of 3D affordances such as a sense of co-presence and space, the authenticity of 3D spaces and support for game-based learning in socialisation, which is an antecedent for effective virtual collaboration. The outcomes of this project will inform educators about the design of online collaborative activities that will enhance the student experience and student attainment in STEM disciplines. It will enable organisations to better prepare employees to lead, collaborate and commit to common goals in teams that work across geographical, national and cultural boundaries.

Potential supervisors: Dr David Morse, Professor Shailey Minocha and Professor Nick Braithwaite

Related projects and publications

- Bosch-Sijtsema, Petra M. and Happamaki, Johanna, (2014). Perceived enablers of 3D virtual environments for virtual team learning and innovation, Computers in Human Behaviour, 37, pp. 395-401.
- IT project and service management module description -
- Minocha, Shailey and Morse, David (2010). Supporting distributed team working in 3D virtual worlds: A case study in Second Life. Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 7(4), pp. 200-219. Available at:
- Working in a Virtual World: Establishing Highly Effective Virtual Teams on Information Technology Projects. Deloitte. Available at:

>> Developing geographical understanding through 3D immersive environments

This project will focus on the design of learning activities to facilitate students’ development of map interpretation skills within avatar-based three-dimensional (3D) simulations of urban and rural landscapes. Realistic 3D simulations will be used to support 'learning in context' by layering geographical/geological data over the landscape models that users can interactively explore. Potential studies could also investigate students’ understanding of the interconnections between physical geography and human geography, for example, with regard to the impact of river erosion, coastal flooding or deforestation. The potential user-groups and stakeholders that could inform and adopt the findings of this research include: education providers within the geosciences, such as schools and universities; commercial organisations involved in activities requiring spatial decision-making, such as city planning; and relevant public groups, such as ramblers and tourists. Depending on the successful applicant’s interests and background, the project could include the technical development of 3D landscape models and simulations (e.g. using a platform such as Unity), and/or evaluating how the affordances of 3D simulations (such as realism and authenticity of spaces, sense of presence, sense of space and collaborative learning) foster spatial literacy and map interpretation skills.

Potential supervisors: Professor Shailey Minocha, Dr Trevor Collins and Dr David Morse

Related projects and publications

- 3D and Height, Ordnance Survey,
- 3D Virtual Geology Field Trip (includes activities around the use of geological maps and Ordnance Survey):
- Maps and landforms in The Open Science Lab:
- BBC News (1st May 2015): Sat-navs and mobile apps 'threaten map-reading skills':
- OU OpenLearn course: Why maps are made -

-- The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302). The Open University is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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